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Common Resume Mistakes and Corrections

Updated on June 10, 2019
Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Ms. Inglish is a successful employment & training pro, setting Midwest regional records with tens of thousands placed in gainful employment.

Moving into the corner office after a great resume and interview.
Moving into the corner office after a great resume and interview. | Source

Mock Resume

Elizabeth Smith, MS, MBA

1234 Any Street; Loa Manga NJ 11111

Phone:(123) 456-7890...Email:


Opportunities for advancement in a company that leads the market in Sales and Service.


  • Uncommon communications skills

  • Recognized problem solving skills that build sales

  • Proven sales leader with record figures for 2009 - 2013

  • Proficient in Microsoft Office Suite

  • Award winning customer service


1.XYZ Financial

Customer Service Supervisor; 2008-2013

Experience as a Customer Service Representative. Delivered excellent customer service while working with financial officers and customers. Communicated among the company, brokers, and officers. In addition, did a new filing system.

Customer Service Assistant; 2005-2008

Responsibilities in this job included reading and studying about retirement services, clerical tasks for officers, and addressing needs of 55 person call center.

2. ABC Financial

Receptionist/Customer Service Technician; 2000-2003

Solved business problems for customers calling in and coming into the company. Directed customer traffic, helped to open new accounts. Various paperwork.

Mock Cover Letter

Elizabeth Smith, MS, MBA

1234 Any Street; Loa Manga NJ 11111

Phone (123) 456-7890...Email:

May 7, 2006

Dear Mr. HR Representative:

I am writing in response to your Internet classified want ad on April 14 on the New Jersey for a CR Specialist. I have a lot to offer your company, including 10 years of experience.

I've enclosed my resume for you to read and hope that you call me for an interview. look forward to speaking with you soon. Please call me at either (123)456-7890 or (123)456-789X.


Elizabeth Smith


.The resume and cover letter displayed above are actually based on several resumes and letters that I received

  1. As completed resume writing class assignments and
  2. In response to advertised positions in our facility for receptionists and clerical workers.

One set was written in pencil on notebook paper and was received in application for an actual job in a day and age where computers are free to use at the local libraries and workforce development offices countywide will even help type them at no charge.

My suggestions for change in the above documents are largely by standard practice or best practices in the resume writing industry, but there is still room for individual expression and creativity in format.

In the above examples, please notice that:

  • The resume is prepared fully in BOLD print, which is overbearing and hard to read.
  • The name and address are centered attractively, but the name is the same size as the remaining contact information. The name should be larger and BOLD/bold (capitalized or not are both fine)and the address, etc. should be 10pt or even 9pt. This is the only area of a resume that can legitimately contain smaller-than-10pt font size. Standard font size for a resume is 10pt - 12pt except for the name of the job applicant and this can 16 - 18pt or larger. Arial or San Serif - or a similar font without curlycues anywhere - are the best fonts for a resume and are easy to read by both humans and computer scanners. I notice than in online editing I do for large publishers, Courier and Times New Roman are often misread by computer scanners and need corrections.
  • Headings are ill-thought and poor quality in the resume.
  • The Professional Experience section is labeled "Work." It could be labeled Work Experience, Professional Experience, Work History (although this sounds like a psych evaluation or a penal intake statement to me), or something similar.
  • The presentation of Skills is awkward and disjointed, not making much sense.
  • There appears a two-year gap in employment from 2003 to 2005. This is a red flag to Human Resources staff and to employers. Standard practice is to leave dates off of employment information in order to give no overt clue of the applicant's age, but many people insist upon having the employment dates on their resumes. They feel that the resume is not completed until the dates are shown. Military resumes themselves normally require the dates. In such a case, the employment gap sill likely be questioned in the initial interview, or the job candidate can open that discussion him/herself.

A Revised Resume Could Look Like This

The cover letter itself could be formatted into a letterhead-style of page by creating a letterhead at the top of the page with the job applicants name, address, phone number and email address something like this:

Elizabeth Smith

1234 Any St. • Loa Manga NJ 11111 • (123) 456-7890 •

The name could go to the left, as shown above, or it could be centered. Both are attractive and give the image of professionalism.

"Dear Mr. HR Representative" sounds a bit foolish, so it is best to obtain the actual name of the person to whom you wish to direct your letter. Call up the company and ask for the HR director's name. If asked, you can tell them that you wish to write that person a letter and you can request a packet of information about the company. An annual report is usually avaiable, at least, and this will give you more insight into the company's atmosphere, culture and long-term goals after you receive and read it. If you absolutely cannot gain the name of the HR Director, then address your letter similar to:

ABC Company

Human Resources Department

1234 Some Street; City, State Zip Code

Dear Hiring Officer:

I am writing in response to your Internet classified want ad on April 14 on the New Jersey for a CR Specialist. I have a lot to offer your company, including 10 years of experience.

I've enclosed my resume for you to read and hope that you call me for an interview. look forward to speaking with you soon. Please call me at either (123)456-7890 or (123)456-789X.

The body of the Cover Letter would be stronger and more likely to gain an interview with tightly-focused and targeted information and action verbs:

I am responding to your New Jersey Craigslist job listing of May 1, 2006 with an attached resume for your review. I am excited about this position as a Customer Service Specialist, because I have substantial related skills, 10 years of accomplished experience, and several recognized past achievements that I can bring to your organization.

Most recently, I have earned the award for Top Customer Service Supervisor of XYZ Financial statewide for the second year in a row. Currently, I am looking to join a national corporation to bring my brand of unparalleled customer service to play in a larger territory. During my tenure at XYZ I have:

  • Increased repeat sales by 36%,

  • Increased word-of-mouth referrals by 45%, and

  • Reduced costs by 27% through the efficient use of client scheduling and streaming of CS procedures.

After reviewing my resume, please call me at (123)456-7890 or (123)456-789X in order to schedule a face-to-face meeting to discuss what I can do for your company. Thank you and I look forward to speaking with you.


Elizabeth Smith

This closing is alright, but add this two spaces below the name:

Enclosure: Resume and cover letter

Or abbreviate:

Enc: Resume and cover letter

The Edited Cover Letter

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2008 Patty Inglish MS


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