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5 Resume Mistakes You Can’t Afford to Make

5 Resume Mistakes You Can’t Afford to Make

You say you’ve applied to tons of jobs and you’re not getting any interviews. You’ve posted online, you’ve sent resumes through email and snail mail and nothing’s happening. You meet the basic qualifications for these positions, but hiring managers aren’t calling you back for an in-person meeting or even a phone interview.

Someone’s getting these jobs. Why not you?

If you’ve applied to multiple positions you’re qualified for but aren’t getting interviews, there’s most likely a problem with your resume.

Here are five resume mistakes that could cost you an interview. Luckily, they’re easy to fix.

You didn’t proofread your resume

This might be the worst mistake you can make when submitting your resume. Proofreading is more than a quick spell check–you’re looking for grammar mistakes as well as words that spell check won’t catch (their and there, it’s and its). And always make sure you’ve used the right company name in a cover letter or job objective. Use the wrong one and your resume will end up in the trash.

This may sound a little harsh. But think of it this way: your lack of proofreading shows the hiring manager that you weren’t interested enough in the position or the company to put in extra work. What does that tell them about the kind of employee you’d be?

Do whatever it takes to get grammar and spelling right. Read it out loud. Have a friend read it. Read it backward. Your resume should be absolutely error-free.

Your formatting is all over the place

Headings, job titles, bullets, fonts, indentions–these should be consistent throughout your resume. Anything less makes a recruiter have to work harder to figure out if you’re right fit for the position. Make sure your name is in a larger font size and then use boldface, underline and italics (consistently!) to distinguish each section.

You copied your current and previous job descriptions and pasted them into your Experience section

Each job title should include a short description of your position and bullet points that detail what you accomplished while you were there. A job description has too much detail–your resume doesn’t need it. Plus, job descriptions read like corporate-speak and sound awkward when used out of context.

You listed your job tasks instead of your accomplishments

Unless you have an unusual job or were assigned tasks that are not the norm for that kind of position, you don’t need to rehash your daily job duties. Most employers already know what a customer service rep does. Instead, you should include a list of accomplishments for each job. Here’s what that looks like:

Customer Service Representative, ABC Company

Task-focused: Answered phones, routed calls to other employees, handled customer complaints, filled out customer complaint forms.

Results-focused: Increased customer retention by 15% in one year by promptly addressing customer complaints and taking steps to resolve them. Decreased time to resolve customer complaints by 25% by developing a strategy designed to streamline inbound calls and emails.


You’re using the same resume for every job posting

Customer Service Rep. Marketing Assistant. Event Coordinator. The same resume should work for all entry-level positions, right? Wrong. Each resume you write should be tailored specifically to the job you’re applying for, even if it’s the same type of position at two different companies.

Go through the job description and notice words the employer uses in the Tasks Required and Skills sections. Do they want someone who’s fluent in Microsoft Excel? List it in your Skills section (if you have that skill–don’t lie). Are they looking for a candidate with the ability to analyze complex data? Make sure one of your bullets lists a time when you analyzed data and what results you achieved.

Time to clean it up…

Don’t let a sloppy resume be the reason recruiters and hiring managers are passing on you. A great resume will improve your chances of making it through to the first round of interviews. Follow these steps to get the basics down and the interviews will come.

For more information on resumes or interviewing or to make an appointment with an OPCD advisor, click here.


5 Tips for Writing the Perfect Cover Letter

5 Tips for Writing the Perfect Cover Letter

Computer-Guy-800pxSummer is almost here—and whether you’re hunting down that perfect internship or applying for your first “real” job, there’s an often overlooked and extremely important component of the candidate- screening process you need to know about: the cover letter.
“Your cover letter can be the difference between whether or not you’ll move forward in the interview process,” said Julie Janik, Director of the University of Dallas’ Office of Personal Career Development. “It can give you a chance to explain your experience in a way your resume cannot.”

With that in mind, here are 5 tips for writing the perfect cover letter.

Don’t make it all about you
Janik says that the cover letter shouldn’t be about why you want the job but, instead, why the employer should want you: “The cover letter should be 3-5 paragraphs that explain why you are the right candidate for the position.” Never start a sentence with any variation of “I want this job because…” The bulk of the content should focus on what you would bring to the specific position, not what you hope to gain from it.

Don’t use a template
Templates (especially the ones you find online) are overused; most recruiters can spot them from afar. Janik suggests staying away from them, including the ones you’ve made for yourself to streamline the job hunt: “I’ve seen many students use the same template over and over and then forget to change the name of the company. That’s an automatic disqualifier.” She says it’s worth it to take the time to write every cover letter you submit from scratch.

Make it personal, but not too personal
In the same way that a template feels formulaic, describing yourself as a “hard worker with critical thinking skills” without spelling out results to back up your claim will make your cover letter sound generic. Janik says that if most people in the room can make the same claims as you (i.e., “I have a great work ethic” or “I’m a leader”), you are not being specific enough: “Stay away from the generic fluff and use examples instead.” On the flipside, there is no reason to go into detail about your family life or your childhood unless it explains a direct tie to the job or company. For example, you could mention that you became interested in finance because your mother is a financial planner, or that you want to be a camp counselor because summer camp was the highlight of your childhood.

Don’t rehash your resume
Instead of rehashing the experience and accomplishments you listed on your resume, use your cover letter to address how those accomplishments apply to the specific job description. “The employer listed the position because they have a need,” Janik said. “And it’s up to you to connect the dots between what they need and what you have.” Bridging that gap between yourself and what the employer wants is especially important when your major or experience may not seem directly related to the job description. Spell it out in your cover letter.

Make a follow-up plan
“You should always end your cover letter with a specific plan for follow up,” Janik said. If you have a contact name and phone number for the position, indicate that you will call that person in one week to follow up. If you do not have a phone number, indicate that you will follow up by email. If you have no one specific to contact, write that you are looking forward to hearing back from the organization. And then make sure to follow up as you have indicated.

If you have any questions about cover letters or resumes or need help finding a job or internship, come by Augustine 132 or email the Office of Personal Career Development.

Working With Our Office

Working With Our Office

office-800pxSpring semester is here! Now’s perfect time to visit the Office of Personal Career Development to tune up your resume and get advice on applying for summer jobs, internships, and community service.

Working with OPCD

Help with resumes, cover letters, and mock interviews

  • An OPCD advisor can help you craft a resume that highlights your abilities and experience and addresses the requirements of the job or internship to which you are applying.
  • A career advisor can also help you write a cover letter that will capture the reader’s interest by demonstrating that your skills match the requirements of the job.
  • Mock interviews can help you learn how to present your qualifications and experience with confidence. They can also help you practice concise answers to common interview questions. Contact the OPCD to schedule a mock interview with a career counselor.

Job, Internship and Volunteer Service Search

  •  We offer a free job notification service organized by job categories–It’s called OPT-IN. Click here to sign up. Look closely at this information to stay informed about OPCD events and employers visiting the UD campus.
  • Make an appointment with an OPCD counselor to explore different types of available internships and community service.
  • Ask your advisor for the names of companies that have hired interns from your department or your major.
  • Check our internship calendar to and note important deadlines.
  • To make an appointment with an OPCD advisor, click here.