Top 10 Resume Mistakes & How to Fix Them

Presenting an effective resume is the most critical step in your search for your dream job. First impressions are crucial, and your resume will influence how a hiring manager views you and your candidacy. The quickest way to get passed over for a new position is to submit a resume with flaws. Simply put, your resume’s quality can make or break your chance at being considered for a new opportunity. To prevent your resume from being bypassed, avoid the ten common resume mistakes below and follow our easy fixes – these tips will help your resume stand out from the pack!
1. Typos and other grammatical errors can ruin even the strongest of candidates
If your resume is teeming with typos and grammatical mistakes, a hiring manager will conclude that you have poor writing skills and no attention to detail. Correcting this is an easy fix, however. Proofreading your resume multiple times is an effective way to avoid these mistakes. If you are not a talented proofreader, have a friend or colleague read your resume to catch any mistakes that you miss. This way your resume will be blunder free!

2. A vague objective is a surefire way to end up in the recycle bin
A resume with a basic, cookie cutter objective such as, “Seeking a job that will allow me to work closely with others in a fast-paced environment” will leave the hiring manager wondering what you bring to the table. Instead, try using more descriptive words that will allow you to explain your goals, while also focusing on the employer’s needs. Using a phrase such as, “Seeking a challenging position that will use my skills to generate new business and will enable me to work with others,” effectively will demonstrate your ability to address the employer’s needs and, further, will communicate your professional development desires.

3. Formatting issues can make your resume hard to follow and confusing to read
Typically, hiring managers must sift through a large number of resumes before making a decision. If your resume is poorly formatted, the hiring manager will have a hard time following it. Instead, keep your resume clean and uncluttered – Format your resume to outline your skills concisely. If you do not have a clean format already, use the internet to find a standard resume template. This way, the hiring manager easily can review your experience and abilities, without having to decode your personal resume format. Additionally, if you are still unsure of your resume format, seek the advice of a resume expert.

4. A resume that is not tailored to the job is more likely to be passed over
A generic resume will convey a lack of interest and will leave out key skills that match the job description’s footprint. Where specifics are required, using generalities will make you a weaker candidate. To remedy this situation, if you have the experience, include keywords (taken from the company’s posting) to tailor your resume to fit the job description of each position to which you apply.

5. Describing actions instead of accomplishments
Employers focus on what you have accomplished rather than your day-to-day activities. For example, instead of listing that you were “responsible for contract negotiation and lead generation,” try phrasing your responsibilities as such: “Generated 50 leads and negotiated 10 contracts, resulting in an increase in revenue of 150% in 12 months.” Rather than listing or cataloging your previous duties, a resume in this format demonstrates your experience and results, thus, factually illustrating your value to the potential employer.

6. Including too much information can create an unreadable resume
You may be tempted to inventory every position and responsibility of your career on your resume, but doing so may render it difficult for a hiring manager to process the skills and experience you want to highlight. Your resume should emphasize your outstanding skills and accomplishments, not itemize a play-by-play career history. Further, your resume should not show gaps in employment, but, instead, should focus on the skills and accomplishments vital to the job to which you are applying. With this shift, the hiring manager will focus on your qualifications rather than reviewing a “list” of your previous jobs.

7. Incorrect contact information leads to missed opportunities
Providing incorrect contact information on your resume is a dire mistake. All too often, a stellar candidate will send out his or her resume and wait for a response that will never come because he or she provided incorrect contact information. To avoid this situation, pay close attention to the contact details you provide as you proofread your resume.

8. References must be reliable and easy to reach
First and foremost, make sure that the references that you list are people you can trust to recommend you highly and unconditionally. Second, a strong reference from a previous supervisor goes a long way in obtaining a competitive position. A hiring manager will be impressed when hearing about your stellar work experience and outstanding work ethic from an industry peer. Further, in addition to your most recent supervisor, if possible, use your professional network to secure career support and a reference from an industry leader. Finally, when you provide references, you need to ensure that you have included the correct contact information so that your references will be easy for a potential employer to reach.

9. Leaving off potentially helpful information may hurt your chances
You may not think that the telemarketing sales job you had in college would be of interest, but an employer may value skills such as effective cold calling and sales negotiation even though those requirements are not listed on the job posting. As a result, be sure to include transferable skills from these jobs on your resume. If you are a less experienced job applicant, adding these hidden competencies can be a tremendous boost. Nevertheless, to avoid resume distractions, you should only include the most relevant details.

10. Emailing a resume to an employer as a Microsoft Word document can cause technical difficulties
You could have the most perfect, well-crafted resume, but if the hiring manager cannot read it, it will not matter. Sending a resume as a Microsoft Word document opens the door to potential technical problems. Sometimes, a resume in Word will be incompatible with corporate document systems and will not open in corporate email or on corporate desktops. Other times, a Word document will reformat unintentionally when opened. To avoid these issues, convert and send your resume as a PDF, unless instructed otherwise. This will ensure safe delivery of your resume to the hiring manager.

In conclusion, using these tips will help you avoid some common resume mistakes. Moreover, this “checklist” will assist you in perfecting your resume and will start you on the right track to finding your perfect position and your new career. To supplement these tips or for more detailed information about improving your resume, please contact a Lexacount Search Resume Consultant at,, or 215-740-0104.


For this post, I am particularly grateful for Evan Grossman’s hard work and research assistance. This posting would not have been possible without his exploration of this topic area.


Works Cited
Bowers, Toni. 2012. 10 Resume Mistakes to Avoid. (accessed January 26, 2013).
Doyle, Alison. 2012. Top 10 Resume Mistakes. (accessed January 26, 2013).
Hansen, Katharine. 2012. Avoid These 10 Resume Mistakes. (accessed January 26, 2013).
Vogt, Peter. 2012. Avoid the Top 10 Resume Mistakes. (accessed January 26, 2013).

By Lexacount Search

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Lexacount Search is a boutique recruiting and staffing company, focusing on permanent placement for legal and accounting professionals. We place attorneys, paralegals, accountants, and contract specialists with law firms and corporations in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, and nationwide. Equidistant from New York and Washington, D.C., our offices are located in suburban Philadelphia. Our search consultants have a range of experiences as lawyers, paralegals, law clerks, accountants and accounting clerks. These backgrounds make our consultants uniquely qualified to match your skills and career goals with permanent positions with our clients. Whether you are a lawyer, paralegal, law clerk, accountant, accounting clerk or other skilled professional, Lexacount will provide you with a variety of available career opportunities.

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