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7 Things Not to do on Your Resume

September 6, 2019

 When it comes to finding a job or internship, one thing is very important-  your resume. Your resume represents your first and possibly only chance to make a good impression on potential employers.  According to John Ney, the Professional Development Director at Idaho State University College of Business, “The average employer looks at each resume for about seven seconds.” In that seven seconds any mistakes or problems with your resume are going to put you in the “no pile”. So, to help put you in the “yes pile,” here are the top seven things NOT to do with your resume.

Typos: Something as simple as a misspelled word can immediately land you in the no pile. This type of mistake shows employers that you didn’t take the time to look over the document thoroughly. If grammar is not your strong area check out the Student Success Center they have many awesome tutors that would be happy to clean it up. Also, don’t be afraid to send a copy to friends, mentors, professors or John Ney for a few extra pair of eyes.

Not including your GPA. Many companies, especially large ones look for your GPA and how you have withheld a good academic standing throughout your college experience. “If your GPA is a 3.0 or higher that can be a game changer, if you have below that there are different options such as looking into your major specific GPA or even make a list of classes you have taken,” says Ney.

Having too much information. A resume is meant to highlight your best experiences, the best way to do so is to use active words along with results to those actions. Employers like to see what you have done and the results of doing so. For example, if you helped raise money for a local food bank, include how much money you raised or how much food, whatever the outcome maybe can. But, they don’t need to see a detailed list of everything little thing you have done. If you worked at a fast food establishment for a few months, that may not be a relevant piece of experience to add on a resume meant for a job at an accounting firm. Unless that job involved work as an accountant, or you have no other work or relevant experience.

Including high school information, unless you're a freshman in college. Employers want to see hard work in college just as much as high school, it’s important to carry that out. However, when it comes to top awards it can still be beneficial to include it. Now top awards doesn’t mean ‘prom queen’ or ‘most likely to succeed’ but rather something like ‘valedictorian’. Most of the time high school information is irrelevant, employers assume that if you are in college and working towards a degree you have your high school diploma or GED. 

Longer than one page. If a resume is longer than one page then it is seen as too wordy. Sariah Millis, Student Opportunity Coordinator at ISU says, “It will only take a few seconds to decide it is something they want to look at, the employer is not as likely to turn the page.” Write clear and concise highlighting your most valuable work. If you just can’t keep it to one page, make sure to put the most relevant information at the beginning.

Including references. Just like everything else in this world, things change. References used to be a common thing on resumes, well not anymore. According to Ney, “Putting your references on the resume seems too forward, if an employer wants your references they will ask.” Anyway, by taking off those references it leaves more space for yourself! 

Not putting enough time into your resume. There is so much competition in the workforce and it is important to put your best foot forward. Make sure your resume is tailored specifically to the job you are applying for and highlight the things they put in the job description with reference to your own experience. When creating a resume, remember that layout and design is just as important. Resumes that are cramped and wordy are not attractive to the eye, but a resume with clear lines, bullet points and job descriptions are going to be far more successful. Try looking up ideas online for unique resume layouts that might add a bit of graphic and aesthetic flair, which can really help yours to stand out and shows that you spent a lot of time preparing.

 “A resume is extremely important,” says Millis. “It is an example of your writing and experience history.” So take the time and make yourself a killer resume. There are lots of different resources on campus to help you do so. Try starting at the Career Center which is located in the Museum Building on ISU’s Pocatello campus. And of course, don’t forget about the College of Business’ Professional Development program where John and his team are ready to help you push your resume to the next level.