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Top 14 Resume Tricks That Can Backfire


Writing a proper resume is vital to get your dream job and also you might want every word in your resume to be perfect in order to impress the employers. And for this you might search for ways to camouflage a faulty career history or even want to hide your age, and eventually you will end up adopting some of the following tricks. But unfortunately, these tricks are easily detectable and your devious approaches of concealing a flawed background may be a boomerang for you.

Here are some resume tricks that you should avoid if you don’t want to get yourself marked as deceitful or desperate by the hiring authorities.

resume tricks that backfire

Resume Tricks That Will Definitely Backfire:

1. Replicating Your Prior Job Descriptions:

Although it’s the easiest way to jot down all your job responsibilities and duties on your resume, but copying exact sentences of your previous job description can be a blunder. All hiring managers know the basic duties of any employee for any particular position, thus it’s better to focus on your achievements rather than duties you have performed. If necessary, you can rephrase some portion of it and use, but not the exact phrases. All employees in that particular position, discharge the same duties, rather you can stand out of the crowd by focusing on your achievements.

2. Hiding Your Weaknesses behind a Functional Resume:

This format of resume is being loathed by the employers, as functional resumes basically tabulate expertise and skills without binding them to definite jobs and dates. It is also tough to make out the candidate’s professional advancement, and when the achievements were accomplished from functional resumes. It is assumed that people generally choose this format to hide flaws in job records, specifically when they try to mask breaks between jobs. The format itself contains a hidden message that it is camouflaging some weakness of the applicant, so it should never be used. Rather you should always opt for the chronological format comprising details of your job history along with the particular dates of service and achievements.

3. Avoiding Dates on Your Resume:

Often when senior candidates want a job change, they opt the trick of not mentioning dates in their resume, so that prospective employers cannot make out their age. They think that insertion of dates will help the prospective employers guess their age and as a result may guess that these applicants may not be capable or skilled, if they are little older in age. But in reality, a resume without dates is incomplete and appears weird thus making the hiring managers inquisitive about whether the achievements mentioned in the resume are recent or of an earlier time. If you are experienced enough, that is also an added advantage and hence will fortify your candidature.

4. Messing up your resume with decorative “keywords” to get through resume-screening software:

A lot of candidates believe that finding out some captivating combination of keywords, is the only way to get through the software used to screen resumes. But actually, many companies don’t use this software and generally the screenings are done manually by the hiring managers. And moreover, modifying your resume according to the acceptance level of software can make it unattractive to the eyes of any human being, and at the end of the day a human will decide the suitability of your candidature and not a computer. If you think you are competent enough for any particular job, it’s better to keep your resume simple and avoid jargons.

5. Reducing the Size of Your Resume by Decreasing the Margins and Font Instead Of Keeping the Content Crisp and To-The-Point:

Many a time, the employers specify to keep your resume short and not exceeding one or two pages maximum. While many candidates attempt to endure that perimeter by decreasing the font size and contracting page margins to stuff in extra content, but it’s not about the physical appearance of your resume; it’s all about the content, the prospective employers want resumes to be short and sweet so that they can keep some questions aside to ask you during the interview, rather than getting all information from a lengthy resume. Thus, decreasing the margins can weaken your resume’s impression —no employer will ever want to read a resume with hardly any white space in it. The standard font size for resume is 12-point size.

6. Adopting Too Much Graphics and Fancy Design for Your Resume:

You might want your resume to be different than the other pool of applicants and might want to attract the hiring manager’s attention. But using an uncommon resume layout with clip art, decorative bullets or colour, may just be a boomerang for you. Although your objective is definitely to be notable, but ornamental add-ons will only confuse the hiring managers. And if your folio appears to be excessively messy without proper margins, the hiring managers might feel genuinely disgusted and they can really find it tough to swiftly find the info they’re eyeing for on your resume. Literally, decorative resume layouts are inclined to diminish the quantity of information you could have actually included, thereby giving more importance to the appearance of the resume than its content.

7. Using Fancy and Complex Vocabulary Trick:

It’s always better to keep your resume simple and legible. It’s a wrong conception that gigantic words and long sentences will make your resume more attractive and noteworthy, especially when their uses are inappropriate. You should not mask your shortfalls behind gigantic vocabulary. Don’t make the hiring manager sit with a dictionary while going through your resume. This will certainly complicate situations. Your resume is not an essay that you need to embellish with fancy vocabulary; otherwise it might make the reader wearisome. It’s always better to use popular and prevalent words and short, crisp sentences to describe your aptitudes, skills and your job history. Although inclusion of valid and powerful keywords and phrases matching your profile as well as the position you are applying for, is a must.

