10 resume mistakes to avoid in 2018

5 June 2018 Reading Time: 6 minutes

The best thing your resume can do is stand out and make an impression. There’s just one caveat, it should be a positive impression. Unfortunately, there are plenty of all-too-common resume mistakes which make HRs and recruiters remember you as that person they don’t want to hire.

So here are 10 easily avoided mistakes you need to know about before you apply to your next job.

Enhancv 10 resume mistakes to avoid in 2018 resume mistakes

1. Cliches and overused words

If you’re writing your resume on autopilot (and let’s face it, lots of us are), it’s easy to slip into the habit of relying on cliches and passive voice. The problem with this is that at best it’ll get your resume ignored and at worst it’ll give the reader a big eye-roll. Needless to say, it’s not how you land an interview.

Then there’s the related mistake of vague wording. When you’re describing accomplishments, you need to be specific! So choose your words carefully and listen to Jefferson’s wise words:

”The most valuable of all talents is that of never using two words when one will do.”
(Thomas Jefferson)

Be creative and attract the reader’s attention with words and phrases that sizzle and are straight to the point. Enhancv’s new feature – Content Analyzer can help you with that.

Enhancv 10 resume mistakes to avoid in 2018 resume mistakes

2. Typographical errors

This may seem obvious but you would be shocked how often these kinds of simple resume mistakes make it to a recruiter’s desk. There’s simply no excuse for sloppiness, misused words, incorrect spelling, or punctuation overuse on your resume. These kinds of mistakes will get your resume tossed straight into the reject pile.

How do you catch these simple but easily missed resume mistakes? After you finish with your resume, sleep on it and take your mind off it. Then give it a look with fresh eyes. A technique I use sometimes is reading all the content backwards, which forces you to slow down and catch more mistakes.

Then, just to be safe, let a trusted friend look at it. Obviously a spell-checker should factor in as well. Once you’ve done all this, you can send your resume off with confidence.

Enhancv 10 resume mistakes to avoid in 2018 resume mistakes

3. Made-up information

Did you really spend 6 months as an intern in that company? Are you sure you speak 6 languages? Did you increase that Twitter account by 6,000 followers in just a month? If your answer to questions like this is “well, basically” then you need to reconsider.

In short, all the information you provide must be 100% true. Remember that in today’s world, recruiters can verify most details within a few clicks and phone calls.

In any case, the greatest asset you have in an interview is confidence. Knowing that you weren’t quite truthful on your resume is a sure-fire way to take that confidence and replace it with guilt and paranoia: not exactly a recipe for success. So stick to the truth and be proud of it.

Enhancv 10 resume mistakes to avoid in 2018 resume mistakes

4. Responsibilities VS Accomplishments

This is one area where we see resumes are changing in 2019. Just a few years ago this wasn’t a very common practice, but today it’s absolutely expected that you list accomplishments and not just responsibilities on your resume.

Ultimately, it’s your accomplishments that make you stand out from all the other applicants and it’s accomplishments that will make you feel proud walking into that interview. Also make sure you quantify these accomplishments whenever possible, specifics always have greater impact.

Enhancv 10 resume mistakes to avoid in 2018 resume mistakes

5. Not tailored for the job

Before crafting a resume, one of your first steps should be reading through the job requirements carefully. Pay close attention to the keywords they use and get the grip of who they’re actually looking for.

The second step should be going through their company website, social media profiles, blog, and anywhere else they’re active. What’s their company culture? What kind of people work there? Would you fit in the team? All this information will give you a head start and provide clues for your resume design, content, and overall feeling. Make it specific to the company and the job requirements.

”Identify the common keywords, terminology, and key phrases that routinely pop up in the job descriptions of your target company.” (Amanda Augustine, career expert)

Ultimately, you want the recruiter to see your resume and get the feeling that you’re their ideal candidate. By using the same words they use, reflecting their culture and values, etc. you do just that.

6. Irrelevant experience

Don’t ever submit a resume that’s out of date. Your resume should be up to date with relevant information at all times. Consider leaving out that summer job you did 10 years ago. Unless you achieved something significant and relevant to the job position you’re applying for, it’s just a distraction. A rule of thumb I like to use is to look at every piece of information on my resume and ask myself whether it makes the resume more effective. If it doesn’t add any value, I cut it.

The experience content of your resume should exponentially progress with you.

7. Format inconsistency

Employers might require your resume to be in a certain format depending on their company’s Applicant Tracking System (ATS). However, unless the company has specific instructions, the safest way to send your resume is as a PDF. The main reason being that a PDF doesn’t change depending on the computer’s operating system. If you send a .docx file created in OpenOffice and it gets opened in Microsoft Word, it might look like a real mess.

Also, make sure your resume doesn’t get out of hand by using a number of different fonts, graphs, and neon colors. Keep it neat, clean and easy to read.

Here is an example of a good format:

Enhancv 10 resume mistakes to avoid in 2018 resume mistakes

8. Paid VS Unpaid work experience

Another mistake that appears on resumes is the fact that people believe that the only experience that counts is paid experience. But this massively reduces the ways in which you can show off your skills and accomplishments.

Think about the volunteering, that old car you restored, a disease you overcame, or how you learned how to sew and make your own clothes. In other words, what makes you proud and shows your skills? These don’t necessarily have to be connected to your job title. It can be one of the most striking sections on a resume, as long as you back it up with concrete facts, numbers and figures. Plus, experience like this can be a great conversation starter in an interview.

Enhancv 10 resume mistakes to avoid in 2018 resume mistakes

9. Afraid to show your personality

People are still worried to show their personality in a resume. They think it’s somewhat childish and unprofessional. They believe that this type of information is supposed to be written in a cover letter. But do employers read cover letters anymore? It’s 2018 and resumes have changed.

