Stop Putting These in Your Resume Now

Avoid these mistakes to help your resume stand out and keep the reader wanting more

Think the job market cools down for the holidays? Nope! There is no holiday hiring pause, and companies will continue to interview and hire throughout November, December, and January. If you want to make a move next year, the time to start preparing is now. If you want some tips on how to jumpstart your job search, click here: Free Download: 6 Tips to Jumpstart Your Job Search

Now for what you came for – all the things on a resume that drive hiring managers (like myself) crazy!

I’ve been a hiring manager for the past five years. I’ve seen a lot of resumes, conducted many interviews, and built many teams. The first thing my recruiter sees, and the first thing I see as the hiring manager, is your resume. And the stats are true, I know in the first 6-7 seconds if I want to read it thoroughly.

Here’s my Top 7 What not to do in your resume:


     1. Start your resume with a biography written in paragraph form.

We don’t have time to read this, and it’s not necessary. Everything we need to know should already be in your resume. The top of your resume is to highlight skills or accomplishments, not write a story. No paragraphs. Anywhere.

     2. Write in the third person.

“John Doe is a great leader with 15 years of experience.” Please, please do not do this. It is cringe. We already know who you are. It’s just weird.

     3. Have a long resume.

What is a long resume? 3+ pages. I’ve opened a document to see 5 pages – even 10 pages. Your resume is not a data dump, and it’s not your life story. No one wants to – or will – read all of it.

     4. Insert a photo or graphics.

Most of the time, they do not show up in the software, so I can’t see them anyways. When I do see graphics, they don’t add any value to the resume. Your experience is listed, so it’s just redundant – and a waste of valuable space.

     5. Include hobbies.

You can talk about interesting hobbies and experiences in the interview. In the resume, it doesn’t add value. I care about whether or not you are qualified for the job, not if you belong to a club or play or coach a sport.

     6. Write your job experience in paragraph form.

It’s a text wall. It’s daunting just to look at, let alone read through. There needs to be a balance of white space and text. The truth is that you could probably cut that text in half and have it be easier to read and make your value clear.

     7. Use a standard resume for every position you apply to.

You may have a lot of experience, but if it isn’t directly tied to what I’m looking for, it’s out. Resumes should always be tailored to the job you are applying to.  

So, how can you write a better resume?

 My upcoming course Mastering Your Job Search provides a step-by-step breakdown of how to structure your resume, what to write, and how to format it. You can subscribe to stay up-to-date on my course release and get notified when my weekly blog drops.  

For now, here are some tips to help you get started.

  1. Use bullets at the top to highlight key skills, achievements, and experiences. No more than 5.
  2. Keep your resume in chronological order. It’s easy for the reader to follow.
  3. Limit your resume to 2 pages max. I’m serious.
  4. Use bullets to state the impact you had in that role – not what you did.
  5. Tailor your resume for the job and use key words from the description whenever possible.

Quick note on functional resumes because I get asked about them a lot: functional resumes are only to be used when you do not have any/enough experience related to the job you are applying to. At the mid-career level, that’s unlikely. This is more for college graduates or 180 career transitions.

Did this help you? I’d love to hear from you. Send me a note and let me know what you think!


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