Common Mistakes On Student Resumes
The first job you’ve got after graduation from college is highly important. It often determines your further professional path and career direction. So, you should try your best to get hired for a job that offers wide prospects for future career growth – and to achieve that you’ll need an effective resume. Not every resume will do, though. Striving to create the best resume ever, students often make big mistakes that actually prevent them from getting invited for interviews. When you’re writing your first resume, it’s easy to get lost in tons of information out there and it’s tough to access the quality of your resume objectively. That’s why our resume writing services NYC have compiled a checklist of typical resume mistakes frequently made by students.
Also in this section:
20 most popular student resume mistakes
- A resume longer than one page
One page is an optimal length for a student resume. You don’t have so much experience that would excuse adding the second page. Even if you had had 5 summer jobs, no need to go into detail for all of them – focus only on the achievements and skills you’ve gained. The competition for entry level jobs is fierce, so no hiring manager will read your 3-page resume. So, if you want your application to be efficient, try not to bother them with useless information.
- Adding your high school information
According to the unwritten standard, high school belongs to resume only if you didn’t proceed with your study. In other words, as soon as you’ve entered college or university, remove the high school information – it adds no value for someone holding (or obtaining) a degree. The same goes for your high school accomplishments and activities – for a recent graduate, they’re totally outdated.
- Neglecting proper resume formatting
Students often underestimate the importance of quality formatting and structure. Nevertheless, proper formatting makes resume easier to read, builds positive impression about you and making the hiring manager’s job easier. Nobody wants to read into a plain block of text with 8 pts fonts and no clear sections.
So, make sure to use indents, spaces, boldface font and other typographic tricks to improve your resume’s readability. You can also check the rules of student resume formatting. If you’re out of time to do this job, resume professionals of our company will gladly edit your resume and improve its visual appearance.
- Misspelling, punctuation and grammar errors
Misspelling and grammar errors are the biggest problems among student resumes. Obviously, even the tiniest errors irritate hiring managers and spoil the very first impression about you. So, use proofreading techniques to check your resume (here’s an in-depth guide on how to proofread your resume efficiently: http://resumeperk.com/blog/tips-for-flawless-resume-proofreading) – it will do you any harm. Pay close attention to verb tenses – all your past experience and internships should go in past tense. Or, what is even better, hire a resume proofreader to make sure your document is flawless and ready for application.
- Sending the same resume to all of the employers
Changing your resume to tailor it for every job posting out there sounds like a tough, exhausting task. However, this is what you need to do if you want your resume to pass the selection. One-size-fits-all resumes get less consideration and feedback than tailored resumes do. And remember to add relevant keywords to make your application a success. You can learn the rules of keyword staffing from our guide here: http://resumeperk.com/blog/why-keywords-are-so-important-for-successful-resume.
- No action verbs
If you start the sentences with ‘Responsible for’ or ‘I…’ - correct it immediately! The only commonly approved way you should describe your responsibilities and achievements is action verbs. Action verbs highlight your direct impact and your skills. Even if you lack in accomplishments, the action verbs picked right can make your resume sound a way more solid and evoking trust. Don’t know which verbs to use and how to put them into your resume effectively? Check our guide here: http://resumeperk.com/blog/top-200-most-powerful-resume-words-with-examples.
- Incorrect contact information
Another thing that should be double-checked is your contact info. If you write a resume in a hurry, it’s easy to misspell a number or letter – and the hiring manager simply won’t get in touch with you! Of course, you might be busy writing your PhD thesis, but do take your time to make sure you’ve written everything correctly.
- Unprofessional e-mail
This problem is less common with experienced professionals, but lots of student resumes have less-than-professional e-mail address stated right under their name. Your resume is your professional presentation; still, how can someone expect professionalism from a candidate asking to mail them at ‘firstname.lastname@example.org’ or ‘email@example.com’? Keep those ’fun’ addresses for mailing with your friends.
- Not including important information
Not only paid relevant experience is important in student’s resume. Any internship, part-time or volunteering experience is important if you’ve learned some skills from it. Many students make mistake of leaving the unpaid or irrelevant experience off and lose the chance to demonstrate, for example, customer service and leadership skills. Don’t just ditch your part-time jobs without using their full potential in your resume. Also, think of how your college experiences (such as campus activities, volunteering) are relevant to your job and don’t hesitate to expand on them if they can add value to your resume.
If prioritizing your experiences and identifying what can work best for your resume doesn’t seem an easy task, ask for professional assistance. We have special discounts for students and graduates!
- Failure to include academic achievements
If your GPA is high enough (3.0 or above), don’t hesitate to put it on your resume. Academic awards such as Dean’s list should also be mentioned. However, don’t limit your education section to school’s name, degree and GPA. If you’ve successfully completed some project or did the coursework that is particularly relevant to the job, list them as well.
