Writing a resume can honestly be pure torture, everyone knows that. But I like to imagine myself ten years down the line, living the career life of Samantha Jones — running the world of PR and looking amazing as I do it. And I know the only way I’m going to get there is with a resume as perfect as the Mamma Mia soundtracks. (Both soundtracks, obviously.)
Getting to that Samantha Jones level doesn’t have to be hard though. This is one of those instances. Instead of me listing every single little thing you should have on your resume, I am filling you in on what you may be doing wrong. I’m going to go out on a limb here and say you already have a resume? Perfect start, because that’s all you’ll need.
1. You’re Forgetting Your Social Media Skills
Why is this a mistake? This may be my favorite piece of advice to share with my friends: if you have a website, run a social media account, use Instagram Analytics, have a Youtube Channel, these are technical skills that employers want!
Here’s how to fix it. If you’re running a website, then put that you have computer skills in that software, like WordPress or Wix, and link that website. If you run a social media account like Pinterest, then you most likely have experience in graphic design and social media SEO. Mention these on your resume! These are vital skills that most companies don’t have enough experience in, and will need you for.
2. Typos and Grammatical Errors
Why is this a mistake? I know this one is pretty straightforward, but you would be surprised by how easy it is to read over a typo in your resume and not even notice it. Most likely because you’re reading over it so much.
Here’s how to fix it. Download Grammarly; Safari and Chrome extension for your computer that checks all of the grammatical mistakes you may not have caught the first time. Grammarly can help find those smaller errors, but it cannot find everything, so definitely have a friend read over your resume as well to make sure everything flows!
3. Using “Relevant Coursework”
Why is this a mistake? Adding relevant classes to your resume can be a debatable topic. So, I asked Shannon Zelek, Assistant Director of Employer Engagement at Merrimack College, what she thought! Zelek recommends that “if you’re going to utilize ‘relevant coursework,’ [then] ensure it is relevant to the position you are applying to!”
Here’s how to fix it. For example, “[if you’re] applying to a marketing internship or job you will want to list those marketing or communications courses but perhaps not the economics. This will showcase to the hiring manager that you have customized the resume to the position!”
4. Not Adding Your Linkedin
Why is this a mistake? Oh my gosh, add that LinkedIn right now! LinkedIn is the Instagram of the career world; you need it to stand out and stay updated.
Here’s how to fix it. Add your LinkedIn URL to the right of your email, hyperlinking it.
5. You Don’t Have Two Resumes
Why is this a mistake? This is for my college students that are moving into a creative industry! When you’re looking for an internship or job in this industry, like marketing or journalism, you’re going to need two resumes. One needs to be ATS-approved; a resume that is solely read by computers. It should be simple, and unfortunately, boring! Just like this one. Or else, it will get thrown out by the computer and never read by the company. However, there are scenarios where companies will physically look through resumes. Therefore, you also need one that pops, showcasing your creativity and uniqueness.
Here’s how to fix it. I highly recommend using Canva! My “creative” resume (the image at the top of the article) is made using Canva. Your creative resume will include everything from your ATS resume (which should look like the one linked in the paragraph above): job experience, skills, contact info, etc. But, this information will instead be organized and decorated in a way that makes it unique to you. Whether that involves a color scheme, pretty (but readable) font, or a graphic that identifies with your personal brand. I’ve even seen someone make their creative resume look like a Spotify profile when applying to a position at Spotify! As long as the resume is unique to you and is easy to read, you’re good to go!
6. Career Experience is in Chronological Order
Why is this a mistake? In theory, putting your job experience in chronological order makes sense. However, when an employer is reading your resume, they’re going to start reading from the top, therefore you want your current/most recent position at the top.
Here’s how to fix it. So get that job experience in reverse chronological order! With your most recent positions at the top, descending to the bottom with your past positions.
7. It’s Longer Than One Page
Why is this a mistake? This one can be rough. If your resume is longer than one page, then good for you because that’s impressive! However, hiring companies won’t have time to look over hundreds of resumes, let alone hundreds of resumes that are more than a page. You want that resume to be a single page because employers will likely never take the time to look at anything past that page.
Here’s how to fix it. Keep the most relevant experience to the job position and if you still don’t have enough room, delete your objective or summary (job experience is more important). For example, if you are applying to a marketing position, you want your skills and work experience to reflect that. Hence, your resume should include skills like writing and experience like digital marketing. So feel free to ditch those ice cream scooping jobs and babysitting gigs from high school… The key is to keep your resume at one page by slowly removing those high school jobs as you gain more relevant experience.
8. No Keywords
Why is this a mistake? Keywords are those specific hard skills and software mentioned in the job description you’re applying to. You’ll want those in your resume. Whether it’s the ATS or a hiring manager viewing your resume, keywords are the key (no pun intended) that will get you to the next level.
Here’s how to fix it. Read over the job application and search for those skills/software. Then add those exact words/phrases that apply to you, into your resume! Repeat for different job positions.
9. Not Hyperlinking Your Email
Why is this a mistake? This is a super easy fix! Hyperlinking your email will make it even more convenient for the employer to reach out to you since all they’ll need to do is click on your email, rather than copy and paste it.
Here’s how to fix it. That said, I expect you to pull up your resume this second. Don’t worry I’ll wait…Now highlight your email on your resume, and then press “insert link.” Then type in “mailto:” and your email. Like so, “mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org” and you’re done! This will bring the employer straight to their inbox to send you an email.
10. No Certifications
Why is this a mistake? This is one of the biggest resume mistakes I see. I preach this to my roommate constantly, she probably hates me for it by now, but she knows I’m right! Certifications will be your proof to employers that you know what you’re talking about on your resume. Certifications are your best friend.
Here’s how to fix it. Getting a certification can sound super daunting, trust me, I understand! But it’s becoming super simple and even free to get them. You just need to schedule a dedicated time in your week to spend time learning. I personally love HubSpot Academy and LinkedIn Learning; I always add the certifications to my resume and LinkedIn ASAP. Google Digital Garage is also a great option!
Did you know about these resume mistakes? Let us know in the comments below!
Featured Photo by @lianacincotti