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Resume Missteps That Could Be Holding You Back

After devoting hours of prepping for that major interview, does some other “more qualified” candidate land the job over you? If you’ve experienced this scenario before, then you could be missing out on the job of your dreams. Do you have one standard resume that you are using? Before sending out another resume, consider these resume tips that could be holding you back from landing the job you want.

Don’t make it all about you

Though your resume needs to highlight your skills and past experience, you are not the one reading it… the employer is. Take the job description into consideration and write your resume as if you are the employer reading it. What are they really looking for? What experience do you have that is most relevant to this particular job posting? What talents or skills do you have that can add value over other candidates?

Do some digging, and research the company; you might even have a connection at the company that can help lend some insight.

Extreme formatting vs. no formatting

Without overdoing it, you want to stand out to the employer or hiring manager who is reading dozens of resumes daily. Depending on the company, there are some instances when a creative resume with graphics works, but it is not always the best idea.


  • Do not use small margins and compacted lists of bullet points; these are not pleasing to the eyes.
  • Do not use pretty fonts; they won’t always carry over to person reading it.
  • Do not overload each position with too much information.
  • Do not waste space on your resume by listing references.


  • Do use a standard font such as Times New Roman in size 12 font.
  • Do use about 3-5 concise bullets that use action verbs.
  • Do use an adequate amount of white space.
  • Do include memberships and affiliations that relate to the job you’re applying for.

Lack of focus

You need your resume to pull the reader in almost instantly. Within the first three seconds, the hiring manager should be able to identify what your story is, what it is that you do and why you’re good at it. Spell it out for them; make it big, bold and easy to read. Replace your objective with a one-liner or title that summarizes who you are and what you’ve done.

Make everything in your resume revolve around the position you apply to. Generic is not going to get you noticed, let alone make you stand out from other candidates. A personalized and focused resume shows the employer you really want the job, you’re qualified, and you are focused.

Quantify your qualification

Ask yourself as you write your resume these three questions: How many? How much? How often? Give yourself credit for those jobs in which you made an impact.

Did you complete a program that enhanced service for a number of people? Did you have a successful project with x number increased revenue? Adding quantifiable stats to your bullet points gives them a completely different context.

For example:

Candidate A: Answered phones at the front desk.


Candidate B: Managed a switchboard with 12 incoming lines, effectively receiving and routing an average of 350 calls per day.

If you were a hiring manager, which candidate would you hire? Employers love it when you can apply figures behind previous work success. It shows them that you have transferable skills.

Always tell the truth

 Competition is important when crafting your tailored resume, but that does not give you an excuse to lie or embellish. Chances are if you double the x amount of revenue generated from a campaign, the hiring manger will catch you in the interview or when speaking with your references.

It’s never too late to change the way you apply to the job you want. Let us help you start building the experiences that can lead to your dream job. Contact your local Accounting Principals branch.


Accounting Principals

We're Accounting Principals--a leader in finance and accounting staffing. In fact, since 2010, we've been part of Adecco Group, a Global 500 company and leader in staffing services around the world. But this isn't staffing as usual. We take quite a different approach than most staffing agencies. A people-focused approach. We believe in forming real relationships with both our clients and our candidates. We want to understand the needs on both sides.