What is considered an experience on a resume

Mistakes in the resume: these are the 8 worst

Of all things: a mistake in the résumé! The résumé is the heart of your application. It is almost always read first by HR professionals and therefore looks like a first work sample. Avoidable and unnecessary errors creep in here, it doesn't just look sloppy. If there are more than two to three serious mistakes in the résumé, most personnel decision-makers will immediately reject the application. Result: rejection. Tips on which mistakes you should absolutely avoid in your résumé - and what you should react to in the event of a breakdown ...

➠ Content: This is what awaits you

➠ Content: This is what awaits you

Mistakes in the résumé: Avoid these 8 at all costs

Nothing should go wrong with your résumé. Your own career is sacred. The professional stations show your qualifications, experiences and successes. Care is therefore the top priority (of course with all other application documents as well). Nevertheless, it happens again and again: Applicants make mistakes. Out of nonsense or negligence is irrelevant. If you make too many mistakes in your résumé, you will be rejected.

That there are no spelling mistakes or grammatical errors in the resume and double-sided printing of the pages is not allowed, is so natural that we only mention it here for the sake of completeness. Such mistakes can even lead to involuntarily embarrassing moments: For example, an applicant wrote in his résumé that he pays special attention to details. However, there was a typo in the word "attention". Some of the less obvious, but worst and at the same time most frequent mistakes in the résumé include (unfortunately):

  1. Over-length

    The perfect résumé is one to two A4 pages long. Experienced specialists and executives with many positions and job changes can, after ten years in the job, make it on three sides. But that is the maximum. Nobody wants to read more. Anyone who cannot focus and condense their résumé on the essentials raises the suspicion that he or she cannot do this on the job either. Choosing, prioritizing, getting to the point - these are all important competencies in every job description. As I said: the résumé is a kind of work sample. Prove there that you know what is important to your reader. When editing the résumé, be as concise and precise as possible, but also as brief as possible.

  2. Inferior photo

    The application photo is now an optional part of the résumé (i.e. voluntary - see: AGG). But it is still gladly seen. And it immediately attracts everyone's attention at the beginning. Accordingly, the application picture shapes the first impression. Don't save at the wrong end here: professional application photos are an absolute must for serious applications. Selfies and vacation snapshots are just as taboo as full-body shots or machine photos. The photos should be of high quality in terms of format and quality. No corners, no kinks, no low resolution.

  3. No mandatory qualifications

    Job advertisements usually differentiate between so-called must qualifications and optional qualifications. The former can be recognized, for example, by formulations such as: "Applicants must / should bring ..." or "We expect you to ...". Optional qualifications, on the other hand, are often formulated in the subjunctive and are announced by expressions such as: "Several years of professional experience is desirable" or "In addition, we would be happy if you ...". Those who do not state the required qualification in their résumé do not even need to apply. They are a knockout criterion. Then it is first screened out - in some cases using special software. However, you should also name qualifications if possible. Your application chances increase with each check mark on this list.

  4. Inconsistent system

    A modern curriculum vitae is nowadays structured antichronologically ("American"). That means: In your professional career you start with your current position and position and then work your way back in time. This also applies to all the other categories with time information in the curriculum vitae: training, studies, advanced training and additional qualifications. Here, too, you have to start with the current position and then tell backwards in chronological order what was when. Otherwise it looks messy and unstructured.

  5. Incomplete information

    The curriculum vitae must be "complete". That means: All period information (according to the pattern: MM / YYYY - MM / YYYY) follow one another seamlessly. Of course, changing jobs can lead to prolonged unemployment or professional reorientation. Applicants are also allowed to do this. Therefore, one speaks of a gap in the CV only after a break of more than two months in the career. If it does, you need to explain these time outs. But please never include “unemployment” in your résumé. That seems too passive. Further training, caring for relatives or a qualification measure from the employment agency are better. Contradicting information on a résumé is even more serious. Too short periods for further training, alleged certificates, deviating information in the curriculum vitae to the online profile - that smells suspiciously of CV make-up and lies. Anyone who is found out is immediately out.

  6. No structure

    Make sure that it is easy to read and that the typeface is clear. Short sentences and paragraphs, uniform fonts, distinctive headings and subject lines as well as meaningful paragraphs and keywords should not be missing. Please note the rules of DIN 5008:

    Also, never underestimate the psychological impact of numbers. They immediately give more weight and credibility to each statement. This is especially true for your successes on your résumé. Have you been able to save costs, increase sales and make customers more satisfied through your work? Then quantify it quantitatively in numbers and percentages. It is easy to claim that your work has added value. But if success is measurable, it becomes a fact.

  7. Irrelevant hobbies and interests

    The fact that you sing in a gospel choir or master Mediterranean cuisine is only of interest if you apply to the choral society or as a cook. Hobbies in the résumé round off the overall picture of the applicant. However, only those are named who round off your competence portfolio, underline important personality traits and are relevant to the advertised position. If you can use it to prove soft skills or experience that additionally qualifies - fine. For example, the ability to work in a team in a team sport or leadership qualities from an honorary position. Otherwise: omit!

