Your resume is your first communication with recruiters. They’ll use it to gauge your competence and likability, and overall suitability for the position. Is your resume saying the right things about your personal brand?
9 Unforgivable Resume Sins
- Your address. Surprise! Your address can work against you more than it could ever help you. If you live out of state, recruiters will consider the extra variables involved in interviewing and relocating you. And if you’re local, your commute time might work against you.
- Jobs not relevant to your current career goals. That 4-month burger gig you had in college? It doesn’t belong on your resume (unless you have limited professional experience or you want to be a restaurant manager). Your resume should almost never include every job you ever held. Stick to positions that are relevant to your current career path.
- Your college or high school graduation date. Or any dates unrelated to your work history. Don’t date yourself. Ageism is illegal in a work environment, but we can all agree that employers might raise an eyebrow over graduation dates from the Truman era.
- Too many or too few pages. Your resume should convey your awesomeness in the right amount of space. Forget that “one page” rule; it doesn’t apply to the modern era and can cause you to leave off good stuff. But you don’t want to ramble, either. How much length is enough:
- References. Recruiters will ask for references when they’re ready to hire you. Until then, they don’t care about a random list of names on your resume. Recruiters also expect you to have references when they ask for them, so you don’t need to say “References Available Upon Request.”
- An unprofessional email address. Whom would you hire: Karen.Smith@email.com or firstname.lastname@example.org? If you don’t have a professional-sounding email address, set one up at Gmail, Yahoo, or another free provider.
- Annoying buzzwords. Some words just rub recruiters the wrong way. So leave off “think outside the box,” “best of breed,” and “go-getter.” Try active, results-oriented words instead: “achieved,” “managed,” “created.”
- Hobbies. Unless your hobbies involve building houses for the homeless or nursing injured seals back to health, they don’t belong on your resume. Hobbies could invite unfavorable judgment, depending on the likes and dislikes of the person reading your resume.
- Spelling or grammar issues. Huge life hint: Microsoft Word’s spelling and grammar checker is not infallible. It will often miss homonyms, and will chastise you for sentence fragments common in resumes. Always get a couple pairs of eyes on your resume to check for mistakes.
|Career Classification||Ideal Length of Resume|
|Recent college graduate or young professional||1 page|
|Established professional||2 pages|
|Executive or other high-level professional||3 pages|
Areas Sinful in Some Circles
- An objective: Many resume writers will advise you to drop the objective, citing evidence like, “If you applied, it’s already obvious you want the job.” Instead of an objective, I recommend a professional summary that lists your core strengths and goals. It’s one more way to communicate with recruiters about what a great fit you are, especially with soft skills.
- Industry jargon: If you’re applying for work in the same industry, everyone will understand your jargon. If you’re applying for work in a different industry, including a military-to-civilian transition, translate jargon into language everyone can understand.
- Photos or visuals: If you work in a creative industry, such as graphic design, incorporating graphics or a fun design is a great way to get your skills noticed. Otherwise, photos or images can detract from your skillset.
The best resumes don’t just avoid cardinal sins, they present your unique journey in the best light. Using our warm and fuzzy, personalized approach, Fuzzy Red Pen can help you craft a resume that says the right things to recruiters. Give your brand its best voice!
How many of these sins is your resume committing right now? Comment below!