Resume Mistakes College Grads Should Avoid Making

Career DevelopmentSuccess Strategies
Common Resume Mistakes College Grads Make

Creating a resume that sets you up for success in the job market is more complicated than it seems. Inexperienced job seekers who have no practice writing a resume could easily make many mistakes that will lead to fewer opportunities. Hiring managers won’t explain why a slip-up made you unsuccessful in receiving an interview, so college grads must learn the hard way from these blunders.

Avoid Mistakes by Outsourcing Your Resume Writing

Writing your first resume is a serious undertaking that may require more than one class or seminar to perfect. As a recent college grad, you may not know how to use your limited job, internship, or volunteer experience to your advantage. If you don’t have any training at all, you’ll need to know how to present your skills in a way that makes you hireable. Services like ResumeBuild provide you with free customizable resume templates for any job.

The best resume writing services can accomplish this task for you by creating a detailed and professional document. Plus, you can be sure that you will have avoided all of the following resume mistakes.

Top 8 Most-Common Resume Mistakes

1. Obvious Spelling Errors and Grammar Issues

Always run your resume through spelling and grammar-check software as this will help you catch common errors. However, most automated programs won’t be able to tell the difference between “lose” and “loose” or other words that could fit in a sentence but not in the context you were writing in. If you hand in a resume with errors, it will tell your potential employer you don’t pay attention to details.

2. Using the Same Resume When Applying for Multiple Positions

It’s a huge mistake to apply for multiple jobs using the same resume. HR departments are savvy to this tactic and often look for phrases in your resume that are unique to the position you’re applying for. For extra points, write a cover letter that is unique and specific to each company.

3. Mentioning Unrelated Hobbies, Activities, or Passions

Many professional resume writers will suggest adding your passions at the bottom of the document because it gives an employer a glimpse of your personality. While that is a great idea, most potential employers won’t care that you like to read books. You can add your hobbies to your resume if you turn them into a worthwhile skill or if that activity somehow contributes to the position.

4. Allowing Your Thesaurus to Collect Dust

Never use the same words over and over again. If you do, your resume will feel stagnant. Make friends with your thesaurus as soon as possible, but make sure you’re not misusing a synonym. You want to come across as well-read and sincere instead of as an intellectual fraud.

5. Adding Too Many Irrelevant Details

It’s a resume mistake to assume that every employer will care that you volunteered at a soup kitchen or handed out flyers at college football games if you just state it as a fact. While it’s good that you performed volunteer work in your community, you need to explain why those details are important to the employer. If handing out flyers boosted attendance, expand on how that makes you a salesman or a people person.

6. Inconsistent Layout

Any employer will take a quick look at your resume and judge you immediately if there isn’t a consistent format on your document. Employers expect your resume to be neat, with the same font type, size, and color. If you use bullet points anywhere on your resume, use them consistently throughout.

7. Use of Passive Voice Is a Huge Resume Mistake

There is a fundamental difference between passive and active voice. Passive voice is typically in the past tense, whereas active voice stays in the present. Active voice is punchier and sounds more confident in text, so be sure to use that tense throughout your resume. Instead of saying: “I was responsible for managing employees,” say “manage employees daily.”

8. Using a Non-Professional Email Address

Once you start applying for jobs, you can’t keep using your email address from high school. You also shouldn’t use the one that includes your hilarious online gamer tag. The most professional email addresses include your first and last name. If that email address isn’t available with the service you want to use, try adding your middle name or a few number combinations that aren’t offensive.

In a perfect world, your resume would match up to the perfect job. Qualifications alone would be the deciding factor. Unfortunately, we live in a culture that is so fast-paced that more than one “perfect” applicant has had his or her resume tossed in the wastebasket for no other reason than a simple typo. Before you begin your job search, find someone else to rigorously assess your resume and provide no-holds-barred feedback. You want to find the obvious errors (and fix them) before you put yourself out there in the world and begin building your brand. Good luck!