Resumes & Cover Letters

6 Common Resume Mistakes That Make Recruiters Cringe

Written by ResumeSpice

Recruiters see a lot of resumes – sometimes as many as hundreds in a day. So it’s understandable that there are some mistakes that just make them cringe. Particularly, those they see most often! The team at ResumeSpice polled recruiters and below were six common mistakes that recruiters hope to never see again. The good news is they’re all relatively easy to fix! So here goes…

Not including your contact information

Yes, this is a real thing that applicants do. Maybe they think recruiters can tap into some cosmic network where every applicant’s contact information lives. Recruiters do work a lot of magic when it comes to placing candidates, but they don’t have ability to intuit your contact information just from your name and list of professional experience, no matter how impressive.

If you’re concerned about privacy, you don’t have to put your full street address. In fact, we recommend that you don’t. Just put your city, state, and zip so the recruiter knows you’re a feasible candidate based on your location. And always include phone number and email address.

Inconsistent formatting

So you included bullet points in one section of your resume, but didn’t include them in the next section? Or you have three different types of fonts or font sizes. This type of resume faux pas really makes recruiters cringe. Not only does it make you look like you don’t pay attention to detail, it makes your information difficult to read.

When recruiters are already parsing through hundreds of resumes, believe us when we tell you, they aren’t going to stop to decipher yours. They’re going to toss it and move on to the next one.

Functional resumes

If recruiters could show you a visual of their darkest, worst nightmares when it comes to sourcing qualified candidates, functional resumes would be it.

Functional resumes basically give an overview of your skills, abilities, and achievements without listing out your work history in reverse chronological order. Some functional resumes don’t even include dates, nor do they list relevant employer information.

If a recruiter sees a functional resume, it’s a big red flag. The case may be that you merely thought the functional resume was creative and different, but to a recruiter it seems like you’re hiding something, such as a large career gap, which leads us to our next point…

Unexplained career gaps

Recruiters understand that there are a number of reasons why a career gaps occur. Maybe you moved to another state. Maybe the company you worked for closed down. But what recruiters want to know is that you’ve been doing something and that your skills aren’t out-of-date.

Take a course relevant to your career at a community college, volunteer your skills to an organization, or even list your duties as a stay-at-home parent (negotiating, communicating in tough situations, budgeting, logistics – these are all hot commodity skills). In the absence of an explanation, recruiters are going to think the worst.

Nonprofessional email account

We wish this one could go without saying, but unfortunately it still happens all too often. Companies want to hire professional individuals to fill a role that solves a business need. Recruiters are tasked with finding those individuals. Very few things make you look more unprofessional than an email account like or Sorry if one of these is your email address! Always keep it professional – your best bet is to create an email address that includes some variation of your first name and last name.

Not proofing

Recruiters can often forgive small errors like a missing period or an extra space. But if your resume is riddled with incorrect spelling or poor punctuation, you’ve just unintentionally communicated three things: you don’t really care about the position, you have poor attention to detail, and/or you simply don’t know how to properly use language.

The fact of the matter is that recruiters are not personally judging your resume mistakes – though it may seem so. Rather, they’re professionals who are trying to solve a need for their employer or client. So, as much as your resume reflects the person/professional you are, who recruiters submit for consideration says something about them professionally as well.

Your professional skills and credentials could be impressive, but if your resume has one or a combination of the cringe-inducing mistakes above, it will never be placed in front of a hiring manager.

Savannah Ober is a resume writer and career consultant at ResumeSpice. In addition to being a resume expert, Savannah is also an experienced corporate communications professional, working with one of the world’s largest global companies. Savannah has written recruiting advertisements for trade publications, created marketing collateral, written press releases and blogs, and developed social media content. Savannah holds a BA in English, creative writing.


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