Avoid Common Resume Mistakes with this Easy Checklist


Every time you begin a new job search you should first look over your resume for needed updates or edits. Does your old resume have mistakes that you missed?  Are there updates to your work history?  Is the design outdated?   This checklist will help assure that resume mistakes do not distract from your accomplishments.

Typos and Word Use

Misspellings and other resume mistakes happen. Unfortunately, they imply limited attention to detail in the eyes of hiring managers. Consider your word usage. Are your words conveying your intent?

  • Pay attention to spell check.
  • Check the dictionary for correct spelling and word use.

Tense and Syntax

Resume tense use can be confusing, as can syntax.

  • Use past tense for former positions, and present tense for your current job.
  • Proper syntax means that subjects and verbs need to agree, just like those in this sentence!

Pronouns are Frowned Upon

Use of personal pronouns is suitable for less formal writing. Formal documents like resumes avoid pronoun use.

  • It is best not to use “I,” “me,” “we,” or “she.”
  • Responsibilities and accomplishments are neutrally presented:
    • Assisted management team with productivity reports.
    • Redesigned workflow, reducing attrition and absenteeism within six months.

Professional Information Only

Your information should be limited to what makes you the perfect job candidate. Not a best friend or workout buddy.

  • Include your name, credentials, and contact information, including email and phone.
  • Do not list hobbies or personal interests unless these relate to the position you seek.

Focus on the Position

Let your resume show how qualified you are!

  • Use job posting keywords to focus on your qualifications for the position.
  • Give listing priority to past positions that demonstrate your ability to excel at this job.
  • Highlight responsibilities and accomplishments similar to this position.

Resume Design and File Type

Clear resume design increases your chance of being invited to interview.

  • Select a resume with balanced white space.
  • Font: size 11 or 12 in a standard style such as Calibri or Times New Roman.
  • Use consistent heading and bullet formatting throughout.
  • Save as a PDF file; this assures that formatting is maintained across all platforms.
  • Try to keep it to one page.

Resume Review

  • Recruit trusted friends to help you proofread for pesky resume mistakes.
  • Review for accuracy and consistency in positions, spelling, and formatting.