Top 10 Résumé X Factors

Simply put, an “X” factor is anything within your résumé that can cause an employer to eliminate you and your document from a job competition. Is your résumé “X” proof?  Read on to decide!

10. Does my résumé have typos?
Take the time and ensure your résumé is free of any spelling errors or typos. Always triple check information, and have at least one other person read your document.

9. Are there too many buzzwords?
It might sound like a good idea to include that you “Participated in a fusion of synergy within a collaborative team environment,” but what does that really mean?  Don’t hide behind industry jargon.

8. Is my résumé too long?
Unless you have many published works to list, most résumés should be a maximum of two pages. Anything more than that and the document loses focus and the employer loses attention.

7. Is my résumé too short?
Not quite having a full page for a résumé will leave questions from the employer. There are many reasons a job seeker may not have a lot of information. Try expanding on your skills, education and additional transferable areas so that you end up with a full page.

6. Am I missing information?
Many job seekers will avoid adding their current education because it isn’t complete, or leave dates out from experience or education because it may make them sound old. Would you want to work for someone who would devalue your depth of experience?

5. Is my résumé OVER FORMATTED? 
Imagine being an employer and having to find suitable candidates amidst a barrage of CAPS bold, underlining and other text effects. When you over format your work, it really takes away from the content. Strive to achieve a balance between good content and non-distracting formatting.

4. Do I have a meaningless objective?
Do you want to work in a progressive work environment where the employer regularly recognizes your greatness and you get paid far more than you’re worth? Me too! The point is; I wouldn’t place that within an objective. If you do use an objective, ask yourself, what you can do for the employer rather than outlining exactly what an employer can do for you. Also, the purpose of an objective is to state your intent of employment which is usually mentioned in the cover letter, so in most cases, you might not need to include one.

3. Does my résumé lack consistency?
The more consistent your résumé is, the more professional looking it will be. Sometimes, when job seekers look to edit their résumé, they forget to ensure the entire document is consistent. Double check information and make sure sections have similar font styles, sizes and formatting.

2. Is my résumé too pretty?
Coloured paper. Coloured font. Scented paper. Pictures of you within the résumé. Unless you are in a highly creative field, try to avoid adding these gimmicks to your document. Some tourism or modeling agencies will ask to see a picture of you with your job application. Unless requested, let the quality of your content speak for you.

1. If an employer read my résumé, would they want to meet me?
After reviewing your résumé, if you were the hiring manager, would you consider interviewing you for the position? Are all of your relevant knowledge, skills and abilities listed within your résumé? Make sure you include as much transferable content as possible. It’s the difference between having a résumé that sounds good, and having a résumé that gets you an interview.

Lidia Siino is Program Manager for the Career Consultant Certificate Program at Mohawk College, in Hamilton Ontario. She also works as a Professional Development & Communications Strategist for MCACES, the Mohawk College Association of Continuing Education Students. If you would like more information about the Career Consultant Certificate Program, please visit                                                      or contact

Lidia Siino, centre, with students from the Career Consultant Certificate Program @ Mohawk College.

Lidia Siino, centre, with students from the Career Consultant Certificate Program @ Mohawk College.

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