Our team can encounter over 50 resumes a day, so we’ve seen our fair share of gaffes. Here are 3 of the most common resume mistakes we see — avoid them if you want to land the job.

By: Katelyn Skye Bennett | Contributor for Let’s Eat, Grandma


If you want to land a killer job, you’ll have to sharpen your resume up. Now, I can see that your resumes look pretty good, but you need to be careful not to include these common resume mistakes as you put them together. 

They’re easy to make, especially if you’re working too fast or you aren’t as attentive to detail. (You might even be doing the second one on purpose to boost yourself.)

However, these three points are actually all common resume pitfalls that can drag you down, and they’re simple to fix. Here’s what to look out for:

3 of the Most Common Resume Mistakes in 2020

#1) Inconsistency

Formatting is the first thing a hiring manager will notice on your resume. You need to make sure all of it is consistent so that your resume is easy for them to read.

If you end the bullet points describing your jobs with periods, ensure that the whole resume reflects that. Punctuate all the statements or punctuate none. Either is fine, but the important thing is that you stick with it throughout the document.

Are you including articles (such as “the”) sometimes but not always? Cut them out.

Do you write out some numbers but use digits for others? Write out the numbers under 10 and switch all the rest to digits.

Check where you bold titles or use a larger font as well so that your sections and job listings all match up. This all contributes to the visual appeal enhanced by this beautiful thing called consistency. Now you’re looking sharp!

(One last thing, though: are all of your professional experiences written consistently in the correct tense?)

#2) Vague or Misleading Content

Every claim you make on your resume needs tangible evidence to back it up. Remember, you’re writing a sales pitch for yourself. 

To do this, include metrics when possible. You want to prove to the employers what you are capable of, rather than giving them unsubstantiated claims about your skills.

A screenshot of a Let's Eat, Grandma client's former resume, illustrating the common resume mistake of vague content without metrics.
Notice how vague these bullets look without specific accomplishments.

Giving specific numbers of clients served or noting the percent increase of social media engagement during your time at the company helps you stand out. 

Even your vocabulary around that matters. 

Every one of your bullets should start with an active verb so that your accomplishments are specific and powerfully stated. 

Thesaurus.com is your friend as you search for the word with the right nuance and precision — because you didn’t just “fix pipes.” No, you “mended water pipes for X people weekly” and “trained over 20 new staff to operate X device.”

You didn’t just work as a team member and provide customer service at that ban. Girl, you actually:

  • Offered friendly and courteous service to clients from a range of economic backgrounds
  • Maintained harmony among seven staff members using proactive communication
  • Efficiently handled cash transactions up to X dollars.

In all your points, be precise, not vague. But be honest.

(Be sure to also check this list of great active verbs and synonyms for weak words – even our resume writers use this!)

Don’t fluff your resume, and especially do not lie. That second part is obvious, isn’t it? You’d be surprised: 56% of hiring managers in a national survey say they’ve caught a lie on a resume (the most common being embellished skill sets.)

If you don’t really know Salesforce, don’t include it. A three-day seminar and one week of practice in a class from two years ago do not make you proficient. You have other things going for you, so highlight those. 

However, don’t just fill space for the sake of it…

#3) Wordy Explanations

Your space is limited (one or maybe two pages, baby), as is the hiring manager’s attention span (as little as 6 seconds)! The person’s got things to do. 

If your resume is clear and eye appealing, it will be easier to skim than someone’s with long lines or extra words. Cut adverbs, and don’t be repetitive or wordy. Be concise.

A screenshot of the old resume of a client before working with Let's Eat, Grandma, demonstrating wordiness – one of the most common resume mistakes.
If you get too wordy in either your short paragraphs or bullets, they’ll become hard to read, and the recruiter will skip them.

How do you know what’s too wordy? Here’s a great rule of thumb: no bullet points should go over 2 lines, and paragraphs generally shouldn’t go over 4 lines. If you approach these limits, start cutting words, create another bullet, or transfer details to your cover letter or your LinkedIn profile.


You are now equipped to avoid these common resume mistakes. If you need further help, peruse these articles, or schedule a free call with us to find out how our professional writers can rework your resume, cover letter, and LinkedIn profile to land you that dream job.

Happy job hunting!

Love,

Grandma