There are many make-or-break moments with first impressions. Because your résumé is often the only first impression you have with an employer, it’s important you get it right. Avoid these common résumé mistakes to land the interview!
- You didn’t read the position description: When submitting applications, the position description is your key to success. Your résumé should reflect the values that they are looking for in applicants. Many times employers will also list specific instructions about submitting information, and it is very important that you follow those.
- Your objective statement is for the wrong position: Résumé objective statements should be personalized for specific positions and companies, which shows recruiters commitment. However, many times students confuse résumés or fail to update, which shows the employers you did not review your résumé before submitting it. Always check for these details.
- Your résumé is more than a page: Unless you are applying to graduate school or a special program, your résumé should not exceed one page. Few employers have the time to search through pages on your résumé to find essential information. It is estimated that a recruiter spends 10-15 seconds looking over your résumé, so the goal is to make it easy for them to gain the most information in a short amount of time.
- You don’t have bullet statements: Bullet statements are the basis for highlighting transferable skills and your values on your résumé. By writing clear and thorough bullet statements for your experiences, you are able to emphasize the importance of your positions and how they make you a valuable candidate. Remember, each bullet statement should include what you did, how you did it, and why you did it. If you have any questions, feel free to check page 6 of our Résumé & Professional Writing Guide.
- Your résumé is inconsistent: Each section on your résumé should follow the exact same formatting style, and you should make it easy for employers to find the essential information! Always make sure you get a second and third pair of eyes on your résumé to catch any errors you may have missed.
- You don’t sell yourself: The goal of a résumé is to emphasize to a recruiter what you can ‘bring to the table’. In essence, a résumé should not be self-serving; rather, it should focus on what skills you have and what YOU can do for THEM. Additionally you must showcase your abilities and skills because otherwise the recruiter may not find them.
- You didn’t write a cover letter: A cover letter is by no means necessary to apply for a job, however, cover letters can show extra thought and care. By writing a personalized cover letter for the positions you apply to, you create one extra material that sets you apart. To get started, check our sample on page 17 of the Résumé & Professional Writing Guide.
If you still feel uneasy about your résumé, come into the Center for Career Development, where you can schedule a 20 minute, personalized résumé critique! Our staff can help you develop any of these content areas on your resume, during our walk-in critique hours, which are Monday through Friday 10am-5pm.