After talking with so many people, I know many of you work and work to create the perfect resume, only to look it over when you are finished and realize your resume doesn’t say, or reflect, just what you want it to. And often times, that keeps you from being called for interviews.

I’ve included a list of “deal breakers” that might hinder your chances for an interview:

1. Mizspelld Words or Bad Grammar

While spell-check is good, it doesn’t catch everything – there could be a word that’s spelled right, but not the right word for the context of the sentence. Keep that spell-check in action but don’t rely on it exclusively. Misspellings can be the death of your application, no matter how qualified you might be. Think of how embarrassing it would be if you have been a mechanical engineer for 30 years and spell it ‘michanical’ engineer on your resume. Lots of times we accidentally misspell words that are actually words themselves i.e. “manger” instead of “manager”.

There can be other consequences, as well–misspelled words could interfere with resumes being found in the key word search of a resume database. So, proofread your resume yourself – it’s important.

*Be sure to keep tenses consistent and check for the correct word usage (such as “counsel” versus “council”).

2. Using a Vague Job Focus

Be clear on the type of position you want to target – your resume should be geared toward that. If you just say “Medical Field” or “Manufacturing,” the reader does not know what type of position you want, so your resume will probably not be considered. Make sure you are specific as to the type of job you want, such as “Accounting Professional”, “Senior Management Executive”, or “Educator.”

3. Not Including your Personal Brand, or your Value

In today’s challenging job market, showing your uniqueness – your personal brand; and letting potential employers see the value you bring to a new position is essential. Your resume must reflect why an employer should pick up the phone and call you for an interview over the hundreds of other resumes sitting on their desk. You ultimately get hired for the value you contribute to a company, so make sure it shows on your resume.

4. Including your References on the Resume

YOU NO LONGER NEED TO ADD REFERENCES UPON REQUEST on your résumé. It is a given that you will bring a list of references to the interview. Only provide references when they are asked for. Never include them on your resume. It’s understood that if a company wants your references, you’ll provide them.

5. Adding Pictures to your Resume

This might sound like a good idea if you are good looking, but it can also work against you. Unless you are applying for a job as a model or actor, pictures on your résumé is not a good idea.

6. Making Reference to Political or Religious Organizations

A GIANT NO-NO!! Don’t scare off prospective employers by referring to your political or religious opinions or affiliations that do not directly relate to your ability to do the job. An employer might not agree with your politics or might feel that the workplace is nowhere to display attitudes that might alienate others.

7. Including your Salary Demands

This should not be put on the resume – it’s only used to screen a candidate out of the running or influence the employer to offer less money. Salary should not be discussed until you have had the opportunity to explain your value – in person or over the phone

8. Creating a Resume that’s Too Long

People do not have the time to go over resumes that state everything you ever did in your career. Edit your profile down to the most relevant experience for the job at hand. Employers often gauge whether an applicant can deliver information about themselves in a quick, clear and concise manner to sell themselves.

Your resume must be long enough to show your value, but not too long, or the reader will lose interest.

9. Using Incompatible File Types and Formats

Electronic resumes should be created in the most readable file for most [Internet-recruiting] systems, which is plain text or Microsoft Word.

Today’s resume needs to be readable by machines, which means text needs to have a font size between 10 – 12 and a simple font style, such as Arial, Verdana, Helvetica or Microsoft SansSerif.

10. Stick to the Truth

We’ve seen what happen with CEO’s who embellish on their resumes. If you lie on your resume, you will have to defend yourself and your resume in an interview. Employers also do background and even credit checks, and inaccurate info could come back to haunt you.

Plus a few more…!

11. Don’t Put your Reasons for Leaving on the Resume

Save this for the interview. It doesn’t need to be on the resume.

12. DO NOT Make Changes to the Resume in Pencil or Pen

Add it to the document on your computer, not jotting it down or crossing something else out. This is never acceptable on a resume.

13. NEVER send a resume without a cover letter!

You must always have a cover letter. It states your intention to the reader. It’s expected and is important in job search etiquette. This is a powerful tool that can give you the competitive edge.

Related posts:

  1. Sc-sc-scary Resume Mistakes
  2. Better Check Your References Before the Employer Does
  3. Cover Letter Tips for Success
  4. Resume Tips that Set You Apart from Your Peers
  5. Watch Your Tone!

9 Responses

SO TRUE!!! I sent my resume out with a small typo on it and a friend who works for the company where I sent it told me had he not intercepted it, the resume would have been thrown in the trash immediately.

Great tips for all of us!



Yikes! You’re are very lucky your friend was in the right place at the right time! Thanks for the feedback Ken!

[...] what will go into a resume is the most important thing. In other words, your very first step is to plan out what will go into the resume—sort of like the term papers you wrote for school, or [...]

[...] take a second – or even a third or fourth – look at your resume. After all, this will be the first impression that you give a future employer; if your resume is sprinkled with typos, then it might be perceived [...]

[...] has jobs they’d rather not list on their resume. It’s not because they did a bad job, but because either an unavoidable conflict with a [...]

[...] every time you apply for a job. It’s actually fairly easy to take your existing resume and tweak it to fit your needs. So here’s how you [...]

[...] an opportunity to learn from your mistakes and correct them. You just need to figure out where your mistakes were made and how to avoid making them [...]

[...] resume every time you apply for a job. It’s actually fairly easy to take your existing resume and tweak it to fit your needs. So here’s how you [...]

[...] resume every time you apply for a job. It’s actually fairly easy to take your existing resume and tweak it to fit your needs. So here’s how you [...]

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