Skip to main content

What Never to Write on Your Resume: 5 Mistakes to Avoid

Shay Banks left her teaching career and entered into two non-related industries over the past 6 years. She shows others how to do it too.

Words and phrases to avoid while writing your resume

Words and phrases to avoid while writing your resume

Awkward First Dates and Resumes

Years ago, I went on a date with a guy who liked to wear women's blouses.

I didn't know this about him as it was not on his dating profile anywhere. When we spoke on the phone the prior week, he never mentioned it.

But there, in a hippie cafe in an artsy-fartsy side of town, he decided to greet me with the most unique greeting I've ever received:

"I know what you're thinking. 'Why is he wearing a woman's blouse?' Just so you know, I wear them because they fit me better."

I stopped, frowned, and gave him a once over. His shirt didn't look like a woman's blouse at first glance. I mean, it was a simple shirt that could've easily been a collared men's shirt.

But because he pointed it out, I focused on it.

It was on my mind during coffee and later while we ate our breakfast-for-lunch meals. As he told me about his high-powered engineering job, all I could ask myself was "Would I have known that was a woman's shirt had he not told me?"

And so it is with resumes.

Your resume is your first impression. It's your one chance to impress someone or to make them run for the hills.

There are a lot of blogs out there telling you how to write a perfect resume; however, there's not enough that tell you about the seemingly innocent mistakes that you are making.

And that's what this article is about. Without further ado, let's get started, shall we?

1. Vanilla Words

Did you know that vanilla ice cream is the top-selling flavor of all ice creams?

What's even more surprising is that chocolate ice cream was actually invented first. It's rumored that many people prefer vanilla to any other flavors because they use chocolate syrup as a topping.

What's this got to do with resumes?

According to Forbes, almost 70% of all resumes sent on job boards are generic.

Quite simply, that means, you're resume is boring, bland, and just like everyone else. It's vanilla.

This is more than likely why so many resumes end up deleted faster than lightning can strike. Even vanilla ice cream lovers need a chocolate syrup topping in order to make it exciting.

Your generic resume is no different.

The best way I know how to avoid being vanilla is to write your resume from a hiring manager's perspective. What are they looking for?

If you do that and do it the right way, you will have a ton of job offers in no time.

2. Pinocchio Words

Pinocchio is a children's story of a wooden puppet who dreamed of becoming a real boy.

But he had one problem—he lied. A lot.

Every time he lied, his nose grew longer and longer. It was written as a way to warn children to not be dishonest, however, because Pinocchio was so charming, the moral of that story never really made an impact

There are a lot of resumes out there with blatant lies written on them.

  • People claiming to be managers when they weren't.
  • People claiming to know software they've never even seen, let alone used.
  • People claiming they were employed by companies that never existed.

I understand you want a higher position or more money, but there's a right way to do it. Lying or fibbing about it is definitely not the right way and can end up biting you in the butt later on.

Moral of the story: Don't be Pinocchio.

When sending your resume, make sure you check your email address.

When sending your resume, make sure you check your email address.

3. Bad Email Words

Want to have your resume thrown away faster than a speeding ticket? Use an inappropriate email address as a way for hiring managers to contact you.

What's inappropriate?

I say let commonsense be your rule of thumb. If you have to ask if it's inappropriate, then it probably is. But just in case you're still not sure, here's a list of what email addresses should never be used on your resume.

  1. Anything overly sexual
  2. Anything even a little bit sexual
  3. Slang
  4. Anything with the number 420 in it
  5. Anything mentioning drugs or drug use (That means marijuana, too. I know it's legal, but your first impression to employers should not be that you do any drugs, legal or otherwise)
  6. Anything demeaning, offensive, or discriminatory to others (including, but not limited to race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, nationality, and religion)
  7. Anything mentioning your prescription drugs (Prozac, Viagra, etc.)

When it comes to your email address, keep it simple and professional.

When writing your resume, make sure you're not coming across aggressively.

When writing your resume, make sure you're not coming across aggressively.

4. Defensive and Aggressive Words

Your resume is your ticket to a potentially great job.

One that pays well. One that offers great health insurance. One that offers a flexible work schedule.

But you won't see the inside of a corporate office if your resume is aggressive or defensive.

What do I mean by aggressive?

  • When talking about your prior employment history, you state that your manager was a dummy that barely knew his first name, let alone how to run a department.
  • When describing your software skills, you put in parenthesis that your prior job didn't allow you to use these skills because they were trying to hold you back from your greatness.

Write your resume with objectivity. Look at your prior jobs as a stepping stone that will lead you to another wonderful opportunity. Doing anything other than that will lead to disaster.

5. Filler Words That Don't Mean Anything

Have you ever met someone who just yaps and yaps about nothing?

Their mouth is moving a mile a minute and yet nothing substantial is coming out? How does it feel being around them?

Irritating? Draining? Frustrating? Annoying?

When your resume does the same thing, hiring managers get frustrated, annoyed, drained, and irritated as well.

You don't want to be vanilla in your writing, but you also don't want to be too wordy. You want to make sure that each word used on your resume is appropriate and essential to its cohesiveness.

The best way to do this is simply by re-reading your resume several times out loud. By reading it out loud, you'll catch more mistakes than if you read silently.

Get Writing!

Resume writing is tough. Good resume writing is tougher.

I suggest you do not take it lightly if you want to land a better job in the near future. Spend some time writing and re-writing it. Take your time and really get good at seeing yourself objectively.

If re-wording and re-working your resume is too much of a hassle for you, then you can scroll up to the Author's link above and contact me for help.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.

© 2017 Shay Banks