The Biggest Mistakes People Make on CV/Resumes and How to Correct Them

I've sent out hundreds of resumes over my career, applying for just about every kind of job. I've personally reviewed more than 20,000 resumes. And at Google we sometimes get more than 50,000 resumes in a single week.

I have seen A LOT of resumes.

Some are brilliant, most are just ok, many are disasters. The toughest part is that for 15 years, I've continued to see the same mistakes made again and again by candidates, any one of which can eliminate them from consideration for a job. What's most depressing is that I can tell from the resumes that many of these are good, even great, people. But in a fiercely competitive labor market, hiring managers don't need to compromise on quality. All it takes is one small mistake and a manager will reject an otherwise interesting candidate.

I promise you -- more than half of you have at least one of these mistakes on your resume. And I'd much rather see folks win jobs than get passed over.

In the interest of helping more candidates make it past that first resume screen, here are the five biggest mistakes I see on resumes.

Mistake 1: Typos
This one seems obvious, but it happens again and again. A 2013 CareerBuilder survey found that 58% of resumes have typos.

In fact, people who tweak their resumes the most carefully can be especially vulnerable to this kind of error, because they often result from going back again and again to fine tune your resume just one last time. And in doing so, a subject and verb suddenly don't match up, or a period is left in the wrong place, or a set of dates gets knocked out of alignment. I see this in MBA resumes all the time. Typos are deadly because employers interpret them as a lack of detail-orientation, as a failure to care about quality. The fix?

Read your resume from bottom to top: reversing the normal order helps you focus on each line in isolation. Or have someone else proofread closely for you.

Mistake 2: Length 
A good rule of thumb is one page of resume for every ten years of work experience. Hard to fit it all in, right? But a three or four or ten page resume simply won't get read closely. As Blaise Pascal wrote, "I would have written you a shorter letter, but I did not have the time." A crisp, focused resume demonstrates an ability to synthesize, prioritize, and convey the most important information about you. Think about it this way: the *sole* purpose of a resume is to get you an interview. That's it. It's not to convince a hiring manager to say "yes" to you (that's what the interview is for) or to tell your life's story (that's what a patient spouse is for). Your resume is a tool that gets you to that first interview. Once you're in the room, the resume doesn't matter much. So cut back your resume. It's too long.

Mistake 3: Formatting
Unless you're applying for a job such as a designer or artist, your focus should be on making your resume clean and legible. At least ten point font. At least half-inch margins. White paper, black ink. Consistent spacing between lines, columns aligned, your name and contact information on every page. If you can, look at it in both Google Docs and Word, and then attach it to an email and open it as a preview. Formatting can get garbled when moving across platforms. Saving it as a PDF is a good way to go.

Mistake 4: Confidential information
I once received a resume from an applicant working at a top-three consulting firm. This firm had a strict confidentiality policy: client names were never to be shared. On the resume, the candidate wrote: "Consulted to a major software company in Redmond, Washington." Rejected! There's an inherent conflict between your employer's needs (keep business secrets confidential) and your needs (show how awesome I am so I can get a better job). So candidates often find ways to honor the letter of their confidentiality agreements but not the spirit. It's a mistake. While this candidate didn't mention Microsoft specifically, any reviewer knew that's what he meant. In a very rough audit, we found that at least 5-10% of resumes reveal confidential information. Which tells me, as an employer, that I should never hire those candidates ... unless I want my own trade secrets emailed to my competitors.

The New York Times test is helpful here: if you wouldn't want to see it on the home page of the NYT with your name attached (or if your boss wouldn't!), don't put it on your resume.

Mistake 5: Lies 
This breaks my heart. Putting a lie on your resume is never, ever, ever, worth it. Everyone, up to and including CEOs, gets fired for this. (Google "CEO fired for lying on resume" and see.) People lie about their degrees (three credits shy of a college degree is not a degree), GPAs (I've seen hundreds of people "accidentally" round their GPAs up, but never have I seen one accidentally rounded down -- never), and where they went to school (sorry, but employers don't view a degree granted online for "life experience" as the same as UCLA or Seton Hall). People lie about how long they were at companies, how big their teams were, and their sales results, always goofing in their favor.

There are three big problems with lying:
  1. You can easily get busted. The Internet, reference checks, and people who worked at your company in the past can all reveal your fraud.
  2. Lies follow you forever. Fib on your resume and 15 years later get a big promotion and are discovered? Fired. And try explaining that in your next interview.
  3. Our Moms taught us better. Seriously.
So this is how to mess up your resume. Don't do it! Hiring managers are looking for the best people they can find, but the majority of us all but guarantee that we'll get rejected.

The good news is that -- precisely because most resumes have these kinds of mistakes -- avoiding them makes you stand out.

In a future post, I'll expand beyond what not to do, and cover the things you *should* be doing to make your resume stand out from the stack.