8. Plagiarizing another Person’s Resume:

In my opinion, people should write their own resumes in their own words describing their abilities, skills and experiences but may perhaps use various templates of resume writing available on the internet. But often they take the shortcut to create a perfect resume and copy it from someone else. Although it sounds so simple, but it also is a form of stealing. Your resume is your face to the employers, so whenever it is embellished with dishonesty, it ruins your impression too. We all have different set of skills, capabilities, experiences and aptitudes, so our resumes should also be different. Writing a resume is also creating an effective brand for yourself and marketing your talents and capabilities to various organizations. So, the more unique it is, more will be your chances of getting absorbed. Moreover, the copied resume may have typographical error, grammatical mistakes and even spelling mistakes that you might have overlooked. This will certainly diminish your likelihoods of getting interview calls.

The fundamental part of writing a resume is to organize your info underneath simple headers to make your résumé more attractive to the hiring managers.

9. Using Decorative Paper Gimmick:

A resume that is printed on bright coloured papers like fluorescent green or bright blue paper is sure to get noticed but will soon be discarded as a junk. This is a common way to seek attention, but probably not the kind of attention you anticipated. The reason is strong, bright colours are not appropriate for an official document and this approach was obsoleted ages before. You should always select a superior quality paper in white, cream or grey.

10. Using the Same Old Resume for All Positions:

Your resume should not be one-size-fits-all especially when you are planning to change your job. Since no two jobs are alike, your resumes should not be same either. According to a survey carried out by CareerBuilder, using the same old common resume is one of the greatest blunders done by applicants which results in dismissal of their candidature. You should avoid sending the same resume for various job positions and it’s better not to concentrate on too many applications at a time. You should focus on your present application, working on it, understanding the needs of the employer and modifying it to match the work details. This tailored resume will surely meet the hiring managers’ needs, increasing your chances of being called for an interview.

11. Focusing More on The Past:

All employers generally look for the recent experiences and achievements and how those may help to meet the present organization’s need. If you are focusing more on your previous experiences and accomplishments and not mentioning much about the recent ones, this will serve as a good reason for your resume to get rejected. For example, if you are a fresher, rather than referring to high school achievements, you can emphasise on your education, latest degree, appropriate trainings and the various professional skills you’ve developed all through your college days. And if you are an older candidate, then confine your resume by including the last 15 years of experiences and achievements, arranging them starting with the latest one on top and it’s better to exclude dates with reference to any degree, certification or experience which was accomplished before 15 years.

12. Rounding Off Your GPA to More than One Decimal Place:

Many times it happens, while mentioning GPA in your resume, you tend to round it off sometimes for the ease of writing and sometimes might be to meet the criteria of the organizations. Especially the investment banks and various finance companies ask the candidates to include their cumulative GPA on their resumes. While mentioning your GPA, rounding it to one decimal place is okay; for example if your GPA is 5.32, you may round it to 5.3, but you cannot round up more ( For example 5.4) as it is absolutely objectionable and is considered academic fraudulence. Thus, when you need to submit your original mark sheets, this truth will definitely be exposed leaving you in profound trouble.

13. Including Inappropriate Information:

You should always avoid including irrelevant information in your resume especially your personal information such as social security number, religion, marital status, nationality, race or spiritual beliefs. In reality, employers cannot ask about these personal facts as it is illegal. And you might be a victim of discrimination, without knowing, by mentioning these details on your resume. Even there’s no need to mention about your hobbies, unless your hobbies are linked to your job profile. Always consider the fact that unless this information is absolutely necessary, it is better to avoid listing them on your resume.

14. Misleading with False Information:

Many people love to exaggerate their capabilities, skills and even experiences on their resume to inflate its demand.

Sometimes deceitful candidates fake their designation, duties, dates, educational details, GPAs and even their ages. But you should always remember that most of the well-known organizations do background verifications and also you have to produce your original records to them for verifications. With the increase of job responsibilities and designations, the selection process becomes more difficult. Even if you manage to get through the rigorous selection process, sooner or later you will be found guilty and this might ruin your career forever. Thus, it’s better to be honest in all your transactions which will help you earn reliability, confidence, admiration and most importantly peace of mind.

A well planned and well written resume avoiding these tricks will surely bring you success. These gimmicks can give you temporary success, but ethically you will be ruined. And since the hiring managers are profoundly experienced, they can make out your small tricks with a single look on your resume, which will lead your resumes towards trashcans. And if you are unable to follow the resume writing rules, you can always opt for a professional help. And should always keep in mind that employers love it neat, simple and to-the-point which make their jobs easy to read and examine resumes and selecting as per their needs.

So, the bottom line is, the content of your resume is more important than its appearance.