Unfortunately, long gone are the days where a basic, chronological resume is sufficient for getting a callback. If you’re applying for a coveted role, well, you guessed it – you are going to need to position yourself as a coveted applicant!

Still, too often amazing applicants are overlooked for roles that they would absolutely crush, because their resume doesn’t properly speak to their experiences and how they relate to the job their applying for.

Nonetheless, here are 5 things you’re doing wrong with your resume, and how to correct them into a kick-ass resume!

1. You’ve Used The EXACT Same Resume to Apply for Another Job.

Please, please, PLEASE don’t ever do this. I understand the convenience of it and how easy it is to convince yourself that there really isn’t THAT much variance between an Accounting role at two similar firms, but it’s more damaging than it seems.

First off, imagine you’re a recruiter and/or hiring manager and you spend a solid chunk of your day reading resumes. When you’re in this role long enough, you know what to look for in a resume and can easily decipher the difference between someone who sent in an application that was used for another job versus someone who has carefully crafted their application, based on what they inferred to be valuable from the job description. If it’s a job you really want or a role that’s remotely coveted, unless you have 3 Master’s degrees from Harvard, you’re going to have to put some effort into your resume to differentiate yourself from the crowd.

Solution: Spend some time understanding the nuances between this job and the last job you used your resume for. Understand what they may be looking for, how it differentiates from the previous job, and how to qualify and speak to that in your resume. You don’t have to reinvent your entire resume, but giving it thought as to how you can better address what they are looking for will do wonders.

2. You Haven’t Quantified or Customized Any of Your Experience.

You know what? I’ve been there myself – telling myself that my roles aren’t quantifiable or that my roles are too generic to provide anything specific to my experience. I’m not going to lie, it’s pretty bullshit. If you dig deep enough, every role has something you can either quantify or single-out as an accomplishment. If you successfully hired over 30 people in a high-growth period, that reads much better than a generic statement about recruitment. If you were instrumental in your bank branch receiving the highest customer service appreciation in your town, region, city, province/state, or country, it should be a no-brainer to include!

Solution: Spend an hour going through each of your last 2-3 professional roles and make an inventory of every quantifiable aspect, accomplishment, or experience outside of your regular job description. Remember, a good Recruiter will dig and read between the lines, but if you can’t at least meet them halfway and show them, they’ll start to wonder what other things you might cut corners on.

3. Your Formatting is Whack.

If you’re saving your resume into a PDF, double-check that the formatting is still intact. Even more so, make sure your formatting makes sense for the reader.

Solution: Never assume that any export-to-PDF is safe. Before attaching, and even after attaching, click your PDF and ensure the formatting is how you meant to save it. If not, go back to your original document and double-check that you hadn’t accidentally pressed “enter” or any other keys that would mess up the formatting.

4. You’ve Used “Work” Terms

A strange, but common misconception some job-seekers have trouble grasping, is that most recruiters/hiring managers have never worked at the same place (or even in the same industry) as you. Shocking, yeah?! Still, they assume that these same recruiters/hiring managers would understand an obscure work term, acronym, or phrase in your resume.

Solution: If you used a proprietary system called “ICM”, at the very least spell it out. If you’re using acronyms from a large organization, again, spell it out. More often than not, if recruiters are left guessing, they won’t take the time to research or follow up, they’ll move on to the next candidate that has provided them with what they need.

5. You’ve Left Glaring Grammatical Mistakes.

I shouldn’t have to list this one, but it still happens on resumes more than you’d like to think! Sure, grammatical and/or spelling mistakes can be overcome, if they are minor, but it doesn’t provide a good starting point. Particularly, since there are so many tools out there you can easily utilize/install to ensure you’re avoiding this mistake, it’s kind of inexcusable!

Solution: Check, double-check, and triple-check. Then, once you’ve done that, check one last time. Also, install Grammarly for your e-mail correspondence and copy and paste your resume into an e-mail to see if there are any issues being highlighted that you can correct.


While this isn’t meant to be a comprehensive list of common resume mistakes, these are five easily-avoidable, but commonly overlooked areas that can quickly save you from a disaster application and turn it into an actionable application!