Basic Resume Mistakes to Avoid


I must admit, filtering resumes is getting easier by the requisition. I don't know if this is because I'm gaining more experience, or fewer candidates are putting more thought in to their resumes.

These tips may seem like common sense to a lot of you, but believe it or not, there are still a large number of candidates making these mistakes in their resumes. It takes me 8 seconds to skim through a crappy resume, here are a few dos and don'ts to make sure you don't get tossed.


Include your high school education. Unless you're still in high school, or just graduated last summer, there is no reason to state the obvious.

Say that your references are available upon request. You would never decline a reference request. There's no need to waste space on your resume.

Have an objective. We don't need to know what your objective is. You're applying for the position, clearly getting the job is your objective. It's not about your wants here, it's about what the employer wants.


Have a clear and concise summary. The hiring manager wants to know about you in 5 sentences or less. This is the first part of the resume I read. Catch my attention. Fast.

Include your soft skills. The hiring manager won't have time to see how your previous positions relate to the one you're competing for. Spell it out.

Use action words, and quantify everything. We want to know that you can get things done.

Use keywords, without over doing the buzzwords. Use keywords that are listed in the job description with out overkill of buzzwords. There is a difference. Hiring managers don't want to feel like the posting is being spit back out on a resume. Be careful.

Customize your resume. This is the most important one. You can not send out the exact same resume for 7 different positions. This will get you tossed by all 7 hiring managers.

These tips are for the most basic resume. I can easily list another 20 tips, but these are the most common, most cringing mistakes I see way too often. 85% of my candidates are still stuck in the 90's with their resume writing style. Come on people, you're making my job way too easy!

Shazia Syed is a Human Resources professional based in Toronto. When she's not busy criticizing the crap out of your resume, she’s busy talking. And talking. And talking! Dare to get her started.