For us college students, resumes may seem daunting. It can be difficult to figure out what to put on there and how to lay out all of the information. A scary thought to put in your head is that on that whatever is on that piece of paper can mean the difference whether we get that interview. We all know what needs to go on a resume, but what about what shouldn’t?
Typos and grammatical errors
Spell check! Peer review! Double and triple check! If your resume has any grammatical issues it will not be taken seriously. There is so much potential in your resume. You don’t want that opportunity thrown away just because you spelled something wrong.
Do not save resume as “Resume”
When sending your resume to potential employers save it as your first and last name. When the file is saved as your name it makes the process easier for the employer. Also save it as a pdf. Sending in a resume as a Word document risks the chance of things being changed on an editable source, and not everyone has the same version of word processing software. This avoids the situation of an employer not being able to open your file.
No personal data beyond contact information
This includes age, birthday, marital status, and social security number. All of this information is now illegal for your employer to ask you, so there’s no need to include it. It will also leave extra room for you to put more important information.
Since your appearance has nothing to do with your ability to do the job, including a photo comes across tacky and unprofessional. Most businesses prefer you not to include a headshot so they can follow the Equal Employment Opportunity legislation (which outlaws business from making decisions on discriminatory reasons). Unless you’re applying for a job as a model or actor, it’s not needed. The potential employer should be able to remember you by your experiences and skills on your resume, not your glamour shot.
High school experiences
A couple years after you graduated high school, employers don’t care which high school you attended or what you accomplished during those years. Keep any mention of high school off your resume; if you are in college at this point it is obvious you graduated high school.
Avoid unprofessional fonts
Stay away from all decorative or tasteless fonts. This includes: Papyrus, Comic Sans, and Courier. Keep your resume looking sleek and clean with sans serif fonts like, Helvetica.
Unrelated Work Experience
Only include positions you have held since college, unless an earlier job strongly demonstrates your qualifications. Leave out any positions that are unrelated to the job you are applying for. However, if you have limited job experience you can include slightly unrelated positions as long as you explain the skills you learned in that position prepared you.
Stick with a quality bond paper in either plain white or ivory. Resumes are often photocopied. It won’t be a great impression if your photocopied resume doesn’t have a clean, organized impact.
We all know applying for internships and jobs can be stressful, and it’s easy to make mistakes. However, if you want to really put your best foot forward, follow the guidelines above! Your future employer thanks you!