Following is a list of common mistakes students make in their resumes. Have a look and see how many of these errors (if any) your current resume contains. You may correct them now or in subsequent chapters.
These mistakes have been identified and listed as per what is generally expected in a professional resume in the industry. There may be cases where you may have to follow the guidelines issued by your placement office or recruiting company which may be contradictory to what is written here. In such situations, you have no choice but to follow what is asked by them.
1. The resume file is not named properly:
Have you named your resume file as resume.doc or cv.doc or something similar? This is not only unprofessional but also makes it difficult for a recruiter to identify your resume once he downloads and saves your resume to a folder (Think what will happen if all the applicants’ resumes were named as resume.doc inside that folder).
Correct practice to name your resume is First Name Last Name – College Name.doc. For example, if you are Rahul Rana from IIT Madras, you can name your resume as Rahul Rana – IIT Madras.doc.
Also wherever possible, always send your resume in PDF format – looks very professional.
2. The resume runs into 2 pages or more :
While there is no set rule that your resume necessarily have to be within 1 page but more often than not students’ resumes run into multiple pages either because it contains too many irrelevant details or because the space has not been utilized efficiently. If your resume is more than 1.5 pages long, get your scissors ready. Remember, if Steve Jobs can mention what he did in one page, so can you!
3. Resume follows a 2 column structure :
At times, a few students make their resume in a 2 column structure. Please don’t. Stick to a one column structure as provided in sample resumes. Two column structures make the reading extremely difficult for a reader as it becomes difficult to decide which column one should focus on. Plus it is highly space in-efficient.
4. Your resume contains logo of your college :
There are a few colleges where Training & Placement cells make it compulsory that you put your college logo on top of your resume – in that case you cannot help it. But otherwise, or when applying off campus, you do not need to include the logo and make your resume unnecessarily bulky. Remember, your resume is your advertisement,not your colleges. If you have your college logo in your resume for no reason, delete it NOW.
5. Your resume contains your photograph :
Again, not required, if you have it in your current resume – please remove it. There is absolutely no need of a photo in a resume unless you are applying for a position where how you look matters such as aviation, hospitality, media,films, modeling etc. Else it is quite an outdated practice and unnecessary bulks up your resume file..
6. Your resume contains a very generic Career Objective statement :
If you have a Career Objective listed in your resume, does it read something like this?
“To experience the challenges of a working engineer in a healthy but competitive environment of industry, enabling to extract the best out of me which is conducive to learn and grow as professional, thereby directing my future endeavors as an asset to the organization”
These kind of copy pasted and generic statements serve no purpose other than making it clear to a recruiter that you have no idea of what you want from your career. You should either have a very specific objective statement outlining your interests or have none at all (yes that is OK). An example of a good Objective statement is given
“4th year B.Tech Computer Science student at IIT Madras with excellent academic record and keen interest and practical exposure in the field of information security, especially web applications security.”
7. In your resume, things are not listed in reverse chronological order :
Look at your Academics, or Projects, or Internships, or Co/Extra Curricular section. Does it contain information in reverse chronological i.e. most recent first order? Yes, in each section, you should mention the most recent activity/achievement at the top and the least recent at the bottom. The reason being that employers are most interested in what you have been upto recently and you should make it easy for them to find out that information. If you have written it any other way in your resume in any section, please correct it now.
8. You have mentioned each year’s/semester’s GPA/% Marks in your Academics section :
Not required, just mentioning aggregate marks/CGPA is enough. For example, if you have completed six semesters of your B.Tech degree, you do not have to write each semester’s GPA; aggregate CGPA at the end of 6th semester is enough.
9. You have listed all the courses and labs that you have done till date :
Not required, strike that section off please. At best list 2-3 most relevant courses along with your grades in those courses (if grades were good). If an employer wants to know all the courses that you have done till date, he/she will most probably ask for an official transcript anyway.
10. You have included knowledge of Windows in your Technical Skills section :
Please don’t. It’s like saying you know English alphabets – it’s that common.