Resume writing is tricky for everyone, even the most accomplished college students and recent grads out there. Are you getting the right message across? Are you putting your best foot forward?
If you think you're the only one screwing up your resume, you're definitely not alone. Here are five of the most common resume mistakes young people make, including lots of successful students and recent grads.
1. They Make Their Resumes More Than One Page
If you've done a lot during your high school and/or college years, you might feel the need to put everything you've ever achieved on your resume. After all, showing the breadth of what you've accomplished is something a hiring manager wants to see, right?
Wrong. In actuality, recruiters, hiring managers and potential employers really aren't lying when they say they want resumes that don't go over a page.
Why? A hiring manager will spend an average of six seconds scanning your resume, so that person isn't looking to see you were in "Game Of Thrones" Appreciation Club all through college (unless that's pertinent to the position you're applying for). Instead, a potential employer wants to see the most relevant experience as quickly as possible. That means putting that experience at the top of your resume and keeping the document to one page.
2. They Don't Proofread Enough
Even the most successful young people fall prey to the dreaded typo, but luckily, there are many steps you can take to ensure no formatting, stylistic, spelling or grammatical error goes undetected.
A couple of favorite ways to keep typos at bay include:
- Reading your resume from the last sentence all the way back up to the first sentence.
- Reading your resume out loud.
- Having at least one other person read your resume.
3. They Don't Use Action Verbs
When you're putting together your resume, you may start to feel like each bullet point is redundant (“Maintained records. Helped with social media.”). The most important thing you can do with your resume is to make sure you're mixing it up and including strong action verbs throughout.
What do strong action verbs look like? Instead of saying you “helped” with something, be specific: Did you transcribe, analyze, translate, construct or build a product, project or service? These words can add more meaning to every line of your resume instead of using vague or fluffy filler words.
4. They Make Each Bullet Point Too Long
When naming your accomplishments, you may feel the need to go into lots of detail giving context to what you did at each job, what your impact was there, how you felt about it and so on. The problem is, not only does making each bullet point so drawn out make the resume itself too long, but it also doesn't make it easily scan-able for a potential employer.
Remember: Employers are only looking at your resume to see if you're qualified for a position; once you've intrigued them with your qualifications and work experience, you can then add context when you come in for an interview or move onto the next round of the hiring process.
5. They Don't Include Numbers
One of the biggest mistakes young people make when it comes to building strong resumes is they often don't include enough data to illustrate their robust work history.
What does this mean? For example, instead of saying you helped manage a company's social media accounts, you can say you grew its Facebook following by 300 percent or doubled the number of Twitter followers. Or if you were a waitress, be specific and say you managed 200-300 customers per night at the restaurant where you worked; that's far more tangible than saying you “worked with customers.”
The bottom line? Those metrics mean a lot more and give more indication of your impact to a potential employer, and it makes your resume easy to scan.
Once you've made changes to your resume and feel like it's in tip-top shape, it's time to take your job search to the next level.
This article was written by Lily Herman for WayUp.