Don’t have time to read the article right now? Watch the video where I go over this subject.

I often get calls or emails from job seekers that go something like this:

I’ve been sending my resume out and filling out applications but no one is calling me back. Can you look at my resume and tell me what I need to fix? It’s just not working!

Your resume is more than just your name, education, and work history. It’s a job seeker’s #1 marketing tool and yes, it’s supposed to be working for you!

If you’ve used your resume to apply for lots of jobs and aren’t getting results, it very well may be broken.

When I get those calls/emails my answer is always the same – Yes please send me your resume and I’ll be glad to give you some feedback.

More often than not, I find one or more issues that break the resumes’ potential. Here are some of the main ones to check your resume for to ensure it can do its job.

signs your resume isn't working

Too Much Information. 

Past experiences, skills, names of references, and other information not related to the field or the job you’re apply for are all included in this. Other TMI fails are naming too many skills, giving too many details when describing the duties of your current or previous positions, or providing personal information such as marital status or sexual orientation.

A picture of you is also TMI. Your resume should let people see your skills and career highlights. Not your hairstyle, skin color, or anything else of the sort. If your prospective employer wants to see you before interviewing, they can look you up on LinkedIn or Facebook.

Missing Key Information.

The opposite of TMI, occasionally job seekers like to make future employers guess at what they are about. You need to list some skills, and at minimum the past 10 years of your job history without being overly ambiguous.

Status of education or certifications is important, too. If you have completed a degree or certification, you should specify that. If you have not yet completed a degree or certification but choose to list the institution you attended, state how many credits you earned so as not to mislead a possible employer into thinking you have done so.

Finally, you don’t have to provide your full address but you should give a possible employer an idea of your general geographic location, and other important info that will help them to reach out to you should they want to ask for an interview. This means your phone number and email address should be on your resume. And if you don’t have an email address, you’d better get one.

signs your resume isn't working


If you have no relevant background that shows you are a good fit for a posted position, don’t send in your resume in at all.

If your relevant background isn’t clearly shown on your resume, re-engineer it so that it clearly shines through. That means adding or highlighting relevant skills, taking out skills that aren’t needed, and ensuring that the summary at the top of your resume makes sense.

For example, if you’re applying for a Store Manager position at Wal-Mart, your summary shouldn’t say that you’re seeking to pursue a career in high fashion. You can also leave your experience as a dog-walker from fifteen years ago out, and ensure that your recent retail management background is very obvious.

Does this mean you may need to re-work your resume every time you apply for a job just to show how RELEVANT you are? It’s probably a good idea, and you can read more about that in this article.

Self-Given Nicknames, Slogans and Other Cheesiness.

Yes, I said it. It’s just plain cheesy if your name is displayed as Don “The Closer” Morgan”* or if your headline is something like “A Real Go-Getter”. 

Do I really have to say more about this?

Poor Formatting and Typos.

Your resume should be perfect. Literally perfect. No misspellings, no uneven spaces, margins or page breaks.

If you want to be creative it still shouldn’t be oddly put together. Your references shouldn’t be on the top, your work history shouldn’t be listed from earliest to latest experience, your accomplishments shouldn’t be in a completely different font to make them stand out, nor should their be any other confusing abnormalities in design.

Your resume should be neat, stylish, and make its reader want to talk to you.

That’s it’s only purpose.

After reading this list, did you realize that there may have been a mistake or two on your resume you weren’t aware of? Hopefully, you can correct it as soon as possible and make it work for you.

In turn, you’ll be working again soon, too!





*100% fictitious examples listed .