This Is the Most Common Mistake Applicants Make on Their Resumes

August 11, 2017, 2:27 PM UTC
Hands of business woman crumple resume at the desk, mistake document - failure business concept.
Hands of business woman crumple resume at the desk, mistake document - failure business concept
KittisakJirasittichai—Getty Images/iStockphoto

Having an error-free résumé is pretty crucial.

Typos, however minor, could signal to potential employers that you’re sloppy or you don’t care enough to proofread your work, and they can really hurt your chances during the six seconds hiring managers typically take to make their initial “fit/no fit” decision.

So which résumé errors are the most common?

Career site Zippia used Python language tools to analyze 100,000 résumés for errors.

The résumés were randomly selected from a total of 7.5 million résumés, sourced from January 2015 to June 2017 and collected from Zippia’s website, federal and local databases, and other sites.

After that, the team at Zippia looked through the résumés and ruled out formatting issues, email addresses, and names, along with any other items that didn’t qualify as true errors.

Read more: 38 things you should remove from your last résumé before it ends up in the ‘no’ pile

They then tallied how many times they found each individual error in their sample of 100,000 résumés.

Here are the most common résumé mistakes ranked in order of the number of instances from least to most common:

13 Including successive sentences beginning with the same word

Number of errors per 100,000 résumés: 13,332

Make sure to vary your writing. Recruiters don't want to have to slog through a repetitive résumé.

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12 Using the filler phrase 'in a ... manner'

Number of errors per 100,000 résumés: 6,543

It's best to just cut out filler phrases.

11 Leaving out possessive apostrophes

Number of errors per 100,000 résumés: 5,452

Don't forget to include the possessive apostrophe.

10 Forgetting to add commas after conjunctive or linking adverbs

Number of errors per 100,000 résumés: 5,257

One way you can sidestep this issue is to avoid using lots of clunky clauses on your résumé altogether.

9 Leaving in an agreement error between a numeral and a singular countable noun

Number of errors per 100,000 résumés: 4,465

Proofread your work to avoid this simple typo.

8 Messing up hyphens

Number of errors per 100,000 résumés: 3,413

Make sure you're not forgetting or misusing hyphens.

7 Using an indefinite article instead of a definite article before a superlative

Number of errors per 100,000 résumés: 2,675

Indefinite articles like "an" and "a" introduce unspecific nouns, whereas definite articles like "the" introduces a specific noun.

Read more: 13 job interview tricks that are hard to master, but will pay off forever

6 Word repetition

Number of errors per 100,000 résumés: 2,064

Run your résumé through spellcheck to see whether you've accidentally written out the same word twice in a row. Or better yet, give it a second read yourself.

5 Use of 'a' vs. 'an'

Number of errors per 100,000 résumés: 1,796

Remember, use "an" before words that start with vowels or a mute "h" and "a" before words that start with consonants.

4 Using words like 'admit,' 'appreciate,' 'avoid,' and 'enjoy' with a base form of a verb (instead of the gerund form of a verb)

Number of errors per 100,000 résumés:1,470

Saying that you are "accustomed to write" is incorrect. The correct version of this sample sentence is "accustomed to writing." Adding "ing" allows the verb to function as a noun.

Read more: The psychology behind why your résumé hardly stands a chance to make it past the rejection pile

3 Nouns, pronouns, and verbs don't agree

Number of errors per 100,000 résumés: 1,273

The subject and verb in a sentence must agree — either they should both be singular or they should both be plural.

2 Including the phrase 'all of the' in front of normal nouns

Number of errors per 100,000 résumés: 1,167

You can just use "all" in front of normal nouns. Using "all off" isn't necessarily wrong, per se, but it is much clunkier phrasing. And that's the last thing you want on your résumé.

1 Forgetting to capitalize 'I'm'

Number of errors per 100,000 résumés: 1,140

This obvious and noticeable error could leave recruiters scratching their heads.