Resume Dos and Don'ts: Common Mistakes to Avoid for Students & Fresh Graduates

Resume Dos and Don'ts: Common Mistakes to Avoid for Students & Fresh Graduates
Last Updated: November 22, 2023

Your resume is your ticket to your dream job. It's your first impression to potential employers, and it can make or break your chances of landing an interview. 

For students and fresh graduates, crafting a compelling resume is especially crucial, as you may need more professional experience to showcase. 

To help you stand out from the crowd, let's explore the dos and don'ts of resume writing to ensure your document lands you that coveted job interview.

The Dos

1. Start with a Strong Objective or Summary Statement


Do: Begin your resume with a well-crafted objective or summary statement. 

This brief section should provide a snapshot of your career goals and highlight what you can bring to the table. 

Tailor it to the specific job you're applying for, emphasizing your skills, qualifications, and enthusiasm for the role.


"Recent computer science graduate with a passion for software development and a strong foundation in programming languages, seeking an entry-level developer position to apply and expand my skills."

2. Emphasize Your Education

Do: For students and fresh graduates; education is often the most substantial section of the resume. 

Include your degree(s), university name, graduation date, and relevant coursework or academic achievements. 

If your GPA is impressive (typically 3.0 or higher), consider including it.


  • Bachelor of Science in Marketing

  • XYZ University, May 2023

  • Relevant Courses: Market Research, Digital Marketing, Brand Management

  • GPA: 3.5

3. Highlight Relevant Projects and Internships

Do: Showcase any internships, co-op experiences, or projects you've undertaken during your academic years. 

Describe your role, responsibilities, and the skills you developed. Use action verbs to convey your achievements and quantify your contributions whenever possible.


Marketing Intern, ABC Company (date of internship)

  • Conducted market research to identify customer preferences, resulting in a 10% increase in campaign engagement.
  • Collaborated with the marketing team to develop and execute social media marketing strategies, leading to a 15% boost in website traffic.

4. Tailor Your Resume to Each Job Application

Do: Customize your resume for each job you apply for. Highlight the skills and experiences most relevant to the specific position. 

Study the job description, identify keywords, and incorporate them into your resume to demonstrate your alignment with the role.


If the job posting emphasizes teamwork and project management, emphasize your teamwork experiences and any relevant coursework or projects where you managed tasks effectively.

5. Use a Clean and Professional Format

Do: Keep your resume clean, organized, and easy to read. Use a professional font (e.g., Arial, Calibri, Times New Roman) and maintain consistent formatting throughout. 


Use bullet points for clarity and avoid clutter. Ensure proper spacing, margins, and a logical order of sections.

6. Include Relevant Skills

Do: List your skills, both technical and soft, in a dedicated section. Here is where you can highlight your proficiency in programming languages, software, communication skills, teamwork, and any other skills relevant to the job.



  • Programming Languages: Java, Python, C++
  • Web Development: HTML, CSS, JavaScript
  • Tools: Visual Studio Code, Git, JIRA

Soft Skills: Communication, Problem Solving, Time Management

7. Proofread and Edit

Do: Thoroughly proofread your resume to eliminate spelling and grammatical errors. 

Consider seeking feedback from mentors, professors, or career advisors. 

A polished resume reflects your attention to detail and professionalism.


Correct: "Developed a new marketing campaign."

Incorrect: "Develped a new marrketing campagin."

The Don'ts

1. Don't Exaggerate or Fabricate

Don't: It's tempting to exaggerate accomplishments or skills on your resume, but honesty is crucial. 

If you're caught in a lie during the hiring process, it can lead to immediate rejection or job termination later on. Focus on presenting your true strengths and experiences.


Instead of claiming you have "expert-level" proficiency in a programming language when you have only completed a beginner-level course, accurately describe your skill level and willingness to learn and grow.

2. Avoid Generic and Irrelevant Information

Don't: Steer clear of generic statements or irrelevant information. Your resume should be concise and directly related to the job you're applying for.

Avoid including personal details such as your age and marital status or a generic objective like, "Looking for a challenging opportunity."


Instead of saying, "I want a challenging job in a dynamic environment," specify the type of challenge you're seeking and why you're well-suited for it.

3. Don't Overdo It with Length

Don't: While you want to include important details, don't create a lengthy resume, especially if you're a student or recent graduate. 

Aim for a one-page resume, if possible. Hiring managers often have limited time to review applications, so keep it concise and to the point.


If you find your resume exceeding one page, review it and remove less relevant information or reformat it to reduce space.

4. Avoid Unprofessional Email Addresses

Don't: Use a professional email address for your contact information. Avoid using unprofessional or outdated email addresses that might leave a negative impression.


Instead of "," opt for an address that includes your name or initials, like ""

5. Don't Neglect Action Verbs

Don't: Passive language can make your accomplishments seem less impactful. Start bullet points with strong action verbs to convey your achievements effectively.


Instead of "Was responsible for managing a team," use "Managed a team."

6. Don't Include References

Don't: It's optional to include references on your resume. Save this information for a separate document and provide it when requested during the interview process.


Instead of listing references on your resume, simply state, "References available upon request."

7. Avoid Generic Descriptions

Don't: Vague or generic descriptions provide little insight into your capabilities. 

Be specific and quantify your achievements whenever possible.


Instead of saying, "Assisted with various tasks," specify what those tasks were and any measurable outcomes.


In conclusion, crafting a persuasive resume as a student or fresh graduate requires careful attention to detail. 

Follow the dos and don'ts outlined above to create a compelling resume that showcases your skills, experiences, and potential. 

Start writing yours now with some of the best resume samples available.

Remember that your resume is a dynamic document that should evolve as you gain more experience and skills in your career.

With the right approach, you can make a strong impression and increase your chances of landing your desired job interviews.

Cindy Baker
Editorial Team
The editorial team behind is a group of dedicated HR professionals, writers, and industry experts committed to providing valuable insights and knowledge to empower HR practitioners and professionals. With a deep understanding of the ever-evolving HR landscape, our team strives to deliver engaging and informative articles that tackle the latest trends, challenges, and best practices in the field.

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