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Oops! Common Resume, Cover Letter and Interview Mistakes to Avoid

Kathryn Knight Randolph

November 13, 2019

Oops! Common Resume, Cover Letter and Interview Mistakes to Avoid
Don't let a small mistake cost you your first part-time job.
You found it – the perfect part-time job. You have all of the qualifications. The hours are suited to your schedule. It offers you the experience you need to someday land your dream job. But you never hear from the potential employer; and after going through your initial email contact with them as well as your resume, you find several typos. A misspelled word here; a random comma there. Essentially, they are small mistakes; but when it comes to the job search, small mistakes can cost you a job, an opportunity and a chance to start your work experience. Avoiding common mistakes on your resume and cover letter as well as in the interview can provide the peace of mind that you did everything you could to ensure you put your best foot forward. As you go through the process, avoid the following:
Common Resume Mistakes Forgetting your contact info. Every resume should feature your name, address, phone number and email in a prominent place – typically at the top of the resume. If a potential employer can’t get in touch with you, there is no chance of you getting that job. Sending your resume with typos. It’s important to look over your resume with a fine-tooth comb, so to speak. Read and reread your resume multiple times. Have a teacher or parent take a look as well just so you have a second set of eyes checking for spelling, punctuation or phrasing errors.
Exaggerating on your resume. While it may be tempting, don’t muddle the truth on your resume. If you don’t have the best GPA, don’t lie about it (and keep in mind that you don’t have to include your GPA on your part-time job resume). Or if you have prior work experience, but the opportunity only lasted for one month, don’t outright lie about how long you worked there. Potential employers will likely ask for references in order to confirm details about your resume, and learning that you exaggerated the truth will definitely cost you the job.
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Common Cover Letter Mistakes
Not including a cover letter. The biggest mistake job seekers make is not including a cover letter with their resume, but the cover letter is so important to making a great first impression. Oftentimes, the cover letter enables the hiring manager the opportunity to get to know the candidate a little better. After all, a resume can only say so much. Again with the typos. This point cannot be stressed enough: proofread every written component of the job application process. One type is enough to get your cover letter (and your resume) tossed in the trash. Regurgitating your resume. The cover letter is a chance for you to expound on your resume; not just repeat it word-for-word. In your cover letter, provide an introduction, explanation about your work and/or academic experience and express your interest in the job. Common Interview Mistakes Dressing inappropriately. Everybody knows that it’s what’s on the inside that counts, but you still need to look like a professional that cares whether or not you get the job at the interview. Dressing up too much can make the interview awkward, while not dressing up at all can give the impression that you don’t care. So what’s the best go-to interview ensemble? If you’re a man, wear chinos and a button-up. Opt for a sports coat if you’re interviewing in an office setting. If you’re a woman, wear dress pants, or a skirt, along with a blouse. Showing up unprepared. Though every interview and job is different, there are a few key things you must do in preparation for each one. First, look the part with the right interview outfit. Second, research the company as well as the job so you seem knowledgeable. Also, bring a few copies of your resume in case you meet other managers or peers during your interview. Finally, come with a list of questions for the interviewer. Having a bad attitude. When you walk into a job interview, you don’t need to prove that you’re the best of the best. You need to show that you’re a team player, a great listener, someone that can follow directions well and learn quickly and easily. Hiring managers would rather give the job to someone amiable than a know-it-all with a chip on their shoulder. Searching and applying for jobs is easy; landing one is the hard part. However, you can ensure that you’ve done your best by avoiding these common mistakes. And as you go through the job search, don’t fall for the biggest mistake: giving up.

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