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Don't Do This on Your Resume

don't do this on your resume People keep making these same mistakes on their resumes. If you don't want your resume to come off as lackluster and ordinary, don't make these easily avoidable mistakes.

Stop Making the Same Mistakes

These are not fabricated mistakes they were taken directly from actual resumes. After much research seeing job seekers make the same mistakes over and over, we were compelled to write this article to help our visitors stop making them. It is important that you make sure that what you write is done to the best of your ability, the other job seekers competing against you are. Below you will find seven mistakes that we see people make over and over again.

Career Help Center

Your Resume Doesn't Have to Be Ordinary

Here is a list of specific problems; it is not an article about generalities. People make these errors daily, and now because of this guide, you won't.
  • I Did This, I Did That, I, I, I …
    Even though your resume is all about you, it isn't necessary to overdo it by throwing it in the employer's face. Would your resume be about someone else? Don't lead your sentences with “I,” write as though you are describing someone else, no I's. Describe your skills and accomplishments, but phrase them without the I's.

    Instead of writing, “I increased production by 14%.”

    Form your sentence like this, “Developed a plan that increased production 14%.”

    That was an easy example because we removed the I and added the action verb “developed,” but you can see how your sentences can be changed. This can also contribute to the goal of making your resume shorter.
  • Start and End Dates
    There isn't necessarily one format that must be used when writing the start and end dates of your jobs and the graduation dates of your schools. You may list your dates with the months written out as its full name (May), as an abbreviation (May) or as the numerical representation of the month (05). The years may be written as the full four digits (2024) or using the abbreviated two digit number (24).

    No matter which format you choose it is most important that you continue using this format for all the dates on your resume, cover letter and any other documents you use. It is surprising how many resumes we see that don't follow this practice. Our guess is the problem is created by people working on their resumes on more than one occasion. No matter the reason always go back and double-check that the formatting for your dates is consistent.

    The other problem we see with the dates is the use of a comma after the month. On a resume we don't use a comma here.

    Inconsistent spacing between the month and the year and also between the dash that separates the beginning date and ending date yields a sloppy appearance. Put a space on either side of the dash, we feel that makes it easier to read the dates.

    Incorrect: May 2023   - May 2024

    Correct: May 2023 - May 2024
  • Incorrect Capitalization
    Everyone knows that names, streets, cities, and more, are supposed to be capitalized, the problem comes in when people only capitalize the first word when there are multiple words in the name. This occurs more often than one would expect. Be sure to verify that when a name contains multiple words you capitalize them all. Generally the first word is capitalized, then the other words excluding “stop words and articles” like: a , an , the, of, and more, are capitalized when when they are not the first word. For states use two capital letters (ST).

    The other side of the coin is using too many caps. We see dates written like this too. Unless the word is supposed to be all caps don't write it that way. There are always exceptions to these guidelines so if you are not sure how it is supposed to appear look it up to ensure accuracy.
  • Generic Phrases
    There are many useless phrases that are used quite often whether it is because of the inability of some people to think of something more valuable to write or from a lack of knowledge. They haven't been taught what to write, yet … We don't know, but here are some common examples so you don't make these mistakes on your resume. Most of the time these phrases provide no value. Instead, they merely state the obvious and take up space that could have been used more productively. Here are eight of these common phases:
    1. Team player or works well in a group …
      Well we hope so, most workplaces consist of more than one employee. Also, of course you work well in groups almost everyone does. No value was added from this line.
    2. Well organized …
      The alternative is that you are an unorganized mess.
    3. Proficient communication skills …
      Nothing revolutionary here most people are able to converse with others.
    4. Able to multitask …
      If the job depends on multitasking then this would be a basic requirement not something exceptional.
    5. I am a punctual person …
      Hopefully you are not late for work all the time, punctuality is expected.
    6. Great attention to detail or detail oriented …
      It is assumed that you pay attention to the duties you are performing and you will do a good job.
    7. Time management skills …
      This is saying you won't waste company time, for your employer's sake we certainly hope not.
    8. Driven to succeed …
      If you aren't driven to succeed then are you are driven to mediocrity or failure?
    If you shouldn't write useless phrases like these what should you write? Something that demonstrates your value by bringing attention to your individual skills in a non-generic way. Be more specific and on point, use examples of your successes and achievements.
  • Incomplete Degrees
    If you are in the process to earning your degree and graduating write the date as “Expected Mar 2018.” If you went to school, but you didn't complete your degree and you aren't expecting to graduate you may not want to list it. It could put the idea in the mind of the employer that you don't finish what you start. That you don't follow through on your commitments. Evaluate whether or not listing the school will do more harm than good.
  • References
    Don't put your professional and character references on your resume unless the employer specifically wants them there. Normally they are submitted online or on a separate reference page. Never use the contact information of your reference without their permission. This includes on your resume, reference page, job application or anywhere else.
  • Silly Email Addresses
    Please use a professional sounding email address to converse with the employer. Use it on your resume, cover letter, the online application form and any other place you will give the employer your email address. Use something like: joseph.smith@mail.com or j.smith@mail.com. Not partyguy23@mail.com, how will an employer take you seriously?
Some of these problems might seem obvious, but people make these exact mistakes every day. It is a shame because these mistakes can be a turn-off to an HR manager who has been reading hundreds of resumes. Avoiding problems like these is one of those situations where it requires little effort to get it right as well as at no cost.
don't do this on your resume