3 experts who've read over 300,000 resumes share their biggest pet peeves



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Don't annoy the hiring manager.


Not all résumé mistakes are created equal.

Some are pretty common. Others are major.

Then there are the errors that are just plain annoying.

Business Insider recently asked Résumé Writers' Ink founder Tina Nicolai, Chameleon Résumé managing director Lisa Rangel, and Five Strengths CEO Amy Adler to share their own biggest résumé-related aggravations.


They all came up with somewhat different answers. It just goes to show you that pet peeves are relative - even when it comes to CVs.

1. Keeping things too vague

Rangel says that she dislikes skills-based résumés, which are heavy on lists of skills and light on context. She explains that oftentimes job seekers will adopt such formatting to conceal a non-linear career background or an employment gap.

"Well, since people with 'normal' backgrounds do not use functional or skills-based resume formats, when someone does, all it does is make me think, 'what is this person trying to hide?'" Rangel says. "Essentially, using this format does the absolute opposite of what was intended by using it: it brings attention to the nonlinear background."

2. Cramming in too much

Adler says that she doesn't really get annoyed at résumé mistakes. However, she says that it's important to remember the purpose of a CV, in order to avoid annoying hiring managers.

"A résumé should be about the candidate but for the hiring executive," she says. "The candidate needs to think about what would be easiest for the hiring executive to digest and understand."


That's why it's a huge error to cram in a massive career history into one page.

"This doesn't annoy me per se, but I never could understand why so many people, even the most experienced, think that one page is a divinely inspired and rigid page limit," she says.

3. Overly long summaries and stiff jargon

Nicolai previously told Business Insider all about her biggest résumé pet peeves, namely: "Summaries that are way too long; overused résumé jargon; and appearing too formal and rigid."

She explains that it's better to list achievements in a concise manner with a quick tag line: "After a while, the summaries can read like a lengthy chapter in a book."

She also recommends that job seekers avoid both overly formal language and clichéd jargon like "out-of-the-box," "team player," and "exceptional communicator."


"A person who truly is a 'unique problem solver who works well in teams' will convey this succinctly and creatively on their résumé through a combination of few words and imagery," she says.

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