Keep in mind that if you’ve graduated no later than 2 years ago and don’t have relevant experience, Education section of your resume should go above the Experience.
- Using paragraphs, not bullet points
Paragraphs are more difficult to read than bullet points. If you want the employer to scan your resume faster and get all the important information read, opt for bullets. They make your resume look neat, concise and easily draw the attention to your strengths. Moreover, so little people use paragraphs these days, so they can look outdated on a resume.
Since bulleted lists are a good tone of resume formatting, be sure to use them when posting your resume online. When you make your resume available for all employers out there, you need to make sure it looks really great and can withstand the competition.
- Putting references on the resume
Your references, as well as the widely-used phrase ‘References available upon request’ do not belong to resume. Get your reference information prepared on a separate sheet to provide it for employer’s perusal if requested.
- Not supporting your claims with facts
When it comes to describing soft skills, nearly every graduate states he’s ‘a good communicator’, ‘problem solver’ who ‘works well in a team’. Such statements look fluffy if not supported by real examples of when you’ve demonstrated them. So, look back and mention where you used those communication skills and how they helped you to succeed.
Again, employers want the real examples of what you did in your past jobs or extra-curricular activities. You need to convince them that you really work with others by providing details of the project or job rather than make loud statements in your resume summary.
- Not taking the advantage of your hobbies
The hobbies are traditionally not included in resumes. However, there are exceptions of this rule. If your hobbies can be tailored to your prospective job or field, be sure to mention them. Athletic experience in college is your huge asset as well; so make sure to mention them on your resume and during the interview. To find out how to present your athletic past for the employer, see here: http://resumeperk.com/blog/9-ways-to-present-athletic-experience-during-the-interview .
- Making a resume task-oriented, not accomplishment-oriented
Your resume needs to show you’re a proactive, result-oriented personality. However, most resumes have to offer only a boring list of responsibilities held. If you have concrete accomplishments supported by figures, this is great. If you don’t, you still can make your resume more result-oriented. For example, instead of saying ‘Answered phone calls from clients’ you can put ‘Handled 100+ calls per day and resolved customer complaints’. Employers care more about what you’ve accomplished in a particular role, so, give it to them!
- Exaggerating facts on resume
Including untrue career or education facts might be tempting for the young professionals who lack real career accomplishments. They believe that creating an attractive resume with fake facts will help them look more solid on paper and eventually get a job offer. In fact, lies can make your resume stand out, but it almost never pays off. Companies conduct background checks and if your real experience won’t match what your resume states, it will cost you a job. Learn more about why exaggerating on your resume isn’t worth it. For the students it’s even more important – don’t start your career with the help of dishonest methods!
- Not paying attention to social media profiles
It’s no surprise that companies will check your Facebook, Instagram and Twitter before inviting you for an interview. Many candidates have lost their chance for a job because of the party pictures, inappropriate posts or comments or unprofessional online image. So, even before you start sending your resume everywhere, do clean up your social media profiles. Don’t put your future career at stake. And if you want to share something which might be considered unprofessional, make sure it’s only visible to your friends.
Did you know that social media hashtags can also help you find the job? Learn which hashtags to use to find your job through social media platforms.
- Not asking for references from professors and supervisors
If you manage to make it to the interview stage, the hiring manager will likely ask you to provide references. However, it’s highly recommended that you prepare them at the stage of writing your resume. So, talk to your professors, tutors, or supervisors in your past jobs and ask them to provide references for your prospective employer. Choose those people who you really enjoyed working with and who can present you best.
- Poor resume objective/summary
Even though you don’t have rich experience, you should use an objective or summary statement to clarify your value for the employer or your career goal. Most students, however, don’t take full advantage of it and simply put something like “To obtain a bank teller position with a reputable organization for career growth”. Needless to say those cookie-cutter objectives are a waste of resume space.
You can choose to use either objective (if your career goals are unclear from your major and experience) or summary (if you want to impress them from the very first lines with your set of skills and knowledge). The #1 rule is that they should focus on the employer’s value from hiring you. For more tips on how to write a resume summary, see here: http://resumeperk.com/blog/write-a-resume-summarytips-by-custom-resume-writing-service.
- Lacking courage to send resume to the top companies
Many students dream of climbing up the career ladder at the big corporation; however, not all of them dare to make their dream come true. Are you afraid of sending your application to a huge company because you believe you don’t have enough experience, the competition is high, and it’s just impossible?
If you’ve followed all the above advice, your resume is already pretty good – maybe, much better than those of your peers. So, don’t hesitate to apply for a highly competitive job – the courage often pays off!
Basically, your resume is the ticket to the world of work. If you work hard on it and eliminate all of the resume mistakes, your choice of potential career opportunities and number of interview calls will increase accordingly. However, don’t write your resume in a hurry – it’s nearly impossible to create a decent copy in the matter of hours. If you’re in a rush and need to make an online resume within 12 hours, it’s better to pay for getting your resume done and ensure quality result.
