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Alexandra Levit Headshot

The Corporate Freshman: Five Mistakes Twenty-Something Job Seekers Make

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While there are certainly more than five, these are my top picks in terms of their potential to take you out of the running for a desired position:

Failing to customize the resume to the open position: In today's tough job market, every resume should be crafted in response to the requested experience and responsibilities listed in the job description. If your resume is off target, it will quickly be put aside.

Focusing on responsibilities rather than results: Employers don't care about what you did, they want to know how what you did positively impacted the bottom line. Using any performance statistics you can come up with, your resume should be able to answer the question "why were your previous organizations better off because you worked there?"

Using a functional resume to hide your true experience:
I like functional resumes (or those in which experience is listed by skill area) for career changers, because they help prospective employers see how cross-industry expertise is relevant to the job in question. However, you still must include a brief chronological section so hiring managers can clearly map your career trajectory.

Wasting space with objectives, notations about resumes, and too much personal information:
An ultra-specific objective will pigeonhole you into a particular position when the hiring manager might well consider you for another opening based on your credentials. Adding too much information about your volunteer work and hobbies looks amateurish, as does saying that "references are available upon request." Believe me, if they want references, they'll ask for them.

Sending the resume off without having someone else proof it for you: No matter how many times you've read over your resume for spelling, grammar, and formatting, you may miss things simply because you are too close to the document. Get a second opinion before getting ousted from consideration because of a minor typo.