The 4 Worst Resume Mistakes I’ve Seen as a Recruiter


5 Tricks to Source Candidates Faster

Lizwa Sharifuddin, Recruiter at OneWire

I’ve seen a lot of resumes as an executive search recruiter – from the good to the bad to the downright ugly. And let me tell you, the ugly have been ugly. I’ve seen everything from resumes with no NAME on it (why would I call you for an interview when I don’t know what to call you?) to ones that still have review markups everywhere.

Your resume is your strongest opportunity to connect with a hiring manager. Don’t throw it away by committing one of the four worst resume mistakes I’ve seen below.

Typos & Grammatical Errors

I get it – the last thing you want to do is read your resume after writing it. But this is your resume we’re talking about. Stop relying on spell check because not every mistake you make will be underlined in red. Ask a friend to review it or print out a hard copy and edit it the old-fashioned way.

If I see a typo, I automatically move onto the next candidate. If you’re not going to take the time to look it over, why should I take the time to read it?

Using the Same Resume for Every Position

With the search functionality recruiters have today, we can filter down applicants by the exact terms our clients need. To avoid being weeded out, you need to tweak the language on your resume to reflect each job description. Look for keywords in the skills and requirements section and relate them to your current experience. This will make it easier for hiring managers or recruiters to find you and see how your background fits their needs.

For example, if one of my clients is looking specifically for research skills in an investment banking role, I always narrow down applicants by that requirement.  Others hiring for the same type of role might only search for candidates with M&A experience, causing your resume to be overlooked. You could be the best investment banker in Manhattan but if you’re not including at least a few of the keywords in the job description, then I will probably pass right over your resume.

Get to the Point

Be concise when you’re describing your role and responsibilities. I am a huge proponent of bullets and here’s why:

  • They’re easy to read
  • They simplify the format
  • They limit unnecessary words

I’m scanning when I’m reviewing resumes, as is every other hiring manager out there. Resumes that are concise and to the point show me that you can convey information easily and effectively – an essential skill for anyone working in finance.

Missing Employment Dates

Not listing the dates (month AND year) you’ve held each position is a huge red flag. I will automatically assume you are trying to hide a layoff. Be up front about any firings or resignations. As long as your qualifications are strong, I’ll still be interested in hearing your side of the story.

All of these resume mistakes can be avoided if you take that extra few minutes to read it over. Before you apply to a position, always double check that the file you’re uploading is the correct version.  It could make the difference between landing a job and getting dismissed in the first stages of the hiring process.

I’ll be sharing more insights soon – stay tuned for another article!

– Lizwa

Lizwa Sharifuddin works as a recruiter at OneWire and has reviewed thousands of resumes over the course of her career. 

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