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8 Things to Avoid in Your Resume - what makes or breaks your job opportunity?

Updated: Oct 18, 2019

No matter what are your qualifications, what you finally put on paper becomes the deciding factor for an interview callback. Read on and find out which of these you're guilty about!




1. Grammatical and spelling errors

Even though you're not applying for the position of an English teacher, you still need to work on your spelling and grammar. It's a complete turn off for prospective employers to be editing your resume, further distracting them from your skills and qualifications. Be meticulous when you're editing your own work and don't hesitate to get a second opinion, just to cross your t's and dot your i's (literally!).


Pro tip: avoid using personal pronouns such as "I" and "You" and use past tense for previous work history.


2. Generalising skills and experience

Your resume is your space to flaunt your skills, so avoid being mediocre. Be specific with your job roles and include data and metrics to quantify your achievement.

Do this: Managed to increase productivity by 20% and saved an additional RM5,000

Not this: Worked with fellow employees to save cost



3. Unprofessional, outdated information

Is your email address still catlover21@yahoo.com? Then you need to reevaluate your life decisions... It's crucial that you maintain professionalism and keep your information updated from time to time. If you're wondering why haven't you have gotten any callbacks from the 30 companies you applied to? It could be because you've accidentally included your old mobile number in your resume! Also, update your employment history as well, because the last thing you need is for your potential boss to notice a gap, wide enough to raise unwanted suspicions.


Pro tip: keep a separate mobile number for work, so that you don’t miss any calls or interview offers due to unforeseen circumstances.


4. A long list of duties



Among the hundreds of applications that Hiring Managers scan through, your mundane, never-ending list of duties will not be their subject of interest. Highlight accomplishments instead, to show your excellent track record so that they will have an idea of what sort of successes you'll bring to their organisation.


5. Personal preferences

Unless you're introducing yourself to a class of preschoolers, never include your love for fishing or shopping in your resume. Your resume is not a space for your biodata, so leave out your religious beliefs or love for aesthetics to save space for some useful info.


Pro tip: Don't include your personal social media URL as that could come off as unprofessional. Your updated LinkedIn profile should be the only exception!


6. Mismatched objectives

We all know how convenient it is to send one resume to 30 different companies or to recycle your resume from 2015. However, that also makes it easier for potential employers to reject your application. Most of the time, candidates often overlook the objectives and content of their resume, which ends up backfiring them. Avoid this mistake by editing, or a little tweak of information before you send out your resume to each organisation. Get a clearer picture of what their business is all about by visiting their website or their job offer post and line your words accordingly- to give them an idea that you're a match!



7. Too much, too little writing

While too much information will make your resume look like a history text, too little writing could make you seem vague and inadequate. As much as you would like to be brief, cutting down all the important details would do you no good either. Try to include as much detail, while simultaneously maintaining concise and crisp writing. Avoid long-winded sentences and arrange your information neatly using bullet points or numbers.

Pro tip: Stay away from fancy, cursive fonts and stick to standard ones like Calibri, Times New Roman and Arial. To maintain professionalism and minimise distractions, only use black or navy blue in your resume.


8. Salary information

Your resume is not the place to state your preferred salary amount, as this may cause a false impression or form restrictions for your prospective employers. Salary would definitely be a matter of discussion before you get hired, where there'll be a room for negotiation. By exposing it at an earlier stage, you reduce your chance of being called for an interview or getting hired. So leave all the money talk for now and never bring up the subject on your own until you're asked to comment at a later stage.