7 Deadly Sins of Writing a Resume


Introduction: Welcome to the real world. 80% of resumes are thrown out in less than 11 seconds. Usually because of these 7 deadly sins of resume writing.

Not getting called back usually has less to do with your skill, and everything to do with your resumes getting thrown in the trash.

Getting to the interview is super important considering about 1/5 interview candidates end up landing the job.

Overcome interview anxiety here.

1.) Typos and Grammatical Errors

Do not rely on Microsoft Word grammar check. The sentence “Bagel is a tombstone big bone funny“. Will not be found in Microsoft Word as an error.

Yes, we know, it’s probably the most obvious of all resume tips: It needs to be grammatically perfect.

However, if the mistake is easy enough to be found by the employer, it automatically takes you out of the running.

2.) Job Titles

The second deadly sin is failing to realize that managers are people too. They like to be impressed by an applicants resume. Bringing in a rock star hire is a bonus for them as well. Especially when they can do so, within such a short time to review each resume.

Creating standout job titles helps you seem more professional. Helping to Stand out from other applicants.

Appealing Job titles:

Rockstar Job TitleGeneric Job Title
HVAC Sales Representative
Sanitary engineerJanitor
Landscaper Lawn cutter

3.) Shotgun Applications/ Applying Everywhere

In the 21st century people are digitally applying for jobs from all over the world. Shotgun method works less, because now the average manager can choose from 100’s of applications.

It’s better to apply to 10 jobs in your field and stand out. Versus applying to 100’s in various fields while competing with thousands of applicants.

Pro tip:

Pick a job/field you want to work, then apply to those jobs. Want to work as a web developer or a graphic designer? Create a web developer based resume, then create another graphic designer resume.

Most people only need one job. Rather than wasting time applying to millions of lower-quality jobs why not apply focus on getting one solid job.

Managers choose job applicants similarly to how people choose restaurants.

For example, you’re new in town and in the mood for pizza. You see a shawarma spot that happens to sell pizza. Then we see a pizzeria.

10 times out of 10 we choose the pizzeria. That’s just the safer option. Even though the other restaurant might be better.

Applying to more jobs isn’t the answer to a weak resume. Most times it is shooting for a specific job makes you stand out!

4.) Applying with one method

Writing a resume for an online site is a deadly sin. It’s easy to automatically upload a resume to indeed.com. However the format looks pretty wonky and doesn’t always transition smoothly. You’re best bet is always uploading your resume as a PDF.

Many people only use indeed.com/monster etc. Because it is ‘easy’. Whelp, that’s the most popular job site in the world. Meaning everybody does it, so results aren’t as determined.

Have you tried these methods?

  • Job Agency
  • Employment Agency
  • Google searching e.g. “Carpenter job in Toronto”
  • Try other websites: Eluta Neuvoo Craigslist
  • Posting flyers near your home
  • Messaging people with a job on LinkedIn

5.) Not skimmable

This is the most heartbreaking resume writing sin. The hardest workers suffer from this sin. Because they try to pack all their irrelevant accomplishments into one page.

Glass door survey says managers skim through resumes for an average of 6 seconds.

Managers don’t need to find the best candidate, they just need to find somebody that’s able to do the job. The interview is to see how good of a fit you actually are.

6.) Unprofessional / Irrelevant info


  • Mention of drugs/alcohol/video games etc.
  • Begging or saying “I really need the job”-ust me I’ve gotten these before.
  • Saying that you’re a good person / hard-worker.

Irrelevant: useless information

  • No mention of or limited mention of religion/hobbies, unless relevant: People debate on this, but many say the hobby section is more of a filler and should be kept to a minimum
  • Email should be some variation of your name: John.Doe22@gmail.com Not BarbieDoll79@hotmail.com
  • The skills listed should be relevant to the job applied

7.) Complicated / Difficult To Read

The average age of an HR manager is 42. Most managers are not as Tech-Savvy as you believe them to be. A difficult to read resume is a turn off. Key tip, bring a hard-copy of your resume to each interview.

  • Not in PDF format
  • Too colorful (if applicable)
  • No templates w/ designs.
  • Too long: Longer than one-page Resume
  • No words should be written sideways.
  • Lack of point form
  • No headings.

8.) No Resume Portfolio

I know I said 7 deadly sins. Rather than make this a second post. I decided to add on an 8th deadly sin. Missing a resume portfolio.

This isn’t exactly a resume error, even though it’s one of the deadliest sins of them all. A portfolio is like a free sample/trial to a product. In this case the product is the applicant(you).

Why Do I Need a Portfolio?

Having a portfolio is proof that you are serious about working in a desired field. Managers are able to trust an applicants resume, once the skills on the resume are shown to them.

Portfolio’s also help employers find you. How much easier is the hiring process when you have clients coming to you. Looking for work.

Research study suggests approximately 80% of jobs are not posted online. Creating a portfolio allows employers to find you. Job searching becomes a whole lot easier.

Portfolios give you added experience. When you can show years worth of work you’ve been doing on your own. This allows you to apply to hire paying jobs as well.

“I planned a fundraising event from beginning to end” is one thing—showing the event invitation, program, budget, and volunteer guidelines you put together is completely another.” – Chrissy Scivicque

Make the managers job easy, and I promise you will get more callbacks.

How do I build a resume portfolio?

Simple, pick a job/field that you want to join. Then create content about it. Add a link of your portfolio on your resume that employers can click on to be amazed by your effort/expertise!

Do you have a psychology degree but can’t find any work?
Show your passion for psychology by having content related to psychology.

Portfolio ideas

  • YouTube Channel
  • Quora profile: Answer psychology questions
  • Reddit profile: Answer psychology questions
  • Podcast: Start from your phone on anchor.fm
  • Blog: Start for free on medium.com
  • Coaching Service
  • E-book
  • Poetry
  • Public speaking

All of the above counts towards your portfolio.

Want a free resume critique? Contact me.

Stephan Toure

Blogger writer and content creator that's dedicated to helping others get out of their own way.

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