Company Culture, the personality of a company, is being taken more and more seriously as a way to brand a company and keep its employees happy. For employers, one of the ways to create a good company culture is to hire people that are similar or have similar interests. That’s why they need to see more personality revealing sections in your resume. Make their job easier and present your charming self.

Enhancv is the only resume builder out there offering a big variety of human-centric sections. Try them out, it got Sam a job in Spotify.

”What kind of stuff are you working on in your free time? I am always inspired by this. It also shows me that you have the passion for your field beyond your nine-to-five.” (Ambra Benjamin, engineering recruiter at Facebook)

10. Crafting only one resume

Forget your one size fits all mindset, because resumes in 2018 need to be tailored for the specific job. A small startup and IBM certainly don’t hire the same way, so you shouldn’t apply to them the same way. So use the other tips mentioned above to craft your resume for each position you’re applying for.

Now you’re confident, ready to stand out and land that job!

Crafting am outstanding resume isn’t an easy job. Sometimes, we need just a little push, a reminder of what’s important to add or leave out.

If you haven’t yet, try Enhancv’s newest Content Analyzer feature. It was developed after reviewing over 300,000 resumes to help you improve your content and make the most out of any job opportunity.

Go ahead and craft your resume with Enhancv now.


*note, the original version of this article was posted in January, 2017

Tatiana Rehmova

A glass half-full kind of a girl and a believer that everything happens for a reason. Loves writing, editing and researching the newest ways of doing things.

12 comments on “10 resume mistakes to avoid in 2018
  1. Shane on

    I’m not sure I agree with most things on these example resumes here. A picture of yourself? A pie chart about what you do during the day? Links to social media and a quote? “Things you do in your free time, diseases you overcame”? Nobody needs this information. Yes, it looks different and will be interesting to some people, but I’m not so sure anyone would sacrifice the time to sift through all this nonsense to get to the only part they actually want – your experience, and even that is in smaller font than everything else. Using this template is a shot in the dark, and not one that I’m willing to take.

    • Tatiana Rehmova on

      Hi Shane, thanks for the comment! Adding the things you listed can actually reveal a lot about the person, their attitude towards tasks, the way they deal with different situations and all that can be translated into how they’ll actually act at work, interact with the team and deal with difficult situations. Of course, it’s completely up to you to choose what kind of information you share on your resume. And it also depends on the position you’re applying for, as well the type of company. These are some of our suggestions, things that we – as an employer – love seeing on resumes, and things that have worked for many of our customers who got hired in great companies. 🙂

  2. Jeremy Sullivan on

    Hi Tatiana,

    Back to “what people really care about” thing… can you/Enhancv provide case studies or referrals/testimonials with specific job titles and company names where the above has worked? I’d love to believe hiring managers have evolved to this point (having been one), but I have seen zero hard evidence of it. I regularly have ex-coworkers coming to me for resume advice, and I am hesitant to advise them to move to this sort of “marketing style” resume. Citations, please? Show me the money.

    • Tatiana Rehmova on

      Hi Jeremy,

      Thanks for your comment! 🙂 We have a whole list of candidates who used our resumes and got hired in different companies. The ones that do want to share their success are in this section of our blog – Enhanced Lives. And there are many more to come. I’d like to emphasize that it very much depends on what kind of company you’re applying for, what kind of people work there and what their culture is, that’s what can give you a hint – would they care about seeing what I like doing in my free time? Or are they a corporate company which only cares about how many years of experience I have? So, research is the key.

  3. Mayur kohli on

    I have found this post very good and useful for candidates to avoid some resume mistakes in this year. Inconsistency in resume is common mistake that candidates makes in their resume . You have explained so well what to avoid in resume and it will surely helps to build effective resume in current year for getting selected by recruiter.

  4. Wakuma Dufera Tesgera on

    I have found this post very good and useful for candidates to avoid some resume mistakes in this year. Inconsistency in resume is common mistake that candidates makes in their resume . You have explained so well what to avoid in resume and it will surely helps to build effective resume in current year for getting selected by recruiter.

  5. Riya Patel on

    Nice Tips !! Thanks for your great guidance !! The information was really helpful. it’s really informative and covers all the aspects. I agree with all the points you mentioned here. This was exactly what I needed to read today. I would be sincerely obliged to your kind help and guidance. I really liked your tips. The clearness to your publish is simply spectacular and i can assume you’re an expert in this subject. please keep up the enjoyable work. Thanks for sharing…

  6. Bob Lamar on

    Some good points, but the sample resume was awful for the average applicant. A CEO can get away with talking about baking cupcakes in a pie chart. For anyone else this will not get you taken seriously unless the hiring manager is quite eccentric. These articles should be for the average Joe and not senior management.

  7. cody simpsons on

    nice blog post! the content seems very useful, all the tips are very necessary to keep in mind while writing a resume. Thank you very much for sharing this important information here.

  8. Hector Uba on

    Thanks for the tips on mistakes you should avoid when writing a resume in 2018. I agree that you should be 100% truthful on your resume and you shouldn’t lie on it because it could come back to bite you. My brother is applying for a new job and he needs help writing his resume. I will be sure to share these tips with him.

    • Jimmy on

      One should be 100% truthful? I’ve never understood the need to quantify truthfulness. So, 90% truthful doesn’t cut it? Using language in your CV that you wouldn’t normally use and presenting only your strengths and concealing your weaknesses is hardly “truthful.” It’s not painting an accurate picture. Another point that has been overlooked is that a polished (“perfect”) CV can sometimes work against applicants. It reeks of BS, which some recruiters are sensitive to.


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