What to avoid in a Resume : 15 Mistakes in your CV

What to avoid in a Resume : 15 Mistakes in your CV

Spanning from mechanical glitches to red flags of rejection, many mistakes can often reject a resume before meeting the recruiter. A resume goes through rigorous evaluations before reaching the main recruiter. As over 70% of companies use resume and applicant tracking systems, the first test is run by the ATS. Once the resume passes the first round of evaluation, the Junior HR Coordinator or Assistant screens the profile for relevancy and qualifications.

15 Mistakes to Avoid in a Resume

It is at least after two-three stages of evaluations that a resume finally reaches the Hiring Manager. We have compiled maximum ways to prevent rejections by avoiding the following mistakes commonly seen in resumes.

1. Fabricated Content in a Resume

It is natural to modify information on a resume for attracting recruiters, but candidates must never lie about work experience or education in a resume. This is because fabricating educational qualifications in a resume is subject to punishments by law.

Additionally, do not add incomplete information on any entry in the official resume to win your dream job!

2. Red Flags in a Resume

Red flags in a resume are warning signs that make the ATS or recruiter suspicious about your candidacy. Common red flags including missing dates, criminal background, employment gaps, errors, and irrelevancy.

In short, leave out the negative parts in a resume by adding positive entries.

3. Serif Font

It is important to use a style of Font that makes your resume easy to read on any device, regardless of being print or digital. To do so, resume coaches recommend using Sans-Serif font as it enforces the simplicity and legibility of the resume due to a lack of strokes. Ideal Sans serif fonts to use on a resume are Calibri, Tahoma, Cambria, and Arial.

Moreover, use a font size that keeps your resume within the page-limit such as an 11-point or 12-point size.

4. Fancy Graphics

Simplicity is not just a virtue for the kind-hearted, but one that should be maintained in a professional resume. Unless you’re a designer or artist, it is important to keep a standard format in resume to pass a series of tests by the hiring committee and computer applications.

5. Too Personal Information

Candidates must avoid getting too personal in their resumes by restricting to professional accomplishments and details. Do not add your marital status, photo, salary requirements, religious beliefs or social security number as it derails the resume. Moreover, it is wrong to request personal information such as the above in a resume, by law.

6. Age of the Candidate

Although the Age Discriminate Act of 1967 defines age-bias as punishable by law, it is hard to catch the culprit red-handed in most situations. To avoid getting an unfair screening, do not list your age or date of birth on the professional resume. Regardless of whether you’re too young or mature, age discrimination can happen even before the Hiring Manager catches a peek at your resume.

7. Header or Footer

Often, software such as ATS jumbles the content in headers and footers to result in an illegible resume. It is best to place your contact information and other important URLs in the beginning, end or under a specific section in the resume.

8. Haphazard Formatting

It is important to follow standard Sections and Headers in resumes to comply with the applicant and profile scanning robots like the ATS. Maintaining consistent formatting is important to make the resume professional in the eyes of the hiring manager. You must choose one amongst the chronological or functional type of formatting to avoid being rejected as unprofessional.

If you’re worried your resume in MS Word will prevent its clean and clear legibility on different devices, it is best to opt for the PDF Format.

9. Irrelevant Information

On no account should you insert skills, achievements or accomplishments that do not complement your candidacy? It is best to revamp your document by customizing the resume to match the job application.

Moreover, candidates must insert at least 50% of keywords directly from the job application to pass ATS evaluations. However, more than 95% of keyword addition from job description will raise a red flag.

10. Unprofessional Contact Information

If your email address reads childish, unprofessional or irrelevant, it is best to avoid listing it. Candidates must create a new and professional email address with the full name.

11. Salary History Unless Asked

It is wrong to share your personal information such as the base salaries in a resume unless specifically requested by the employer. While candidates may mention hourly rates in a resume, hiring managers consider it futile to the hiring process. Unless requested in the job application form, your expected salary is also unnecessary to a profile document.

12. Cluttering the Resume

Candidates must ensure that there is succinct white space in the resume to prevent cluttering the resume. Hiring managers look for resumes with precise technical phrases with reference to skills and accomplishments. Hence, it is necessary to highlight applicable information with condensed phrases and bulleted points.

13. Typographical and Grammatical Errors in a Resume

Proofreading errors are unacceptable in a professional resume. Candidates must double-check the resume for grammatical, spelling and semantic errors prior to submission. It is best to request a friend or acquaintance to scan your resume to rate its accuracy, tone, and language as well.

14. References and Certifications

Candidates must never include phrases such as, “References available on request” as it degrades the value of your authenticity as a candidate. Always attach a separate page of 2-3 relevant references and educational certifications that prove your candidacy, separate from the Resume sans request.

15. Handwritten Version

It is inappropriate to submit a resume full of correction notes, errors and haphazard fonts as it fails to pass ATS resume evaluation and professional appeal. A laser printed copy is the ideal way to submit a professional resume in lieu of the handwritten version.


As hiring managers typically take less than a minute to assess the relevancy and fitness of a resume for the job application, candidates must ensure that the resume is free of the above mistakes. Always run your resume through a checklist of common errors after assessing resume writing samples and tips to make it flawless!

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