How to get your first job
A well-written resume is your huge step forward; however, your job hunting is not limited to simply browsing job ads and sending your resume in response. Below you’ll find what you need to pay attention to during the job search process:
- Prepare for interviews in advance
if you don’t have much ‘real’ professional experience, it means that you lack interviewing skills as well. Meanwhile, the ability to handle interview and make a lasting positive impression determines whether you’ll get a job or not. To become more confident during the interview, practice interviewing at home, with your friend or in front of the mirror. Watch your choice of words, tone and body language. By the way, here are the questions you can ask your interviewer at the end of the conversation: http://resumeperk.com/blog/10-best-and-worst-questions-to-ask-your-interviewer.
- Contact a recruitment agency
To get access to vacancies which aren’t advertised on job boards, you can take advantage of one of the recruitment agencies. There are companies specializing in graduate recruitment and they are paid commission for filling the company’s vacancy. What are the benefits of collaborating with such an agency? Not only you’ll get a wider choice of prospective jobs, but also you’ll have someone by your side who is also interested in your employment.
- Use the power of connections
As we’ve mentioned above, not all jobs are advertised online. Many positions are filled through recruitment agencies and connections. So, as soon as you start job-hunting, get in touch with everyone who might help you in this search. If your acquaintance works for your dream company or the industry, ask them to recommend you for a job or to connect you with the right people. Take the advantage of university programs – some universities have graduate programs with reputable companies. And, if you’ve already been looking for job for a while, learn how to speed up your job search.
- Do a lot of research
Do you have a plenty of dream companies on your mind? If several employers are your top priorities, simply e-mailing your resume to them is not enough. Start with doing a research about the company, their goals, business climate and corporate culture. So, anytime you choose to connect with the company’s hiring manager or tailor your cover letter, you’ll know enough about the company to impress them. Moreover, since you know who they are, you can be more specific about what you have to offer them, or even come out with the solution to one of their existing problems. It’s a way more effective than just sending in your application, isn’t it?
- Consider joining a startup
The perspective of working for a startup is often overlooked by graduate students. Nevertheless, it’s still an option and has its own advantages. First, the competition for startup positions is not so strong as for well-known corporation everyone wants to get in. Second, startup environment is usually more relaxed and less bureaucratic, which creative minds might find more enjoyable. And third, you can learn versatile skills from practice and gain more responsibility faster than your peers looking for huge companies. If you are considering this option, learn the pros and cons of joining a startup.
- Stay open to unexpected career opportunities
Even if you’re actively job hunting right now, keep in mind that your perfect career may be outside of your area of search. For instance, if you have a degree in English and you love to write, don’t limit your career prospects to online and traditional media. You can try your lack in PR, advertising, become an English tutor or even start your own blog. And, if you’re a software engineer, try to source new opportunities not only in big software companies, but also in smaller local firms.
- Get ready for video interviews
Video interviewing is one of the most popular recent trends in recruitment. More and more companies in the US either replace the traditional interview with it or see it as an introductory interview before the ‘real’ one. And, since video interviewing is here to stay, you need to know how to pass it right.
First, ask the company about the interviewers and the process in advance so it wouldn’t be a surprise for you and you could prepare effectively. Secondly, learn what differentiates Skype interview from traditional one – for instance, you can check Skype interview benefits. And third, take them seriously and prepare accordingly.
- Practice your soft skills
As a recent graduate, you need to showcase your motivation, ability to grasp new information on the go and eagerness to work. However, your soft skills matter a lot as well, since employers pay increasing attention to emotional intelligence. So, during the interview, highlight such abilities of yours as teamwork, communication, problem solving, ability to negotiate or any others depending on the job you’re applying for. Being the right personality type is now more important than being a highly educated person.
- Stay active and motivated
Finding a new job isn’t a week’s task. It’s normal that it will take you months until you find a suitable opportunity and get a job offer. So, you need to start early – create a resume and start searching while you’re still in the university to find the job as soon as possible.
And, most importantly, keep your mood positive and stay inspired. If you apply for jobs regularly and massively, use the power of educational and professional connections and prepare for interviews, you’ll find your first job pretty fast. Good luck!
Student’s resume is different from a resume of a professional. In particular, it’s more education-focused and oriented on your potential and ability to learn. If you manage to highlight those abilities by bringing enough light to your academic and work accomplishments, you won’t struggle getting a job you want.
If you want to make your job application process more effective, our resume writing services are at your disposal. At a very attractive student fee you’ll get a brand new resume done in accordance with recruiters’ requirements. Or, if you already have one, a skilled editor will polish it and eliminate all typos and mistakes to maintain your image of a promising young professional.
Did you write your first resume on your own or asked for someone’s help?