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BCG, Bain Recruiters Reveal The Most Common Resume Mistakes + How To Avoid Them

Find out some of the most common resume mistakes that recruiters at Big Three consulting firms, Bain & Company and Boston Consulting Group, see when hiring business school grads

By  Matt Kefford

Tue Mar 28 2023

Each year MBB consulting firms, Bain & Company and Boston Consulting Group (BCG), hire hundreds of students from the cohorts of many of the world’s top business schools. At INSEAD alone more than 100 students joined BCG in 2022. 

With so many students joining the Big Three consultancies, you can only imagine the number of resumes recruiters receive each year. So what separates the applications that succeed from the ones that fail?

BusinessBecause spoke with Amer Grewal, chief talent officer at BCG, and Keith Bevans, global head of consultant recruiting at Bain, to find out the most common resume mistakes recruiters at BCG and Bain see when hiring business school grads.

1. Listing irrelevant information 

It’s important to remember that your resume is a professional document that has one purpose: getting you hired. The information you include should reflect that. 

“Your resume should only include information that is relevant to the job you are applying for,” explains Amber. 

“Including unrelated or unnecessary information can make your resume appear cluttered and may distract from your qualifications for the position.” 

Download: BusinessBecause Resume Guide: 10 Top Tips For Application Success


2. Making it hard to identify key information

Some of your information is more likely to appeal to recruiters than others. If you have experience that directly links to a core part of the job description, for example, then it’s important you make that clear to the recruiter and avoid hiding it halfway down the page. 

“You want to make it easy for the reviewer to identify the highlights of your experience that make the most compelling case for you to advance in the process,” advises Keith. 

“Typically, they are reviewing a lot of resumes and if they must decipher your specific template, it might be more frustrating than helpful.”

3. Focusing on responsibilities over achievements 

Experience will likely make up the bulk of your resume content. But when describing your experience it’s not enough to simply list what you were responsible for, instead you should try to make clear the value you brought within each role. 

“Listing the tasks you are responsible for without highlighting your achievements and the outcomes can make your resume appear lackluster,” says Amber. 

“Highlight specific accomplishments and quantify them with numbers or percentages to demonstrate the impact you made in previous roles,” she adds. 

4. Being too general 

When reviewing resumes, recruiters are looking for those who stand out in the process. An easy trap to fall into is listing general points that most people list in their job applications. If your resume reads the same as everyone else’s, why would a recruiter hire you? 

“Using generic language and cliches such as "hardworking" or "team player" doesn't effectively showcase your skills or experience. Instead, use specific examples and accomplishments to demonstrate your qualifications,” says Amber. 

5. Not backing up your claims 

Examples are key. Your resume should revolve around your skills and achievements but, when listing those skills and achievements, it’s far more convincing if you show recruiters that what you’re saying is true with tangible results or evidence. 

You should therefore avoid making objective statements about your ability, character, or suitability for the job unless you’re able to back them up. 

“If you choose to say you are a “problem solver”, I’d expect to see evidence of that in the experience description below.  The same is true of every other claim people make,” says Keith. 

6. Using too many buzzwords 

Filling your resume with buzzwords will only harm your application. Of course, you want to appear professional and knowledgeable in your resume, but using words that even the recruiter doesn’t understand will not help your chances. 

You should prioritize simplicity and clarity in your resume as this will allow your skills and achievements to do most of the work. 

“While it's important to use keywords from the job description, avoid using too many buzzwords or industry jargon that may not be familiar to the reader,” says Amber.

7. Using an unprofessional email address

Just as your resume should be laid out in a professional manner, using appropriate language, so too should your email address be professional. 

Sending your application from an inappropriate email address is one way to ensure your resume never even gets seen by a recruiter. 

“Your email address should be professional and appropriate for the workplace. Avoid using email addresses that are overly casual or inappropriate, such as partygurl@email.com,” Amber explains. 

8. Neglecting to proofread

This one is unforgivable. When crafting a resume, your primary goal is to show the recruiter that you are fit for the role. Spelling errors convey the opposite, showing you lack attention to detail and the dedication to properly proofread. 

“Spelling and grammatical errors can detract from your qualifications and professionalism. Proofread your resume multiple times and consider having someone else review it to catch any mistakes you may have missed,” advises Amber. 

For more resume tips and tricks, and free CV templates, download our BusinessBecause Resume Guide: 10 Top Tips For Application Success