15 Resumé Mistakes That Can Cost You a Job


As a self-employed writer and entrepreneur, I don’t normally have much to do with resumés. I do maintain one of my own, but it’s more of an academic CV that gets used only for academic applications. Otherwise, I’ve never really applied for a job or had a use for my own job-applying materials.

I don’t do much hiring either, but every once in a while I get the chance to sort through applications for non-profit jobs. I got that chance last week, and I learned a lot through the experience.

More than anything else, I learned a few things not to do if I ever apply for a job. And if you’re in that position, pay attention to this essay – I can’t guarantee that everyone will process resumés the way I do, but I’d expect that a lot of these principles will be universal.

How to Immediately Lose Your Chance at the Job

Roughly 20 candidates submitted applications for the job in question, and at least a third were completely off the mark. The funny thing is that almost all of these candidates had college degrees and a fair amount of experience, but so many of them made what seemed to me to be basic, no-excuse mistakes.

Because common sense is not always common, I thought I’d share with you some of the bigger problems. Here’s what they did wrong to get immediately shuffled to the “no” pile:

Failing to follow the simple instructions of sending a resumé, a cover letter, and three references. I didn’t see this coming, but perhaps I should have. Several people sent only two of the three required items. Did they think I wouldn’t notice that one of them was missing?

Another person wrote in to ask, “Do you want my references now or later?” (Answer: we want them now, just as the instructions said.)

Someone else wrote in to ask, “How do I apply for the job?” (Answer: you apply by sending a resumé, a cover letter, and three references. If that’s too difficult for you, you’re not who we’re looking for.)

Stretching the truth about educational background. Unless you are completely lying about something, I am probably going to see through any manipulation of your educational background, and that is pretty much inexcusable.

For example, someone submitted an application that listed Harvard University as the first line in their educational summary. I assume they thought this fact would be impressive. But looking closer, it was obvious that this person had never attended Harvard. Instead, they took a one-semester, online course through the Harvard Department of Continuing Education.

In case you don’t know, continuing education at most U.S. universities is open-enrollment, meaning that anyone can take a class without applying to the university and going through the usual competitive process. The classes are designed for the public, not for college students seeking a degree.

Instead of listing this information on their resumé, they chose to write Harvard University, presumably hoping that someone who doesn’t know better will think they are really smart. You can probably guess what I thought about this idea.

Less egregious but still tacky, someone listed the name of their favorite professor and his academic qualifications. (“I studied with Professor so-and-so, Ph.D., Oxford, England.”) First of all, I know that Oxford is in England. Second of all, I don’t care where your professor got his Ph.D. Where he went to school has nothing to do with your job application.

Dramatically embellishing the duties of a normal job. By normal job, I mean a job in retail or in an office. Most of us have done work like that at some point, and there’s nothing wrong with it. It does not count against you in any way to have that on your resumé.

But here’s the thing – I understand how this kind of job works, and it doesn’t need to be spelled out. If you were a barista at Starbucks, just say you were a barista. Don’t say something like this person did:

“Created high-quality espresso and filter coffee beverages in a fast-paced, customer focused environment while operating the cash register. Facilitated custom orders and worked the pastry counter.”

Uh, I get the point. It’s better to just say barista.

Telling me you don’t have time to customize the resumé. Every resumé should always be customized to the job you are applying for. Anything less is lazy. But if you really have to submit one that is somewhat generic, don’t write in and say, “Sorry, I’m too busy to update this. Hopefully you get the idea.” Yes, I do get the idea – but you will not get the job.

Submitting references that are not matched to the position. Your references have to be able to attest to your ability to perform the job you are applying for. In most cases, having a friend or co-working as your reference is not what we need. If it actually gets to the point where I call the people you list, I am going to ask about your weaknesses and what would be challenging for you in this position — for that, you need to list people who have supervised your work before, preferably in a field somewhat related to what you’re applying for.

Most of the references, however, will never be called because I only call them after the first round of interviews. Until then, I’m just glancing at what you have written to see if they seem like a good fit.

Sounding desperate or whiny in your cover letter. “I really, really want this job. I would be so happy if I got this job.” Of course you want the job. That’s why you’re applying, right? But the thing is that 20 other people want the job too, and we can only pick one. If you are whiny, that’s a red flag to me.


resume-how-not-to-get-a-jobNot as Deadly, but Still Bad

These next mistakes are less serious, but still send off a warning bell as I’m reading the application:

Listing beginning levels of language study on the resumé. If you are proficient or fluent in more than one language, that fact should definitely be included. But if you’ve done one semester of Spanish, you don’t need to tell me about that. Also, if you are planning to study a language in the future, good for you – but the resumé is for what you’ve already done.

Listing a job that you had for less than three months without a good reason for leaving. If it was a short-term contract position, tell me that. If you just left because it didn’t work out, I don’t necessarily think less of you… but you probably shouldn’t put it on your resumé.

Having an AOL, Hotmail, or Yahoo! email address. It’s not that big of a deal, but it looks a little unprofessional. You should have either a) an edu address if you are a student, b) a regular dot-com address if you work somewhere, or c) a Gmail address. Like it or not, Gmail is the accepted standard for email these days. If you’re still using AOL, you’re basically telling me you’re several years behind the curve.

Update: In the comments section, a couple people feel like Yahoo! addresses are also acceptable. I’ll grant you that; mostly I was thinking about AOL, which is definitely old-school. Also, someone correctly pointed out that it’s best to use your name as the first part of the email address. If you are sk8erbabe08@gmail or something like that, better get another email address for job applications.

Telling me about your big cross-cultural trip to Belgium. If you have traveled widely, you should put that down. Going to a few countries in Europe or to Mexico on your Spring Break, however, doesn’t count. As a rough guide, I’d say if you’ve been to more than 10 countries, that’s notable. If you’ve lived in a real cross-cultural situation for a couple months or more, that’s notable too… but not a week-long trip somewhere.

Sending me documents I can’t open. Specifically, don’t send Mac-specific files or any files that can’t be opened with universally-accepted software such as Adobe Reader or Microsoft Word. If I ask you to convert them and you don’t know how to do it, you lose even more points. That’s just part of life these days. Speaking of that, see the next one.

Including Microsoft software on your list of “Technical Skills.” Using MS Word, Excel, and PowerPoint is more of a life skill than a technical skill now. If you think it’s pretty cool that you know how to use standard applications, I am going to worry that you don’t know much about computers.

Listing a GPA that is less than stellar. If you were on the Dean’s List every semester, that’s notable. If your GPA was 3.8 at a school that doesn’t practice the grade inflation that is now common in North America, put it down. But if your GPA was less than 3.5 and you draw attention to it, you’re telling me that you were just an average student. No big deal, but why bother highlighting that fact when other applicants will probably have better grades?

(One related note: extracurricular activities in college are somewhat overrated in the hiring process. See Cal Newport’s provocative article for more about this.)

Closing your emails to the selection committee with “Rock on.” I use language like that sometimes too, but not when I’m looking to compete for something. I don’t expect excessive formality – you can call me by my first name, and being informal to a point is fine – but “rock on” and “hey dude” are too informal.

Sending new documents (unless absolutely necessary) after you’ve applied. If you discover that you made a huge error in your materials, it’s acceptable to write again and ask that the new attachments be used in review. But you should try to prevent that from happening in the first place, and if it was just a minor error, let it go. Don’t send in a series of disjointed emails over the course of a few days that each contain different information. Take the time and do it right, once.


resume-how-not-to-get-a-jobSome Things You SHOULD Do

It’s not all bad news. There are a few things you can do that will help you stand out from the standard of mediocrity that some other candidates will remain stuck on.

Do ask questions. I was surprised that out of all the candidates for this job, only two wrote in to ask any kind of questions before submitting their materials. I know that many of them probably planned to ask questions if they made it to the first interview round, but to me it shows some initiative to ask a few things before applying. In this case, the job description we provided in advance was somewhat generic (we did this deliberately), so I expected there would be more questions.

Do be unique and take some kind of risk. This does not excuse you from meeting the prerequisites for the job, nor does it mean the risk should be a big one. But when reviewing dozens of applications that all look the same, we tend to start looking only for negative qualifiers – the things I mentioned above. Assuming you don’t have any of those, it’s good if you can stand out somehow.

Explain why you want the job without sounding whiny. Find a way to add something genuinely different to your resume that is also relevant to the job. If you do that and aren’t disqualified by something else, you’ll at least be interesting, and being interesting can go a long way.

When told no, do be polite. I sent 14 “no” responses in one afternoon to everyone who did not make the short list, and only three people ever wrote back. Those who did all said something like, “Thank you for letting me know. Good luck to the successful candidate.” That is classy. You never know what will happen – perhaps the job will open up again, and I will probably think of people who were nice about not being chosen the first time.


Going through this process, at least from my side, was insightful. I cringed when I read the barista’s long explanation of “facilitating custom orders” at Starbucks, and I appreciated the candidates who took a few risks without going overboard.

Over the next month we’ll have a few rounds of interviews for the six short-listed candidates, and if I learn anything new through that experience, I’ll write an update here. But for now – some of you out there probably know a lot more about applying for jobs than I do.

What would you add to the conversation?



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  • slinky says:

    I have to disagree on your email address point. The email I would use for a job search is [first initial][lastname] I am no longer a student, so a .edu address is out.

    There’s a very simple problem with gmail. My name (and any professional permutations of) are already taken. It seemed better to go with yahoo than or similar. My name isn’t very common either.

    As for option b, using the email of your current work place, seriously? That gets people fired at a lot of places.

  • Kate says:

    Chris, I agree with you on almost all of these, except “Including Microsoft software”. I am a managing editor for a boutique consulting firm; we expect candidates to bring significant skills in Word, PowerPoint, and Excel, because that is what our clients use. I want to see that on a resume, including the versions and platforms that the applicant knows. I also want to know about skills for other Office components and Microsoft applications, such as Visio, Project, and Access. The Office group of programs may be life skills for those just out of college, but that is not necessarily the case for mid-career folks or people who are changing industries.

  • Chris says:

    Hey guys,

    First, I made a mistake and deleted someone else’s comment completely by accident. I’m really sorry about that – basically, what they said is that they agree with @Slinky that Yahoo! mail is cool, and they also made the excellent point that it is not only the domain but also the first part of the email address that matters. Obviously, [name] is a lot better than

    Anyway, it’s a good point, so I’m going to update the post to reflect that. And if it was your comment I deleted by mistake, I’m sorry. Feel free to say something else. 🙂


    Great, thanks for the feedback. I think the difference is when people list specific platforms and versions (especially with any certifications they have) versus when someone just says they “know how to use” MS software. If it is the latter, I am more worried than if there was no reference to it at all.

  • Dani says:

    I agree with Kate – depending on the position, the MS Office suite can be critical. For example: I’ve interviewed people for IT Support roles who didn’t know how to use Outlook, usually because their previous company used Lotus Notes for email. I’ve also seen admins come into positions who didn’t know how to use Word and Excel. It’d be nice to assume that everyone has these skills, but it’s not always the case.

    Reasons I’ve chucked resumes out of hand in the past (all for IT support positions):
    -major spelling and grammatical errors
    -email address of current employer listed on resume (if they’re job-hunting on company time now, chances are they’ll do it later too)
    -AOL email address (if you like it, fine — I don’t care what you do on your own time — but if you’re as tech-savvy as your resume implies, you should how to get yourself a gmail account.)

  • Metroknow says:

    Chris – I thought most of your points were spot on, with a few of my own tweaks.

    The MS Office one, as obvious as it may seem, is important for one reason: If the employer lists MS Word as a prerequisite, and you do not list it, your resume will likely be automatically filtered out by the magic of binary logic in the automated processes that most companies these days use (thinking Monster, etc.). If you are guaranteed that the rez will see eyes, that is sometimes no better: Your resume may be filtered out by an HR person who only knows to look for matches based on the tiny subset of information they got in an email, and may have no clue about how the job actually works. I suppose there are a few companies out there who use some sort of weighting system, but most that I know of do not. So if you don’t have the word, “Excel” on your rez, It doesn’t matter if you really DO have Harvard listed (THAT example, the Harvard thing, made me really glad I wasn’t drinking chocolate milk when I read it. I would be cleaning up my LCD right now…..Sheesh….), because without Word as a keyword in your resume, the HR person puts you in the “pass” pile.

    On resume customization, I absolutely agree – you should pay attention to how your resume targets the specific job, and customize accordingly. It’s not hard. And if you feel that it is difficult, you might consider a career in something that does not involve the use of a computer. 😉 Specifically, if you have an Objective section, that objective should reflect what you truly do want out of the specific work situation, not just some generic “I want to work anywhere please dear God help me won’t you show me some mercy” statement.

    One suggested rule of thumb: Shorter is always better. It is tempting to think that your 5th grade experiment in the Gifted class where you sold stock in your pencil company has merit, but it probably doesn’t. I don’t believe in the one-page rule necessarily, but you should really, really work hard to distill that resume down to as few words as possible. Make every word count. Be brutal. Fill in the details on the interview, if asked.

    Another? Make the tense of your verbs agree. If you are describing what you did, fine, say that you did those things. If you are describing what you do, describe what it is that you do (not what you did). And for God’s sake, spell check.

    One more rule of thumb: If you write something and you get that “I hope they don’t notice” feeling (we all know that sensation) – use that as your cue to pull it. To leave it on only makes you more nervous on the interview, and as you rightly point out, the reviewer will likely see right through it. Much of resume writing is a game of self confidence. You have to be confident in the resume, or you’ll be nervous. Which do you think an employer values more?

    One last one: I have hired folks in the past in the software gaming industry, and I have one additional tip: Don’t be insulting to the employer because you think your “honesty” gives you some sort of credit. I interviewed a contractor for what I considered a “dream job”: $65/hr to play games and produce what I needed. When I asked him what his favorite games or genres were, he said in a noticeably condescending tone, “Oh I don’t really like video games. I’m into REAL life.”

    Wrong answer. Next.

    Thanks Chris. Sorry for the novel – you just really got me thinking.

  • Maria says:

    I would also add not to use flowery, mosaic, pastel colored paper, or anything else but clean white or maybe parchment. I have hired a lot of people. I do not even look at resumes that come in like this. It is not professional.

    Your cover letter should highlight, BRIEFLY, your qualifications. Should be at the most 3 short paragraphs. Do not regurgitate your resume on the cover letter. This is also a good place to mention something you know about the company. Again, briefly and not too flowery. Something along the lines of admiring what they do and their contribution to the community. It shows that you have done your homework and you actually know something about them. This will definitely be an interview question so now is a good time to research the company you are applying to.

    Thank them in advance, on the cover letter, for taking the time to consider you. Make sure you have an appropriate greeting on your cell phone if you are using this as a contact number.

  • Kelcey says:

    I agree with most of that, except for the long rant on the Barista giving explanations of her job description. Most applications and work places require you to tell them about your past three to five years of work experience, and to give them “detailed” explanations of what your job descriptions were. If she had not have went into that sort of detail and simply said, “made coffee and took change,” what would you have said then? Also, you said that simply putting Barista would have sufficed, but not everyone knows what a “Barista” is. . .my question to you then is this: What would you recommend people do in that situation? Given they’ve never worked a “real” job and don’t have much “detailed descriptions” to tell.

  • Heather says:

    I saw one resume where someone put their photo and personal characteristics (height and weight) on the resume. That was weird. This was not in a job where looks were even remotely an issue.

  • When it comes to describing past positions, it is necessary in most situations to expand. Now, granted, the barista example is probably a little overboard. But how about this one?

    In a previous position my title was “administrative assistant”. Should I just list that? Or should I describe that I arranged and coordinated academic conferences in other cities, worked with publishers in submitting book proposals, working through drafts, and submitting final hard copies (including a 1000 page academic work)?

    Should I mention that I was the elected chair of a human resources committee creating employee programs and executing them? Would just “administrative assistant” really show the level of work I did or the leadership I demonstrated? If all I wanted was another job as a 65wpm secretary, fine. But most people are trying to show what they’re capable of and what they have accomplished so they can improve their status and pay.

  • sarah says:

    Dani mentioned this briefly, but for me it’s extremely important. The last time I dealt with resumes was when hiring for a position in tech support, where virtually all communication would be via email. 90% of the resumes contained major spelling and/or grammatical errors. If, when you’ve got lots of time to check for errors a person doesn’t bother to, how can I expect them to do so while working in a fast-paced support environment? For me, taking the time to check for errors is a good way to show your prospective employer that you do, in fact, care about the quality of the work you do.

  • I disagree on the email address. Simple names are either unavailable or get spammed out of existence. As long as the email address isn’t offensive I wouldn’t give it a second glance.

    As for some of the other skills you think shouldn’t be stated or described, in my view that depends on the position that is vacant and the person you are looking for.

    For a summer holiday job for a college student, that they’ve previously been trusted with money as opposed to just making coffees might be relevant. Similarly, I’ve reviewed applicants for a position where high end spreadsheet and database skills are essential and come across people who thought just being able to do the basic stuff was good enough.

  • M says:

    I have to agree with Kate. I don’t see why one should exclude Microsoft software out of their Technical Skills. If you mentioned in your resume that you are comfortable with MS Project and using Excel with Access, I’d assume that you’d at least have some basic knowledge in project management and database handling, which is a big plus.

    One of my biggest pet peeves is receiving resumes without cover letters but the worst are emails with not a greeting. The past month I got a couple of those – just blank emails with a resume attached.

  • Rob says:

    I don’t know… this reads more like a list of your personal preferences than “15 resume mistakes.”

    I share your dislike of flowery, overwrought language in resumes, but the truth of matter is the vast majority of career “advice” out there recommends detailed descriptions of jobs in combination with “dynamic” language.

    While MS skills may equal basic life skills to you, for a lot of people they aren’t, and like noted upthread, a lot of employers need to know exactly what you know.

    While you’re a frequent international traveler, I know a lot of folks who have never lived outside their home state or even their own hometown, for whom navigating a foreign culture, even for a week, would be a significant personal accomplishment worthy of a mention, especially in the job searching world where a lot of folks are trying anything they can to stand out. Figures vary wildly, but anywhere from 65-90% of Americans never even own a passport. It is kind of an accomplishment for a lot of people to to travel internationally.

    There’s more I disagree with what you wrote, and more I agree with as well, but I don’t want to go on and on and bore you… [any more than I already have, of course.]

    I think this post speaks a lot towards the kind of person you personally want to hire and work with, and if you’re in that position, more power to you. But the thing is, for every one of you, there’s thousands upon thousands of other folks in HR or positions of hiring authority with vastly different, and often just as random, personal screening prejudices.

  • Alex says:

    I have to agree with most of the information you posted, except for standard positions. While you shouldn’t get too flowery, it is helpful to note if you did anything special, or were promoted during your tenure, or had added responsibilities beyond par.

    I think it’s important to note that for college students applying for internships or first-time positions that random information, if it sets you apart, is helpful. We had a young man apply for an internship that is a junior in college, and he included his exemplary SAT scores and and the fact that he was an Eagle Scout. This told me two things: that he could learn, and that he could apply himself. I would not expect to see the SAT scores or Eagle Scout on his resume once he graduates and enters the workforce, nor would I expect to see work experience such as waiting tables, cutting grass, etc.

    With regards to Brandon’s comment about job titles, it’s important to note that roles aren’t comparable from company to company, or even within companies. What you are responsible for and who your interactions are with are more important than the title. Even within organizations, or large departments, others may have no idea responsibilities a role may have if your work doesn’t intersect.

    I like seeing current volunteer experience on resumes, but consider social sororities or fraternities to be a negative.

  • Toefur says:

    Interesting, and helpful.

    I get a lot of resumes where I work, and I throw out 95% of them straight away. Many of them have really weird things written that you just wouldn’t put on a resume, and the rest are mostly just really… bad, for all these reasons and more.

    I was taught to not put references on a resume, instead to write, “Available upon request” which I think sounds reasonable – if someone is going to be contacted on your behalf, I think it fair to forewarn them that somebody is going to be calling them.

  • The Wyman says:

    Great article. I am retired so probably will never need the advice. It appears it is somewhat of a crap shoot for what criteria the reviewer will use. Your article together with the many good comments would be the bases of a very helpful report or e-book for those wanting to stand out a little. I would never apply for a computer savvy position. Creativity is more my forte.

