12 Resume Blunders Recruiters Hate

by Nov 24, 2016

Regardless of the type of job you’re applying for, you’re going to need an up-to-date resume. But with the huge amount of advice out there, it can be hard to figure out the do’s and don’ts of resume writing. With it being so easy to make a misstep, or rely on outdated information, here are 12 resume mistakes you should try to avoid!

1. Using creative fonts

While you may want your resume to stand out, going over the top with creative fonts and different coloured text is usually going to be a huge turn off to recruiters. You have to remember, they’re going to be reading through a heap of applications, so if yours is difficult to read they’re probably going to think it’s not worth their time. Stay professional!

2. Including a home address

Ninety-nine percent of the time, a recruiter isn’t going to need your home address when you’re submitting your first application. Not only is it slightly risky (identity theft is a thing!), but it can also make your resume or cover letter look pretty clunky and eat into your precious page space!

3. Your resume being waaay too long

Any resume more than 2 pages long (3 is sometimes acceptable, but pushing it) isn’t going to endear you to employers. ‘But I can’t fit everything in!’ I hear you say. Good! Employers don’t need to read every bit of experience you’ve ever undertaken. A resume is meant to be a tailored list of your skills and experience based on the job you’re applying for, so prioritise what’s most important and leave out the rest (you can always mention it at the interview, if relevant).

4. Describing your experience and skills using subjective phrasing

Telling a potential employer that you were ‘exemplary’, ‘creative’, ‘imaginative’ or ‘essential’ is a no-no. Your resume should be detailing what you’ve done, not why you’re amazing (even though you totally are), or how subjectively good the work you’ve done is. Using subjective language like this not only makes you come across a little cocky, but is also not really suitable for your resume. When you get to the interview stage, that’s when you can go into more detail about your achievements, and start really highlighting your strengths in your responses.

5. Including irrelevant extracurriculars

While extracurriculars are definitely a plus, listing a bunch of activities that are completely unrelated to the position you’re applying for isn’t necessary. If you haven’t had a heap of experience in the past, you can use extracurriculars to pad out your resume a bit – just make sure you can actually tailor them to the job!

6. Using a career objective to only talk about yourself

A career objective is a great way for employers to understand why you want the job, and start thinking about how you’ll fit in their company. That being said, you’ve also got to think about how you’re going to fit in the company. Don’t use the career objective section to go off on a tangent about your hopes and dreams (as valid as they may be) – keep the organisation in mind, and talk about what your ultimate career objective is, and how your contributing to the company would be an excellent way to get you there. Focus on how you can help them (without being too obvious about it).

7. Including a photo

Seriously, employers don’t need to know what you look like. Australia has some pretty solid anti-discrimination laws so they’re not really allowed to interpret anything from how you look, but everyone makes subconscious split-second judgments and you don’t want a recruiter getting the wrong idea.

8. Messing around with font size

Use a standard size 11 or 12 font for the main body of text, and a larger, consistent size for the headings. If your resume is a bit too full (or a bit too empty) for your liking, changing the font size is a really transparent way to fit everything in the way you’d like. Keep it consistent, clear, and easy to read.

9. Mentioning every experience or bit of education you’ve ever undertaken

Recruiters don’t need to know the 3 month long casual job you had when you were 15, or your best subject in High School. Only include experience or education that is directly related to the job. If you can’t find a way to relate these to the job, stick with including the most recent experience and education you undertook (this is usually the best way to go).

10. Faking it

Lying on your resume may seem clever at the time, but it always comes back to bite you. Employers advertise asking for a certain set of skills that are required for the job, because they’re what you need in order to do the job properly. Lying and saying that you have those skills will not only make things really awkward if the employer finds out, but it also puts both you and the employer at a disadvantage. You can still apply for jobs whose criteria may not entirely match with your experience, just focus on how the experience you do have makes you suitable!

11. Using personal pronouns

There’s really no need to use personal pronouns in your resume. The recruiter knows you’re talking about yourself, so if you’re saying something along the lines of ‘I assisted the General Manager in events coordination’, you can leave the ‘I’ out and it still makes perfect sense.

12. Blinding them with huge chunks of text

Opening up a document to find a huge, unformatted chunk of text is the last thing any recruiter wants to see. Keep everything brief, to the point, and formatted neatly and consistently so anyone reading your resume can clearly understand what you’re trying to convey.

So basically if you keep things simple, tailored to the job, and well formatted you’ll likely do fine. And, hey – we’ve always got your back if you need some extra help! Just swing by our office (UTS:Careers, CB01.04.13) and have a chat.

Featured image courtesy of Pexels.

By Mia Casey

By Mia Casey


Mia is a Sydney-based copywriter and content creator, who ran the UTS Careers Blog for five years since its conception in 2016.
Her freelance work focuses on branding development and helping companies create a cohesive identity narrative tailored for each of their platforms.
She enjoys piña coladas and getting caught in the rain.