8 Mistakes That Will Get Your Resume Tossed Out and Your Candidacy Terminated

According to a study released by The Ladders, an online job-matching service, recruiters spend an average of six seconds reviewing an individual resume. Six seconds! And how many seconds did it take for you to make your resume? We’ll let you take a deep breath.


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Now, here are some common mistakes that you should avoid like the plague, lest your resume become “chuck-worthy.”


  1. Not following a standard hierarchical format: Recruiters expect a certain flow in the resumes that they read. Imagine a recruiter’s plight if every other resume is “creative” or “unique.” As Will Evans, The Ladders’ head of user experience says, “Recruiters develop this mental model that allows them to extract the most important bits.” So make sure your name, title, company, education, and past experience (with start and end dates) are easy to find.
  2. Using cliches and redundant phrases: David Meilach, from the Business News Daily recommends avoiding cliches (“innovative,” “team-oriented”), words that show low self-confidence (“try,” “could,” etc.), redundant phrases (“references available on request”), and so on. He advises job seekers to list out specific achievements and not use “resume-fillers.”
  3. Missing critical information: Were you so involved in how your resume looks, and how the layout falls in place, that you forgot to add your contact details? If the recruiter has to make extra effort to find your information, chances are, your resume will be tossed out.
  4. Spelling errors: Proofread, re-read, and send your resume for review to professional resume writers, editors, or friends with a keen eye. An extra set of eyes never hurt and will help you catch all the errors you missed. It will also help to cross-check and see if what you intended to write is what your audience reads.
  5. Adding irrelevant experience or accolades: If you are applying for the position of executive assistant, your experience as a piano teacher might not be relevant. And it doesn’t help to add that you won a race in grade 8. Your intention is to highlight the overlap of responsibilities mentioned in the job description and your experience. That is why you are the ideal candidate — because you already have or hold the capability to excel at the advertised job!
  6. You resume is too long: Don’t ramble in your resume. Mention your strengths and expertise and highlight your professional skills. Try and keep it short — to two pages, at most. Your resume is not your interview, so just share enough information to get you the call. You will have the opportunity to elaborate during the actual interview.
  7. Incompatible format: Don’t over-complicate things. If you are sending your resume via email, don’t send it in a format the recipient can’t open or doesn’t recognize. If your resume can’t be opened effortlessly, without any new programs needing to be installed, it will likely be deleted.
  8. Not following guidelines: Follow the guidelines for applying accurately. Some companies require cover letters, some don’t. Make sure you’re submitting all the requested details. There are hundreds of candidates who will make sure their applications are complete.


With that, we hope you get your interview call.

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