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5 reasons your resume isn’t working

5 reasons your resume isn’t working

over 3 years ago By Emily Harris
Reviewing CVs

Did you know that employers take as little as three minutes to read each resume they receive? This means the window of opportunity to make a good first impression is very small. You can’t afford to put off a potential boss with big mistakes.

Many of the most common errors are easy to fix. Here are some of the most common errors to avoid when writing your resume.

Spelling and grammar errors

Good spelling and grammar are the most basic parts of a well-made resume, but people often get them wrong. Getting this core part of your resume right is essential. Everything else could be perfect, but a single spelling or grammar error could instantly put off a would-be employer. Make sure you fix any errors highlighted by your computer’s word processor and run a final spell-check before you send it out.

The wrong font

Another core element of resume writing is your choice of font. Resumes should be easy to read, giving the information in a clear, unfussy manner. The font for your resume should be basic and simple. It doesn’t matter how much you’ve fallen in love with that new snazzy font! A sharp, easy-to-read font such as Arial or Calibri will allow a potential employer to see past the font to the information you wish to share.

Too many pages

Many people still pack their resumes with as much detail as they can. This creates large, difficult to read documents. You need to grab an employer’s attention on page one - it doesn’t matter how much extra detail is included after that.

A busy boss does not have the time to read a 14-page resume, so make each word count. Leave out irrelevant details such as all your school grades and jobs from a decade ago. Unless the experience is relevant to the position applied for, don’t include it. Keep the language sharp, succinct, and to the point. Writing a snappy, two-page document will show how precise you can be.

Fancy formatting

Borders, backgrounds, or any fancy formatting, has no place on a resume. These extra details just distract employers who are busy and distracted already.

Keep the formatting simple and black and white. Lose that personalised letterhead - no matter how impressive you think it looks. Under no circumstances use any kind of picture or clip art. This is not professional – and could lead to your resume being automatically rejected.

Inappropriate email address

A resume should always include your current contact details such as a phone number, address and email. But a common pitfall is to include an email address that comes across as unprofessional.

To you, it’s just an email address, but to a potential future employer, it’s a negative first impression. If your email address is something like “”, it’s time to create a new, professional one. It’s easy, free and could really help your chances.

Update your resume today

If your resume has one or more of these problems, it may be holding you back. With these quick fixes, your resume has a much greater chance of avoiding the trash! You’ll create a much better first impression, and it may lead to you getting an interview!

Read our jobseeker advice