Career Corner: How to Avoid Looking Overconfident in Your Résumé

Curb your Ego Sign

Your résumé is not just a glimpse into your career history, it is also a portrayal of your personality. Your font choices, formatting choices, and words that you use all paint a picture of what you are like.

And if you were unaware of that, you might be depicting yourself as someone you don’t want to be, and who managers don’t want to hire.

Writing for CNBC, J.T. O’Donnell says there are several things you could inadvertently be doing that make you appear narcissistic. Make the right impression by making sure you are not making any of these mistakes.

Writing Too Much

When you use bullet points to list off your responsibilities at a job, you should be keeping it short. Few jobs are complex enough that what you did couldn’t be summarized in a line or two. You might intend to provide helpful elaboration, but it could look like you overestimate the importance of your role.

Having Too Many Pages

Many people have it drilled into their head to not go beyond one page for a résumé, but there’s leeway there as your career advances. Two or even three pages is reasonable if you are in your mid or late career. Just bear in mind the more pages the greater the chance you lose the manager’s interest. And if you are just starting out and have a multi-page résumé, you better have accomplished something spectacular to warrant it.

Including a Headshot

Maybe you have seen people mention résumés and CVs together so often that you assume they are interchangeable. That’s not true, though. If you are applying for something that actually requires a CV, yes, a headshot is not out of the ordinary to see. This is not done for résumés, though. If you put a picture of yourself on your résumé it will come across as clueless at best, and arrogant at worst.

Having an Objective Statement

Some people will advise you to do this, but it generally isn’t necessary if your work speaks for itself. If you are applying to be a chef and have a long history of cooking experience, it’s superfluous to explain your objective. Unless there is legitimate potential for ambiguity in why you are pursuing a position, just lead off with your work experience.

Getting Too Creative

You can show personality in your résumé with how you organize and style it, just don’t overdo it. For one, you want your résumé to be printer and computer friendly.

Also, you don’t want to appear condescending to the reader as if they need you to give them directions for how to read the document. Aim for clarity, yet simplicity.

If you aren’t sure what your résumé says about you, ask for feedback from others to make sure you are making the right impression.

To learn more about how to appear humble in your résumé, check out the article from CNBC by clicking here.


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