Eight Critical Resume Errors

Jack Mulcahy

Many people think that writing a resume is easy. “Why can’t I write my own resume?” they ask. “After all, I know my job better than some writer.”

That must be why so many recruiters say that some 75% of the resumes they receive are really bad, full of mistakes that should not be there. Here’s a list of 8 of the worst errors people make on resumes.

Poorly chosen/too many fonts. Some people seem to want to impress a hiring manager with the number of obscure, decorative fonts their computers can generate. So they’ll use a fancy, decorative font like Brush Script to spell out their name at the top, and to set off paragraphs and subtitles. Fancy fonts have their uses, true, but a resume is not one of them. For one thing, there’s no way to know if the recipient’s computer can reproduce Brush Script, or any other uncommon font. And for another, fancy fonts are often unreadable when used in what would be a “normal” size, such as 12 point. A related issue is the use of too many fonts. When was the last time you read a newspaper or a book that used a half-dozen fonts? Use one font throughout the document. If you want to set off a subheading, use bolding or all caps. (But NEVER use all caps for anything longer than a phrase—it’s impossible to read.)

Spelling/grammar errors. Nobody seems to know how to spell any more. People rely too much on the word processor, instead of their own eyes or knowledge. “Taking money to the bank” is not the same as “Taking money too the bank” or “Taking money two the bank.” You know that, I know that. But your computer’s spell checker will not know you’ve used the wrong word, because as far as it’s concerned, you’ve spelled your words correctly. Take the time to print out your resume. Read it aloud. Before you send it out, make sure everything is correct. Simple spelling errors (especially if you’re applying for a job that requires an eye for detail) will derail your resume. You could be the ideal person for the job (at least in your own eyes), but if your resume is full of errors, you might as well not waste your time.

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