The Lowdown on Resume Writing’s Mortal Sins

⏳4 minute read

Because really, who cares about your height, weight and religion in job applications?

Kass Monzon

Published on July 17, 2019
Kass is the co-founder at Workbean. She’s obsessed about finding happiness at work and helping organizations understand their people better. She will never be seen without coffee in her hand.

It’s difficult to get started in writing your first resume and with so many things happening in our lives (we hope this is true for all 😉), we tend to overshare and forget the fact that resumes are meant to highlight professional qualifications — not personal information. So, to save the recruiter’s precious time in screening your profile, take note of the no-no’s in your resume and you just might get that phone call.

1. Unnecessary Personal Details 😥

Resumes are not bio datas. Period.

We have sifted through hundreds of resumes over the last couple of months and it’s sad to see that many new graduates still use the ancient way of writing resumes. In the age of equality, it shouldn’t matter whether you’re 120 pounds or a vegan before you can get shortlisted for a job. Don’t give any reason for the recruiter to apply their own biases to you based on your personal information.

Do away with sharing über personal details about you like your age, religion, marital status, parents’ occupation, etc. Instead, focus on your achievements and key contributions to your school or community!

2. Photo 📷

Take this one with a grain of salt. Generally, photos in resumes are not recommended because of unnecessary discrimination. So, unless you’re applying for a modelling or acting gig, take out the photo from your resume. Research shows that recruiters take only six seconds to decide whether you get shortlisted or not so it’s best that they use this time to screen your qualifications and not your pretty face!

Photos are tricky so be careful if you really want to include it in your resume. We do suggest adding URLs of your professional social media or portfolio accounts since most recruiters use Google to search for you anyway.

3. Irrelevant Work Experience 🙈

We know how much you loved getting paid to walk your neighbour’s dog but do you think that’s a qualification that makes you stand out from your competition? Yep, didn’t think so.

If you’re deciding whether your experience is relevant to the job you’re applying for, read the description, responsibilities and qualifications carefully and think about your skills and experiences that match it. It’s always best to tailor-fit each application to the role’s requirements because it makes it easier for recruiters to decide if you fit the position!

4. Personal Pronouns 😮

If you can, refrain from using “I” or “me” when detailing your contributions. Resumes should generally be written in a concise and straightforward manner so instead of saying “I grew my portfolio by 20% year-over-year” you can probably say “Increased year-over-year portfolio growth by 20%.”

We find that sticking to action words to begin your statements perform better when reviewed by recruiters.

Here are some examples:

· Accelerated

· Accomplished

· Analyzed

· Assembled

· Built

· Founded

· Created

· Constructed

· Delivered

· Developed

· Executed

5. Self-promotion (without basis) 🎭

Results-driven, Self-motivated, Detail-oriented, Self-starter. Do these sound familiar? Yep, it’s because almost all job applicant tells us they are all this and more. We’re taught to highlight our unique characteristics that make us stand out but the truth is, self-promotion without a demonstrated actual application to tasks or projects is moot.

Our advice? Stick to action words and provide a summary of your accomplishments that demonstrate your perseverance and collaborative spirit. You will be way ahead of competition if you provide concrete examples!

6. Resume Objective 🙅

Resume objectives focus on your personal interest as a jobseeker that tells what you want from the company. It used to be a thing, but then, come to think of it, why else would you send your resume to a company? You want the job and that fact has been established!

If you really want to capture the recruiter’s attention, write a personal summary instead. Consider this your elevator pitch that provides a brief on your concrete contributions to your school organization or to your internship; and why you are the ideal candidate for the job. What value can you add to the company? What’s unique about you that makes you the best match for the job? Answer this and you just might get that interview.


That’s it for now! We hope that you won’t commit these mistakes when writing your own resume.

If you have any stories to share, let us know at [email protected]

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