New to the Workforce? Avoid These Rookie Resume Mistakes


When I first started applying for jobs, I made all of the rookie mistakes. Filled with filler words, I sent the same resume with each application that I applied to through a job board.

Between networking, transitioning out of college and developing confidence in your career, it can feel impossible to understand the ins and outs of all of the things.

If you’re looking to land a new job or internship, here are some rookie resume mistakes to avoid.

Mistake #1: You fail to highlight your technical skills

When you’re new to the workplace, being able to articulate your skill set is crucial for standing out amongst the fierce competition and potentially more experienced candidates. Which is why it’s important to include both soft and hard skills on your resume.

Before updating your application materials, take a few moments to think about your skillset a bit deeper. For example, you may not have had a full-time job using Lightroom and Photoshop, but maybe you’ve self-taught yourself how to use the two while working on photography outside of work and school. You can most certainly add your proficiency level on each program to your resume.

I was able to stand out in my career due to my hard skills and ability to adapt with the changing technology around me. Providing the right information and skills on your resume can truly make or break your chance at an interview.

Mistake #2: Failing to provide personal projects to support your skills

This is usually most relevant for people who are new to the workforce, transitioning careers, or finding first-time freelance clients. Think about it. The whole point of a resume is to articulate your skills, experience, and potential.

If you don’t have any work experience in the field you’re interested in growing within, portfolio pieces from school or projects you’ve made outside of work are going to make or break your resume.

Create a PDF visually representing your portfolio pieces. If you’re a writer, this could be screenshots of your work that’s published online with links to the live pieces. If you’re a photographer this could be a portfolio of your best work. If you’re a web developer, this can be a sample website.

Mistake #3: You forget to name your resume something appropriate

This one is super important, especially for anyone claiming to be detail oriented on their resume (which you should not be). 

Be sure to rename your resume each time you apply for a new job. Title it something like this,   your first name last name - title you’re applying for. For example, Destiny Lalane - Marketing Manager. 

I’ve seen resumes named all sorts of things from “my resume” to include the name of a different company they applied to.This detail may seem small, but it’s certainly not overlooked by hiring managers and recruiters alike.

Mistake #4: You provide too much information

When applying for a job, it’s important to tailor each resume for the role you’re applying for. Which means you only present the most relevant work experience as possible for each job you’re applying to.

Even if you don’t have a ton of work experience, this is still relevant.

For example, when I first started applying for jobs at startups, my only previous work experience was retail, so I disclosed my retail background on my resume. When I was transitioning out of sales and into marketing, I stopped highlighting my sales skills on my resume and started highlighting the functions that I completed in any of my past roles that were marketing focused.

You don’t have to list every job you had and you don’t have to list every detail. Use the job description as a reference to know what information to include in your job description for that resume.

Mistake #5: Not tailoring your skills on each resume

One of the best things you can do to develop yourself as a professional is learning how to speak to your skillset and talk about it in different ways, depending on your audience.

When deciding which skills to highlight on your resume, look to job boards and job descriptions as a reference. Make sure the skills mentioned in the job application are on your resume and favored in some way. If you list your skills on your resume, make sure the ones listed on the job application are towards the top.

Need more help tailoring your resume to land your dream job? Check out my Workforce Survival Guide for a copy of my best tips and advice all in one easy to digest guide.

CareerDestiny Lalane