Written by Laszlo Bock, Senior Vice President of People Operations at Google

National Pension Commission Recruits Pension Support Officers 12 Positions

Our client, an extra-ministerial department set-up to oversee the management of pensions for pensioners not transiting to the Defined Contributory Scheme has recently received the mandate to carry out its functions as stipulated by the Pension Reform Act (PRA) 2004. The Organisation now seeks to recruit self driven, experienced and motivated individuals to fill selected positions. The client seeks to fill the vacant position of:

Job Title: Pension Support Officers 

Location: Lagos
Ref No: PS PSO
Slots: 12 

Job Decription:
This role is primarily the first point of contact and responsible for dealing with all pensions enquires.

Duties & Responsibilities
  • Be first point of contact for all callers to the customer service centre.
  • Ensuring that high quality of service is delivered at all times.
  • Have full knowledge and ability to access all requests, including translation services to help meet the individual request.
  • Liaise with colleagues in local offices, contractors and other partner agencies as appropriate to resolve enquiries.
  • Complete customer satisfaction surveys and all outbound activities in line with team objectives.
Job Requirements
  • A Bachelor’s degree or equivalent in Public Relations, Sociology or any other related Behavioral Science discipline.
  • Professional certification in Client service or other relevant higher business degree will be an added advantage.
  • A minimum of 4 years work experience.
Key Competency Requirements:
  • Demonstrates good communication and negotiation skills with the ability to relate with diverse people and cultures.
  • Demonstrates excellent interpersonal and relationship management skills.
  • Demonstrates good problem analysis and solving skills.
Application Closing Date
Extended  to 17th October, 2014.

Method of Application

Qualified and Interested persons should send Applications or stating how their skills, knowledge and experience make them suitable, and addressing the person specifications highlighted above. The suitability statement should not exceed a page and must appear on the first page of the CV, which must be saved in Microsoft Word and as applicant's full name. The subject of the mail should be the job position and code being applied for.


Click here to apply online

Note: Late applications will not be considered and only shortlisted candidates will be contacted.

Jigawa State University Masssive Recruitment for Senior Academic Positions

Jigawa State University (JSU), Kafin-Hausa was established by the Jigawa State Government and licensed by the Federal Government through the National Universities Commission (NUC) as the 3 state-owned University and 12 in the country. 

The University hereby invites applications from suitably qualified candidates for the posts of Professor, Associate Professor, Senior Lecturer and Lecturer I in the three Faculties of the University as follows:

1.) Faculty of Education
a) Department of Education
  • Foundations Unit
  • English Education Unit
b) Department of Science Education

2.) Faculty of Humanities:

  • Department of History and International Studies
  • Department of Islamic Studies
  • Department of Languages
    • Arabic Unit
    • English Unit
    • Hausa Unit
3.) Faculty of Natural & Applied Sciences
  • Department of Biological Sciences
  • Department of Chemistry
  • Department of Mathematics & Computer Science
    • Mathematics Unit
    • Computer Science Unit
  • Department of Physics
Qualifications and Salary Grade

I) Professor - CONUASS 07

a) Candidates seeking appointment as Professor must have:
  • A Doctorate degree in the relevant field,
  • A minimum of 15 years’ teaching and research experience, and
  • Evidence of contributions to knowledge in the form of several ground-breaking publications in peer-reviewed national and international journals and books published by reputable publishers
b) The Candidates must also show evidence of academic leadership in the form of successful supervised postgraduate theses and some administrative experience.

c) Candidates who already hold chairs of other Universities will have an advantage.

II) Associate Professor - CONUASS 06

a) Candidates seeking appointment as Associate Professor must have:
  • A Doctorate degree in the relevant field
  • A minimum of 12 years’ teaching and research experience, and
  • Evidence of scholarly publications in peer-reviewed journals and books published by reputable publishers.
b) The Candidates must show evidence of having published several articles in national and international peer-reviewed journals

III) Senior Lecturer - CONUASS 05

a) Candidates seeking appointment as Senior Lecturer must have:
  • A Doctorate degree in the relevant field, and
  • A minimum of 8 years’ teaching and research experience
b) The Candidates must show evidence of having published several articles in national and international peer-reviewed journals.

IV) Lecturer I - CONUASS 04

a) Candidates seeking appointment as Lecturer I must have:
  • A Doctorate degree in the relevant field, and
  • A minimum of 5 years’ teaching and research experience
b) The Candidates must show evidence of having published some articles in national and international peer-reviewed journals. 


The salaries and other conditions of service are similar to what obtains in the Nigerian University System. Placement of the successful candidates would be on enhanced steps within the appropriate CONUASS grade as an incentive.

Application Closing Date

3rd November, 2014

Method of Application

Interested candidates should submit twelve (12) copies of their application letter and comprehensive Curriculum Vitae attaching copies of relevant credentials under confidential cover in an envelope sealed and marked POST of PROFESSOR/ ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR/ SENIOR LECTURER/LECTURER I as appropriate on the top right hand side corner and addressed to:

The Registrar,
Jigawa State University
P.M.B 048, Kafin Hausa,
Jigawa State

Hand delivery should also be submitted to the same address.