Advice and thought leadership from our experts.

Most Common Resume Mistakes to Avoid

Did you know that most hiring professionals spend less than 6 seconds reviewing a resume before they make a yes or no decision to move forward? With a highly competitive job market, you want to stand out from the rest. We’ve surveyed our team of recruiting professionals and compiled a list of the most common mistakes to help give you that resume advantage.

  1. Verb Tenses
  • When listing your duties, you want to make sure you use the same verb tense for each duty listed and that it matches with a current or past job. For example, for where you are currently working, your verb tenses should be present participle (words ending in “ing”). If you’re listing duties from a previous job, your verb tenses should be in past participle (words ending in “ed”).
  1. Bachelors Not Bachelor’s
    • Another grammar lesson from us: When listing a degree on a resume you want to list it as Bachelor of Science. If listing it in some type of sentence, you will use bachelor’s degree, not bachelors degree. The apostrophe indicates the degree belongs to the bachelor.
  2. Promotions Listed As Separate Jobs Making It Look Like You’ve Job Hopped
    • If you have been promoted numerous times while working at a company, make sure your resume clearly reflects that. List the company, total years you’ve been there, most recent job title with the dates you’ve worked under that title, then the previous title with those dates, etc. This shows you’ve been promoted numerous times, but have the job longevity with the same company. Example below:
    • ABC Company 2008- Present
      • Sales Manager 2018 – Present
        • Duties
      • Sales Lead 2014-2018
        • Duties
      • Sales Associate 2008-2014
  1. Incomplete Resume Templates
    • Starting a resume from scratch can be very overwhelming. Thankfully there are many resources out there that provide templates where you can plug in your information. The problem we see often is information isn’t filled in or the extra fields aren’t deleted. Make sure all the fields (Insert company title here) or (List your software skills here) are either filled in or deleted before applying for a job.
  2. Job History Not In Chronological Order
    • This mistake can be huge when hiring professionals are moving through resumes quickly. A first glance naturally goes to the first job listed. If the first date on your resume is 1995-2002, there’s a chance your resume could be skipped because it looks like your last job was in 2002 and you don’t have the relevant and updated skills, computer knowledge, and experience for 2020 companies. Make sure to list your most recent experience at the top of your resume and work your way back ending with your most relevant job for the position you’re applying for.


Stay tuned for the next 5 common mistakes next week!


Written by: Shawn Kinard