10 Disastrous Resume Mistakes

Avoid these common errors to stand out and secure that job!

Everyone knows to include their name, contact information, and work experience on a resume. But what is going to make your resume stand out? What should you avoid to give you the best chance of being chosen for your dream position?

  1. Typos and grammatical errors. This is important for every job candidate to avoid, but for international students, it’s a good idea to add an extra step and have a native English speaker with good grammar skills review your resume for grammar and usage. It’s important for employers to be confident in your command of the English language.
  2. Using passive language. U.S. employers value self-motivation and action. The more your language reflects action, the better. This list of action verbs from The Muse will help make your resume stand out.
  3. Including illegal information. In the U.S. it is illegal for employers to ask certain questions. If this information is included on your resume, you will automatically be disqualified from applying. Illegal information includes:
    1. TOEFL Score
    2. A Photograph
    3. Immigration Status
    4. Age/Birth date
    5. Hometown/Home Country
    6. Marital Status
    7. Race/Ethnicity
    8. Religion
  4. Focusing on group accomplishments.  Group accomplishments are a great thing to include on your resume because they demonstrate your ability to work on a team. However, you should focus this description on your role within the team.
  5. Listing tasks instead of problems solved. “Responsible for updating social media accounts,” becomes “Increased social media engagement scores by 13% by implementing new strategy.”
  6. A Hard to read format. Hiring managers generally have a lot of applicants for one position and want to be able to scan your resume quickly at first. Instead of writing in paragraph format, use bullet points whenever possible. In addition, an easy-to-read open sans font is a must.
  7. A lack of imagination or creativity. Hiring managers get tired of reading “resume-speak.” They also get tired of looking at resumes generated from templates. The level of creativity should match the type of position you are seeking. A graphic artist, for example, may have some graphic elements included in their resume, while an engineer would be expected to have a more traditional resume.
  8. A lack of focus. If you’re applying for an IT Specialist position, the time you spent as an intern in the IT Department at the University, or serving as the technical consultant for your favorite student group is relevant. Working in the dish room of the cafeteria is not. Make sure you highlight the experience that is relevant.
  9. Not including keywords. Especially if you submit an application online, hiring managers will likely use software that searches by keyword to sift through the first round of resumes. If you do not have those keywords in your resume, it will not make the first cut. A good practice is to identify the likely keywords being searched by reading the job description carefully, and then making sure those keywords are in your resume.
  10. Not offering references. If this is your first job, list professors in your major area of study, academic advisers, research partners, or anyone else that can speak to your work ethic and knowledge of your area of study. If you have job experience, a supervisor or a co-worker in a position of authority is the best reference.

Download our handy Resume and Interview Guide for more tips!

And don’t forget to sign up for the GOregistry and keep your profile up to date so employers search for YOU!

An International Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday of the year. It is steeped in tradition, and centered on gratitude. We play games, watch football, and eat too much. But we spend some great quality time together and really focus on all of the many things in our lives for which we are grateful.

One of the things I am grateful for is that for the last three years, I have had the honor of hosting some international students in my home for our Thanksgiving holiday. The first year was through a program put together by Dan Redford  at MSU, and we had three Chinese students share our meal with us. My children and other family members very much enjoyed chatting with the students, learning some Chinese, and learning about China’s traditions. It was fun watching the students experience their first American Thanksgiving dinner as well.

The last two years I have invited my international interns to my home for Thanksgiving. And now it has become part of our Thanksgiving tradition. I am overwhelmed by the gratitude my students show for being included. Skyin even told me that she now feels she has a family in Michigan. What an awesome reward! And even though she is no longer my intern, (she’s now the Business Development Manager at Message Makers) she is coming back this year. Shasha has moved to Arizona to pursue her Ph.D. She will be greatly missed, but we will still eat her favorite Triple Chocolate Truffle cake in her absence, and arrange a Skype call so we can celebrate together in some way. This year we will also have India represented, and I look forward to hearing about India’s traditions, and of course hearing Anand’s infectious laugh.

According to Wikipedia, Canada, The Netherlands, Liberia, Norfolk Island (in Australia), Grenada, Germany, and Japan all celebrate Thanksgiving, or a holiday that is similar. Maybe I should do a Thanksgiving world tour to make a firsthand comparison? I’ll put that on my bucket list. For now, I will just look forward to Thursday and celebrating our newest tradition, an International Holiday Feast, and give thanks.