  8. Neither signature nor date

    The curriculum vitae - like the cover letter - is always signed at the end. This documents the authenticity and truthfulness of the curriculum vitae. In connection with the place and date, which must also not be missing, the applicant underlines that the résumé is also up-to-date. The curriculum vitae should always be handwritten with a (blue) pen or pen (no pencil or felt pen!). Scanned signatures already smell of loveless mass-produced goods. Place and date, however, may be printed.

Reading tip:Resume Checklist: These Tricks Increase Chances

More mistakes in the résumé

In addition to the worst faux pas ‘, there are other finesse that you should pay attention to, because sloppiness can quickly creep in here. This includes:

  • Incomplete information
    If important information about the person is missing, it looks bad. Mandatory are: full name, place and date of birth, current address, telephone number, e-mail, possibly the URL of your own website. The information on parents or siblings does not belong here. This is antiquated and comes from a time when social origin played a bigger role.
  • Dubious sender
    An infantile to dubious email address damages your reputation. Addresses such as [email protected] or [email protected] are absolutely forbidden. Neutral is better: First [email protected] The perfect would be: [email protected]
  • Copied CV
    If you use ONE standard résumé for all applications, you can give yourself the trouble right away. HR managers notice something like that. Personalize EVERY CV individually. Takes more effort, but also has more success.
  • Too much blah
    The résumé is purely a collection of facts: short, concise, crisp. Keywords are sufficient, comments and prose are taboo.
  • False statements
    All the facts you give must be true. Anyone who is too thick in their résumé or even lies (and is exposed) can be terminated without notice years later for providing false information. No matter how great your accomplishments are. Fictitious employers, souped-up times, fake certificates - a serious mistake!

The résumé is your first work sample!

Ultimately, your résumé is about maximum expressiveness. Your competencies, career stages and professional experience should speak for you as the best person. Mistakes distract from it. Especially when they occur frequently. Psychologically, this has to do with the so-called halo effect. In short, one describes a perceptual error, an unconscious disruption of judgment. Triggered by a single characteristic (error in the application) that outshines everything else and thus distorts the overall impression. HR managers are just human.

The résumé gives you the chanceto present yourself clearly and concisely. Don't let unnecessary mistakes overshadow this. Better to write your résumé, sleep on it for a night - and let someone else proofread it.

Test: Can you find the 10 mistakes on the resume?

Take a little test: The following tabular résumé actually looks pretty good. In fact, it contains numerous formal errors. Can you find at least ten of them? You can get to the resolution by clicking on the next picture (arrow on the right).

PS: There are more mistakes in the résumé that could be discovered ...

Discovered errors? What you can do now

If you have already sent your application and subsequently discovered a typo or one of the above errors in your résumé, this is annoying and a bit embarrassing, but not a big deal. If there is only one minor typo, do not wake sleeping dogs. Be silent (and hold on). Bad luck. Happens.

Other flaws are a larger caliber. But you can get rid of the world with a simple letter of apology. For example, an applicant once wrote to a recruiter:


I would like to sincerely apologize for misspelling your name in both the email and the application. I'm really extremely sorry about that. I very much regret that my application documents lose their value as a result, because you should know that I always work very conscientiously.

The job offer must have made me so euphoric that unfortunately the devil of mistakes crept in. I hope that you will still consider my application.



After all: The personal apology by email touched the HR manager in such a way that he wrote a blog post about it (which is why we know about it). What's more: Even if it was definitely not intended and is not recommended as a strategy - the candidate clearly stands out from the mass of applications and leaves a positive impression. Despite mistakes in the résumé.

[Photo credit: Karrierebibel.de]

Further sources and guides
Application tips
➠ Application templates
➠ 11 application forms
➠ ABC of application tips
➠ Application folder
➠ Application photo
➠ cover sheet
➠ Brief profile

Tips on the résumé
➠ CV in tabular form
➠ Resume templates
➠ Internships on the résumé
➠ hobbies on the resume
➠ Unemployment on the résumé
➠ gaps in the résumé

Tips for covering letters
➠ Cover letter
➠ Introductory sentence in the cover letter
➠ Final sentence in the cover letter
➠ Interests in the cover letter
➠ Strengths in the cover letter
➠ Attachment directory

Tips on job references
➠ Assess job reference
➠ Secret codes in the certificate
➠ Interim report
➠ Job description
➠ References & samples

Special applications
➠ Unsolicited application
➠ Internal application
➠ Discreet application
➠ Email application
➠ Online application
➠ Application as a temporary worker
➠ Application for mini jobs
➠ Application after termination

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May 7, 2021Author: Jochen Mai

Jochen Mai is the founder and editor-in-chief of the career bible. The author of several books lectures at the TH Köln and is a sought-after keynote speaker, coach and consultant.

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