3 resumes mistakes recent graduates are still making

Posted May 08, 2015 by
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Maria Onzain

Looking for a job after years of experience is completely different than doing it for the first time. When you are starting out, you need to get more creative and have the right attitude to close the deal.

Getting your first job starts from writing a great resume. On top of emphasizing your education, internships or summer activities, there are many other things you can do to write a killer resume.

You can start by avoiding these 3 common mistakes that recent graduates are still making in their resumes:

Don’t stress about the lack of experience

If you are concerned about your lack of work experience and you think this will be a deterrent to get a job, your resume will transmit this insecurity. You need to understand that we all have had a first job some time and that there is nothing wrong with that.

There are plenty of companies looking for fresh graduates, so focus on what you do have and feel proud of it. Being positive and realistic will make possible for your resume to transmit the right feelings to the interviewers.

Don’t be too generic

It is a very common mistake to use resume templates and examples. However this often leads to your resume appearing too generic and written the same as everybody else. In today’s highly competitive job market, you need to make your resume stand out.

Writing your resume is a great opportunity to differentiate yourself from other candidates. Instead of being generic, try to give your resume a personal edge. Your resume should be a positive reflection of the type of person you are, so let your personality come through. Before you start writing your resume, think about what feelings or message you want to leave with potential employers. Thinking about the type of company you are applying for, what type of qualities are they looking for and how would this come out in the resume you are writing?

Be concise and not overly talkative

Whereas transmitting your personality with your resume is important, don’t forget to be precise and go straight to the point. Remember that in your resume, as in many other professional situations, ‘less is more’.

Recruiters or potential interviewers do not want to read a long narrative about why you did your internship or decided to study your degree. Both your resume and cover letter need to be concise. A good tip for these is to use bullet points and words that “pack a punch”. You can use the interview to explain your points in more detail if you are asked to do so.

Here are some extra tips you may find useful when looking for your first job after graduation:

  • Be strategic and think of your own network, when it comes to distributing your resume.

Think about which companies you want to target first. Which contacts do you already have in companies that interest you? You may also have heard positive things about particular companies to work for, possibly from your friends or family members, who could possibly help you out and put you in touch with their HR departments.

  • Back up your resume with real-life examples.

One of the main questions you can pre-empt in your resume is “why are you suitable for this role?” Think of this specific question for each application – then find a suitable answer based on your experience. Then craft a concise paragraph that answers this – make sure this paragraph includes specifics – along the lines of a SMART objective. That means your evidence of relevancy should be as specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound as possible.

Add this paragraph at the top of your resume. Then if you have the interview, you have your trump card ready to hand when answering that difficult on the spot question.

  • Practice speaking about the skills you reference in your resume before the interview.

Before the interview, make a list of relevant skills in bullet points you can remember easily.

If you are prepared you will be more relaxed in the interview and as the interviewer is assessing your personality it is important not to show signs of stress in the interview. Prepare, be relaxed and answer difficult questions naturally, with flow and with a smile.

  • Attend networking events when possible. You can find opportunities to sell yourself and make more contacts within your industry.

There are many graduate fairs for graduates seeking jobs, attend and you will walk away with a head full of opportunities to follow up on.

All professional organizations have packed events calendars. See which events you can attend. Attending these events helps you meet the people in your profession. These same people may later have the ideal opportunity for you or be useful in networking later on in your career.

Author byline:

Maria Onzain is a content marketing expert writing for Open Colleges about education, career and productivity. Passionate about all things digital, loves technology, social media, start-ups, travelling and good food.

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