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5 Common Resume Mistakes

(that are often overlooked)

Cynthia stared at a blank page for what seemed to be hours, trying to figure out the best way to position her resume. Honestly, she was a little worried, realizing that although her degree was in marketing, she had virtually no experience under her belt. After undergrad, she spent a few years working at her aunt’s pet store as an office manager. It was a great place to work, however it didn’t offer her the type of professional growth that she felt she needed… So after days of agony, she finally had a heart to heart with her aunt, who in turn gave her blessing for Cynthia to start looking for a job more suitable for her desired field.

Cynthia felt pretty confident at first, having done a great job for her aunt as an office manager, and she knew that a stellar reference from her aunt was in the bag, but she also knew that what she did at the pet store was very different from what she would be doing for the marketing firms she was applying for. That said, she did what any smart, confident, motivated, young professional, when faced with writing a phenomenal resume that would need to stand out from the hundreds of applicants that were applying for the same jobs would do … she buried her face in her hands, got up from the table, went to the fridge, grabbed a snack, pouted for a bit, took a nap, and then ultimately regrouped and had a break-though.

Cynthia finally realized that she couldn’t worry about what experience she didn’t have, so she decided to focus on the experience and qualifications that she did have, and to make sure to place great emphasis on those throughout the resume. Once she got into a groove, Cynthia finished her resume in record time, however she thought it would be wise to have a close friend proofread it. It’s a good thing she did, because here are just a few common mistakes that Cynthia made while composing her resume.


Something so simple as a few misspelled words can be a deal-breaker for some. It may be viewed as a testament to your possible inability to provide adequate attention to detail.

Focus on achievements

Avoid just listing duties. For a more balanced approach, try combining your role’s responsibilities with your accomplishments. Use action verbs to create emphasis and highlight various milestones.

Unprofessional email address

Although you may have created it your freshman year of college and have held on to it for years to maintain continuity with your family and friends; using an email address for your resume that isn’t professional probably is not a wise move. Consider creating an email address specifically for your professional ventures and then keeping the other for your more personal connections.

Avoid over-used jargon/ Clichés

Let’s face it; a recruiter or hiring manager can only see so many resumes that all say the same statements like “team player” (aren’t we all per our resumes). Use statements about yourself that are unique and will stand out. If not, your resume will likely just get caught in the shuffle.

Write in the correct tense

If you are writing the description for the role you are currently in, make sure you are writing it in the present tense. Otherwise it looks like you are no longer performing those duties. “Write in the right tense, so your resume makes sense”

Need additional resume tips? Visit our Inspirational Academy page and leverage one of our dynamic courses for guidance and support.

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