Graduating from college seems like such an amazing feat, but the true challenge lies in what happens after graduation. New graduates now belong to the world of the unemployed and getting a good job is crucial for financial stability, but how can new graduates stand out among the sea of competition? It all starts with the resume.
No matter how good your grades are or how competent you can be, all of this won’t matter if the employer never sees it. Your resume is like a back cover summary of the book that is you, and making a good first impression means the difference between getting hired or being put in the trash bin.
Below are some essential resume tips to help you land your dream job.
It is never advisable to download a resume from the Internet and merely change the information. Every resume should be unique because it shows the employer that you put effort into it.
However, there are some points that your resume must have and that you shouldn’t omit.
- Contact Information – Your contact information should be easy to see. Keeping it as a header is advisable. You should be sure to add your name, phone number, mailing address, and email address. You want to make sure your email address is professional and easy to remember. So, you should ditch that college email address and make a new one.
- Educational Information – You want to put this at the beginning of the resume, and you should include the name of the school, the degree earned, and if you graduated with honors.
- Job Experience – You always start with your most recent job and list them from newest to oldest. You should include the employer’s name, the position held, the date of employment, and a short description with highlights on responsibilities. Don’t forget to include internships as well.
- Honors and Awards – Gaining awards and accolades mean that you’re excellent in your field. Most employers are looking for employees who are achievers since it usually means that they have a good work ethic.
- Extracurricular – This is particularly important if your grades aren’t stellar, but even if they are, extracurricular activities show that you’re a well-rounded person and that you also excel in other fields aside of academics.
What You Should NOT Include
Most new graduates are excited to place every bit of information about themselves on their resume. However, this strategy is ineffective since most employers only want to see what’s relevant. Your resume should also be only two pages at most. If you can fit it all in on one page, then all the better.
Below are some points you can omit.
- References – Unless the employer requests them, it is better to give references only after an initial interview.
- Personal Information – Particulars such as age, religion, marital status, and number of children may be omitted.
- GPA – If you have a stellar GPA, go ahead and put it right where the employer can see it, but if your GPA isn’t as good as it should be, then there’s no need to put yourself down by placing it on your resume. Also, this is only appropriate when you are looking for jobs immediately after college. Once you have substantial job experience, you no longer want to include your GPA.
- Formatting is Key – No matter how creative you are, when it comes to formatting, less is definitely more. You want to keep your fonts simple and readable, and you want to use underlines, bold and italics only when necessary. When you have to submit a resume online, be aware that some databases will strip your resume of any formatting. That means your indents and bullet points will be gone. To address this, make two versions of your resume. One for physical submission and the other for electronic submission.
- Keywords – Don’t flatter yourself by thinking that employers will read through the whole of your resume. Recruiters usually just scan your resume and this is where keywords come in handy. Some employers also use screening software which picks up specific keywords that relate to the job opening. By using keywords, you make sure that your resume comes up on top.
- Wording – Use active words in your skills section such as “managed, organized, led” since these words highlight your role in the event. You should also focus on the activities that were accomplished.
- Spelling and Grammar – Spelling and grammatical errors can spell disaster for your resume. It shows incompetence and a lack of attention to detail. It also gives the impression that you are not sincere about the job because you did not take the time to proofread.
When the only thing representing you is a piece of paper, it’s best to make the most of it. You want to take note of every tip and detail, and you should go over your resume until it’s perfect. This piece of paper can mean the difference between getting that dream job or remaining unemployed.
Do you have an resume writing tips that you would like to share?