Keep Your Resume Out of the Trash: Fix These 5 Common Mistakes


We know you kill it in person with your million dollar smile and charming personality, but how do you look on paper? Your resume is the first impression your employer will get of you, and you want to make it a good one. After all, it’s the key to landing an interview!

However, the application stage is a rough one, and not all resumes will emerge victorious. Some will get kept, and some will get tossed. How will you survive the purge? The first step: Don’t make these five basic mistakes on your resume.

1. Giving your resume a generic name.

Make it easy on the employer by putting your name in the title so they can locate it easily. Imagine sifting through a whole folder of files titled “RESUME” – what a nightmare! Not to mention, your resume will surely be overlooked.

Let’s give the hiring manager a break! Include your name in your document – for example, “YOUR NAME – Resume”. Easy, right? And it’ll make a world of difference for the employer.

2. Rambling over multiple pages.

Are you one of those people who drags on and on? Well, chatty Kathy, save it for your friends! Employers love to see your experience, skills, and education, but they tend to overlook resumes that go on forever. They want to get to know you, but they don’t need your whole life story!

If your resume is over one page, the employer is probably not going to read the whole thing. According to a study conducted by TheLadders, recruiters spend an average of six seconds reviewing each resume. Shocking, right? Don’t get discouraged. We have some tips on making your resume short and sweet:

  • When describing experience, be brief. The employer can ask you for more detail in person.
  • Only include info that supports why you’d be a good fit for the job.
  • Keep the most relevant info at the top. That is the first thing the employer will see. We want them to keep reading!

3. Sending resume clones.

Let’s be real, when you NEED a job, you apply to almost everything available. But employers want to feel special, so the least you can do is tailor your resume.

Before submitting your application, tailor it to the specific job you are applying to. Include experiences and skills useful for that job! Read the job description and use it to your advantage. Yes, this is basically resume 101, but it makes a HUGE difference – it’s worth the effort.

4. Being vague about your experience.

Take a page from Jughead’s book: don’t say you were responsible for eating 10 hamburgers, say that you did it (shoutout to the Riverdale fans!) Listing your responsibilities doesn’t say much, but mentioning what you accomplished speaks volumes. Employers love that!

Accomplishments can include anything from projects you completed to initiatives you started to supporting numbers and stats (if you have them!) that showcase your successes. Think things like how many people you trained, your commission for sales, etc. Don’t be shy! Now is your chance to be a show off (within reason of course).

5. Forgetting to goof-proof your application.

Your resume is a professional document, so it should be perfect before submitting it.
“It’s just a typo?” In the employer’s mind, that reflects lack of care. What if you missed “just one ingredient” 50 times? You’ll probably get fired.

A resume with no grammatical or spelling errors shows the employer that you pay attention to detail. Even if it’s not your strong suit, it’s easy to fake it. Have a friend look over your resume and check for errors that you missed, or use a grammar/spelling software that can see errors that you don’t!

By making these 5 small tweaks, you’ll be invited to countless interviews in no time! Want to take your applications a step further? Sign up for a HigherMe account and send it off to TONS of employers near you!

Need an extra boost in your job hunt? Our job-seeker profiles let you record Video Cover Letters so you can impress them from the get-go. Sign up today and get started!

2 I like it
0 I don't like it