The 3 Most Common Resume Mistakes

Michelle Garcia-Guevara -- November 14th, 2020

As you progress through college, your resume becomes one of the most important documents you will ever create. Many times this will serve as an employer’s first impression of you and, in general, it serves as an overview of everything you have accomplished thus far. This is why when crafting a resume it is essential to pay attention to even the smallest details and ensure that a reader can easily identify the important parts.

Below we highlight the 3 most essential tips for a great resume.

1. DO NOT use a generic resume

One common mistake students make is that they will use the same exact resume for every job or position they apply to. While a resume is essentially an overview of the most important things you have accomplished this does not mean that you are supposed to cram everything you have done into this one page. Rather when adding a resume to an application it is important to be intentional about what you are sharing.

Only include experiences in your resume that directly relate to the responsibilities of the position you are applying to. For example, if you are applying for a position as a social media manager, you will want to include experiences that showcase your skillful use of social networks.

As a general rule of thumb, whenever you are applying for a new position you should edit your resume.

The resume is not a static document; it is meant to be dynamic and rearranged to highlight essential points.

2. Focus on RESULTS, not duties

It can be easy to fall into the trap of listing duties when talking about any experiences on your resume. However, more likely than not, what employers are looking for is that you are a person who is able to deliver results and make an impact in whatever role you have served. One good way to distinguish whether you are listing duties as opposed to results is in the sort of information you present. Duties tend to be generic and can be transferred to other positions whereas results can be measured through certain metrics and can only be obtained in specific ways.

Take the following example:

Position: Sales Associate

Duties: Made a sales plan that caused an increase in sales — this is an ineffective point for this position.

vs.

Results: “Created a custom sales strategy that increased quarterly sales activity by 15%, increasing branch profits by 13.2%” — this is effective because it includes specific data, gives concrete results of your strategy, and uses effective action verbs (i.e. created)

3. Don’t Slack Off on Formatting!

According to Riia O’Donnell, today’s recruiters skim resumes for an average of 7.4 seconds. With the thousands of resumes they review, can we really blame them for only being able to take a glance? In order to facilitate this process for employers, as applicants, it is important to make your resume easy to read. This will not only help the recruiter but it can also increase your chances of having your resume picked among thousands of others.

Some essential formatting tips include:

Use 10–12 point font: any smaller is hard to read, any larger is distracting.

Use a simple layout: avoid using distracting colors or images and keep everything consistent.

Create clear sections: use bolded headings and spacing to divide up sections of your information so that it is easy for an employer to navigate the parts of your resume.

Be concise: resumes that perform the worst are those that have minimal white space on the page, opt-out bullet points for long sentences, and do not draw the reader’s eye down the page.

At the end of the day, there is no one correct way to create a resume. Some career experts say that an objective summary is essential to include in a resume while others believe that it is a waste of space. These sorts of details come down to preference and individual judgment based on where you will be presenting this resume. However, the three points mentioned above are mistakes that are commonly found across all types of resumes. If as an applicant you can ensure to avoid these three mistakes in all your resumes, then you have already created an advantage for yourself among the applicant pool.

Author’s Note: Hello, thank you for making it to the end of this article. My name is Michelle Garcia-Guevara and I am working as a Business Development Intern for Seedstages. I am also a Junior at Rice University double-majoring in Managerial Studies, Asian Studies, and minoring in Business. If you have any questions about startup internships or working with Seedstages you can connect with me on LinkedIn.

Are School Courses Enough?

Dasha Shkipina -- November 4th, 2020

Picture this: you have gotten perfect grades in high school and are now working hard at maintaining your GPA at your dream university. School is the number one priority in your life, and there is no time for anything else. You worked hard and finally earned your well-deserved college degree and academic accolades and are now applying for your first job. You notice a strange pattern, however – most entry level positions require professional experience! Your classmates with lower GPAs and less applicable coursework – but more work experience – are getting these job offers instead of you. It turns out that companies are placing more value on experience and past projects that provide proof of skill than the courses you took in college! Why is obtaining diverse work experience so important?

Need for Applicable Skills

Approximately 3 in 4 employers say it is difficult to find candidates with skills their companies require. In many cases, academic courses focus on (often outdated) theory and do not spend enough time on practical applications. A McGraw-Hill Education report has found that only 4 out of 10 college students feel prepared for their future career. There is a gap between what is being taught in schools and what is needed in the workplace.

Trial and Error

In addition to the lack of real-world preparation at most universities, many students 1) are not even sure what they want to do, and 2) do not understand what the day-to-day life of their desired position entails. This may lead to students going after jobs they do not actually want, and later needing to backtrack to seek a switch in careers from their initial field of study. According to the Washington Post, only 27 percent of college graduates are working in the field that they majored in. Doing an internship is a low risk opportunity to figure out if the job the student wants, is what they expect it to be.

Connect

Internships provide a unique opportunity to network with professionals in the student’s desired field. These connections come in handy when students are searching for a full-time opportunity and may need a warm introduction to the company. Connections made during an internship can also take on a mentorship role and guide the student through the journey to a career in their desired field.

Takeaway

In conclusion, although there are obvious gaps in the education system, doing well in school is important, as it signals an extraordinary work ethic and ability to learn and retain new skills. But it is just as important for students to seek opportunities to apply their skills in real-world scenarios and prove their capabilities. Successful preparation to transition from school to the work world revolves around the balance of both learning theoretical concepts and applying those concepts to solve real problems. Although most people only start to consider internships during their junior or senior year of college, taking on extra-curricular projects and leadership opportunities (big or small) early on can have a tremendous impact on a student’s post college career. These opportunities can include leadership roles at clubs, classmate event organizations, volunteering at charity events, and taking advantage of companies such as Seedstages.com, whose goal is to match students with internships at tech start-ups.