After all the hard work you put into crafting, shaping, and editing your entry level resume, don't let one preventable mistake stand in the way of your success. At the entry level, most applicants have held few — if any — professional positions. They've also never applied for a job using a formal resume and multi-stage interview process. So if you're like most entry level candidates, this experience will be a first for you. Here are 10 common resume mistakes that inexperienced job seekers often make. If you can catch some of these and correct them before you submit, you'll put yourself ahead of the pack.
Skipping non-work experience
Don't omit a skill, talent, or relevant experience just because you gained that skill outside of the classroom or outside the halls of a professional full-time job. List and describe all strengths suited for the job, even the ones you acquired through internships, clubs, summer jobs, or any other aspect of your life. Just make sure that you only include information that is applicable to the job.
If you submit 10 resumes a day, then you're likely to use a template document that you customize slightly for each position you pursue. There's nothing wrong with this move (it can be a real time saver), but don't fumble the customization process. Spend a few minutes making sure each individual submission is perfectly tailored to the needs and interests of your recipient.
Add numbers to your accomplishments. If you raised revenues for your past employer, offer a dollar amount or a percentage. If you led a team, state how many people were on that team. If you held a leadership role, state the time period in years or months. Hiring managers don't expect to see this in an entry level resume, so they will be impressed by you.
Be sure to add at least two or three keywords that your reviewers are likely to use as search terms. This will help your resume find its way out of a database and into the hands of a human reader.
Focus on accomplishments, not basic duties
Don't spend too much time describing your basic responsibilities in previous roles; emphasize how you went above and beyond. Hiring managers can probably guess what you did at various jobs, so offering basic information won't entice them to call you.
Too short or too long
Your sweet spot is this: exactly one page. If your entry level resume falls under one page, you may be missing opportunities to shine. If it goes on longer than one page, your details may not be noticed or remembered.
Using personal pronouns
Drop the subject from your sentences and phrases whenever the subject is yourself. It's okay (and necessary) to bend this standard grammar rule in a resume document.
A vague objective statement
Keep the opening lines of your resume summary statement clear, concise, and concrete. Focus on what you can do and what you have to offer, not just what you want. Sell yourself. Also, try to avoid overused phrases such as "team player" and "go-getter."
Rambling and clutter
Every line of your document should relate directly to the task at hand. Take out all information that isn't relevant to this particular job. Keep the job description handy as you edit your entry level resume. It will help you cut out unnecessary information.
Skipping personal details
Never share your age, ethnicity, gender, marital status, or other vital statistics on your resume. But DO provide at least two or three of your personal passions and hobbies outside of the workplace. Clubs and organizations are great additions. Let your employers get a sense of your interests so they can decide how well you align with their culture.
For more on how to move your resume to the top of the list and grab the employer's attention you deserve, explore the job search tools on MyPerfectResume.