5 Resume Fails You Need to Avoid

By: Sam Barrett, STEM EMEA Recruitment Account Manager

At Russell Tobin, we review hundreds of resumes each day, which means we’ve seen all the mistakes that candidates make that ultimately hurt their chances of getting hired. Avoiding these common pitfalls and tailoring your resume will give your application a higher chance of being seen, which may lead to your next employment opportunity!

In this blog post, we’ll take a closer look at some of the common errors we’ve seen and offer solutions to help you create a winning resume.

Resume Fail #1: The Wall of Text

No one wants to read a cluttered, cramped resume with no white space. Make sure to do the following to make your resume easy to scan.

1. Use clear headings: Use clear and concise headings to break up your resume into sections, such as “Education,” “Experience,” and “Skills.” This will make it easier for the hiring manager to quickly scan your resume.

2. Use bullet points: Use bullet points to list your achievements and responsibilities for each job or experience. This will make it easier for the hiring manager to see your key accomplishments.

3. Keep descriptions concise: Keep your descriptions concise and to the point. Use action verbs and quantifiable achievements to highlight your accomplishments.

4. Use white space: Use white space to break up your resume and make it visually appealing. Leave enough space between each section to make it easy on the eyes.

Remember, hiring managers often have to review hundreds of resumes, so keep yours visually appealing and easy to read.

Resume Fail #2: Generic Objectives

We’ve all seen those objectives that say something like, “To obtain a challenging position a growth-oriented company.” Instead, tailor your objective to the specific job and company you’re applying for. This shows you’ve done your homework and are genuinely interested in the opportunity.

1. Research the company: Before writing your objective statement, research the company and the job you are applying for. Look for keywords and phrases in the job description and use them in your objective statement.

2. Highlight your skills and experience: Use your objective statement to highlight your skills and experience that are relevant to the job you are applying for. This will show the hiring manager that you have the necessary qualifications for the position.

3. Be specific: Avoid using vague language and be specific in your objective statement. For example, instead of saying “To obtain a challenging position,” say “To obtain a marketing position in a fast-paced, results-driven organization.”

4. Keep it concise: Your objective statement should be no more than one or two sentences. Keep it concise and to the point.

This is your chance to make a strong first impression, so don’t waste it on a bland statement.

Resume Fail #3: Irrelevant Information

It’s important to showcase your skills and experience, but be selective! Including every part-time job or unrelated hobby can be distracting and make your resume look unfocused.

Focus instead on the experiences that are most relevant to the job you’re applying for. Your results and accomplishments are most important—include any actions that generated profit, delivered cost or time savings, or increased productivity. That way, the hiring manager can see at a glance that you’re a great fit.

Update your resume regularly to ensure it is up-to-date and includes the most relevant information.

Resume Fail #4: Typos and Grammatical Errors

Nothing says “unprofessional” like a resume riddled with mistakes. Make sure to proofread your resume multiple times and consider asking a friend or family member to review it as well. A fresh set of eyes can help catch any errors you may have missed.

Resume Fail #5: Inconsistency in Formatting

Inconsistencies in font, size, style, and spacing can make your resume look disorganized and unprofessional. Keep your formatting consistent throughout your resume. This includes using the same font and font size for all text and maintaining the same margin widths and spacing.

Unless you are applying for a graphic design role, your CV/Resume shouldn’t look like a piece of art. When a CV/Resume is over-designed it is harder to read and makes it more time-consuming for a recruiter to format, which can potentially cause the recruiter to not consider your resume at all. Keep it simple, clear, and concise.


As you update your resume or create a new one, keep these tips in mind and remember that your goal is to showcase your qualifications and make a great first impression. It’s also important to regularly update your resume with new skills, experiences, and accomplishments so that you are always ready to apply for your next opportunity.

Don’t let these resume fails hold you back from your dream job. Take the time to create a winning resume and put your best foot forward. A strong resume can be the key to unlocking new employment opportunities and advancing your career.