You’re just out of college and the world is your oyster. While dozens of opportunities are out there, finding your big break will be far from an easy task.
Recent college graduates lack the skills and the professional experience that many companies require from their potential employees. This is the main reason why putting together a compelling resume when you’ve never worked before is far from an easy task.
Regardless of your inexperience, you can still do things that will set you apart from the competition. The rules of writing a resume remain pretty much the same – focus on your accomplishments and your biggest strengths that make you a suitable candidate for the position.
Many students don’t know how to write a resume or behave during an interview – two problems that increase the amount of time it takes for recent graduates to find that very first employment opportunity.
Most grads are guilty of the same sins and filling the resume with fluff is one of the biggest.
Because they don’t have professional experience, many students focus on irrelevant personal skills or extracurricular activities. Guess what, the human resources professional who is taking a look at the document doesn’t care about the high school you attended or the extracurricular activities you took part in during your freshman year.
A good resume is tight and concise. Studies show that recruiters spend only six seconds examining a resume. If their eyes fall solely on fluff, the respective CV will be discarded even faster than that.
Focus on your GPA, focus on any academic achievements you have and relevant internships. These are the things that matter. Even if you submit a five-page resume, it’s not going to increase your chances of getting hired if it doesn’t feature relevant information.
Start with a Strong Career Objective
Listing a career objective in the top part of your resume is a good way to make things a little bit more personalized.
The career objective should be unique for every single job that you apply to. Don’t expect to copy-paste the same text over and over again and get results from it.
Recruiters like people who know what they want to accomplish. This is why a career objective can help you stand out when you don’t have experience. It shows dedication to the field and a desire to grow in the professional hierarchy. Ambition is always a good thing, especially if it’s backed up by the right academic credentials.
A highly personalized career goal also shows that you’ve put some effort and creativity in your application. It’s not just a generic resume that you’re sending. Such attention to detail is great for standing out when you can’t brag about professional accomplishments.
Add Links to Your Online Presence
A link to your LinkedIn profile is a great addition to your resume. Through LinkedIn, you can give a potential recruiter some more information that doesn’t necessarily have to be included in your resume.
If the field that you want to work in allows for it, you should definitely consider the creation of an online portfolio or a website that displays your works and projects. Building a website doesn’t require a massive investment and you don’t really need website development skills to get the job done (WordPress anyone?).
Building an online professional presence for yourself demonstrates a desire to specialize in the field and it also presents some quite desirable soft skills. If you are interested in a career in a technical or a digital field, you should definitely consider such an option.
Decide Whether Electives are Worth Focusing on
Many students take elective courses outside of their major. Sometimes, these elective courses could be seen as quite beneficial by potential employers.
It’s up to you to decide whether to list electives or keep them out of the resume. The decision will be simple to make – if additional courses increase your qualification and competence in the respective field, you should definitely add the information to the CV.
The same applies to extracurricular activities. A student who was the editor of the college newspaper and is applying for a website editing position should definitely include this information as a type of relevant experience.
Take a fresh look at what you’ve done during your college years and tweak your resume every single time to address the specifics of the particular job offer. The key is relevance and good presentation. Adjust the information, look for typos and remove any entry that doesn’t make sense. Submitting a personalized CV every single time may seem like a lot of work but it will decrease the amount of time you’ll have to dedicate to applying for jobs significantly.