Resumes serve as a foundational tool for all professionals to advance in their careers, but for recent grads, resumes are more than foundational – they’re crucial to landing the first job out of college. Fine-tuned interview skills and real life work experience (through valuable internships like Dardis’ Classroom to Career program) can lead to a job offer, but your resume first needs to get you through the front door.
As a current student or recent grad, you’re likely wondering how to fill that important sheet of paper when you don’t have years of work experience to highlight. While seasoned professionals need to concisely summarize numerous positions, your goal is to build upon the experience you do have – both paid and unpaid – to show you have what it takes to succeed.
“Craft a strong resume that says you’re ready for the workforce.”
Amanda Augustine, Job Search Expert, TheLadders
Many experts have strong opinions on what makes a resume stand out, but there is no blanket how-to guide for crafting the perfect resume. Stick to these basic guidelines to begin, and let your resume evolve as you grow in your career.
Keep it clean
Rely on simple fonts and a clean format to keep your resume professional. Use bullet points, when possible, for an easy read.
Tell your story
Organize your resume so that the information not only flows, but tells your unique story. Prioritize what content you list first and let your personality shine through.
Employers want to pinpoint your actual work responsibilities, so make it easy for recruiters by using action verbs and highlighting specific projects and accomplishments.
Tailor the resume for the company
While it’s easy to push your resume to dozens of prospective employers at once, it pays to customize your information for each position. Use a strong objective paragraph or cover letter to show that you’re right for that specific position.
Proofread, proofread, proofread
Don’t let a resume typo prevent you from getting the job. Reread your resume multiple times to catch any grammar errors, and look to your school’s career center for a second opinion.
Accomplished leaders don’t rely on the first version of the resume they created post-college. Continually improve the formatting and refresh the text to maintain a stellar resume that will propel you through your career.
Photo credit: michaeln3 via Flickr