Popular Resume Tricks That Don’t Actually Work

Your resume is a representation of where you’ve been in your career and where you hope to go. While it remains necessary to have an updated resume in your repertoire, the job search has changed over the years. Thanks to applicant tracking systems (ATS), having the right content in your resume is pivotal.

With today’s unemployment rate hovering around 4.0 percent, job seekers can pick and choose which job to apply for. While more people are currently employed, that doesn’t mean that they aren’t applying for jobs at the same rate. According to Glassdoor for Employers, “On average, every corporate job opening attracts 250 resumes, but only four to six of these people will be called for an interview, and only one of those will be offered a job.” In order to stand out to employers, job seekers tend to try various tricks in attempts to make their resumes memorable past the content. Believe it or not, these tricks don’t actually work and might even hinder your chances of getting hired.

According to our friends at TopResume, some of these common tricks include:

Visual Distractions

One way to stand out is including bold images, colors or graphics on your resume. While these may be acceptable in certain creative industries, in others these may actually distract hiring managers from the important information on your resume – the experience. Many job seekers feel compelled to include a headshot on their resume so the company can put a face to the name immediately. However, this can actually open the door to potential discrimination down the line. Your headshot should be on your LinkedIn profile as it is considered a “living” version of your resume; keep it off your physical resume.

Additionally, since most companies use ATS’ to review candidates, having crazy formatting or graphics can hurt the ATS’ ability to read your resume, thus ruining your chances of getting hired right off the bat.

Keyword Overload

Including keywords from the job description in your resume bullet points is recommended and encouraged so the ATS will pick it up. What you don’t want to do is included an additional section somewhere on your resume with a bunch of random key words.

With an additional section of keywords, the ATS will pick it up, but if you don’t have the experience you probably won’t get hired.


There are many schools of thought on resume length. According to Rachel Fletcher of TopResume, “One of the most common resume mistakes job seekers make is believing that length denotes ability. However, while you may have over 20 years of experience, a hiring manager is not going to be interested in the day-to-day responsibilities of your entry-level role.”

Many job seekers, and hiring managers alike, prefer the one-page resume for brevity and ease of reviewing. But, depending on where you’re at in your career, the appropriate length may vary. Fletcher notes that the standard is two pages. Including the right things on your resume and controlling what you can control is what will make your resume stand out from the competition.

Personal Information

Similar to including a headshot, including personal information such as hobbies in attempt to make yourself more relatable is unnecessary. With real estate in high demand on your resume, including any unnecessary information means space is limited for the important information.

If the information you want to include pertains to the role, you can include this in your cover letter and relate it back to the job. There are also mistakes to be made in the cover letter that you should avoid as well during the job application process.

If you’re on the job hunt and struggling to find your next opportunity, take a look at your resume and see if you have tried any of these tricks. Also, make sure you are including the right things in your resume to give yourself the best chance at getting through the application process.

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