Tailoring Job Resumes: Good vs. Bad Resume Examples

Brandi Glass
5 min read
businessman shaking hand of applicant in office

You should always tailor your resume to the role, team and company you're applying to. This will help you stand out from other applicants and demonstrate that you’re the ideal candidate for the role.

Tailoring your resume can be time-consuming, however, and there are several common resume mistakes that could see your application immediately discarded — no matter how carefully you customized it.

That’s why we’re here. We’ll explain how to successfully tailor your resume, along with good vs bad resume examples. Our resume-writing checklist will help you ensure that your resume is professional, free of errors and highlights your strongest features.

Good vs Bad Resume: A Cheat Sheet

A good resume is:


A concisely written resume will be easier for recruiters to quickly scan. Your most impressive details will stand out more as a result. A bad resume, on the other hand, will be wordy and full of unnecessary details.

Easy to Read

Small, cursive font combined with cramped margins and long paragraphs: this is a classic example of a bad resume.

Time-rushed recruiters have hundreds of applications to review, which means your resume should be as reader-friendly as possible. Opt for Arial or Times New Roman size 12, use the default margin sizes on your word processor and choose bullet-point lists over paragraphs.


It’s not just the recruiter who needs to be able to read your resume. To ensure your resume is machine-readable, make sure it’s a PDF or DOCX file, doesn’t use the header or footer section, uses one column and doesn’t feature charts or graphics.


Typos don’t just make a bad impression and undermine your claim to be detail-oriented. They can also lead to key phrases being missed by software designed to filter out resumes without the most important skills.

5 Bad Resume Examples to Avoid

There's nothing like seeing a clear example to help you understand what to do and what to avoid. Make sure your resume is nothing like these bad resume examples.

1. Paragraphs and Full Sentences

Bullet points are far more reader-friendly than paragraphs, while skipping the subject (“I”) can also make your resume concise. Compare these two resume entries, one a bad resume example and the other a good resume example:

Sales Assistant, XYZ Phones, September 2021 – present

I provide excellent customer service, including cross-selling phone insurance. I have been the top salesperson of the month three times.

Sales Assistant, XYZ Phones, September 2021 – present

  • Provide excellent customer service
  • Top salesperson of the month three times
  • Use strong sales skills to cross-sell insurance

The second example takes up more lines, but the key details will stand out more to a skim-reading recruiter.

2. Irrelevant Details

Space is at a premium on your resume. You want to include impressive details that are relevant to the role you're applying for. Anything that doesn't actively support your application should be deleted.

Take this bad resume example:

Bartender, The Ship Inn, January 2022 – present

  • Serve a variety of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks, including spirits, beers, ales and soft drinks
  • Check customers’ ID to ensure they are of legal drinking age
  • Clean bar area and tables

Even if you're applying for a bartender role, this job description includes far too many irrelevant details. Among other things, there's no need to mention the different types of drinks that this applicant serves unless they are particularly complex, e.g. cocktails.

3. Not Enough Details

Some applicants make the opposite mistake to our bartender in the above example. They cut so much information that the recruiter cannot tell what skills and experiences they have. For example:

Intern, ABC Marketing Co, October 2022 – present

  • Support marketing team in creating materials

The recruiter doesn't know if this intern has digital or print marketing experience, what programs they know how to use, what type of customer they were focused on, or anything else. A better description would be:

Intern, ABC Marketing Co, October 2022 – present

  • Create images for Facebook ads with Adobe PhotoShop for a B2B marketing campaign

It's less concise but full of useful details and keywords.

4. Poor Use of Keywords

When listing skills and responsibilities, you should always use the exact phrase from the job description. If the skill isn’t mentioned in the job description, opt for commonly used phrases. Avoid this example resume for a job listing asking for applicants with “people skills” and “communication skills.”

Key skills:

  • Team player
  • Communicate well via email and phone, as well as in person

Software scanning for the phrases for the job listing could automatically discard this application.

5. No Evidence

Including evidence of key skills will make your application more impressive. It will show that you really do possess the skills on your resume. Compare these two examples:

ESL Teacher, English Academy, March 2022 – present

  • Demonstrate strong teaching skills

ESL Teacher, English Academy, March 2022 – present

  • Demonstrate strong teaching skills with my students averaging a 98% pass rate

The second one is far more convincing.

Writing a Good Resume: A Checklist

Before you press send on your job application, use this checklist on your resume:

  • Does your resume feature plenty of white space?
  • Have you used a professional font and format?
  • Have you included keywords from the job listing?
  • Does everything on your resume support your application?
  • Have you used bullet points?
  • Do your bullet points start with a verb?
  • Does your skill section sit beneath the professional summary?
  • Have you included all the key sections: contact details, professional summary, skills, career history and education?
  • Have you added evidence of your skills and accomplishments?
  • Is your resume one, or max, two pages long? (Here’s why this is important.)
  • Have you proofread your resume for typos?
  • Have you saved your resume as a PDF or DOCX file?
  • Is the saved file name “[Your Name] Resume”?

Resume Writing Made Simple

There's a lot to consider when writing a resume, from formatting to keywords and length to style. That's why we recommend starting with a resume template.

We have millions of resume templates for specific roles and experience levels, from college students to nurses and trainee engineers to warehouse managers. Each one is professionally laid out and machine-readable so you can beat the applicant tracking system.

Our resume builder will help you customize these templates to your professional background and the job you're applying for. It will suggest the ideal structure based on your experience level, in addition to recruiter-selected phrasing to describe your key skills and achievements.

Build your resume in just 10 minutes and begin applying for roles with confidence.