Guest post by Jamie Rose on Five Common Resume Mistakes Made By Graduates
1. Shoddy presentation
One of the most common resume failings by recent graduates is trying to make the document interesting by including lots of different fonts, sizes and graphics.
However, this will only succeed in making recruiters annoyed and frustrated as they struggle to find the key information they are looking for. ( This is How You Write a Perfect Resume That Gets Job Interview )
Let your content be the thing that impresses.
Stick to one font type – Calibri, Cambria or Times New Roman all work well – and keep the main body of the resume in the 10 – 12 point range.
Next, check your spelling, grammar and content flow as follows:
- Use a spelling and grammar checker to pick up any obvious mistakes
- Leave it for a day and then read it carefully again. This will help to identify words that do not say what you mean e.g. “I speak fluent Spinach”.
- Give your resume to someone whose level of English you trust and ask them to try and find mistakes.
2. It’s not a game of two halves
Another common resume mistake is, avoid writing your resume in a boring, clichéd way.
Steer clear of the lazy descriptions that most other candidates will fall back on.
Don’t describe how you wish to gain experience in the employer’s particular industry and develop your skill set by being enthusiastic, determined and a team player.
These stock phrases are meaningless and used by far too many candidates.
Instead, go back to what your key skills are and describe your objective in practical, realistic terms e.g. “I hope to use the event management skills I learned while organizing the science ball in a project management environment.”
3. Failing to keep it business appropriate
A quick question – how many times have you changed your email account? If you are like most people the answer is probably either once or not at all.
The relationship we have with our email address can be a very long-term one, often outlasting our actual relationships.
When searching for a job it is important to use a professional email address to avoid creating any unwanted associations in a potential employer’s mind. So, if your email is anything like ‘fluffybunny90@’ ‘rokstaruk@’ or ‘boozehoundman@’ then create a new email account before sending your CV anywhere.
Also, remember to include a valid contact address where you can receive correspondence from employers, such as application forms and job offers. If you no longer live near your university or if the address cannot be relied upon for safe delivery, you may need to choose a more suitable contact address.
4. Including everything
This is probably the only time you will hear a recruiter or HR professional say this, but you absolutely must discriminate.
Of course, I am not advocating that you develop your intolerant self and begin trolling like a speed demon. What I mean is that you are selective when deciding what information to include in your resume.
Without an extensive employment history to draw upon there is often a tendency to compensate by including too much of everything else.
However, be selective and avoid including details that will not be useful in helping you to secure an interview. Concentrate on the following key areas:
- Qualifications and training
- Work history (if applicable)
- IT skills
- Voluntary or gap year experience
- Personal interests
And avoid including:
- Date of birth
- Height or weight
- Marital status
5. Excluding key experience
The flipside of packing absolutely everything into your resume is to exclude information that might actually support your application. Employers are not expecting graduates to have reams of workplace or internship experience, so if you do have a reasonable amount it can make your application stand out.
For part-time jobs stick to those where you worked for at least three months or where you worked several times over the years. Do include all internships, as well as activities with voluntary and student organizations.
Have you contributed to a student newspaper or helped to plan a social event? Do you help to fund raise for a local charity? These help to show that you have initiative and a work ethic and will demonstrate that you are a well-rounded individual, rather than just a degree.