Your resume may just be a piece of paper, but it's also one of the most crucial components of your job search. A good resume can be your ticket into the room with potential employers, where you can demonstrate exactly why you're the perfect candidate for them. But of course, you have to actually get into that room first. To be sure that your resume is application-ready, consider these common mistakes often found on resumes and be sure to avoid them at all costs.
1. Making it Only One Page
This notion has become quite common. Many students believe their resume MUST fit on one page. FALSE. If you have enough relevant experience and many accomplishments, then by all means, go onto page two. Just keep in mind that recruiters only look over your resume for so long, so if you want to make it two pages, be sure that it stands out and draws them in.
2. Including References
Unless your work history is short and you have some great references, there is no need to mention them on your resume. References usually come up later in the application or interview process. Forget the "References available upon request" line and use that space to share more important information about yourself.
3. Discarding Graphics
Many of us are taught that including graphs or tables on a resume is distracting and unprofessional. As long as any graphic you include is easy to understand and provides your potential employer with useful information, there's no harm in including it. When done well, graphics can really help your resume stand out above the others and demonstrate your design skills.
4. Writing an Objective or Personal Statement
Common practice has been to start your resume with a sentence or two explaining your career objective or describing yourself. However, this is another unnecessary piece of the classic resume you can do without. Recruiters eyes go right past the beginning and look at your experience first, so skip the fluff and get down to business.
5. Making Spelling and Grammar Mistakes
The easiest thing in the world to do is proofread your resume, making sure that everything is correct. Yet, so many people rush through their resume and don't understand how crucial spelling and grammar are. One or two obvious errors can mean your resume ends up in the shredder. Get a friend to look over your resume closely for simple grammar and spelling mistakes.
When putting details to your work history, lines like "worked on several projects" or "organized events and activities" aren't going to cut it. What did you contribute to the company while you were there? What specific changes did you make that benefitted the company? Recruiters want to know what impact you made and how much you accomplished. Talk about how much you increased sales or discuss specific marketing campaigns you put together. Numbers and figures are what will really catch employers' eyes and impress them.
7. Including Incorrect Contact Information
Why haven't I been getting any calls? I've applied to so many places! You should probably double check your email address and phone number on your resume. Our contact information is an area we all think we know too well to mess up, so most of us don't look over it. But all of those applications will have been a waste of time if nobody can get a hold of you.
8. Listing Irrelevant Experience
When you're applying for jobs in a certain field, you should only show relevant work experience such as freelance positions or internships you've held. When applying for an accounting or a marketing job, recruiters don't care that you were a host or hostess for two years during college. Once you have a good work history under your belt, you can decide which positions will be most impressive to recruiters.
While constructing the perfect resume, keep all of these common mistakes and myths in mind. Get creative and try using Microsoft Word templates or Creative Cloud to add some artistic flare to your resume. Have someone else look over your resume and check for odd wording and spelling errors. It's also very smart to visit your school's career center and have them look it over and give you pointers as well. Above all, make sure this piece of paper reflects who you are and proves you would make a great addition to any team. Good luck!