Top 9 Resume Mistakes To Avoid in 2023
By Abraham Mmbaga
September 4, 2023

Your resume is your elevator pitch. It should briefly highlight who you are and why you are best fit for that particular job. Recruiters always are busy people. Look at a recruiter as someone going to take a flight in a few minutes and you have met at the airport. He asks who you are as he has an open opportunity for you. Before you figure out what to say, he flies.

Recruiters receive tons of applications for specific job openings. A single corporate job opening gets an average of 250 applications (Glassdoor).

Over 80% of resumes don’t pass the first screening, and only 1 in 10 get to a hiring manager. (Workopolis).

Recruiters rely on ATS for screening applications. Up to 90% of employers, including most Fortune 500 companies, use Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) to manage candidate applications. (Forbes). 

Recruiters spend little time to go through the submitted resumes. A hiring manager’s average time looking at a resume is 7 seconds, so your resume needs to make a swift impression (Novoresume).

Based on this data, most resumes don’t meet the average recruiter’s criteria.

Here are the mistakes, you should avoid them:

  • Too long resume

 Avoid writing too long resumes. Recruiters spend little time reviewing resumes. A hiring manager’s average time looking at a resume is 7 seconds, so your resume needs to make a quick impression, Novoresume. A common rule of thumb is one page for 5-10 years of experience. Two pages are acceptable if you have more experience than that and that experience is relevant. Data from Resume Worded suggests that top resumes have between 450 and 650 words for entry and mid-level hires, while up to 850 words for senior-level engagements.

  • Using paragraphs instead of bullets  

Bullets help to highlight your achievements very quickly. Short, concise bullet points are critical to your resume’s readability. Blobs of text, bullets, or paragraphs three lines or longer will likely not be read. 

  • Filler words.

Filler words are superfluous words that take up space and add little value. Examples: quickly, successfully, efficiently, creative and hardworking.

  • Overemphasizing previous responsibilities and no quantified achievements

Recruiters seek evidence of impact, and hard numbers help with this.

Example: Responsibility vs. Achievement

Responsibility: In charge of creating new processes and improving communication between departments. 

Strong Achievement: Led a process re-engineering project to improve and consolidate end-to-end service processes; restructured communication among ten departments and reduced paperwork by 75%.

  • Weak Action Verbs

Hiring managers look for impact on your resume, so using weak or ineffective language can hurt your resume’s success rate. Examples of weak action verbs include Worked with, Responsible for, Experienced, Tried, Does, Made, and Watched. Some verbs are acceptable but overused: Assisted, Led, Oversaw, and Utilized.

  • Wrong verb tenses

 Using the wrong tense can make you appear unprofessional or careless to hiring managers. Use past tense to tell your achievements.

  • Spelling errors

Spelling error is an easy way to ruin your resume’s chances of making a good impression on hiring managers.

  • Buzzwords & Clichés

Remove vague buzzwords that add little value. Example: A highly motivated individual with strong leadership and management skills, with extensive experience managing cross-functional teams.

  • Inconsistent dates

Dates not in reverse chronological order. Recruiters want to see your most recent experience first and will most easily understand your resume if you use this format.


A good resume commands recruiters to invite you for an interview. It should communicate your worth clearly and concisely.

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