Resume Mistakes

Top 5 MUST-AVOID Resume Mistakes (2023)

Moez Salam
Moez Salam

Senior Marketing Associate
Passionate about marketing with an affinity to learn about the ever-developing IT sector.

Amidst the constant evolution and growth of the current job market, job opportunities are laden with fierce competition. One of the most important tools job applications has in their arsenal is their resume. A well-crafted resume makes all the difference in getting noticed y potential employers and getting through to the interview phase.

However, with the constantly evolving job market, expectations of hiring managers and recruiters change as well. Having said that, it is crucial to avoid some common resume mistakes that can hurt your chances of getting hired.

The most tedious way to go about optimizing your resume is exhaustive networking with alumni, recruiters, and hiring managers. The next step, through that networking, would be to edit your resume based on their feedback.

To that end, throughout this blog post, we will discuss our carefully vetted top 5 must-avoid resume mistakes to look out for in 2023. Whether you are a recent college graduate or an experienced professional, these tips will help you create an outstanding resume to stand out in a highly competitive applicant pool.

So let us dive into, and explore the top 5 resume mistakes to avoid in 2023. 

#1: Putting Education Above Experience

While you may be proud of your SAT score or your college GPA, the fact of the matter remains that your professional experience trumps your academic credentials. Whether through a full-time job or internship, work experience translates much better into on-the-job capabilities and performance.

Mentioning your professional experience at the beginning of your resume, in the form of bullet points, helps recruiters visualize your ability to gauge your role for the job position that they are hiring for.

For instance, imagine a hiring manager looking at your resume and seeing your G.P.A, next to your relevant coursework and academic distinctions. They will realize that none of these are relevant to the job under consideration. Having wasted thirty seconds of their time, they will simply move on to the next applicant.
On the other hand, imagine that a job recruiter opens your resume to observe that you have clearly formatted your previous experience in ‘Finance transformation and supply chain analytics’. The first thing that will come to their mind is that you have some relevant industry knowledge and experience and would be a good fit for presenting to clients.

Even if relevant work experience is read under the internship section, as opposed to professional experience, the recruiter will now be aware of your demonstrated experience to deliver in a professional capacity. 

Take a closer look at a ‘bad’ resume here, and then a revised version of that resume here to make it stand stronger. 

#2: Not Showing Impact

This part of the blog usually refers, to recurring resume mistakes, to using fancy or overcomplicated words to state something, without showing what that action actually ended up achieving. Some examples of these are as follows:

  • Assisted with project governance…
  • Presented to Russian bank client…
  • Aided project manager in research…

These sentences on their own do not clearly state the implication. You can add some value to these statements with the bits mentioned below:

  • Helped allocate 580,000 USD to….
  • The client successfully opened one local representative branch…

This demonstrates the obvious difference between using fluffy buzzwords and showing actually impact. This point carries forward perfectly into point #3: Failure to include meaningful metrics. 

#3 Failure To Include Meaningful Metrics

When trying to craft the perfect resume, it is obvious that certain common questions may arise, such as:

  • “How do I show metrics when I’m new in the field”
  • “What do I show when I have no impressive metrics to quote on?”
  • “How do I quantify my work achievements?”
  • “What am I to do if I work at a startup where data points are not yet established?”
  • “How do I state metrics without staying authentic?”

The truth of the matter is that hiring managers and recruiters actually care much less about the actual numbers and metrics that you quote, compared to the effort that you gave into quantifying your impact.

For example, when applying to an internship, you decide to give the following statement in your resume:

‘… my presentation scored 23% higher than the class average

The percentile that you mentioned refers to a meaningful metric that you pointed out. While ‘the class average’ refers to you making an effort to set a benchmark against all the others. A useful PRO TIP that is applicable when it comes to cases like these, is to ask yourself: So What?

Consider the following scenarios:

  • ‘Taught SAT during my summer break in college’ SO WHAT?
  • ‘Average increase in my students SAT score was 280 points’ SO WHAT?

However, the following serves as a very strong impact statement:

  • ‘7 out of the 8 seniors got accepted into their first-choice colleges

So instead of writing ‘I fetched coffee for senior associates during my summer internship’, write ‘I delivered, on average, 9 coffees a day with 100% accuracy on all orders for 3 months”. If you follow these steps, you will be sure to make an impact on the hiring manager. 

#4: Not Tailoring Your Resume For Each Application

Applying to countless jobs with the same profile, contributing to another set of resume mistakes often results in bearing no success. This is why it is important to prioritize quality over quantity as applying to as many jobs as possible might actually not be the best way to go about things.

Simply go through several LinkedIn job descriptions. Next, copy and paste the text into a word document. Run that document text through a word cloud generator and sort the words by their frequency. Use the high-frequency words to facilitate your skills section. For more guidance on how to do this, check out our LinkedIn Profile Optimization blog.

It must be noted that there is a significant difference between a LinkedIn profile and a resume. A LinkedIn profile is a general overview of you as a professional. On the other hand, your resume is a ‘hyper-targeted’ approach for each individual job application. 

#5: Overlooking The Small Things

Often overlooking the smallest elements serves as resume mistakes that can have a monumental impact on recruiters and hiring managers. Be extra careful of ensuring consistency in the following elements of your resume:

  • Differently formatted hyphens
  • Spelling Mistakes
  • Grammar & Punctuation
  • Font Consistency
  • Consistent use of Bold, Italics, Underline

First impression matter, so it is best to capitalize on that with these essential tips and elements. Make use of Grammarly, and Google Autocorrect, and send your resume to other people for critical feedback and critique.

Remember: Your Resume Is Your Personal Brand!

As you complete your resume and prepare to send it out for recruiters and hiring managers to analyze, remember that your resume is your personal brand. It represents your skills, experience, and potential to potential employers.

The mistakes that you make on your resume can send unintended messages to a hiring manager and ultimately impact your chances of landing a job. Follow our carefully vetted list of the above-mentioned 5 MUST AVOID result tips and you will be guaranteed to be presenting yourself in the best light.

The success of your future may depend on it!

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