Career Advice

Five Résumé Mistakes You Need To Avoid

Creating a powerful résumé that is visually appealing, full of compelling content, and grabs the attention of interviewers is no easy task, particularly in today’s ultra-competitive landscape.

For this reason, I have assembled a list of the five most treacherous mistakes that absolutely must be avoided if you want to create a stellar document that will get you noticed.

Don’t bury the lead. Very often, when candidates come to me for résumé help, one of the first things I ask them is what they want to do with their career going forward.  Sadly, I seldom can tell for sure from looking at their current résumé.  Perhaps you too are guilty of neglecting to put a headline and branding statement at the top of your résumé.

If you want to quickly make an impact and give the reader the 30 second speech regarding what you are about, get the headline and branding statement on there. You will be pleasantly surprised with the response you will likely receive.

Avoid redundancy or repetitiveness. Have you or any of your friends and colleagues ever had a résumé that reiterates verbatim the same exact information for multiple roles? Snorefest!!  The résumé should inspire the reader; it should serve as a call to action – you want the interview! Once you have referenced the information on the résumé, it is not necessary or desirable to reference it again.

Spice your résumé up by modifying the wording. If you spend some time thinking about it, you can change sentence structures to say something similar, but without sounding like a broken record. Go to and find alternate adjectives and nouns. Vary the information.

Don’t over extend. Avoid run on sentences.  Break up what you are trying to say into two or even three sentences rather than stringing together one long drawn out explanation.  Hiring managers like to skim a résumé. Lengthy sentence structures can be confusing and downright annoying to the reader. The word ‘and’ is great to connect two or even three things – after that, it just doesn’t work.

Don’t overlap or use unusual dates. Does your résumé have overlapping or unusual dates? Handle this with care. Every situation is unique; but the important thing to remember is that you are presenting information to an external party. Is the information understandable? Do the dates make sense? Have someone else review the document to ensure that you are delivering the information clearly.

One way to handle overlapping dates is to move a part-time job that was concurrent with another role, to a special section called ‘Additional Experience’.  Another way to address this issue would be to make a note in the second job that mentions it was concurrent with the first. If it’s confusing, rework it.

Never review it just once. If the rules of English grammar and spelling are not your strong suit, don’t go it alone. Grammar, spelling, and punctuation, as well as general sentence structure all make an impression on the hiring manager or recruiter who is reading your résumé.  The presentation and content are direct reflections of your professional brand.

Writing a good résumé is both an art and a science.  It requires incredible skill and careful maneuvering. Just as a mountain climber must watch every step he takes on a precarious slope, a candidate preparing a résumé must consider all aspects of his document to create a résumé that won’t leave him hanging over the edge.

Looking for more advice on what to keep out of your resume?

Five Résumé Screw Ups You Might Be Making

Worst Words To Put In Your Resume