Internships Bring the World To Your Door

Interns can prove to be a valuable asset to small and large companies alike. Interns bring enthusiasm, determination to make their mark, and often a fresh perspective to your work environment. They provide a great value at low-cost, and a company can “try before you buy” by identifying future hires as your company grows.

International students, in addition to the above benefits, also bring global competency and increase the diversity in your company, fostering multicultural awareness among your entire staff. They generally speak two or more languages, which can be especially helpful if you serve a bilingual customer base or are engaged in international business. Many international students come from families that are well educated and well-connected in their country of origin and can foster international relationships if your company is expanding abroad.

And let’s not forget the fun factor. Learning about other countries, their customs, and their food is fun. But teaching international students about American culture can be great fun as well. Watch Skyin Yin’s first experience with a packzi HERE.

Hiring an International Student is really not complicated. International students studying in the US hold an F1 Visa, also known as a student visa. There are a few different authorizations by which an international student can work off campus, but the most common are Curricular Practical Training (CPT) [http://www.migtri.org/international-students]and Optional Practical Training (OPT) [http://www.migtri.org/international-students]

CPT is a temporary work authorization for international students on F-1 student visas that may be issued before students complete their degree program. CPT can be authorized for internships or co-ops that are either required for degree completion or deemed “integral” to a student’s degree program, which is defined by the issuing educational institution. In order for a school to authorize CPT, the student must already have a job offer and provide an offer letter on company letterhead that includes the following information:

  • Dates of Internship/co-op
  • Name of Company
  • Address where the student will be physically located during employment
  • Job title/description

OPT is temporary work authorization for international students on F-1 student visas, generally used after a student graduates. All international students are eligible for at least 12 months of OPT after completion of a US degree program. International students who complete a degree with a major in a federally designated STEM field and who work for an employer that is enrolled in the E-Verify system are eligible to apply for 17 additional months of OPT, thus making them eligible for up to 29 total months of work authorization after degree completion.

If you haven’t set up an internship program and would like to get started, contact the universities and colleges in your area and speak to their career services department. While each school is slightly different, the process is generally easy and they offer online portals to make posting internships efficient.

Whether you have an established internship program, or are starting one for the first time, the Global Talent Retention Initiative of Michigan (GTRI) [www.migtri.org] can assist you with the process of identifying the world’s top talent and bringing them to your doorstep. GTRI is the first and only known program in the United States developed to retain international student talent as a strategy for economic growth [http://www.migtri.org/why-international-students].  The goal of GTRI is to provide international students and Michigan employers with training and resources on relevant immigration regulations, finding a job and working in Michigan, and the cross-cultural issues that both employers and international applicants may experience during the hiring process.

GTRI’s Global Opportunity Employer program, also known as GOemployer, [http://www.migtri.org/services/become-goemployer] identifies companies interested in providing internships and employment to international students and assisting them in their candidate search. A company can participate in this free program and receive assistance whether they already offer these opportunities, or are interested in starting click here.  [http://www.migtri.org/services/become-goemployer] to learn more and get started.

Stay connected to GTRI by signing up for our newsletter [http://migtri.us5.list-manage1.com/subscribe?u=2b8e26abbb61529bb4381bb30&id=b14f749656]and joining us on Facebook [https://www.facebook.com/MiGTRI],  Twitter, [https://twitter.com/MiGlobalTalent], and LinkedIn [http://www.linkedin.com/company/2447450?trk=tyah]. All inquiries should be directed to info@MiGTRI.org.

Written by: Anne Craft, Director of Marketing and Communications for GTRI, an organization committed to economic development by retaining top international talent in Michigan.

International Talent Retention in Michigan: A Pathway To National Competitiveness


In October 2013 GTRI published the report “International Talent Retention in Michigan: A Pathway to National Competitiveness.”

Original Findings of the GTRI Data:

  • Michigan’s international students who use their student visas to work in the U.S. after graduation are nearly as likely (58%) as domestic students (63%) to stay in Michigan rather than choosing another state.
  • Michigan’s international students who work after graduation on their student visa are almost three times as likely (58%) as out-of-state students (22%) to stay in Michigan.
  • Michigan’s international students who work after graduation are more than four times as likely to major in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields (59%) as domestic students (13.7%) nationally and more than three times as liekly as Michigan students (18%).
  • More than four-fifths (82.2%) of Michigan’s international students who use their student visas to work in the U.S. after graduation earned advanced degrees–these are the most talented workers for the new economy.

Click here to download the report: Pathway to National Competitiveness