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Top 7 Resume Mistakes to Avoid for College Graduates
By Marilyn Vojta
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With today's tight job market and positions for college graduates the lowest in 20 years, differentiating you from others applying for the same position will be critical. Writing an exceptional resume will differentiate you from others. Your resume is the greatest major asset in your career management inventory and job search. Its job is to provide the evidence that you are a candidate that should be seen. There is no one right way to write a resume. The important point is to keep it relevant and interesting and avoid key pitfalls.
- Not including an Objective.
Although it may narrow your options, an Objective gives the reader an idea of what you want to do. When responding to an employment opportunity, you may mention it in your cover letter or email, but often employers won’t save this correspondence, so it is valuable to include it on your resume.
- Not having any “real work” experience.
Summers in the sun may have been nice, but employers want to see what you can do in a work environment. Whether an internship or volunteer experience, it helps employers see your ability to function in the professional world. Sometimes being creative in your descriptions can be helpful, for example, waitresses need to have exceptional customer service and people management skills, so include those words on your resume.
- Listing a phone number you rarely answer.
If you are never home, don’t give a home phone number. Rarely will employers or recruiters leave a message, unless your name is on the message tape. If you are a cell phone addict, use only that number and remember to answer it professionally. And speaking of the message, record one that includes your name and "please leave a message.” The old “Hey man you know what to do after the beep” isn’t appropriate now.
- Not having a professional email address.
It might have been fun to have the email address of "firstname.lastname@example.org" or "email@example.com" in your younger years, but now it is time to find an email address that is more business appropriate. The best email address is to use your own name in some format of first name or initial and last name.
- Not including school internships, etc.
Long-term academic projects can be valuable experiences to include on your resume. For example, doing a month long research project during your schools “I-Term”. Assisting a professor with data analysis for his research project or being part of your university’s yearly fund raising endeavors are significant events to include on your resume.
- Using fancy fonts and formatting.
Your resume should be easy to read and follow for anyone. Script or fancy fonts don’t give a professional look. Too much formatting (italics, bold, caps, mixing fonts) will only distract (not add) to the ability to easily read your resume. Pick a universal font like Times New Roman, Times, or Palatino.
- Not filling the entire page.
Resumes should fill an entire page. A half-page resume doesn’t say much about you. Start planning your work experience early in college so you have something to write about. If your work experience is lean, make your margins bigger and font a little larger, but never larger than 12 point.
Marilyn Vojta is the Founder of Career-Navigation, a consulting firm specializing in helping individuals make meaningful career choices that utilize their greatest strengths and interest. Her 20 years of corporate experience and consulting in the areas of management and organization development, positions her to understand and deliver an exceptional career consulting process. Visit her website at http://www.career-navigation.com
Article Submitted On: June 23, 2009