Some mistakes are made so frequently that it’s worth highlighting them separately.
Even if you think you’ve done a good job of avoiding clichés and including the right information, it can’t hurt to give your resume a quick once over and make sure it doesn’t contain any of the following mistakes.
Top 6 mistakes
Click on the left icons to see 6 top resume mistakes.
1. A photo
Unless you work in an industry where your appearance is relevant to the job, like acting or modelling, you should never include a photo with your resume.
A photo increases the likelihood of discrimination or prejudice, and could also detract from your professional qualifications.
On average, employers spend just six seconds on your resume before making up their mind, so any time spent looking at your photo means less time spent looking at your key skills and relevant experience.
We’ve all had jobs that didn’t necessarily end well, but you should never share negative information in your resume. Don’t list your reasons for leaving previous jobs, and don’t talk about aspects of the work that you didn’t enjoy or weren’t very good at.
Of course, if a question about why you left a previous job or whether you enjoyed the work comes up in your interview, you can briefly explain the situation, but your resume should contain only positive information.
3. Irrelevant information
The only personal information that should be on your resume is your name and contact information.
Things like height, weight, marital status, sexual orientation, number of children, ethnicity, religion or political affiliations should never be included on your resume, because again, this could have you unfairly excluded.
The only exception to this is including hobbies or personal interests that are relevant to the job. For example, if you are applying for a job at a music store, including the fact that you play an instrument or frequently go to concerts might help you to stand out in a good way.
4. Outdated information
If you’ve just graduated and don’t have much work experience, it might make sense to include the part- time jobs you’ve held in order to highlight your transferable skills.
But as a general rule, you should leave out any job information that is more than 15 years old, as it simply won’t be of interest to a hiring manager and will merely take up space.
Similarly, if you’re over 25, your high school information is no longer relevant, and that IT class you took in 1998 isn’t going to impress anyone.
5. Salary history or expectations
There is a time and place to discuss your salary, but salary history or expectations should never be included in your resume.
Aside from the fact that this unnecessary information will be taking up extra space on your resume, an employer might discount you if you indicate a figure that is too high, and you might be shooting yourself in the foot if you go too low.
If for some reason the job posting asks you to include your expected salary, it should go in your cover letter, but you’d still be better off writing “competitive” or “negotiable” as opposed to a specific figure.
6. Unusual fonts or layout
Originality is a good thing in some cases, but generally an employer just wants to be able to get through your resume quickly and easily.
Anything that makes it cumbersome or difficult to read, like oddly shaped paper or tiny and elaborate fonts or fancy borders should be avoided. Use a standard A4 size, avoid loud or mismatched colour schemes, and stick to a layout and format that makes sense and allows for easy reading.