As providers of professional career services, we at ResumeSpice know what hiring managers, human resources departments, and recruiting professionals do – and don’t – want to see on candidates’ resumes.
Especially in today’s competitive job market, it’s important to keep your resume in the running by avoiding a few critical, but unfortunately common, mistakes.
Here are six things no hiring manager ever wants to see on a resume:
There are many reasons why misrepresenting your skills and experience is never okay. Aside from the obvious ethical issue, it’s likely you will be caught. Not only do hiring managers routinely cross-reference candidates’ resumes with their LinkedIn profiles to see if key information matches, but they also leverage their industry connections to verify every bit of information listed on your resume.
Chances are the hiring manager probably knows another talent acquisition specialist or manager from at least one of the companies listed on your resume. A simple phone call to this contact can uncover costly misinformation. Did you move an end date on one of your jobs to cover up a resume gap? You’re better off explaining that gap in your cover letter than taking the risk that you get caught.
Even if you do get the job with an inaccurate resume, your employer will likely let you go as soon as it is discovered that you misrepresented yourself. See such high-profile cases as:
- Yahoo CEO Scott Thompson Out After Resume Scandal
- Veritas CFO Quits Amid Resume Roil
- Notre Dame Coach Resigns After 5 Days and a Few Lies
Unfortunately, the list goes on – and if you don’t tell the whole truth on your resume, your name will be added to it.
2. Typos, Poor Grammar, and Other Simple Errors
Nothing will ruin your credibility more quickly than errors on your resume. Spelling mistakes, grammar errors, and even sloppy formatting can remove your resume from consideration. For some positions, hiring managers receive thousands of resumes. If you make a simple mistake, you give them an excuse to rule yours out.
We always recommend asking a few trusted colleagues or friends to look over your resume before you submit it. Pick two or three people whom you know have strong grammar skills. It also helps if you read your resume out loud. Your ear will usually pick up on errors that you might miss while reading silently.
3. Objective Statements
Resume objectives are no longer in fashion. They’re typically generic statements that don’t say much about you as a professional or add much value to your candidacy – and they can actively hurt you in a few ways.
First, hiring managers already know why you’ve submitted your resume. They assume you feel you’re qualified for the role. Furthermore, an objective statement covers your objective, but when you’re applying for a job, it’s all about how you can help the employer reach its objectives.
Second, if your objective doesn’t exactly match what the employer is looking for, you’ve just unnecessarily ruled yourself out. We’ve yet to hear about a candidate getting a role because of their objective statement, but we’ve seen many lose out because of it.
Lastly, objectives are usually placed at the very top of a resume. That’s prime real estate! Use that space for the meat of your resume, not generic statements.
4. Comical, Quirky, or Otherwise Inappropriate Email Addresses
This one should go without saying. Unfortunately, it doesn’t.
If you’re on the job hunt, you need a professional email address. This is neither the time nor the place to express yourself or your personality. Addresses like “ladiesman”or “sexybunny55″ will quickly land your resume in the “no way” pile. For your job-seeking email address, go with some variation of your first and last name, like “John.Smith@gmail.com.”
5. Too Much Detail About Very Old Positions
Hiring managers are most interested in what you’ve done lately After all, how you’ve been spending your time most recently should be most reflective of your current skill set.
If you’re a professional with more than 15 years of experience, you’ll want to privilege your most recent role or two over the ones that came before. If the last 10-15 years of experience don’t qualify you for the role to which you’re applying, it’s very unlikely that a job you had for three years 18 years ago is going to do the trick.
6. Unexplained Gaps
Gaps happen, whether because of an unanticipated layoff or a move for a spouse’s career. Hiring managers understand that most careers are not completely linear.
However, when a gap is longer than a month, hiring managers want to know how you’ve used your time and remained productive. A good place to address a resume gap is in your cover letter.
For gaps longer than six months, it becomes even more important to address gaps, and we recommend doing so in both your cover letter and your resume. If you’ve been volunteering, taking classes, and/or doing freelance work, use that information to fill in the gap. That’s now a “job” you can put down with supporting bullets – instead of a blank space without any explanation or context.
A version of this article originally appeared on ResumeSpice.
Savannah Ober is a resume expert at ResumeSpice.