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Resume Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

Is it true that you never get a second chance to make a first impression? Your resume is the first impression a hiring manager gets when you’re trying to land a job interview. For this reason, crafting a great resume is as important as choosing a perfectly tailored suit over khaki’s and tennis shoes for an interview. Is there any redemption for a bad resume? Or is it best to avoid making those mistakes in the first place?

The professional recruiters at Oxford Solutions, Inc. have, undoubtedly seen their share of mistakes on resumes over the years. However, with a little forethought and insight, many errors can be avoided.

Of course, “Resume Mistakes” is a topic you’ve probably read about in the past, but it is a topic worth revisiting. Our Callout Test, Recruiters spend 5 to 6 seconds on resumerecruiters still see easily avoidable blips and blunders on resumes time and again.

Believe it or not, the average time a recruiter spends scanning your resume is around 5 to 6 seconds. If you have errors on your resume, guess where the eye will gravitate? Right to those mistakes!

Here are the top 10 most common resume mistakes, as reported by our professional staff at Oxford Solutions:

Spelling and Grammar Gaffes

Despite your best efforts and your reliance on automated spelling and grammar checks, spelling and grammar errors still happen.

For example, if you are applying for an Executive Assistant or a Technical Writer position, you may claim that you are extremely detail-oriented and have excellent writing and proofreading skills. Consequently, you need to be able to support your claims with a well-polished, error-free resume.

It’s okay if your list of Personal Achievements doesn’t include winning the National Spelling Bee Championship. Career success doesn’t require you to be a natural born spelling whiz. But you need to know how to use spelling and grammar checks. If spelling isn’t your specialty, check on any tricky words. In addition, have a second pair of eyes scan your resume. Don’t let something as simple as a misspelling ruin your chances for a new career opportunity.

Formatting Faux Pas

Consistency is Key

Keep fonts consistent. Limit yourself to no more than 1 or 2 different fonts. Heading and sub-headings can be larger. Just make sure your lists of bullets points is a consistent font and size.

Don’t try cramming information in by changing a font in one area of your resume to a smaller size to make it fit.


Avoid Fancy Fonts

Stick to the basic font types: Arial and Calibri are easiest on the eyes. Script and fancy fonts are just too distracting and take time away from what’s important on your resume.

White Space is Your Friend

Don’t try to cram so much into a one page resume that you have no white space between sections.

Confusing Composition

Bullet Points Beat Paragraphs

Use bullet points to highlight your job functions and technical abilities; Avoid using long paragraphs of text.

Skimpy Bullet Points = Skimpy Skills

Don’t skimp on listing your job duties. For example: your last position was an IT Project Manager role and you only have 3 bullet points’ worth of job duties listed. In this case, a hiring manager my wonder if you can take on a leadership role with multiple responsibilities.

Timely Technical Skills

Include your technical skills directly under your job duties. We want to know what technologies you’ve used in your most recent role. A separate Skills/Software section is less effective. You may have not used those skills in 10 years.

Reuse and You Lose

Steer clear of using the same action verbs and adjectives to describe your job duties. Here is an example:Resume Action Words

Questionable Content

Overachieving Extracurricular Activities

Make sure your List of Achievements and Activities isn’t longer than your actual Work Experience. Extracurricular activities are great. But at the same time, an employer wants to know that you’re available to put in extra hours at work when needed.

Disreputable Duties

Include accomplishments and achievements that highlight skills you might use in a new position. These skills might include leadership, creativity, project management, team building, etc. Avoid anything that doesn’t highlight these types of talents.

Contact Information Carelessness

Full Contact

First and foremost, include your Full Name, Address, Phone Number and Email Address.

Also, it’s worth noting that nicknames are not necessary on a professional resume. Therefore, wait until you get the job and then you can let everyone know what to call you.

In addition, try to use a professional email address. For instance, if you’re applying for a professional management role and your email is, it undermines your professionalism.

Mixed Messages

Make sure you have a working phone number. In addition, make sure your voice mailbox is setup and able to receive messages. In other words, don’t let a full voice mailbox result in a missed opportunity.

Incomplete Employment Information

Avoid vague and incomplete employment information. Include months and years worked for your past jobs. Regrettably, listing years only doesn’t give enough information into your past work history.

Resume Type (Functional over Chronological)

A Functional Resume lists your skills and abilities first. On the other hand, a Chronological Resume lists your work history in order. Oxford Solutions’ recruiters prefer to see your relative work history and what skills you’ve used in your past roles. For this reason, our recruiters prefer chronological over functional resumes.

Long and Lengthy Resumes

Try to limit your resume to 1 or 2 pages. Furthermore, make sure to have your most recent and relevant experience on the first page. If you have a lot of experience, it’s okay to have a 2 to 3-page resume. But try to avoid more than 5 pages.

Goofy Graphics

Tables. Side Bars. Pie Charts (yes, Pie Charts). We’ve seen a lot of graphics on resumes. Graphic Designers and Web Developers like to use graphics. Unfortunately, these graphics can be distracting and overwhelming. For this reason, it’s best to focus on listing technical skills and abilities on your resume. Save the graphics for your portfolio or a link to a website where you showcase your work.

Objective Oversight

The Objective on your resume should match the job you’re applying for. For example, we have seen resumes in which a candidate applies for an Accounting and Finance position but their Objective implies a focus on Marketing and Communications. This downplays your interest in the field of Accounting and Finance.

Do I really need an Objective on my resume? Not really. Listing solid skills and experience is more important that having a strong Objective on your resume.

Profile Picture Pitfalls

It is not necessary to have a profile picture on your resume. Instead, use LinkedIn as a resource for showcasing a professional photo and profile. Furthermore, a LinkedIn profile is a great way to reinforce your experience and skills.

Second Chances to Perfect Your First Impression

In conclusion, what does it mean if you’ve broken all the rules of resume writing? Will you get a second chance?

Undoubtedly, most Hiring Managers will not think twice about discarding a disastrous resume. Luckily, our recruiters at Oxford Solutions, Inc. are here to help. Our recruiters can give you the advice and tools you need to make sure your resume shines. We want to help you land an interview that might lead to a new career path.

If you need a professional second opinion, submit your resume to us at:

In addition, visit our job board daily for open positions that might be of interest to you at: