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Resume Writers Discuss Issues they See on Client Resumes

Revision Resume offers a resume critique service to our clients. This option is popular among clients who have written their own resumes but want a second set of eyes to verify the document is high quality before they submit to job openings. In reviewing these resumes, we have found a few common mistakes that we highly recommend clients fix prior to applying for a position.

Duties Instead of Accomplishments

This is one of the most common errors we see. Jobseekers provide a list of their "responsibilities" on their resume. Each bullet point starts with "responsible for …" or "oversaw …" or "tasked with …" but doesn't actually demonstrate any achievements or results. A hiring manager doesn't know if the job applicant was successful in their role. If they were "responsible" for sales, did sales increase or decrease? If they "oversaw" a project, did the project achieve completion within schedule and budget constraints or did it fail?

Revision Resume recommends clients provide detailed numbers and results. For example, "increased sales by 10% over 2 months through implementation of a holiday display" provides a hiring manager a much clearer picture, compared to "responsible for sales."

Irrelevant Skills and Information

Downhill skier

Another issue we often observe is a significant amount of irrelevant information. A resume is not intended to be an autobiography. Instead, it is supposed to demonstrate how the skills you have will apply to the position you are seeking. Therefore, it is not necessary to include jobs from 15+ years ago that aren't at all related to this current role. It also does not make sense to include volunteer roles that aren't aligned with your career field. Same with hobbies.

The hiring manager does not want to weed through reams of irrelevant information in order to determine if the candidate has the skills for the role. Your goal should be to create a resume that makes it clear and easily observed that you are the right person for the job.

Use of "I"

Writing a resume in the first person implied format is very challenging. It can be difficult to not include the words "I" and "my." However, resume guidelines indicate they need to be left off of the document.

We often find that clients have done a pretty good job of removing these words but still have let some slip in. Commonly they are successful at leaving them out of the bullet points but tend to include them in the executive summary. Be sure you have written the entire resume without using "I" or "my."

Overlooked Spelling and Grammatical Errors

Although you may have proofread your resume multiple times, it is possible you overlooked an error. Unfortunately, a spelling or grammar mistake may be a detriment when the hiring manager reads your resume. For this reason, it is critical you submit a document that is completely free of errors. To learn how to find mistakes on your own, read our blog "Ways to Notice Errors on Your Resume (and correct them of course)". A resume critique from Revision Resume is also a great way to identify errors that need to be corrected.

Poor Formatting

Poor formatting that we see includes:

  • Large sections of text with no spacing for easy skimming

  • Inconsistent spacing, bolding or indenting

  • Unusual font choices

  • Colored font that causes a distraction

  • Inconsistent date formats

  • Unusual section titles

  • Too large, too small or changing font sizes

  • Tables or graphics

A poorly formatted resume shows a lack of attention to detail. Put in the effort to make sure your resume gives a professional appearance and shows the amount of time you invested creating it. If this level of detail is not your strength, consider a resume critique from Revision Resume so the poor formatting is pointed out. This will allow you to correct it before submitting.

Outdated Style

Finally, we commonly see outdated resume styles. Since people often don't update their resume until they need to, it may have been years since they last wrote a resume. At that time, the guidelines may have been different. However, the applicant may be unaware of the changes in the industry. When they pull out their decade-old resume, they may just add in their current work experience and send it off. Unfortunately, the outdated document style jumps right out at the hiring manager, in a negative way. Common issues we see are:

  • Including an Objective Statement

  • Including "References Available Upon Request"

  • Cramming everything into 1 page

Although these were all part of the resume guidelines years ago, they are discouraged now. Be sure you are submitting a document that meets current standards.

Revision Resume is here to help those in the Rochester area and beyond. Contact us for a resume critique or a resume creation and feel confident you are submitting an error-free, up-to-date resume.

Related Reading

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What’s Next?  With the Right Resume, the Sky’s the Limit!

The challenge for most job applicants is crafting the right resume. 

Revision Resume is here to help offering the following writing services:

Resume critiques are also offered to those who have already created their own resume but would like a second set of eyes to check for errors and to ensure the document is up to modern standards!

With up-to-the-minute knowledge of the hiring industry, Revision Resume can make sure you are submitting the right resume!

In addition to our blog that is packed with useful information and tips, Revision Resume also offers a monthly newsletter and group educational programs. 

Finally, for the "do-it-yourselfer," we offer a checklist package that helps you ensure you haven't missed any vital details. 


To learn more, contact us.

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