But to compound this difficulty, the market for entry-level work is especially competitive. Each national posting for an entry-level or mid-level position in a popular field can easily attract dozens of resumes within an hour, and hundreds in a single day.
If you’re a job seeker in this age category, this information should energize, not discourage you. And here’s why: Because 99 percent of these applicants also lack work experience. And 99 percent of them will quickly remove themselves from the running by making simple resume mistakes.
The common slip-ups listed below can actually help you—as long as other applicants make them. Not you. Avoid these errors, and you’ll vastly increase your odds of becoming a final contender.
1. Too much nonsense. Before even reading a word, most hiring managers will reject a resume that contains clip art, photos, moving GIFs, more than two colors, or file formats that can’t be downloaded on the simplest and most primitive devices. If you think you’re being clever or tech savvy by sending your resume in a text or file format other than the latest three versions of Word, think again.
2. Smugness. You’re probably well aware of this by now, but there are many gatekeepers over the age of 30 who resent members of your generation for reasons based on silly assumptions. Avoid some of this stereotyping by using a professional tone in your resume. Stay straightforward (skip the jokes and irony), and never exaggerate your accomplishments, even in ways that can’t possibly be cross-checked. Skeptical employers can spot millennial buzzwords, exaggerations, and overstatements from a mile away.
3. Common language errors. Know the difference between “you’re” and “your,” “they’re” and “their,” and “then” and “than.” If you don’t know these differences, look them up now. And if you don’t know how a semi-colon works and what it’s for, just don’t use it at all.
4. GPAs. Don’t include your GPA on your resume after you’ve been out of school for three years or more. If you’ve graduated within three years, you can include your GPA, but only if it’s over a 3.0.
5. Self-centered summaries. Use your summary statement to emphasize what you can do for the company and the kinds of skills and services you’re able to provide. Don’t emphasize your own goals and desires. This was a common practice a generation ago, but it’s fallen out of favor for now.
6. App-dependence. While you may live your entire life through your phone, don’t be caught staring slack-jawed at a manager who asks you to provide a printed copy of your resume. Yes, you have five different apps you could use to instantly transmit your file, but if these methods are unwelcome, always be ready to simply attach a Word file to an email and click send.
Outshine Your Competitors
The best way to land the job you need—especially if you’re searching at the entry and mid-career level—is to offer something your competitors can’t. And avoid the simple mistakes your competitors won’t. Use LiveCareer’s resume builder and cover letter builder to start your application process on the right foot.