4 Common Resume Mistakes That Students Make (and What to Do Instead)

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For any student entering the professional workforce, having a strong resume is essential for gaining job opportunities. The CV is basically a tool you use to present yourself in the best possible way to professional employers.

However, some rather common mistakes often disqualify suitable candidates from consideration for an interview, let alone landing a decent job offer. Many of these revolve around grammar, formatting, and the content presented in the document.

Whether you’re fresh from college, looking for an internship, or have done some tarmacking, read along. Here are some common resume mistakes you should avoid, alongside what you can do to maximize your chances of getting noticed when applying for jobs.

1. Missing Important Keywords in Your CV

In today’s competitive job market where many recruiters rely on automated applicant tracking system (ATS) technology, one thing is for sure. It’s important to include key phrases or words related to the position you’re applying for within your job application documents like resumes and cover letters.

Including relevant keywords can increase the chances that your document won’t be tossed aside or get lost in a voluminous pool of resumes from other applicants once passed through the ATS.

Tip: Research Beforehand

Before making a job application, consider researching the company’s website as well as the information on their job post. This can help you find the right keywords to incorporate into your resume and increase your chances of landing a job interview or internship. Nonetheless, it’s essential to make sure these keywords are included naturally, perhaps as they would in everyday professional or social speech.

2. Not Tailoring Your Resume to the Job 

When creating a cover letter for an internship or a job as a student, you’ll most likely be advised to create a copy that shows your suitability in their organization. If otherwise, it can be tempting to drop resumes literally everywhere you think you might be a good fit, especially just before or after you graduate. The thing is, one size won’t fit all, especially when applying for different roles or positions.

Instead, take some time to make sure each resume you send out emphasizes the skill, roles, and experience relevant or related to the position being applied for. This shows potential employers that you took the extra effort to truly understand what kind of person would best suit their needs.

It can also make you stand out from others applying for the same roles using generalized resumes.

Tip: Craft Your Resume Online Using a Specialist Resume Builder

As a student, making your first or subsequent resume can be a tormenting and time-consuming task. Thankfully, many tools are available to help you out, including free versions if you care to look. Some are especially reliable when you need help with customizing a resume from scratch or from a generic version.

This way, it’s also easy to avoid overemphasizing or leaving out important accomplishments or work experience, including those related to volunteer and internship roles.

3. Applying Exclusively Online

Undeniably, we live in an age and day where thousands if not millions of recruiters look for potential candidates online whenever they need a new role or position filled. Job application has been made easier by online recruitment portals like Indeed, Monster, Glassdoor, and Flexjobs.

The likes of LinkedIn further make the process more liberal by providing a platform where both job seekers and employers can interact and build professional relationships even before an interview is scheduled.

Tip: Consider Traditional CV Sending Methods 

Sadly, however, many employers also prefer looking for potential hires in candidates that present themselves physically to the company’s premises, those who send hard copy resumes, and those who get recommended by other employees.

This is not to mention that recruiters can pick up subtle nonverbal cues while meeting candidates in person, just like physical business cards leave a much better impression than email links.

4. Failing to Proofread Your Resume 

Perhaps the most common mistake on resumes is typos and errors in grammar. This shows a lack of attention to detail, which is among the critical skills that employers value greatly. Thus, it’s essential to invest some time in proofreading your resume, double-checking grammar points such as singular vs. plural nouns, and active/passive transformations.

But your eyes alone may not be enough, especially when applying for a job or internship under strict deadlines.

Tip: Have a Third-Party Review Your Resume

You may not always spot your own mistakes in writing. This is why editors, proofreaders, and in part even instructors have a job! Whether it’s a family member, a comrade, or a friend in higher places, having your resume proofread by a third party can also increase the chances of landing that interview.

To sum it up, an impressive resume is not only about a good presentation. It’s also about avoiding mistakes such as typos, missed keywords, and generic job applications. The few tips above will hopefully help guide you in creating a winning resume for the first and each of your subsequent job applications while in college or after graduating.

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