Common job hunting mistakes of twenty-somethings – and how to fix them

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Traditional job hunting rules don't apply to entry-level candidates. If you're right out of school and have little or no professional experience, you need to build your resume in an alternative fashion. You also must be meticulous with your interview preparation to ensure that you don't make rookie mistakes that are all-too-common with recent graduates.

We talked to Jayne Mattson, vice president at career management firm Keystone Associates, to break down common mistakes millennials make on their resume and in interviews. She also offers tips on how to avoid these career-killing errors.

Top 3 Mistakes Millennials Tend to Make When Writing their Resumes

1. Develop a resume that shows only tasks and responsibilities that reads like a job description, and does not show or explain what they have done.

Tip: Think about what you are qualified to do before you begin applying for jobs. Since millennials do not have a lot of professional work experience, they need to think of the skills they have acquired in their non-professional jobs, such as volunteer work or classroom projects, and then write accomplishment statements showing results. This will capture an employer’s attention!

2. Only checking for grammar, punctuation and spelling errors on their resume 1 time before they distribute.

Tip: Always use the auto-spell check on your computer; that is why it is there. Also, it is imperative that you have someone else proofread it for you, multiple times! Errors, however minor, can be the reason you did not get the job.

3. Listing your education without a summary statement on their resume.

Tip: Put together a short summary statement (even 3 lines are ok) that reflects the type of work you want to do (showing you have actually done some of the work within the body of your resume) and ask co-workers or even college professors what human qualities you possess that an employer would want to hire

Top 3 Mistakes Millennials Make in the Interview Process

1. Not conducting enough research on the company or the people they are meeting.

Tip: For all job interviews, job seekers must always go to the company website and research their products, mission statement, and find out about their competition. If the company is well-known, this is even more of a reason as you may just learn something your competitors will miss. Also, Google the people you are meeting and go on LinkedIn to view their profile. Knowing about the interviewer’s background will help you develop a quick rapport and impress them that you know something about them and have done your homework.

2. Not preparing answers to anticipated questions based on the job descriptions responsibilities and qualifications.

Tip: Really think about and write out the response for what the company is looking in an applicant, and what you bring to the table. Make a list of what have you done in previous jobs and identify examples of how you accomplished projects or duties with proven results. Use this information to formulate potential questions and your answers that may take place during the interview.

3. Not enough thinking how the interview went before they send their post interview correspondence. The follow up needs to include key points discussed during the interview.

Tip: Take at least 24-36 hours to think how the interview went, so you can continue to sell yourself in the follow up correspondence. Carefully address any concern that was brought  up during the interview reinforcing how you would be able to overcome the challenge and reiterate why you want the job!

Jayne Mattson is a Senior Vice President at Keystone Associates, specializes in helping mid-to-senior level individuals in new career exploration, networking strategies and career decisions based on corporate culture fit. Keystone Associates, a leading career management and transition services consulting firm headquartered in Boston, Massachusetts.

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