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5 Resume Problems You Didn't Know You Had

And how to fix them

Here you are (again) sending out applications and getting nothing but form rejection emails--if any response at all. You’re being consistent, your writing is excellent, you’re following up politely-- but nothing. You’re beginning to doubt yourself and your capabilities. 


But for real, girl, how’s your resume lookin’?

I’ve been people’s go-to resume reviewer for years because of my writing background and I soon found out a well written and visually pleasing resume is important--but it’s not everything. So here are five common mistakes I've seen that I love to tackle.

1. Format

A recruiter only reads a resume for an average of 6 seconds. And my experience in recruitment supports that; not only is a hiring manager skilled in what to look for, they’re usually skilled in where to look for it. So how do you solve a problem like format? Positioning is everything. You should understand how a resume is read in order to put your most valued info in the best possible spots. You control your image and employers are eager to see you!

2. Font

In the quest for more interesting design, I’ve seen candidate after candidate experiment with Goudy Old Style, Comic Sans (yes, still it plagues us) and Word Art (*rips hair out*). Let’s not, okay? Cool. A resume is useless for a million dollar candidate if it’s illegible.

Pro Tip: The most important things on your resume are (in order) content, format and design. Say the right things, put them in the spotlight and then worry about aesthetics. When you are ready to tackle fonts, here’s a great article--complete with supporting research--on the most easily read fonts.


3. Templates

Often, when a resume suffers from 1 and 2, sometimes it's because of because of 3. There are tons of sources for free resume templates but choosing a good one is almost an art. Picking the wrong template is easy and you can find yourself with one that is difficult to print or doesn’t work as a word document.* On the other hand finding a great template is hard work so I’ll be sending my trusted sources in this week’s newsletter (5/24).

*Pro Tip: I say send out PDFs 99.9% of the time! But word documents can be handy when working with recruiters

4. Length

Cutting your resume is tricky business. I’ll tell you right now, smaller font is not the answer. (Please. Please don’t). What you choose to remove and what you choose to keep should be strategic decisions that push you toward your goal (so don’t just remove or add things at random). Every word counts.

5. Content (but not the usual)

Yes, you’ve heard to make sure you list accomplishments and not just duties and responsibilities but have you been warned about having an “interest/hobbies” section past a certain age and job level? There are lesser known pieces of content that sometimes go overlooked, such as what to leave in the absence of a break in employment, things to say in your header, appropriate websites and social links, etc. Ask yourself "is  this my best professional self?", "Is this relevant?", "Does it need explanation?". If you’re worried you’ve said too much (or too little) on your resume, contact your Resident Resume Content Queen.


 An eye catching resume can get you ahead of the game so you CAN and SHOULD be creative, it just takes some expertise to get it right. You got this.

If you obey all the rules, you miss all the fun.
— Katharine Hepburn

Suffering from one of these or sure your problem is in the next 5? Subscribe to my newsletter below for the rest of the list plus free resume templates.

If you need more than a template to get where you’re going, please schedule a free consultation with me so we can chat about your dreams.