Your resume is the only thing that most potential employers will ever see. Make a good impression with it. Image Source

Your resume is what defines you when you’re going for a job.

Most of the employers you apply to work for will never meet you. They won’t say hi. They won’t know how friendly you are. They won’t see how attractive your smile is. They certainly won’t have any idea how good of an employee you’d be. You’re nothing but your resume.

If your resume doesn’t work then you probably won’t either. Caphice?

Your resume is important as a college student.

Your resume can help get you internships, jobs, and other opportunities. Or… it can keep you from getting them.

A solid resume is absolutely essential. For the basics check out College Magazine’s Survival Guide: Resumes

By the end of this article, you’ll know how to impress employers. More importantly, you’ll know how not to scare them off!


1. One Resume

No employer is filling the exact same position. Your resume needs to match the job. Don’t expect the job to match your resume. Image Source

“I’ll send my resume…”

This is an innocuous sounding sentence but it can lead many students straight into a major resume faux paus. Most of the world discusses resumes in an ambiguous way that makes this mistake common.

You shouldn’t just have a resume.

You should have multiple resumes. You can get away with a single resume template but not a single resume.

Every time you apply for an opportunity, you need to rearrange and adjust your resume. What does the ad for the job list as important? Make sure those points are near the top of your lists. Make sure those sections sound impressive. Make damn sure those aspects of your resume get noticed.

Does the employer say you need experience working with Office programs?

Move that near the top of your list of skills. Maybe even make it bold.


2. Show Don’t Tell

Anyone I’ve met that looks at applications for a living laughs when they read “detail-oriented.”

“Wow… you’re detail-oriented? Just like every other person in this stack. Congratulations!”

You don’t need to write detail oriented. Just be detail oriented. That’s easy on a resume. Just don’t make any mistakes on it! This may surprise you but 10% of resumes I’ve seen in my life have obvious mistakes. That is not detail-oriented.

Instead of saying you can juggle, walk into the interview tossing 5 balls. Image Source

Don’t just write about how good you are.

Find ways to show how good you are.

Instead of saying you’re a smart student, write down your GPA. (If you’re trying to hide your overall GPA then find a super related course and highlight that grade. This is a little suspicious but it’s better than writing you’re good at something.)

If you want to say you’re hardworking, show that you’re hardworking. Did you take extra classes during the semester? Do you have a side-business? Do you work and go to school? How can you prove that you’re hardworking?

If you can’t prove something then consider not even writing it down.

If you avoid the cliches then many people will assume you’re doing bare bones business writing. That’s a skill in itself.


3. Keep It Simple

Don’t overthink your resume. It’s only there to get you an interview. The 10th best resume can still get you an interview. The best interview will get you the job. Image Source

If you’re a college student then you probably don’t need more than a single page for your resume.

The more simple you keep your resume, the less room you have to screw it up.

The goal of a resume is to get you an interview. It’s not meant to provide a complete overview of your life. Eliminate the fluff and avoid including any facts that aren’t productive. You don’t have to list every job you’ve ever had.

Use your resume to highlight accomplishments first.

Naturally, as a college student, your accomplishments can look sparse. Creating accomplishments should be a major priority but until then you can add less relevant details that are productive for other reasons.

For example, one student I talked to mentioned their fast food job while applying for an engineering job. Normally, employers really wouldn’t care about that. Since this student had little other experience, it was almost a necessity to mention it. More importantly, that fast food job lasted 4 years. Surviving 4 years at a crappy employer is an accomplishment in itself.
There are situations when you can consider a less simple resume. In fact, going completely out of the box can improve your chances in a crowded market. It can add to your credibility. It can do some amazing things for you but it comes with some serious volatility. For every employer that appreciates your creativity there will be 5 that make fun of you for it.

Does it increase your chances of getting a job? Maybe… Differentiation is big in marketing anything.

Can the average person pull it off? Can they handle the criticism? Can they risk alienating limited employment opportunities? Usually no.

Keep it simple. A resume doesn’t need to get you the job. It just needs to get you an interview.


4. No Resume Mistakes

Mistakes in your resume are a good way to stay on unemployment while filling your job application requirements… Seriously… don’t make mistakes. Image Source

Never send out a resume that hasn’t been checked repeatedly.

One spelling or grammar mistake on your resume will get it thrown out by 90% of employers. The other 10% will not take you seriously until you prove otherwise.

A spelling mistake on your resume is like going to a job interview in a stained t-shirt.

