Bulls Eye Recruiting

5 Things on You Should NEVER Say or Do on a Resume

ThedudeSometimes when I am reading resumes I feel like I should be a third grade English teacher rather than a recruiter.  Why do I say this?  I am simply amazed by the mistakes made on resumes.  The misspellings, the run on sentences, the formatting, and the blatant lack of attention to detail are simply astounding.  I need a red pen to mark up the resume.  As I have said more than once, even in the age of social media and LinkedIn, resumes are essential in your job search.

Do you know the song by Tim McGraw called “I Like It, I Love It” where he says “I throwed out my shoulder”?  Even if you aren’t a fan of country music, that song has been played on every radio station across America for the past decade.  Every time I hear it, I feel like someone is running their fingernails across the chalkboard.  It is “I threw”, not “I throwed”!  Why, oh why, would he say such a thing?!!  That is EXACTLY how I feel when I look at resumes that aren’t done well.

There are common errors that need to be eliminated.  I want to share with you some of those common errors and hopefully you will NEVER make these mistakes.  After all, a resume is a first impression and you may never get to an interview if your resume isn’t done correctly.

Here are 5 things you should NEVER say or do on a resume:

  1. Apply to a job that you have NEVER done without a Cover Letter or explanation. I am really struggling with this one.  This is my #1 pet peeve.  It is kind of like putting diesel in a car that only takes unleaded.  Why? Okay, if you want to change careers, that is cool, but tell me why you want to make a change and how you are able to do the job. Simple enough?
  2. Never apply to a job without a LinkedIn URL. Why in this day and age would you not have a LinkedIn account?  I just don’t get it.  If you are in the job market, don’t you know I am going to check your social profile? Also, if you want to hear more about how I feel about this, read here.
  3. Never compromise your resume & career by trying to cram everything on one page. The one page rule in my mind is ridiculous.  Who cares?  If you have had an established career and want to highlight what you have done, then please, by all means make it longer.  I think 2-3 page resumes are the norm today.  With all of the technologies and skills that are required of candidates, you better make sure you list the right skills the company is looking for in a candidate.  Do you think they care how long their job description is?  No!
  4. I don’t need your physical address or home phone. Guys, this is not 1995.  Everything is electronic, on social media, or on your mobile device.  I need your e-mail, phone number, blog site, LinkedIn (I’ll say it again), Twitter account, or whatever relevant information you can give me so I can research you.  I need to know what city you live in, but I don’t need to know your physical home address.  I really don’t want your home number either.  A cell is all I want and need.  I don’t need your grandmother answering a phone call and taking down your phone number.
  5. Please tell me CLEARLY what you did at your job (in CHRONOLOGICAL ORDER), what you accomplished, and what skills you have acquired. I don’t need all of your skills jumbled together with your company name and dates of employment at the bottom of your resume!  What are you hiding?  Look, if you have gaps in your employment tell me what you have been doing.  Have you been consulting?  Have you been going back to school?  Just spell it out for me.  I’ll likely pass on your resume if I can’t figure it out in 6 seconds, so make it simple!

Of course I am only scratching the surface here, but this is a good start.  Next week I’ll give 5 more pointers.  Please whatever you do, don’t “throwed” out your shoulder between now and then.










  • Doris Appelbaum

    May 14, 2016

    I agree with many of the points in this post, but not all. Resumes are not generic. Different “rules” apply for different people and job opportunities.

  • Kathi Miller-Miller

    May 17, 2016

    Great post! While all 5 represent solid advice, the first is my personal favorite. Going a step further, I encourage every applicant to include a cover letter (even if they aren’t breaking into a new field.) Thanks for sharing Will!

  • George Hudson

    June 1, 2016

    That is a great post Will. I do feel that some recruiters would want your physical address so that the person could be trusted. Resume writing is not a simple task.I totally agree with the fact that LinkedIn profile is a must as it would give the employer a broader view of your life and the company you worked for. Thanks !

  • Helen Greene

    June 9, 2016

    As a hiring manager I also get resumes with typos and grammatically imperfect resumes. I always throw those resumes into dust bin. I know everyone does same thing. Job seeker must be very careful while writing their resumes. They should avoid at least typos and grammatical errors. That drives me crazy.

    • Brian

      August 28, 2016


      You have numerous grammatical errors in your response. Is that comedy or irony?

  • Cyril Hill

    June 16, 2016

    Number 2 is interesting. I have not recommended that in the past, but I don’t see why I can’t start. It’s certainly a great way to make a lot more information available to a potential employer without adding too much content to the resume itself.

  • Stacy Greens

    June 26, 2016

    Employers sometimes prefer applicants with references rather than someone who doesn’t so as to minimize risk. Make your references strong so as to be on the safe side. 2nd, make sure your references are as reliable as you think they are. It should tell truthfully good things about you. It is a good idea to speak to your references once before you put them on your resume. That way you will kind of seek their permission to included them on your resume and also be assure of their support.

  • Nissar Ahamed

    April 19, 2017

    Interesting points.
    #1 – Cover Letter is a topic I see different view points. Eventhough CoverLetters are not mandatory- it will definitely make you stand out. I find that it gives me an edge over other candidates who do not use a cover letter.


Post a Comment