10 Resume Errors That Will Land You in the Trash

Last Updated Feb 22, 2010 8:56 AM EST

Resume writing is really hard; you want to be professional and conform to accepted conventions, but at the same time, it's important to be distinctive enough that you get the recruiter or hiring manager's attention.

That might sound like an impossible contradiction, but this much is true: Wacky or unprofessional resumes get rejected immediately. So it's really important to know what not to do. Here are the 10 most important resume glitches to steer clear of.


Yahoo Finance recently wrote about 10 resume red flags. All good stuff, many of which are things I've warned you about before:

1. Don't show peacock feathers. We all want to stand out, but don't use weird fonts or embed images in your resume. It makes your resume look strange (not in a good way) and might not even render the way you expect on someone else's PC.

2. Omit the references. Including references on the resume itself says that you needed it for page filler, or you just don't understand how the system works. References should only be provided upon request.

3. Don't write in complete sentences. And don't, for the love of God, include full paragraphs. Write in bullets and short, impactful sentence fragments that tell your story with a minimum of reading.

4. Don't omit the numbers. Quantify your accomplishments.

5. Don't list your responsibilities. No one cares what your last job's requirements were. In fact, including them sends the message that you don't understand that your job is to provide value through accomplishments.

6. Don't include an objective. These were recommended once, long ago, but now they're totally passé. Objectives tend to sound insincere, are hard to map to specific roles at each company you apply to, and limit your options.

7. Spell check. It goes without saying that your resume should be completely spell checked, free of grammatical errors, and not include any unexpected references to zebras.

8. Don't list your Yahoo or sparklemotion e-mail address. As I discussed before, keep your e-mail address professional.

9. Don't include your picture. Not only can this come off totally unprofessional, but it poises the employer for legal exposure since the picture reveals details about your sex, age, and ethnicity. They don't want any part of that kind of pain and will toss you in the trash.

10. Don't get too personal. Don't include information about your personal interests or hobbies unless it's relevant to the role.

Photo by SOCIALisBETTER

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