It’s telling the employer that you don’t really want to get the job. You may be applying but plenty of people send resumes out. Some do it just to keep practicing interviews. Some are just looking to get people off their backs. Some just want to keep getting unemployment checks. If you leave mistakes then you’d be lucky to be thought of in these categories. More often than not, they’ll just think you’re an idiot.

Check your resume!

Don’t send it yet. Check it again tomorrow. Then… if you have time… wait another few days and repeat.


5. Your Resume Will Not Get You A Job

If you can’t impress this guy in an interview then you’re going to struggle to get the job. Focus your energy where it matters. Impress people in person. Image Source

“I’ve sent out hundreds of resumes but I’m just not getting any responses.”

If you’ve sent out hundreds of resumes then you’re probably doing it wrong.

The only way you can send out hundreds of resumes is by:

  • Sending the same resume repeatedly
  • Never writing quality cover letters
  • Applying for jobs you’re not qualified for
  • You’re not spending time doing things that actually get you jobs.

Don’t expect to get a job answering wanted ads.

Sure… you might get one once in awhile but that’s an accessory to your job search. It shouldn’t be your job search.

Let’s say you send your resume out and get an interview. In an uncompetitive job, many employers will interview a couple dozen people.

Are you more charismatic, intelligent, or convincing than a random sample of 23 other people?

If you happen to be that one in a million person that’s top-notch during interviews then no matter what job you’re applying for, just switch to sales. If you’re more average like the rest of us then look for a better way of getting the job.

Networking through friends and family is ideal.

Networking through classes or professional events is okay.

5 Resume Mistakes College Students Need To Know

People are much more likely to hire an known person than a random resume. Even if you interview poorly, you can still beat out the average person the employer doesn’t know.

Get to know people.

If you can’t do that then you have another option:

Be so extraordinary that they couldn’t dare pass you up.

How do you do that?

Well… that’s a whole article in itself.

Seriously… resumes are good but being a good person will get you way farther.

5 Resume Mistakes College Students Need To Know

Leave Procrastination In The Dust! Never EVER let it stop you again.

Doing stuff is easy – sometimes, right?

You only procrastinate the stuff that sucks. You don’t say, “Ahhh… I’ll read that text from my crush later.” Nope. Now… Any pause is intentional and coordinated to respond better.

Here is the problem with academics:

You probably think most academic stuff sucks – at least a little. (Especially compared to other things you could be doing.)

And the thing is:


You’re slowly hardening your association of school and being miserable.

You need to create positive associations with academics. You want your brain to be getting hyped  up and positive when you’re thinking about studying and giving into this internal oligarchical instinct to force yourself to studying – ain’t helpin’.

Chill the internal dictator for a moment…

A big secret: You need to STOP forcing yourself to study so much.

But, if you’re not forcing yourself then how are you going to see those killer straight-a’s that you’re always pining over?

It’s not difficult but it can sound weird to unfamiliar eyes.

Get your copy of my book about How To Get Happier Straight A’s.

It only costs $4.99 (and if these strategies don’t work like magic like it has for thousands of other students then you can get a full refund.)

Click Here To Buy Your Copy


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8 thoughts on “5 Resume Mistakes College Students Need To Know

  • May 18, 2017 at 4:19 am

    One of my friends called smith had shown great performance in an interview but In his resume, a simple spelling mistake didn’t get him the job.So, I think spelling is one of the most important think.

  • May 18, 2017 at 4:15 am

    I think I should apply your method on my resume because it sounds like simple but effective!Thank you

  • May 18, 2017 at 4:13 am

    “Your Resume Will Not Get You A Job”agree with you.

  • May 18, 2017 at 4:10 am

    Your resume only carries your identity only.

  • April 25, 2017 at 6:14 pm

    Great post!

    I’m def gonna use this. Graduation is coming fast.

    • April 25, 2017 at 6:22 pm

      Thanks for the comment!

  • April 24, 2017 at 6:12 pm

    Should I put down my job as a waiter? The job didn’t end well. I left on bad terms. I worked there about a year but I’m thinking I can leave it off because I had a solid internship.

    I’m afraid putting it on will raise questions that I’d rather not answer.

    • April 25, 2017 at 6:21 pm

      That’s a tough one.

      I’d put it on and just be super prepared to answer the questions about it. In fact, it might be worth volunteering the bad parts so you can put them in context before they get the chance to.

      For example, if they ask why you left, no matter how smooth your answer, they’ll wonder if you were hoping they wouldn’t ask. If you tell them about the mistakes you made or the lessons you learned, it’s probably a forgivable offense. (Probably… It really does depend on the situation.)

      One year experience can be a notable boost if that’s your only employment experience.


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