A resume expert shares the most annoying mistakes job seekers make


When Tina Nicolai began working as a recruiter for Walt Disney World in the late 1990s, she noticed that many job seekers were submitting flawed résumés.

“I realized people simply did not know how to market themselves or their achievements,” Nicolai tells Business Insider. “And that’s how I knew there was a market to educate job candidates at all levels and in all industries.”

So in 2010, she founded Résumé Writers’ Ink. “Since launching my company, I’ve read over 50,000 résumés,” she says. And there are a few mistakes that she’s seen over and over again that are “pretty irritating.”

Read more: 31 things you should remove from your résumé immediately

Since hiring managers often base their first impression of you on your résumé, it’s imperative that you review it closely before hitting “submit” on your job application. Especially when an opening yields a high volume of eligible, talented candidates, employers may be quick to toss your file in the “no” pile for even the smallest mistake.

So, as you give your résumé a final look, make sure it doesn’t include any of the following faux pas, which employers may find to be annoying. And when in doubt, have a friend or expert give in one last read, too.

According to Nicolai, these are seven of the most annoying mistakes people make on their résumés:

Sloppiness

“The biggest mistake job seekers make: They are sloppy. They pay poor attention to detail. They are lazy!”

Nicolai says that she has seen too many résumés with typos, unprofessional fonts, outdated information, and irrelevant information.

Summaries that are too long

Summaries are annoying when they are written in a formal tone and include too many adjectives, she says.

“After a while, the summaries can read like a lengthy chapter in a book. It’s better to list a few bullets with pointed achievements and a branded tag line stating, ‘known for achieving XYZ.'”

Stating the obvious

“Stop stating the obvious!” she says. For example, there’s no need to write “cell phone,” “home phone,” or “email” in front of the phone numbers or email address.

That infamous ‘references’ line

Don’t waste precious résumé real estate with the “References available upon request” line. “Employers know to request references. Save the space and brand yourself with your personal branding statement or add your LinkedIn URL,” says Nicolai.

Starting a bullet point with ‘Responsible for’

This is another “lazy thing” that she has seen too many times on résumés.

“Candidates need to understand that starting a sentence with ‘responsible for’ tells the reader what the job requirements were supposed to be, but it does not state that the candidate actually performed the functions,” Nicolai says. “It does not state that the candidate was successful in these functions. Don’t be lazy: Take the extra few minutes to explain what you accomplished — not what you were expected to accomplish.”

Too many buzzwords

Résumé jargon such as “out-of-the-box,” “team player,” and “exceptional communicator” are “baseline expectations in today’s market,” Nicolai says. “A person who truly is a ‘unique problem solver who works well in teams’ will convey this succinctly and creatively on their résumé through a combination of few words and imagery.”

Being too formal

Finally, she says that she finds overly formal résumés annoying because they’re not engaging and don’t allow the reader to get a good sense of the applicant’s personality.



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