Five common resume mistakes students should avoid

Immediately after spring break, I am flooded with requests to help students with their resumes. Whether you’re a student who is applying for internship opportunities or a soon-to-be-grad starting to think about searching for your first job, good resumes take time to develop.

You can create a solid first draft of your resume in an afternoon – but that is just the start. Your resume needs to clearly promote your skills and characteristics, and it will take time to polish this into an effective marketing tool for your personal brand. So don’t procrastinate.

Once you do create your resume, update it at least once a year.  Collect emails, papers, awards and anything that is evidence of your accomplishments and put them in a file throughout the year.  Then pick a day – I usually update my resume at the end of each calendar year – to revise your resume to reflect these additional accomplishments.

After working on hundreds of resumes, here is my list of five most common resume mistakes.

  1. Incorrect contact information – Don’t lose an interview because you can’t be reached due to an error with your contact information. This happens more often than you think. Check and re-check the spelling of your name, your mailing address, email address and phone number to make sure it is correct.
  2. Not proofreading your resume – With as many as 1,000 resumes received for one job opening, employers are looking for reasons to eliminate candidates. One small mistake might be the difference between being considered and being rejected. Enlist help from friends to proofread your resume. Make sure you return the favor.
  3. Repeating yourself – Use the limited space on your resume to highlight diverse skills and characteristics that relate to the posting. Each bullet point on your resume should begin with a different action word. If you have used “coordinate” once, you can’t use it again.
  4. Not relevant to the job posting – Gone are the days of one general resume sent to different employers. The expectation now is a resume written specifically to the job posting. If you are a biology major applying for a customer service position, make sure you highlight your customer service skills.
  5. Made-up information – Don’t be caught in a web of lies.  Always tell the truth on your resume; if you don’t, it will come back to haunt you.

Judie Caribeaux is the Director of Career Services at Aurora University. For more information, email her at career@aurora.edu.