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The College Student Vs. The Resume *Facepalm*

I’ve seen a lot of articles on writing the perfect resume.  There are many websites that are dedicated to the successful completion of the perfect fine-tuned resume.  Some of these websites charge a nominal fee for their services which is why a lot of times students opt to write their own.  With the job market still being at a lull, there are a lot of students, such as myself, that remain unemployed.  That resume is the key to your job searching existence.  What you put out, is what you will get back and in today’s market-image is everything.  Now, let’s say you spend hours tweaking and pruning your resume until it sparkles.  You have provided professional quality work, listed everything that you are qualified for and even have references that will leave you feeling awesome.  You think you’re finished, right?  Sure!  So you go ahead and start submitting your resume online.  A lot of employers have transferred their applications online out of convenience and paper applications are very nearly obsolete.  Then, after spending hours filling out online applications and submitting your gorgeous resume that you spent hours perfecting, you realize *gasp* there is a huge gaping ugly error just staring you right in the face and sticking out its tongue going 'Na, na!' 

And you wonder why you haven’t received any calls yet on your applications.  *facepalm*

I am an exhausted full-time student and full-time unemployed single mother fully equipped with a mortgage, a stack of utility bills and shut-off notices, along with other major and minor expenses with only $200 in child support coming in.  I have literally gotten to the point of total and complete desperation when it comes to finding that job that will at least make me twitch less over the cannonball of stress that has very nearly bludgeoned me into submissive apathy.   I am desperate to make my children proud, my fiancé proud, be self-sufficient and independent, and sadly after the seemingly hundreds of applications that I have filled out already, seeing that the ugly face of a simple and horribly obvious mistake probably botched my chances at attaining any of the jobs that I had applied to makes me want to do a constant *facepalm*.

In some ways, it’s almost laughable.  I will share with you all, my humiliation.

This is what the heading of my resume was supposed to look like:


000 Zero Street * Marquette MI 49855 * 906-000-0000*


And this is what it actually looked like:


000 Zero Street * Marquette MI 49855 * 906-009-0000*


Me, the genius that I am, used a template and neglected to replace the artificial email address that came standard on the template with my actual email address.  Not to mention, my phone number is wrong by a single digit, which explains why I haven’t received any phone calls.  I am normally a stickler for detail and when I write, which is a job that I am looking to obtain, these minor yet obvious flaws speak measures as to how good of an impression I probably made upon the potential employers that I had queried. 

The sad part is that there is absolutely no way for me to rectify the situation.  The applications are already submitted online and my first and most important impression was already made-and for the jobs that I have been applying to, attention to even the most minor detail is of great importance.  But exhaustion and desperation caused me to be careless.  I’ve had trouble sleeping, my brain has become foggy, and I don’t notice the subtle nuances as I once had within this pathetic stupor I have become lost within.  How could I, a writer, a person with such a dedicated focus to detail miss such an obvious mistake?  Easy.  I’m human therefore fallible.  But employers look for the best of the best when selecting candidates for open positions.  And wow, did I ever want the jobs that I queried.

Am I being too hard on myself?  Perhaps.  (I continue to *facepalm* as I write this article, mind you), but the only thing that I can do at this point is go through my resume with a fine tooth comb after I have gotten enough rest and with no distractions to take away from the importance of my first impression.  A resume is the first impression that you take with you to a job.  Granted, another important aspect of the hiring process is the nerve-wracking interview, but the resume is what the employers view first to determine whether or not you are worthy enough to call. 

So, what if you were to botch your resume in some way and turn it into a job you really really want, what would you do?  Would you correct the mistakes then resubmit the resume and hope for the best?  Or would you sit back quietly and wait to see if they respond with an “I’m sorry but under careful consideration of your application, we find that you are not qualified for this position.  Thank you, have a nice day.”  And from here on out I’ll be wondering whether or not the company turned me down because of that mind-numbing error or if it was because I actually wasn’t qualified enough for the position. 

I’m not giving up though, and I have found that there are a number of opportunities out there; the perfect one simply hasn’t come along for me quite yet.  I am a strong believer that everything happens for a reason and perhaps the jobs that I had applied for weren’t ones that I would be adept at.  Perhaps noticing these mistakes made me realize how much pressure that I have been under. Couple that with the tremendous responsibilities and desperation that I have felt, slowing down the pace a bit (despite the horrific deadlines I have to meet regarding bills and the like) would probably be in my best interest.  Taking periodic breaks between applications to review what it is I’m going to say, what kind of impression do I want to make with this particular company is of vital importantance. 

