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Resume Connection: Resume Tips, #29

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Three Easily Avoidable Resume Mistakes

by Linda Matias of

You’ve all been there: Writing one resume after another. Deleting, rewriting, deleting, and rewriting until you become so overwhelmed that you decide to send what you have in the hope that an employer bites.

You try that plan and it doesn’t work, so you find yourself reading article after article on resume writing, eager to become inspired by little nuggets of wisdom that Nationally Certified Resume Writers provide.

So to not disappoint, I have provided the top three resume mistakes that are easily avoidable. Follow the resume advice below and you will increase the chances that your resume will read better than your previous attempts.

Mistake #1: “Jack of All Trades” Resume

Let’s face it: an employer is never looking for a hairdresser/janitor/customer service representative. You will find job descriptions are very specific in terms of what qualifications are needed for the open position—the focus being on the main responsibilities of the job. Still, you may be hesitant to write a very specific resume because you want the reader to know everything about you, just in case a position opens up that you are semi-qualified for.

This strategy almost always backfires. If you send a resume that lacks focus, the hiring manager will assume that you are unfocused and ready to accept any job that comes along. In the meantime, your competition is submitting focused resumes that speak to what the organization is looking for. Who do you think will be the one called in for an interview?

It’s okay if you have more than one focus. Most job seekers do. However, if you fall into this category, this means that you will need more than one resume. There really isn’t any way around this. If you want to get noticed, the resumes you are submitting have to hone in on what the hiring organization is looking for.

Mistake #2: Overuse of Bullets

Statistics indicate that the majority of hiring managers glance at resumes instead of reading them fully. It’s hard to blame them, since most receive hundreds of resumes for every open position.

With this statistic in mind, use bullet points sparingly—to bring attention to your most notable accomplishments. If the whole document is bulleted, it is difficult for the reader to know what is important and quickly grasp your achievements. It’s best to include responsibilities in paragraph form and only use bullets for special highlights. Let’s take a look at the following example:

In charge of purchasing textiles and household items. Analyzed inventory, handled incoming orders, and reviewed forecasts of product requirements. Completed selection, purchasing, and branding for high-profile customers including Krombacher, Mercedes, and Premiere Television. Oversaw students in vocational training and translated supplier specifications from German to English.

Selected Accomplishments:

  • Independently re-negotiated prices and captured reductions of up to 35%, establishing purchasing scale and re-negotiation standard for other purchasers.

  • Created internal catalogue for all purchasing departments, reducing inventory up to 60% while concurrently decreasing costs in new purchasing quantities required.

  • Saved company substantial new-hire costs by assuming responsibilities for four other positions. Served as designated staff spokesperson to boost morale and teamwork.

  • Established exchange between Purchasing and Warehouse departments to improve teamwork while ensuring stronger focus on company rather than department.

As you can see, using bullets appropriately will make the resume much easier to read and allow the decision maker to focus on the most important aspect of the resume—your accomplishments.

Mistake #3: Making Achievements Sound Bland

The reader is interested not only in your accomplishment, but also the steps you took in between. For example, stating “Created high-quality exhibits” leaves readers scratching their heads wondering how you did it.

Your best bet is to expand on your accomplishments and describe the how. For example, “Created series of excellent, high-quality exhibits while working within strict, limited budget; developed new gallery concept focused on young, modern artists working within various mediums including jewelry design, ceramics, porcelain, and photography” is a much more informative statement, leaving the reader to truly appreciate the scope of your achievement.


Certified in all three areas of the job search—Certified Interview Coach ™ (CIC), Job & Career Transition Coach (JCTC), and Nationally Certified Resume Writer (NCRW)—Linda Matias is qualified to assist you in your career transition, whether it be a complete career makeover, interview preparation, or resume assistance. She is also the author of "How to Say It: Job Interviews" (Prentice Hall, August 2007). You can contact Linda Matias at linda @ or visit her Website for additional career advice and to view resume samples.

We offer a confidential consultation. Information gathered online or in a one-on-one meeting will not be disclosed to any outside source.

To learn more about our services:

  • Email: evaluation

  • Phone: (631) 382.2425

  • Address: 34 East Main Street, #276 Smithtown, NY 11787


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