  • Chris says:

    Hey all, nice comments and tweaks here.

    You are certainly welcome to disagree as some have done – as mentioned, I’m not an H.R. professional, just sharing how I do the screening for these kinds of things.

    Also, perhaps I should have mentioned that for this position, we were specifically looking for someone with intermediate-to-advanced computer skills. If it was a position or industry that required only basic skills, then I wouldn’t be that concerned with someone listing Word proficiency, using an AOL address, etc.

    To me those things do not make someone a bad person or anything like that – it just shows that they are not that advanced a computer user, which may or may not be a problem depending on the position.

  • CanadianGirl says:

    Heather raises an interesting point about including personal information like pictures, height and weight on job applications. Not all countries use the same standards for resumes. For example, friends who have applied to jobs in Australia have told me that potential employers wanted to see a picture on their resume. (I don’t know whether this is a standard practice or a bizarre quirk.)

    So it’s handy to keep in mind that while these standards are common practice within North America, they aren’t everywhere in the world. These “non-standard” practices are sometimes noticeable when immigrants are applying to North American jobs.

  • Mary Sue says:

    Anyone who needs a serious laugh should check out . Lately it’s just a culling of the Craigslist Jobs Wanted pages, but there’s some submissions by real-life HR people sprinkled in.

  • Mark Silver says:

    Thanks for the list. We just went through our third-ever hiring process, hiring to hire our first full-time employee, and I was shocked, shocked, by the lack of quality in most of the applications.

    We received nearly 40 applications, and among them were applications with nearly everything you listed above. The one that shocked me the most was the bit about following directions. We had what I thought was a very clear application process, with a 1-2-3 what to do to apply, which included reading our website and researching us a bit to make sure they were in alignment with that.

    And, it was surprising how obvious it was that some people didn’t take the time to do that, even though we asked. I would’ve thought that would be just an automatic thing to do, but nope, not even when it was asked. I was reading the applications and saying to myself: “Do you have any idea what we do and who we are?” Shredder. (They still received a polite “no” email.)

    So, I would add that to the list of “To Do’s” – research the company on the web- read anything and everything they’ve put out. Do a Google search on their company name, and the names of their executives. It doesn’t take that long, and you can then craft an application that really speaks to the company.

    Thanks for listening. I was just shocked, that’s all.

  • Wendy says:

    I’ve had to review many a resume with the issues noted above. I appreciate these applicants making my job easier. 🙂

    On the other hand, I know that some people deliberately make no effort – they don’t really want the job. They just have to track that they’ve applied for unemployment insurance purposes.

  • Stanley Lee says:

    I didn’t know you deal with CVs knowing your lifestyle, but well done on the truth-telling.

  • Rob says:

    I regret to inform you that you are totally off the mark here.

    I would bet that you’re not even in any kind of hiring capacity.

    You’re just another one of those muckraker / shit-disturbers trying to put across another job-application-angst-story to scare the hell out of people putting in an honest effort to land a job!

    Don’t mention Office Applications? Could’ve fooled me!! And this is coming from a guy who gets 75% of job apps that lead to interviews, and 75% interviews that lead to offers!

    I interviewed for a marketing director job with AOL, and not only were they highly interested in Excel being on my résumé, but they actually give 2nd-round interviewees an EXCEL TEST FOR THE JOB!!!

    If you don’t list office; they’ll assume you simply don’t know any of the programs, but that you simply may know how to type.

    They get too many applications; why should they assume anything??!

    If you’ve got it and it’s relevant to the job, say you’ve got it.

    Although, you can probably safely leave off your typing speed, unless it’s a clerical/data entry job you’re applying for.

    But otherwise, what a horribly, horribly misinformed piece.

