Five mistakes people make while building a resume for the first time

This article discusses everyday mistakes people make while building a resume.

Five mistakes people make while building a resume for the first time
Photo by Markus Winkler / Unsplash

This article discusses everyday mistakes people make while building a resume for the first time. I also justify why a particular mistake needs to be fixed.

Let's jump in!

Sharing a (.doc) file as a resume

I come across people who share their resumes in (.doc) format. Do not make this mistake. Share a pdf resume.

Why fix this?

In the world of laptops and mobile phones, there are various software using which you can open a (.doc) file.

  • On a mac laptop, it would be Pages software.
  • On a windows laptop, it could be Microsoft Office.

And not to forget, the use of online office services has skyrocketed.  

All these apps are not fully compatible with each other. Font, size and, at times, formatting could be broken. Because of this, when you share a resume, it looks unprofessional.

The pdf file format, on the other hand, is standardised. Hence, the resume you send is what the recruiter sees.

Creating a Resume Template

Unless you are into designing, I highly recommend using resume templates online. It's boring, I agree, but it's for the best.

The latest trend is to use Latex based resumes. A quick Google search gets you numerous templates.  

Why fix this?

From Wikipedia,

a resume is a document created and used by a person to present their background, skills, and accomplishments.

Your goal should be to present your background, skills, and accomplishments and not work on coming up with a resume template. Some professionals create a resume template.  Your job is to use that template and quickly build your resume.

Providing Tier-2 or Tier-3 cities as the location  

Unless you don't want to relocate, mention your location as the closest Tier-1 city.

This is not a significant problem anymore, given that we got habituated to a remote environment. It's not wrong to make this change, though.

The problem with this approach is the recruiter might not entertain a relocation bonus. Having a conversation with the recruiter might help.

Make this change when you need a job badly. This could help.

Why fix this?

If you provide a city the recruiter has never heard of, the recruiter might think you are unwilling to relocate and hence may not contact you


Other candidates who are already in the city would be provided preference first. Why risk contacting a person who might not be willing to relocate?

Creating two-pager or more-pager resumes, thereby diluting your best stuff

If you recently graduated, stick to a single-page resume. You can use a second page if you have three-plus years of experience.

I have seen a resume with more pages get shortlisted, but only if your portfolio is too good to discard or the job role is not that exciting but needs to fill immediately.

Why fix this?

Quoting from the Career cup website:

Recruiters do not read your resume; they do a 15 - 30 second "spot check" of your resume. When your resume is too long, it just takes your best stuff - the stuff that would have made the "one page cut" - and dilutes it with more mediocre content.

Not providing proof for personal projects.

One of the common mistakes that people make is to list a personal project and not provide proof.

I get it, you don't have proof because you changed your laptop or do not have access to the code or project.

Change that from now on, and have proof.

You can either save your work on GitHub or record a video and upload your work on YouTube. Once a link is generated, provided that link on your resume.

Caution: Do not host your office-related work on your personal GitHub account. This might get you in trouble! ;)

Why fix this?

People who provide proof are generally considered authentic and have higher chances of getting their resumes shortlisted.

If you want to get your resume reviewed or need guidance while building one, you can hire me! :)

According to you, what is the mistake people make while building a resume for the first time? Let me know in the comments, or drop me an email.


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