10 Common Resume Mistakes - How to Stand Out as a Job Candidate

In this article we will highlight ten common resume mistakes as highlighted by leading recruitment professionals and how you can stand out as a better candidate on paper. Let’s find out more.

1 - One-Size-Doesn’t-Fit All - Why Bespoke Resumes Succeed?

Everyone will have a “master copy” of their resume. However, recruitment professionals prefer targeted resumes over general resumes. Therefore, for resume success, it is better to use your “master copy” as the fundamental building blocks for your final bespoke resume. This means understanding the job description and personal specification of the role and tailoring your “building blocks” to match these key requirements in a succinct and relevant way that helps to set you apart as a candidate.

2 - Headings - Why Layout Matters?

30 seconds – That’s all you get to make a good impression. No more! Therefore, structure and layout matter a great deal, and this is where the power of headings comes into resume writing. Recruitment professionals will scan your resume for key relevant information as outlined in the job description. If they can’t easily find it, your application will not proceed. Therefore, always utilise the power of headings and keep your resume structurally minimal. Short, concise, and relevant headings can help the reader understand how your skills and experiences connect with the job in question.

3 - Pronouns - Why Personal Pronouns Better Highlight Work Experience

Your resume is about you. However, overloading your resume with “I”, or “me” or even “my” pronouns can takeaway from your resume layout and impact. Many recruitment professionals are telling candidates to remain “business focussed” by removing the use of personal pronouns from resume documents and utilise impersonal descriptors to help promote your professionalism and business-focus.

4 - Do Objectives Matter? - Why Professional Summaries Work Best for Higher Managerial Roles

When designing the layout of your resume, many would-be job seekers believe having a ‘dedicated’ section highlighting your professional objectives is the correct way to go in terms of highlighting core managerial skills and your on-going development framework. However, more and more recruitment professionals are advising candidates to instead create a “professional summary” that highlights the positives of your professional managerial skills and experiences and showcases them by utilising a purposeful value-driven proposition statement.

5 - Your Qualifications Count - But Remember Listing All Your Qualifications Relegates The Impact of your Resume

Continuous Professional Development (CPD) is a cornerstone of successful personal development within any organisational environment. Having staff that understand that education and training is a lifelong positive help drive business success. However, as outlined above, each resume should be uniquely tailored and bespoke in terms of context. This means that you need to understand the role you are applying for and how the qualification plays a part – a beginner’s qualification doesn’t necessarily need mentioning when a higher qualification denotes greater understanding and skill. You only need to list the qualifications that have provided you with the knowledge and skills to deliver successfully for the job in question.

6 - Speling Mattrs - Why Grammar and Spelling Errors Impact Recruitment Outcomes?

It is crucial that when planning and constructing the right layout for a resume, one understands the importance of good grammar and spelling. Many job seeking candidates believe it is the ‘expertise’ denoted in the resume that matters – and in a way they are correct. However, there is an “optics” issue which surrounds the candidate’s ability to focus on detail. If your attention to detail is a central part of the role you are applying for, then having an error-strewn resume is a problematic outcome. It highlights the realisation among recruitment professionals that, yes, you have this high-end work experience with references. But you couldn’t put in the effort to deliver an error-free resume. This contradiction can cost many candidates their next dream role.

7 - Microsoft Proficiency - Always be Realistic When Listing Microsoft Product Skills in Resumes?

Microsoft Office is a central plinth within the technological landscape of modern business environments. Having functional Microsoft skills can really help candidates succeed as businesses need candidates with a working knowledge of Microsoft Excel, Microsoft Outlook or Microsoft Word. Many recruitment professionals are always wary of individuals with “strong Microsoft Office skills” as it denotes the ability to undertake higher-level, even development-level, Microsoft package work. This could mean VBA Macros or Pivot Tables in Excel, having the ability to script rules for automation using VBA in Access or Outlook, advanced multimedia editing skills for PowerPoint. Having the ability to write a functioning formula in Excel is completely different to using VBA macros and other higher-level functions. Be careful how you word your Microsoft proficiency to would-be employers.

8 - Creative Writing vs Lies - How To Craft The Truth In Your Resume?

Recruitment professionals are always on the lookout for blatant lies in resumes. With time constraints on recruitment professionals screening candidates, more and more candidates are actively lying in their resumes in order to “impress” would-be employers – there are many reasons for doing this; a perceived sense that the lies are designed to cover for a lack of experience. Whatever the reason, one should avoid lies but that doesn’t mean you cannot be creative when writing your resume. What this means is that you can, whilst developing your bespoke resume, explore ways of upskilling through continuous education or volunteering to help balance any experience deficits in your resume.

9 - Work History Structure - How to Better Structure Your Work History?

Your resume isn’t an autobiography. It is bad practice to start with your first job and work forward. Many recruitment professionals prefer the reverse-chronological layout for work history. This means you start with the most recent role and then work backwards. It is also incumbent on candidates to think carefully about how far they go back in order to maintain a resume that is one or two pages long. Brevity matters as does providing a functional work history that a recruiter, whilst screening, can scan and identify quickly. Making their lives easier could help you land the job of your dreams.

10 - Formatting Matters - Always Take a Moment to Evaluate Your Resume Formatting?

Creating a bespoke resume with functional structure with good grammar and spelling also requires sound formatting. This means taking a moment to evaluate the elements within your resume and formatting them accordingly. This could help empower the layout and structure of your resume by freeing up space to help make reading the document easier. Therefore, remember to format your documents. Look at your margin sizes and other elements to help make sure your resume flows correctly. The best way to achieve this is to make sure that your resume follows the tried and tested format of one-inch margins on all sides of the document – this will make it easier to read and the right format for printing.


The information in this guide is based on the personal opinions of the authors, and is presented in good faith. EuroJobsites do not accept any liability for errors, omissions or inaccuracies in this guide.

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