We see a lot of resumes here at ATR.

A lot.

Our recruiters look at hundreds if not thousands of resumes in a year.  We’re in the business of finding people jobs, so that’s not a surprise.  Because of this, they’ve seen some of the best and worst practices when it comes to resumes and this puts us in a great position to share some important advice on resume DON’Ts.


  1. Have a 10 page resume.  Only if you are a very senior level person should your resume be more than one or two pages long, and even then, think carefully. Believe us, we’ve seen people make this mistake (even more than 10 pages!) and it is a surefire way to turn off anyone reviewing your resume.
  2. Use an unusual font. Now is not the time to break out one of the handwriting, calligraphy or other funky styles that programs offer. When it comes to resumes, simple, sans serif fonts like Verdana or Arial are best. Avoid serif fonts like Times or Cambria to minimize the possibility of errors when your resume is scanned by ATS software.

  3. Color your text. Please don’t use blue, or green, or magenta or any color other than black or dark gray. It is hard on the eyes and looks unprofessional, highly unprofessional. Don’t overuse bolding either and be very careful about italicizing words. Not only is this nicer for the person reading it, it will make it easier for screening software to read as well.

  4. Submit a screenshot of your resume. This might seem like a timesaver and a great use of the technology available today but it is NOT.  Given the availability of cloud storage and the ease of sending files from a phone or other mobile device, you should be able to access a proper doc or pdf version of your resume to submit.

  5. Use fancy graphics or a funky layout. Unless you are a graphic designer or an artist (and even then be cautious), your resume should not include text running longitudinally, shadow text, geometric shapes, or gradient color fill. In short – no special effects!  Certainly not in the business sector.

  6. Repeat the same information multiple times. If you’re proficient in Microsoft Office you only need to say it once. If you know C++, Java, .net, or Visual Basic, include this in your summary or a technical skills section, don’t list them with each and every one of your past positions where you used them. It’s unnecessary and repetitive and takes up space that could be better used on other information.

  7. Start with an Objective section. The Objective is an outdated relic of resumes past. It is redundant and uninformative. Of course you are looking for a position, otherwise you wouldn’t be submitting your resume, and telling someone what kind of job you are looking for in no way shows them how you are suited for the job, which is what matters to them.

  8. Use buzzwords that are so overused they are almost meaningless. Avoid creative, strategic, driven, passionate, motivated, track record, innovative, extensive experience, dynamic, expert, responsible, and organizational at the very least. These words are like nails on chalkboard for recruiters who see them again and again.  Your resume will stand out if you demonstrate that you are these things instead of just stating it using stale words and trite phrases.

  9. Lie or exaggerate. It just isn’t worth it. Pretty quickly, people will find out the truth.  A good recruiter can spot things that don’t add up sooner than the average person but eventually your information – past employment, education, etc. – will be confirmed.  Sometimes the hiring company would not have cared about the lack of a degree or the fact that you have a gap in your employment but the fact that you lied about it is what prevents them from hiring you.

Click here to send us your resume. We’ll start looking for your next job today.

Our recruiters have seen it all and they want to help make sure that you don’t make the same mistakes. Your resume is usually the first impression that you make on a hiring manager, internal or external recruiter. You want to ensure that it is a good one that moves you to the next step, an initial interview. If you avoid the don’ts listed above, you’ll improve your chances of getting through.

Looking for a new job? Read: How to Optimize Your Job Search, A Comprehensive Guide for Every Job Seeker


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *