5 resume mistakes to avoid

By Paris Close
06/16/2015
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What do you think will be the most time-consuming thing you’ll have to do by college graduation? Unpacking? Job searching? Sleeping?! Those are all good guesses, and you almost had me sold on that last one, but truth be told, only one thing will dominate every facet of your life going forward: resumes.

Arguably the scariest six-letter word known to college grads, your resume will be the bane of your existence. But I’m going to save you all the stress that comes with creating a resume — because we're best friends, duh. So, chillax, and let’s start with five things you do not want to put on your resume.

1. Awards/achievements

Leo-award
Cherish the awards you won in high school and college, because no employer will. Courtesy of Global Grind

I know, you didn’t work four restless years making the Dean’s List not to show it off on your resume. I get it. But not many employers care that you were an honor student. You’re there to snag a job, not gloat about scoring 100/100 on an exam. If anything, you should be relieved. I only made the Dean’s List twice in college, and sometimes passing those gen ed courses was like trying to win the Hunger Games. So, believe me when I say, there are more important things to put on your resume than your academic accomplishments — like your work experience.

2. Objectives and mission statements

yeah
You're here to demonstrate why you're the best for this job, not to regurgitate your resume, right? Courtesy of teen.com

I never understood the importance of mission statements. It’s like, you already know why I’m applying for this position — because I totally want it, obvs! On a resume, your experience should be the deciding factor in getting an interview or not. If an employer calls you in for an interview, express your objectives then. That's not to say that a well-written introductory statement summarizing your strengths and experience is a bad idea, especially if writing is important to the job. Just make sure it is unique (standing out from the crowd is the key) and no more than two short sentences.

3. References


References are awesome, but you should be selling yourself to get the job — and hopefully out of student loan debt! Courtesy of Tumblr

I know it sounds like a strange one to leave off, but let me explain. It was common to include references on resumes when I was in high school, even if they were only teachers (and supervisors, if you were lucky enough to have had a job in high school — in which case, I envied you). A lot has changed since then, though, and the majority of applications require you list references anyway. So leave the references off your resume and use the extra space for your experience. If references are required, you can always submit them on a separate document.

4. Social media

Don't use that email address
Dear God, whatever you do, please don't do not use THAT email address! Courtesy of Tumblr

OMG! PLEASE DO NOT include your Twitter or Facebook info on your resume. You’d be surprised at how casual resumes are becoming these days. I mean, there's an exception for those pursuing social media positions, but it’s still a bold move. You may not have anything to hide, but you should still distinguish your personal from your professional life. Email contacts have become increasingly more popular than phone numbers, but including your phone number and your email address is a good practice. Just make sure to use a professional email address like paris.close@gmail.com. Don’t use your personal pikachu1989@gmail.com!

5. Volunteer work

Nobody cares about volunteer work
"So, I see here that you once volunteered at a soup kitchen in college, which is great experience for the copy editing position," said no one ever. Courtesy of Tumblr

This is tricky, because I've found that listing volunteer work on a resume can be both useful and useless at times. I’ll explain why. If you’re just now kick-starting your resume and have little work experience, go for it! List your volunteer work. It’s a healthy way to get your foot in the workforce door. But, as you start landing real jobs and internships, list your professional experience, rather than volunteer work. Most employers didn't care that I worked at Salvation Army soup kitchens — even though it was over 50 hours. The exception is if you're applying for a job where volunteer experience is important. Then, you'll definitely want to include it. Building your resume is the toughest job when you've just graduated — especially when all you really want to do is fall on your comfy bed. But, it's essential to your success. I’ve had years of hit-or-miss experiences with my own resume, and I hope that sharing these tips will make your process much more graceful than my own.

About the author
Paris CloseParis Close earned his bachelor’s degree in English from Aquinas College in 2014, where he worked as an editor for the college’s newspaper for three years. He is all too familiar with the horrors of final exams, almost being hit by flying lacrosse balls, and making friends with the snooze button. Paris's leading obsessions are Jack Falahee and Jack Falahee’s face and beard, respectively.

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