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5 Common Resume Mistakes

By Christopher Schonberger

After doing a little annual updating of my resume the other day, I was reminded of an obvious fact: writing resumes is a huge pain in the butt. The concept seems so simple, but actually pulling it together can be excruciating. The goods news is that even though making decisions about which of your sundry awards will fit and how to perfectly phrase your intern duties from last year can be difficult, there are some common mistakes that are very easy to avoid:

1) Contact Information

The greatest resume in the world could all be for naught if the email address provided is PartyGurl69@chicago.edu. Even if you have a normal school address (e.g., your real name), make sure that it won’t expire after you graduate. Basically, just make sure the email address is a) professional, and b) permanent. When it comes to your phone number, a cell phone is generally the best since you don’t want your mom or grandparents getting a call about an interview and failing to pass along the message. The only issue to consider is that sometimes a company might keep your resume on file and reach out to you up to a year later, when you may have switched numbers. Just something to bear in mind if you’ve been considering switching your cell phone provider.

2) Typos

The administrative staffing service Office Team reports that 47% of executives would throw out a resume if it had just one type in it. With two typos, the number jumps to 84% (according to Robert Half International). HR departments are bombarded with applications, so you don't want to give them an easy excuse to ignore yours and head to lunch. Proofread, proofread, proofread, and try to get as many different eyes on your resume as possible.

3) Personal Pronouns

The first person is implied on a resume, and sentence fragment are perfectly acceptable. So, for example, you should write, “Hired freelance writers and edited weekly newsletter,” instead of, “I hired freelance writers and edited the weekly newsletter.” Writing full sentences will have the ironic effect of making your resume sound less professional.

4) Length

No more than a page. It’s the oldest rule in the book (of resumes)—don’t ignore it.

5) Customization

Maybe this tip is not as easy to implement as the others, but it’s extremely important: Don’t just write one resume and think you’re done. If you don’t customize yourself for each job, you’re only shooting yourself in the foot.

Check out this survival guide for more on resumes.

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