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20 Common Mistakes to Avoid on Your Resume and How to Fix Them

It isn't easy to find a job in this day and age. Many people with similar backgrounds apply for the same position, which makes it hard to stand out from the crowd.

One way you can make yourself more competitive is by making sure your resume is up-to-date and error-free. Mistakes on your resume might not seem like a big deal at first glance, but they will haunt you if employers decide to rule you out due to some common resume mistakes.

From incorrect spelling to generic applications, we'll cover 20 common mistakes made on resumes and ways to fix them. Read this list of resume mistakes to avoid and learn how you can avoid traps other job seekers frequently fall in!

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Mistake #1: Typos

Typos, grammatical errors and missing words are all types of mistakes that can be made on a resume.

They may seem like minor details that shouldn't make any difference if you're qualified for the job.

However, these errors can make you appear unprofessional to the employer and cause your application to be ignored or rejected.

How to fix it?

Don't immediately submit your resume after you have put the last word into it. If possible, let it sit for a day and then re-read it.

After working on any document for a while, it's easy to overlook a typo or two, so giving yourself some time to start fresh when re-reading it gives you a chance to spot some mistakes.

Read your resume multiple times to make sure it's error-free.

To be safe, you can use a proofreading tool like Grammarly to check your language, grammar and punctuation and ensure your resume is spot on.* Alternatively, share it with a friend or a family member and ask for feedback.


Mistake #2: Outdated or incorrect contact information

Believe it or not, one of the common resume mistakes is failing to include an up-to-date and correct email address and phone number.

Including this information will allow employers to contact you if they are interested in your application. If the contact information on your resume is not accurate and they cannot reach you, the chances are they will skip your application and move forward with other candidates.

How to fix it?

Thankfully, this is one of the resume mistakes that has an easy, quick fix.

Double-check your contact details and make sure they are correct. If unsure, let someone else take a look and confirm it for you.


Mistake #3: Unprofessional email address

Your email address is a necessary part of your contact details, and it plays a huge role in how employers perceive you in the very first seconds they open your resume, so it deserves a special mention on this list.

Email addresses that contain any words that can be deemed offensive, inappropriate or even cute and funny should be taken off a resume. Also, emails that contain numbers indicating your age also don't work well either.

Basically, anything that sounds like an email address for dating sites or that you selected 15 years ago when you were created your first email address is off-limits.

Additionally, never include your current work email address. From the future employer's perspective, it shows disrespect to your current employer, which is always a red flag.

How to fix it?

If your current email address is inappropriate, create a new email address.

Straightforward email addresses with only your name and surname are the best, so create a new email address for job searching purposes if needed.

It's a simple yet effective thing that helps make a great first impression and position yourself as a professional right from the start.


Mistake #4: Too much personal information

Your resume is a professional document.

Even though hobbies or personal interests can be added to your resume if appropriate, your job application shouldn't be filled with irrelevant personal details that shift the focus away from your work experience and skills.

Unless it is specifically asked for in the job posting, your nationality, religion, marital status, weight, height and other personal details shouldn't be a part of your resume.

How to fix it?

Go through your resume and see if there are any personal details that don't say anything about your competencies.

Unless the employer requests them, keep the information about your personal appearance, religion, political views, or marital status off your resume.


Mistake #5: Outdated and pointless personal objective

Personal objectives were once used on resumes to indicate a person's desired position. Over time, they became overused, too generic and vague.

Simply put, everyone used almost the same sentence to say that they are a good fit for the job they are applying for and that they are interested in stepping into this role (which is obvious from the fact you've submitted your application).

How to fix it?

Replace a personal objective with a brief, tailored and specific career summary or personal statement.

Avoid cliché sentences like "A hard-working and driven professional looking for a job that allows me to develop further".

Instead, try something more targeted, such as "Data-driven and creative <current title> looking to step into <position> and contribute to <company> with my collaborative, creative and innovative approach to work".

Learn more about writing a powerful personal statement.


Mistake #6: Using 'I' statements throughout a resume

Using first-person pronouns on a resume frequently sounds repetitive, causes noise and comes across as you-centric. If all your statements start with "I", such as "It is my goal to…" or "My ambition is...", consider changing the content of your resume to make it sound more neutral.

It's your resume. Even if you don't add one single 'I' to it, employers will understand you're talking about your experience.

How to fix it?

Go through your resume and use the first person implied method -- remove the first person pronoun, and start with an action verb instead.

Wherever you have written 'I', 'my' or 'me', delete the pronoun and rephrase the sentence if needed to make it work without these fillers.

For example, if one of your bullet points is 'I helped create the marketing campaign for XYZ Company and led its execution from start to finish', skip 'I' and jump to the action verb 'Helped create the marketing campaign for XYZ Company and led its execution from start to finish'.

Some candidates use third-person pronouns (he, she or it; or referring to themselves by their name) to avoid the first-person pronouns that make them feel like they're bragging or beating their drum.

However, a resume written in third-person isn’t as dynamic as one written in first-person. And it sounds rather awkward. Trust us; your resume is so much better written in the first person implied style.

It may seem like a minor detail on this one example, but if you avoid using pronouns throughout the document, it will change the voice of your resume and make it sound more professional, active and action-oriented.


Mistake #7: Vague career summary