Five Resume Killers

A resume is often your first impression to a potential employer, so it is important to spend time perfecting it. Hiring managers on average spend only six seconds looking at each resume during their initial review, according to the study “Keeping an Eye on Recruiter Behavior”. That means that you want to be sure to avoid any obvious errors because that can be enough to disqualify your resume during a recruiter’s six-second scan. Here are five of the most common resume killers to avoid!



This may be the biggest resume killer out there. If a recruiter catches a typo while reading your resume, that may be an immediate disqualifier, especially if they have a large stack of other resumes to review. Lori, a hiring expert from Cigna, says “You don't get a second chance to make a first impression, so it is key to make sure that you look over the resume a few times, and then have someone else look it over a few times.”1 Having someone else take a look at your resume can be helpful, since our eyes may not catch every mistake.


Personal Information

While a resume is a document about you, it is important to keep it professional. Ashley, a hiring expert from Cardinal Health, advises “Your resume should be a snapshot of your professional experience, not your personal life. Keep any personal information limited to contact information. For entry-level professionals, I often see hobbies and interests included at the bottom of resumes. This is a good way to fill space, but you want to keep this professional so be cautious of what you are listing as your hobbies and interests.”2


Objective Statement

An objective statement is a somewhat outdated element of a resume; employers generally understand that if you are applying, your objective is to be hired for the job. Dan, a hiring expert from Mutual of Omaha explains, “It depends on the industry and the employer, but objective statements often get overlooked as they don’t include any interesting or helpful information.”3 The exception to this would be if you are switching industries and need a place to explain this to recruiters.



A recent trend that recruiters have noticed is the inclusion of headshots on resumes. Ashley continues her advice, saying “I have seen more resumes lately with a picture included as well but I would personally advise against this. If you feel that a picture is important to include, I would add the URL to your LinkedIn profile instead.”4 Adding a photo of yourself to your resume can be distracting to the person reading your resume and can also come across as unprofessional. After all, your appearance should have no impact on your ability to perform the job and therefore is not relevant to the hiring process.


Irrelevant Experience

There is a very limited amount of space on a resume, so you must use it wisely. Including job experience that isn’t related can distract hiring managers from the relevant information and make you a less desirable candidate. Mike, a hiring expert from Avery Dennison, explains, “What you don't want to do is add additional pages of fluff. That could actually have an inverse impact on your ability to get the job and cause the resume reviewer to think your experience is more closely aligned to a different skill set than what they are looking for.”5 Keep it to one page and only include things that you think are necessary to show a recruiter you are qualified for the job.


By avoiding these resume killers, you can ensure hiring managers get the best first impression of you and increase your chances of getting an interview!



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