Whether you’re preparing for graduation or are a recent grad looking for your first post-college job, you need an awesome resume in order to have a chance at employment.
That means you need to avoid making these 15 mistakes as you compose your resume!
1. Using an Unprofessional Email Address
This is one of the easiest resume mistakes to fix. Instead of using an old and possibly inappropriate email address during your job search, be on the safe side and create one that uses your name. You may be tempted to use your college email address and while this is certainly more professional than your old high school email address, it is not a permanent email — you’ll likely have to change it after your graduate and even if you don’t, you may not want to be thought of as a student when applying to jobs post-college.
2. Neglecting to Include Links to Your Online Profiles
If you have any professional profiles online that list your experience and education — such as LinkedIn or a personal website like a blog — add the links to your resume. As long as they match what’s already on the document, they can tell employers a little more about you.
3. Forgetting to Include Keywords
This is also among the easiest resume mistakes to fix. Just look up some keywords that appear often in job posts in your industry, and include them in your document for the best chances of getting through the initial screening process. You can even draw on each individual job listing to find keywords that fit the post you’re applying to. And don’t be afraid to tailor each resume you send based on the job description!
4. Writing an Objective Instead of a Summary
Objectives are going out of style these days, and executive summaries are taking their place. The summary should include just a few sentences about your unique talents. It should also include any specific information you feel the employer needs to know, such as your willingness to relocate for a job.
5. Making the Resume Too Long
Most recent grads only need one page to explain their job experience and education. Even experienced professionals are advised to stick to two pages at most — long resumes often get thrown in the trash. Keep your resume concise and to the point.
6. Adding a Picture
Unless you’re an actor or model, this step is not necessary for most careers.
7. Using Unique Colors or Fonts
It’s best to stick to traditional options when it comes to color, resume font, paper and anything else you are tempted to change in order to stand out. The standard choices are popular for a reason; they are usually easiest on the eyes, which is important when HR staff members are only spending seconds scanning your resume!
8. Cramming Too Much Info Into the Document
If you have managed to fill up the whole page with paragraphs about yourself, you’ve made a classic resume mistake. Make your resume easy to read with bullet points and bolded terms when possible and plenty of white space on the page.
9. Including Unrelated Information
Make sure you only include information that employers need to know. For example, if you have recently taken up juggling and want to work as an accountant, leave out the circus tricks and focus more on your proficiency in IT. Once you’ve secured an interview, you can always bring up these more colorful aspects of your life to make a more personal connection with future employers.
10. Pointing Out the Common Skills You Have
This is another of the many resume mistakes that can make your document too long. If you’re applying to be an accountant, you don’t have to point out that math is one of your skills. Instead, mention your expertise with specific accounting software that not every aspiring accountant knows how to use.
11. Forgetting to List Unpaid Work
Few recent grads have long job histories, but they might still have some good experience. If you have volunteered or participated in an internship, don’t make the mistake of leaving these experiences off your resume! In fact, you can still write a winning resume even if you don’t have any paid work experience by taking the time to focus on these work-like experiences.
12. Writing in the Third Person
Even if you are paying a professional to write your resume, make sure it is in the first person point of view. Otherwise, it will sound odd.
13. Using the Wrong Order
You should use reverse chronological order when listing your education and experience, i.e., most recent work first. This is the easiest way for potential employers to get an understanding of how you have been spending your time during and after college.
14. Changing the Formatting
Make sure you use the same format throughout the resume. If you list some of your job duties using bullet points, be sure you do the same with all of your job duties, as well as your education and special skills. And if you list the city and state for some former employers (which you should!), check to make sure you do this for all of them.
15. Ending Your Resume by Mentioning References
Yet another resume mistake to avoid is saying “references available upon request.” It goes without saying that you will offer your chosen references to the HR team when requested, so leave off this line completely. It’s just taking up valuable real estate.