This past summer, I started my first job. A major part of my job is to manage summer fellows, interns, and hire students. While many of them have strong applications and experience on their resume, they don’t sell themselves in a way that would grab future employer’s attention. They’re not alone. Here are 5 common mistakes you might be making on your resume and how to fix them. 

You tell about the job you did, but you don’t tell how you improved the office or organization.

What people are looking for when hiring is that a person was able to be an asset to their organization or company and help it grow or improve. Instead of saying “I called over 150 people twice a week until the election” say “My phone banking was able to generate x amount of donations to my candidate and influence x amount of people to vote for him/her.” Numbers are impressive. Showing how you grew an organization or company is impressive. Saying “I called 150 people two nights a week” tells an employer almost nothing.

Putting that your efficient in Microsoft Office.

It is the 21st century, y’all. Many of us are efficient in Microsoft programs. We’ve used them since we were old enough to read. Instead, say what you can do on these programs. In Excel, are you able to set up a table with formulas and different calculations that can show either donation trends, trends in those involved with your organization, etc? Can you just make a table with names and addresses to import into another system? Put when you’re proficient at programs such as InDesign, Photoshop, Publisher, etc. A lot of offices lack people with skills in these programs. It is an added bonus if you can put that you have them.


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Not putting your best foot forward – despite your weak spots 

If you don’t have work experience, but you are heavily involved in a number of organizations, say how your membership has been beneficial. Talk about any skills you have learned through that organization that could be beneficial to the place you are applying. One of the benefits of me being in a campus conservative group highly involved in activism was that I had a lot of event planning and recruiting experience. Even though I never received paid experience in the field I am working in, my campus activism made me more qualified for my position.

Not checking for mistakes.

It is so easy to type the wrong date, let spellcheck change a word that doesn’t need to be changed, or have a badly formatted resume. Don’t rely on spellcheck or any similar program to guarantee your resume is free of errors. Print it out and read it over yourself. Mark it up in red pen. Read it out loud. It never hurts to be extra cautious.

Not being yourself.

There are so many times that I have reviewed resumes from my friends and wondered what character they were trying to be that day. Just be yourself. If you have a more outgoing personality, sell that on your resume. Are you more analytical and work better on projects that require analysis and particular attention to detail? Sell that. If you don’t portray yourself on your resume accurately, it will come out in your interview. You want to try and paint a picture for the person hiring you on who you are and what kind of asset you can be to the organization.

While this isn’t an indefinite list, these are definitely the most common mistakes I see from people. Take some time and look over your resume. It will pay off major in the end.

Elizabeth C
CONTRIBUTOR