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Top 5 Mistakes Recent Graduates Make on Their Resume

Jun 22,2021

With all the hate that Generation Z must endure about their work ethic and professionalism, recent graduates had it exceptionally hard this year. They promptly completed mountains of coursework, maintained friendships while socially distancing, secured enough income to afford ramen, and mapped out their life after graduation – ALL DURING A PANDEMIC! If this was you, give yourself a hand because you rock. Now that the world is getting back to normal, it is time to address the elephant in the room. You need to revamp your resume.

If you are like most graduates, the last time that you threw a resume together One Direction had a hit on the radio, and you were prepping for your first job. I get it. Writing a resume is exhausting and daunting. You don’t know what to include. Furthermore, it seems like you need experience to get experience. How ridiculous is that!?

You are in the right place friend. This article will convey needed tips that are guaranteed to help you polish your resume and garner recruiters’ attention. Here are the top 5 mistakes that recent graduates and those early in their careers make and how to successfully avoid them.

Your Resume Has Grammatical Errors.

This may seem like a no brainer, but according to Top Resume, 79% of resumes have minor spelling and grammatical errors that could have easily been avoided had the job seeker paid attention. In school, minor errors would get you a few points off your final grade. While job searching, this will cost you your dream position.

Simply using spell check on Word, won’t cut it. Critique your resume like you’re trying to impress that one professor everyone hated. Grammarly is an amazing tool that will catch more errors than Word. You don’t even have to get the premium version. The free account will suffice.

Just when you feel it’s perfect, use the “Read Aloud” function found in Word. Found in the “review” tap, it will read your resume out loud. Why is this helpful? You are guaranteed to catch errors that you never would have noticed just by reading it for the 100th time.

Your Resume Doesn’t Properly Highlight Your Skills.

Recruiters can verify firsthand that undergraduates notoriously undersell themselves. They are not confident in their skill set and negate effectively communicating their abilities on their resume. They are programmed to believe that they need 4 years of experience to get experience.

Most graduates already have the experience that these entry level jobs are demanding. Your coursework, class projects, campus jobs, and volunteering matters. Display them on your resume in full. Do not make the grave error of thinking that the knowledge that you’ve accumulated is subpar and insignificant. It’s relevant. Your babysitting job that you had as a 10th grader, however, is not.

Update your resume accordingly and stop diminishing your hard work. Take inventory on what the job listing is seeking. Then, be diligent in communicating clearly and succinctly that you have those exact skills. Whether said skills are gained in the classroom or your on-campus job – ALL SKILLS MATTER! You cannot assume that the recruiter is going to be able to just look at you and know that you’re right for the job. Plainly convey that you are the obvious candidate.

Your Resume Isn’t ATS Compliant.

ATS stand for applicant tracking system. This software was designed to scan your resume for keywords that will determine whether HR even lays eyes on your document. In layman’s terms, it is a software designed to both make the lives HR professionals better while causing applicants to pull out their hair and slam their laptops in frustration.

Job seekers LOATHE ATS. But it is a necessary evil that’s inescapable. Federal jobs are the only sector of employment that doesn’t use ATS. If you’re seeking employment in the private sector, you MUST format your resume properly.

A recent Jobscan blog advised that the following are among some of the things you should avoid when formatting a resume for ATS.

1. Acronyms: Acronyms, no matter how common, aren’t universally recognized by ATS. It is best practice to spell out the word then follow it with the acronym.

2. Tables: This is another thing that’s quite a common error on resumes. Avoid them at all costs because they will hinder the system from recognizing key things on your resume.

3. Fancy Fonts: Your resume is NOT the time to have cursive script and fancy borders. Keep it professional and basic, or the system will boot you out.

This is not all inclusive. For even more amazing tips, be sure to check out Jobscan’s website.

Your Resume Wasn’t Accompanied by a Cover Letter

You’ve exhausted 528,600 minutes on a resume that you’re sure to gain attention from recruiters. It’s time to send it off, right? Wrong. Pump the brakes grasshopper. You’re not done yet. You now must draft your cover letter. Stop rolling your eyes. This is absolutely necessary.

Resume Rehab reported these statistics about the importance of including a carefully drafted cover letter.

Cover Letters are preferred:

  • 74% of the time from recruitment decision-makers
  • 64% of the time for direct application process
  • 61% of the time for automated online tools

Take the time and write the cover letter. This extra initiative significantly increases your chances of a call back over another qualified candidate.

In conclusion, you should not haphazardly vomit words onto paper and think that is going to get you an interview. You will remain broke with no means to pay your student loans, rendering your degree a meaningless piece of paper. Glassdoor reports entry level positions are down 68%. Competition is fierce. You have one chance to make a stellar first impression. Use the tools in this article wisely, and you are guaranteed an interview. Now get to work. That resume won’t write itself.

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