23 Recruiter resume pet peeves

By Courtney Jones

Top recruiter resume pet peeves

From resumes featuring centaurs to shirtless selfies, our recruiters have seen it all. Here's a list of the top CV pet peeves you should try to avoid.

Lack of contact details

Double check that your phone number(s), email and postal code are included and up to date. You can't be contacted if you can't be reached.

No postal code

If your postal code isn't listed, the Applicant Tracking System (ATS) recruiters use to find resumes won't find you. It's called a radial search.

Lack of keywords

Your resume should contain keywords that match the job description you're applying for. Along with your postal code, it's how an ATS will find you.

Fancy formatting

Leave the grids, charts and text boxes off the resume. An ATS won't read them, and a recruiter will have to reformat.

Inconsistent fonts

Stick to a single font. Use one font size for a headline and one for the rest of your resume.

Different colours

Your resume should not resemble a rainbow. Stick to the black and white basics.

Failure to take advice

A recruiter knows what their client is looking for. If you receive constructive criticism about your resume, implement the advice.


Here's a fun fact: Every resume you submit is kept on file. Forever.
The inconsistencies in your various CVs will be noticed.

It's vague

Recruiters and hiring managers want to know what you've done with the technology you've worked with, not the number of years experience you have with it. What projects were you involved in? Can you quantify it? How many/how much etc? What were the results of the projects/deliverables and what were the successes? These are what matter.

Spelling errors and bad grammar

After you double check your resume for spelling, grammar and punctuation, have someone else look it over as well.

Unnecessary capitalization

Proper nouns and organizations receive the capital letters. If you choose to capitalize your job titles, make sure it's consistent through out the entire CV.

Listing a marital status

Being a married mother of three is great, and it may contribute to your multi-tasking skills, but a resume isn't the place to highlight these accomplishments.


Candidates need to find the balance between personalizing a resume and too much information. Listing hobbies and interests that pertain to the job description is fine, but knitting and bird watching really don't have anything to do with being a Java Developer.

Lack of technical skills

When you include your technical skills in the summary of your resume, make sure they're also listed in the body as well.

Copy and pasting

Psst! Recruiters read the same job descriptions you do, so when you copy and paste the desired skills listed into your resume, they can tell.

Unqualified candidates

If you don't have the experience, you shouldn't apply for the position. Transferable skills are great and are always taken into consideration, but a candidate with intermediate level experience shouldn't be applying for a vice president position.


Unless you're applying for a photography position, just no.

Only listing contact details in the header

You should list your name, phone number and email at the bottom of each page of your resume in the event the first page is misplaced.

PDF versions

Only sending a resume in a .PDF means that a recruiter has to ask you for another version (and wait for that version) to make any changes or remove contact details before submitting to a client.

Missing months

Not putting months against the years of experience is a resume no-go.

Missing company names

If you've worked for them, you need to work their name into your resume.

Too wordy

If you can't list your professional skills and experience in 3-6 pages, you're being far too wordy.

Proficiency implications

You should never assume that just because you held a position that required you to use excel, that a recruiter should automatically know you have used excel. You should list all your proficiencies.

by Courtney Jones

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