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10 Resume Fails That Can Keep You From Getting a Job

Post Author Eryka Cazenave
Jun 16, 2017 5:08:41 PM
Career Tips
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MAY I HAVE YOUR ATTENTION PLEASE!:

The purpose of a resume is to grab the attention of your potential employer. Research states that once a hiring manager opens your resume, you have 10-20 seconds to impress them. It is important that your resume stands out among the crowd for all of the right reasons. Don't fall victim to any of these ten resume fails that could keep you from getting the job!


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1. Typos

Be sure to proof-read your resume for grammatical errors and typos. It shows the hiring manager that you care enough about your work to make sure it is correct. It also keeps the hiring manager from making presumptions about you being lazy or unfocused. Numerous typos on a resume are and automatic fail!

2. Lying

Hiring managers are looking for qualified and trustworthy individuals to add to their teams, you don’t want to start off on a lie. Lying may be one of the most used resume fails because it often times is not caught until later in the screening and hiring process by employers.

3. Missing Keywords

Use strategic keywords (such as those listed in the requirements section of the job posting) to showcase your personal achievements. Doing so ensures that you pass online screening software! If you are missing vital keywords the odds of your resume being overlooked drastically increase.

4. Bad Formatting

Don't commit a resume formatting fail. Bad formatting makes your resume appear unorganized, disjointed, and difficult to follow. One way to avoid bad formatting is to check what your resume looks like on multiple devices such as a computer, phone, and tablet. You never know what medium a potential employer may be reviewing your resume through. For additional formatting tips, click here!

5. Missing Stats

Don’t underestimate the importance of your resume; it’s likely the first opportunity you have to represent yourself to an employer. Don't drop the ball by submitting an incomplete resume. Be sure that your information is up to date, accurate, and complete with detail. If you aren't sure where to start, check out this quick-fix guide to revising your resume!

6. What The Font?!

This is not the reaction you want from a potential employer! Perhaps the most tragic resume fail is a resume submitted in a font no one is able to read. Your best bet is to stick with a common font that is clear and easily legible from any device like, Arial, Helvetica or Calibri. Your font size should remain around 10 to 12 pt. although, larger sizes are acceptable for headings or subheadings. Steer clear of overly script-y fonts and any other colors that stray from the standard black or dark blue.

7. Generic Resume

Although you consider yourself a Jack/Jill of all trades you don’t need to include skill sets that are not relevant to the position you’re applying for on your resume. It is perfectly fine to omit information if it serves no purpose to the position. You do not want to submit the same resume for every position you apply for. You should, at the very least, change your opening statement or objective to match the specific company or position for which you are applying.

8. The Wrong References

Choosing the wrong references is a sure-fire way to diminish your chances of being hired. You should always be strategic in your selection of the references you choose to present to a potential employer. Don't ask someone to be a reference if you feel that they will say anything that is not positive about your work, ethic, and character. 

9. Hindering Head Shots

Unless you are applying to be a model or actor, including a photo on your resume is typically frowned upon by many employers, often times for HR / legal reasons. While there are some circumstances that adding a photo is considered appropriate, the vast majority of the time, it is not. Don't get yourself knocked out of consideration for a position due to a hindering head shot. If you find yourself asking, "Should I include a photo on my resume?", start here before making a final decision.

10. Messy

Nothing screams epic resume fail quite like a messy resume. Handle your resume with great care. No hiring manager wants to review (or touch) a resume that has food stains, smudges, or is wrinkled and folded. Your resume, if not submitted digitally, should always be handed in on crisp, resume paper. You can find a wide variety of paper types to choose from at your local office supply store.



Your resume is your ticket in the door of opportunity. Do not squander it away with a series of epic resume fails. For more tips and tricks to help improve your resume, join the multitude of successful job seekers on MAU's Career Tips blog!

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