New Graduate? Craft The Perfect Resume with These Tips
You’ve donned a toga, held your diploma, and smiled for the camera. Congratulations, you’ve finally graduated. Now you’re ready take on a new chapter in your young adult life- building a career.
Here are some tips to help you produce an effective resume as a new graduate.
Be clear about what you can offer.
A generic, no-frills objective statement such as, “Fresh graduate seeking an entry-level position that will allow me to use my skills to help a company succeed,” is not only unremarkable but it also tells nothing about your goals and what you can actually do for an organization. As your resume’s “elevator pitch,” you should keep the Summary concise yet compelling. In three to five sentences, explain who you are, where your skillsets lie, and how you can ultimately be of service to a prospective employer.
Keep your presentation organized and clean.
Now that you’ve convinced your employer to keep on reading with your witty summary, it is best to maintain a professional look throughout your resume. This means choosing a black font that’s easily readable (such as Times New Roman, Arial, or Calibri) over a plain white background. A surname that is in CAPITAL LETTERS or separated by a comma from your middle and first names ensures it is noticeable and thus stands a higher chance of recall. Review other details such as your date of birth, address, and contact details and don’t forget to double-check your spelling, grammar, and punctuation as well.
No experience? No problem! Highlight your skills instead.
For entry-level candidates, the Experience section is sort of a catch-22: This may be your first foray into the professional world, and yet employers expect you to provide a list of experiences in your resume. So if you don’t have much work history to provide, focus on key areas where you’ve shown success before. For instance, if you’ve received numerous academic accolades as a student, then include an Honors and Awards section below your education details. If you’ve shown leadership skills in your extracurricular activities or made significant contributions as an intern or a volunteer, then highlight these details as well.
This is also the perfect avenue for tailoring your resume to the job description. By including words and phrases that match what the employer is looking for, you stand a greater chance of making it past a software program (known as an applicant tracking system) that many companies utilize nowadays for screening applications. You essentially have to win over a sophisticated machine, so get those buzz words in!
Use testimonials in lieu of references.
Instead of the usual, “References available upon request,” you can take initiative and include a bullet list of 2-3 testimonials that support your application. Relevant commendations help paint a picture of your character and thus allow recruiters to see you in a different context.
As a novice, preparing a resume that showcases your true potential can seem daunting at first. Remember to take note of these tips and you may be a part of the workforce anytime soon!