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    Every job needs specialization, skills and some talent, you’re basically insulting the person who explained his job as a barista in detail. Would you have written the same if he explained some other job in the same manner? Looking down on some professions is a bad thing to do. Even if you’re the boss/recruiter whatever,

  • John says:

    I know this is an old outdated article by now, but I write in the hopes that you still look at the comments from time to time and will be witness to the reaffirmation that you have missed the mark almost entirely on this. Your article comes off very judgy; you seem to think you are better than people in a variety of ways. Anything a person has (extensive) knowledge about that is relevant to a position should be on the resume, so no, it should not be assumed that a person knows MS Office. Similarly, explaining job duties well is one of the main requisites of a resume. If one simply listed ‘barista’ you’d probably be complaining about the lack of detail and explanation.

  • Bob says:

    One major complaint with the article. Your comment about email address doesn’t point to a flaw with the applicant but a flaw with the reviewer. Quiet frankly if a reviewer thinks having an email with one free host over another free host makes a candidate more “up to date” it really goes to show how outdated your approach is. An edu account is understandably better, as it is a selective host and at least proves previous or current enrollment, but anyone can have a gmail and anyone can have a yahoo and they are the same from a qualitative perspective. I have emails with domains you couldn’t believe because it’s so easy to have essentially anything you want now. If anything gmail and yahoo should be frowned on universally because it shows a lack of the skill/ability/time to host your own email. Email accounts are just as disposable as the devices people access them from now days. It seems to me this is just another one of those imaginary self-justifying things HR people do to rule out 100 people on their list of 1,000’s; because this mentality is really common.

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  • Linda Gutin says:

    As a professional resume and job search consultant, I appreciate that you shared your thoughts, Chris. While I agree with most of what you wrote, the real problem is that people think that, with all the advice out there, they can write their own resumes. That’s why 90% are so bad. (So, so, SOOOO bad.)

    People should invest in hiring the best resume writer they can afford. Be aware, however, there are millions of us out there – many with the “proper certification(s)” – that are not worth paying.

    Here’s a question I ask to make my point: “Assuming you dress professionally for interviews, did you make that clothing yourself?” I’m willing to bet the answer to that is “no” for 99.99% of jobseekers. So, if you don’t make your own clothes, why do you think you can create a stellar resume, cover letter, LinkedIn profile, thank you letter, reference sheet, etc?

  • GOLD says:

    Truly nice one …. All the mistake are very well explained …. I like your post very much. I will recommend this post to my students when ever they ask. CV making is a art and after overcome these mistake we all make a good CV.

  • kiran sahu says:

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  • >Dramatically embellishing the duties of a normal job

    Haha I can’t really blame people who do this though. I’ve read so many “tips” or guides or whatever that say when you don’t have experience to write about, you should write about times you “showed leadership” or “inspired a team” or things like that. I’m pretty sure most of us have never done anything like that… so you work with what you’ve got 😂

  • Angina says:

    I agree with the article. It is wonderful and very useful, but also I consider it iss necessary to mention all your skills (Word, Excell and etc, that others think is normal to be aware of), because not mentioning that means you don’t have that skill. The reqruiter doesn’t know what you can and what you can’t untill you mention that in your resume.

    Besides, reqruiter reads with attention only first few lines in your resume (because some of them have to read about hundredds resumes a day), so they should be capturing and make them wanting read your resume till the end, and surely to invite you.

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  • Paula says:

    I don’t mean to be rude, but you come off as really judgy in this article. Honestly, it sounds as though you’ve never really had to go on a job hunt yourself. The email account and Microsoft comments specially come off as really misinformed. Also, that comment about being “whiny” is just insensitive. People need jobs. People who really want them can also be really passionate and willing to learn.

    I feel like there are more unprepared recruiters than applicants, and that most of them act superior because they have this limited power over others for a while. I am not trying to be rude, but you sound like one of them. The only one of these “mistakes” I made while I was on the job hunt was to include Microsoft on my tech skills (although I don’t consider that a mistake personally), yet I’ve had recruiters (a) offer jobs to my face and then ghost me (yes, this happens), (b) never reply to my job application BUT subscribe me to their newsletter (tacky), (c) leave me hours waiting, (d) cancel interviews less than an hour before the hour it was supposed to begin.

    You don’t have to like every applicant that comes in, but being respectful to them (and maybe not copy parts of their resumés online to shame them) IS part of your job. As you said so yourself, “If that’s too difficult for you, you’re not who we’re looking for”.

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