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Ask a Recruiter: What Are The Biggest Resume Mistakes Job Seekers Make?

How-to-Attract-Passive-Candidates-Yoh-Blog-Post-compressed-733058-edited-1.jpgAs professional recruiters, we’ve seen our fair share of resumes at Yoh. In fact, over the course of the 70-plus years we’ve been around, we estimate we’ve collectively seen more than a billion resumes. That’s a lot of objective statements.

And through those billion or so resumes, we’ve seen some good ones and some bad ones. We’ve seen some that make us want to hire this person on the spot. But we’ve also seen some that make us cringe at how this piece of paper or PDF even got through to a recruiter.

But from our perspective, most are somewhere in the middle with just a few mistakes that prevent a resume from really standing out among the pack.

The Biggest RESUME Mistakes

We asked one of our busiest recruiters, Jessica Wisdom, who scours the country looking for top talent for Yoh’s RPO line of business, what are the biggest resume mistakes people make? And what can job seekers do to rectify those mistakes?

Here are her top five most common resume mistakes.

Sending a resume in PDF form

Yes, you read that right. Jessica says because of the formatting issues and copy-pasting problems that come with transferring PDF copy into online forms, resume PDFs can often be a big hassle for recruiters. This may run against conventional wisdom, but if you want to make the life of a recruiter easier when they’re transferring your information into other formats, don’t send your resume as a PDF. 

How to correct this mistake: Send resumes as a Word document.


Not having a mailing address on a resume

Jessica has found that many job seekers open to relocation skip putting their home address on their resume for fear they’ll be disqualified for living too far away from a potential job. Don’t do that. In fact, add a bullet that says you’re open to relocation. Oftentimes, not having an address on a resume can immediately disqualify a job-seeker, and that’s certainly not something you want to do.

How to correct this mistake: Whether you’re open to relocating for a job or not, always make sure your home/mailing address is at the top of your resume.


Sending a resume titled “Resume_V2.4.docx”

Depending on their job, recruiters can receive dozens, sometimes hundreds, of resumes and applications each day. Organizing them, to put it lightly, is a living hell. And quickly finding a resume for a specific person when it’s titled “Resume_V2.4.docx” makes it almost impossible to locate. There simply aren’t enough hours in the day for recruiters to rename every resume file they receive, Jessica says. And if it takes too long to find someone’s resume because it’s not properly labeled, that can unfortunately spell the end of that person’s chances of getting that job.

How to correct this mistake: Name your resume file your first and last name. That’s it. No company name. No resume version. Just “JaneSmith.docx” or “JaneSmith_Resume.docx” will do.


Adding too much fancy formatting

If you’re a graphic designer or advertising professional looking for a job, by all means make your resume as beautiful as possible. But if you’re an engineer, IT professional, or other industry pro, adding too much complicated formatting can do more harm than good. A recruiter needs to easily transfer the information from your resume to all types of documents, emails and forms, and requiring them to remove all kinds of fancy formatting/fonts/images/etc. makes their life that much harder.

How to correct this mistake: Keep formatting simple and straightforward. Titles, subheads and bullet points. No complex indenting, imagery or fonts necessary.


Having an unoptimized LinkedIn, Indeed or other job site profile

This is not necessarily a resume mistake but something Jessica sees all the time. Recruiters scour sites like LinkedIn, Indeed and others for potential job candidates. And just like everyone else, they use keyword searching to do that. But when someone doesn’t have the right keywords in their online profile that are required for a job (or enough of those keywords) their online resume can easily get lost in the shuffle

How to correct this mistake: When building an online job profile, be sure to add in plenty of keywords that recruiters are searching for when finding candidates. Online profiles aren’t as limited in terms of spacing as resumes are, so take advantage of it. Not sure what recruiters would be looking for? Check out some job postings you’re interested in and see what terms are being most used. Add them to your resume.


Have a resume or career-related question for Jessica? Drop her a line on Twitter at @JessicaWisdom1 and she’ll do her best to get back to you with an answer or a tip for improving your job hunting chances.


About the Author: Jessica Wisdom has been in the recruiting industry for over 15 years and with Yoh for over 4 years, primarily supporting an international agribusiness customer with specialized roles across a variety of functions. Jessica constantly strives for an exceptional candidate and client experience. 

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