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The Worst Resume Mistakes to Make

A resume is a little snippet of you.

The words and style you choose reflect your attitude, skill set, and attention to detail. A well-crafted resume can mean the difference between sailing over the first hurdle to that next job or doing a belly flop right into the dirt.

As you might imagine, Artisan Talent sees a lot of resumes. Our team of career advisers regularly review resumes that don't make the cut. Many times typos are the issue, but we also see resumes with all kinds of design problems — even in creative fields.

We've compiled some of our "favorite" resume mistakes to highlight some of the more frequent errors that might be impairing your job search.

Don't Do This on Your Resume

A Career Builder study of common resume mistakes showed:

  • 58% of resumes have typos
  • 31% of resumes have an inappropriate email address
  • 27% of resumes lack exact employment dates
  • 22% of resumes are printed on decorative paper
  • 36% of resumes are generic and not personalized for the position

Statistic Brain takes it a step further, stating that 53% of all resumes contain falsifications. All of these statistics certainly illustrate the kinds of mistakes that job seekers can make on a curriculum vitae (CV), but there are also plenty of mistakes made in how the resume is formatted.

Good Resumes Have...

Here are some tips on how to make your resume a graphically pleasing document, sure to catch the eye of a hiring manager.

  • Cleanliness
    A resume should be succinct and clean. Try not to allow your resume to run on for pages when just a few will do.

  • Clarity
    Make sure you’re discussing what you achieved in the role, instead of just laying out what the role was. Does your resume have excessive white space that you can cut in order to tighten it to one or two pages?

  • Convention in Naming
    If you’re sending a resume electronically, make sure the naming convention isn’t generic. Go for “First name_last name_resume” instead of the more generic, “resume,” so that it will be easier for the recruiter to find your file in an electronic pile. You could also add the name of the position you’re applying for and the company to make it more personalized.

  • Class
    Remember the lesson of Elle Woods in Legally Blond and don’t make your resume too flashy. Adding scent to a CV may work in a Hollywood movie, but in real life, it will just make the HR Manager sneeze. Having too many font colors, randomly capitalized words, or even your picture could turn off a hiring manager. If you don’t know to whom you’re sending the resume, less is probably more from a design perspective.

  • Context
    Finally, there is the issue of flight risk. While we’re currently living in the gig economy, and the Freelancers Union says the majority of workers will become freelance in the next decade, employers still look at tenure as an issue, so make sure you present freelance work in the appropriate content.

New Year, New Resume

Wondering how to start off 2018 with a resume "bang?" Our Chicago-based Talent Representative and side hustle resume writer Amy Hayes, has some tips for you:

1. "Brand" yourself 

Determine who you are as a professional, and be sure that your resume, cover letter, social media presence, etc., are consistently, seamlessly branded, so employers know who you are and what you are about. What value do you bring? How can you help their organization — what problems can you solve?

2. Tailor. That. Resume.

Tailor your resume to the job you're applying for, and be sure to write a cover letter that explains why you want to work for that company, and how you can bring value in the role. Too many people use the same cookie cutter cover letter, and employers notice that!
Let them know you want to work at THAT company specifically, and why THAT role is the one for you!  

3. Pair it with a Proper Portfolio

If you are a creative, you MUST have a portfolio to demonstrate your work. A website is best. Make sure it represents you in the best possible way — ensure it's consistent with your branding, has samples of only your BEST work, and shows your versatility. This is your opportunity to show what you are capable of doing, and how you will bring value to your new company.

4. Network

Don't give up, and use your network! The usual job search takes three to six months, and you're likely to apply to over 100 jobs. Also be sure to tap into your network — it's the most effective method to find a job. Don't just apply on job boards! Talk to people, make connections, ask questions, and get yourself out there!

Need More Help?

We've got a guide for that!


Download our easy to digest guidebook, Resume Writing 101, to get more tips and tricks. 

Then contact our talented team to discuss how we can help your career. From resume and interview tips to knowing what companies might best fit your skill set, we help job seekers and employers come together in the perfect match.

Ready to roll with that new resume?

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