It’s funny; we have to sell ourselves in order to sell for the companies.  We have to cater to their interests and prove within a sheet or two that the Times New Roman version is worth taking on as an employee. 

Don’t make the fatal mistakes that I did.  Get more sleep, find a way to relax and double check, triple check, quadruple check your work before you submit it.  In fact, review it each time before you hand it in.  That way there is very little margin for error.  Every detail counts.  In my own eyes, my mistake on my resume was the equivalent to me showing up in the establishment to turn in the application in my pajamas.  The mistakes were unnecessary and were completely avoidable had I taken the time to double check. 



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Clare Regina's picture

What a terrible and

What a terrible and embarrassing mistake. You are right, there is little you can do to rectify a mistake like this, but at least it taught you a lesson for the future. Everyone makes mistakes like these in their job searches; as you said, we are all human and therefore fallible. When it comes to resumes and cover letters, I check it, then have my boyfriend read it over, and then check it again. I always have to remember to update contact information because I have moved a few times in the past couple of years. I also use older cover letters as templates for new ones, and a couple of times I have almost sent out a cover letter with the wrong name on it!
My worst job search gaffe was during a job interview. I had worked hard to look presentable and be prepared. However, one of the interview questions completely threw me off. The interviewer asked what I thought about the recent changes to standards and testing in my state. I froze; I hadn’t known that they had changed! I did my best, admitting that I was not aware of the changes, asking what had changed, and giving my opinion on it, but I knew the damage had been done. This awkward moment taught me to keep abreast of news and changes in my field.
Jay Pineda's picture

ohh resumes

Resume is really the first thing we should prioritize the moment we graduate, or at least when we decide to go job hunting. I myself had browsed websites on how resumes should be written so you get yourself scheduled for an interview. I also gathered feedback from my friends who are already professionals, my professors, Human Resource people etc. But it just made me more confused. Some say that resumes should be as short and detailed as possible so it is easier to read, while some say it should be long to make the employer impressed, though it may look a little boring when you hand over an employer a 4 - 5 page resume. From what I found out I believe resumes should be written by you personally, include all those which you think are important. That's what I did.

I can relate to your situation too, I was once asked by a professor to submit a resume to him as a course requirement, I seeked google's help and to cut the story short, I ended up copy-pasting a sample job experience to my own resume. It was really disappointing.


I can see that your blog is well written and I believe you will soon find a job which perfectly suits you. Good luck on the job hunting!


johnk146's picture

You Need a Second Set of Eyes

An unfortunate incident. Your mind does have a tendency to play tricks on you. It doesn't do so to make you miserable of course, the "filling in" effect the brain often does is a good thing! It allows your brain to process information faster. Your brain will be fine tuned to your own tendencies, and that is why you should always have someone proofread your work. It may be embarassing. The last thing you want from your friend is to raise their eyebrows at you once they read some of your more lofty qualifications. It may be maddening, especially if your friend nitpicks or thinks that your work in garbage, but it is necessary. Don't let pesky little pride get in the way of securing employment. Of course there is also the issue of experience and bias on the part of your friend. Should your friend happen to be a deadbeat worshipper of the ground you walk on, don't worry. As a college student, you'll most likely have career centers available to you that has individuals highly trained in resume preparation. As a side note, all this talk about resumes is making my blood boil as it is one of the most mind numbingly boring things to prepare.

Tim Gogo's picture

Resume, is preference... But needs to be professional.

FIrst off, I'd like to say that you have used the term "face palm" one too many times throughout this post. However, that is contrary to my point. There is actually a right and a wrong way to write a resume. There are certain aspects and points that employeers look for on the resume. Everything from the way it is set up, the way it is designed, and of course the content on the resume. There needs to be a certain style to the resume. Usually, you should start off with your name centered and all of your contact information below it. After your information is when you begin to put your information.

In my case, it's sometimes better to put my education before work experience. Although, it does not matter. However, if you show your employeers how much education you have... Your highest degree first and and minors/certificates, they will immediately become impressed. Also with your schooling, include any clubs or activities you were involved with at your schools. And list any academic awards. 

Second it's would be great to list any internship expierence you have earned. List from the most recent to the oldest. If you have a lot of internships, only list those that are most important. 

If you don't have any internsip experience, then list any work experience you have. If you have a lot to show for the past 3-5 years, only the list the past three years. Employeers don't always want to see everything. And if you jumped around from job to job, they will question your working ability. 

There's a right and a wrong way to build a resume. It doesn't have to be perfect, or follow any specific guidelines... But there are certain strategies in resume writing that everyone should follow.