1. Format and/or design is too elaborate
When it comes to your resume format, less is usually more. Stick to a simple, clean resume design that favors white space and makes it easy for the reader to quickly skim your information and understand your career story. The more elaborate or creative you get with your resume format, the more likely recruiters will be forced to hunt for the information they care about, and the more likely they will skip over your application altogether.
2. Repetitive words or phrases used in multiple job descriptions
When a recruiter reads the same words or phrases on a resume, it becomes redundant. It can also come across as if you didn’t care enough to put the effort into using a variation of action-oriented words and being specific for each position listed.
3. Spelling and grammatical errors
Editing your resume to eliminate spelling and grammatical errors might seem obvious; double check your resume with errors, punctuation, use of language. Paragraph and bullet points need a focus before you submit the resume for a job.
4. Incorrect or missing contact information
The goal of a resume is to land you an interview. If you’re missing pertinent contact information, or the contact information you’ve included is incorrect, you’re making it difficult for recruiters to get in touch with you. Also, if you’re not detailed enough to provide the correct contact information, what does that say about how well you will do on the job if hired?
Also, be wary of the location and format you use to list your contact information on your resume. Never add your contact information to the Header portion of a Word document or paste your contact information in as an image. Applicant tracking systems (ATS) cannot read that information and will list your contact details as missing or incomplete in the system.
5. Using an unprofessional email address
In order to land an interview, it’s helpful to have an email address that speaks to who you are and not to some alter ego of who you’d like to be. You don’t want a recruiter to overlook your glowing qualifications because he or she got hung up on an unprofessional email address.
6. Including outdated or irrelevant information
If you have information that is outdated or irrelevant on your resume, your resume will likely go in the trash. Avoid including your age, hobbies, or marital status on your resume — this type of information says that you aren’t up to speed with today’s resume-writing standards. It also sets you up to be eliminated for discriminatory reasons related to items such as age and gender. Typically, unless it’s relevant to the job, it doesn’t belong on your resume.
7. Failure to demonstrate and quantify results
A recruiter wants to see the results you’ve achieved in past positions, as it speaks to the potential you have to do well in the role for which they’re trying to fill. Results are best described as quantifiable results — business growth numbers, improved retention stats, increased sales, proven return on investment, and so on. Without demonstrating or providing quantifiable results, it might appear that you had “responsibilities,” yet didn’t take initiative or achieve actual results.
8. Annoying obvious keyword stuffing
It’s important to include keywords from the job posting in your resume in order to make it past the applicant tracking software (ATS) recruiters use to scan and weed out unqualified candidates. However, make sure you’re incorporating keywords in a way that sounds natural. If you deliberately stuff keywords into your resume or use a bunch of annoying buzzwords, it will be painfully obvious to the recruiter — not to mention a big turnoff. Use keywords wisely and incorporate them into your resume so they make sense and flow naturally. Consider having someone else read your resume to see if any of the keywords you’ve used stand out in an unforgiving way.