The Top 10 Reasons Your Resume Isn’t Getting Results

Every day, I am messaged or emailed by someone who asks something along the lines of, “Would you look at my resume and tell me what you think?”

Putting aside the idea that I charge people to critique resumes and that it takes time away from my clients, who doesn’t say, “please” when they ask for a favor? Is that how your kids are raised? Really!

Since some people don’t have the means to pay for a personalized critique, I thought I would offer the top 10 mistakes I see people make with their resumes.


  1. You don’t include your address.

I understand that people are concerned with identity theft and do not want to wind up on a mailing list, but when companies and recruiters will search their applicant tracking system or data base in the future they will enter keywords to reflect the job they are trying to fill and a certain distance from a particular zip code the job is located. Minimally, include the city, state and zip code of where you live.

  1. You don’t put your last name on the resume

It’s almost the same thing. People search their systems when a new position opens up. They try to find you. What happens? They see 40 or 60 people named Scott, Ramesh or Sharon. Make it easy for everyone and include your last name on the resume. If the reason you don’t include it is fear of discrimination, then the same person you are afraid of will still discriminate when they speak with you.

  1. Your resume is not keyword/SEO optimized

Company applicant tracking systems are often programs to find search terms in the top one third of the resume because they believe it reflects more recent experience. SEO your resume by including those terms in a summary area in the top one third of it.

  1. Your resume and LinkedIn profile are not congruent.

This is a 21st-century mistake people make. So often, companies will receive a resume and look at your profile and they don’t match up. Before sending it out, make sure your resume and LinkedIn profile are on the same page about your jobs, dates and responsibilities.

  1. You only write about responsibilities and tasks

People understand that you have responsibilities and things that you do. What was the impact of what you did? What was its size and scope? How are you different from the other thousand resumes a firm receives?

  1. You don’t offer metrics

Did you help your firm make or save money? How much money did you help them make or save? There is a difference between work that helps an employer make or save $10,000 $10 million and $100 million. Be explicit!

  1. You don’t spell check your resume

See that ribbon on the top of Microsoft Word? There is a spellchecker in there. Use it! Don’t forget to visually scan your resume for words that if they are misspelled would be a correct spelling. For example, for years, I would read a resume that included the word, “Novel,” when the writer meant to say, “Novell.”

  1. You use funds that are much too small

I sometimes receive resumes in eight point fonts. Most people who read a resume are not going to waste their time hitting select all and increasing the size of the type. Minimally, use 10 point type.

  1. You use embedded headers and footers

Many systems are unable to parse a resume with embedded headers and footers. No one is going to manually type that in to their database or ATS. You can provide the same information without embedding it.

  1. What you wrote is boring

I read so many resumes that seem like they were written by a machine. They are dull to read and on interesting. Without exaggerating or capabilities, make your resume interesting. Show some personality. Your resume should never read like the last thousand someone read. Put some wire into it!

Here’s a bonus. Never ever use a template. It is okay to follow the format of a template but the frames that are often used in templates are usually a problem for systems to parse.


© The Big Game Hunter, Inc. Asheville, NC  2016


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Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter has been a coach and recruiter for what seems like one hundred years.

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