The only way for a college student to get an internship or a job after graduation is to come up with a resume that will impress their potential employees. If you have no relevant job experience, a resume written in the latest career trends could be your only chance to highlight your strong sides and land a job. But how can a student craft one that actually looks good? These things do come with experience – but this still doesn’t mean that you have to try and fail for a month before finally coming up with something decent enough. You can learn from the experience of others – and we’re going to help you with that today. Here’s a list of 11 worst resume writing mistakes college students can make. Remember them and do your best to avoid them.
Worst College Student Resume Mistakes 2018
1. An email address is odd.
While this mistake is rarely enough to ruin your chances of getting a job, it can still worsen the first impression. If you want to look professional, your email address has to look professional too. This means using your real name instead of some nickname (for example, email@example.com would look much better than a firstname.lastname@example.org). Moreover, though not all HRs pay attention to this, some of them find using old email services (like Hotmail and AOL) outdated, so Gmail is probably a safer option.
2. The instructions aren’t followed.
Many companies include some additional instructions to the job description (for example, they may ask to attach a portfolio and/or some recommendations to the letter). Some students, however, ignore these instructions. It doesn’t matter if this happened because you misunderstood the instructions or because you simply sent the resumes in response to all possible vacancies without looking – either way, this looks bad. Always check for additional requirements and follow them as properly as you can.
3. The format of the attachments is odd.
For example, a resume is sent not in a .doc or .docx format but in macOS document instead. Or a portfolio isn’t a PDF file but an Adobe Photoshop or an Adobe Illustrator file that is impossible to open unless the HR has the software installed. Even if you’re sure that HR works on Mac, still, make sure that all the attachments are converted to the most common formats everyone uses. It would be a pity to miss an opportunity simply because the HR couldn’t open a file.
4. The resume isn’t tailored to a vacancy.
Sending one resume to all vacancies significantly decreases your chances of getting a job. Why? Because each job offer is different and a good resume has to highlight all skills and experiences relevant to a certain job offer. Otherwise, the things that interest your potential employee the most might not be easily seen and you will miss the opportunity. Remember that HRs usually don’t spend much time looking through resumes, so your goal is to tailor your resume to a vacancy, putting the most important things first.
5. The resume doesn’t show any relevant experience.
Now, this could look like the most complicated part of the process to many: how can one demonstrate relevant experience if they didn’t work anywhere (or at least anywhere impressive)? The thing is that some students do underestimate their value. It is possible for a student to get some valuable and relevant working experience without actually having a real job. Volunteering, participating in various student projects and extracurricular activities also counts as an experience – so don’t forget to put it on your resume.
6. Students think that their personal information doesn’t count.
Just like we’ve already mentioned above, students often focus on job experience too much, forgetting that other things can benefit them too. Some hobbies and passions can also impress the HRs if presented right. For example, if you traveled around the world a lot, you should include this in your resume. If you read a bunch of books related to a niche you want to work in, mention that too.
7. The resume or the cover letter looks too desperate.
It’s understandable that all graduates are looking for jobs and they need them very much. However, how saying that you are really desperate for a job can help you get the job? Simply stating «I need it» won’t persuade the HR (your skills and actions are supposed to persuade them instead) – and it also might turn them away.
8. The resume is focused on tasks, not achievements.
Some students might think that listing all their tasks and duties on their previous jobs/internships/volunteering projects can help them look more impressive. However, in most cases, it looks pretty obvious (for example, if you were working at a coffee shop, any HR can guess how your list of duties looked like). Instead of focusing on this too much, try highlighting your achievements (for example, becoming the best employee of the month or increasing the sales by 10%, etc.). Make them as specific as possible – HRs like this a lot.
9. The achievements are too unclear.
So, for example, a student states that they won a contest. If it isn’t well-known world- or country-famous contest, it won’t say much to the HR. Just like in the case mentioned above, being specific is crucial here. Saying that you were considered the best among 700 other students will help the HRs see the picture more clearly. Moreover, this will definitely look more impressive than winning a contest that had 7 participants only.
10. The resume is too long.
We’ve already said that HRs don’t have much time to read all the resumes thoroughly – that’s why it’s always better to make them as concise as possible. There are hardly many students who have so much experience and skills that they are unable to describe them on one page. Shortening your resume means cutting all the information that isn’t relevant to a vacancy and leaving only the important things in it. This might not come easily at first, but still, try to do your best.
11. The resume lacks proofreading.
While your potential job might not have anything to do with fluent grammar and strong proofreading skills, submitting a resume full of mistakes and typos is still inappropriate. This has a lot to do with the business culture in general and can ruin the good impression you’ve been trying to build so hard. If you aren’t sure that you are able to proofread a resume well on your own, ask your friend to do so or turn to essay writing services for help. Such services not only offer good narrative essay examples but also can help you polish your resume, making it look much better.