Resume Advice for New Graduates
According to the Associated Press, more than half of recent graduates find themselves without a job for at least six months after obtaining their degree. If you want to beat these odds, you're going to need a professional, well-crafted resume that impresses potential employers enough for a callback. Here are just seven tips for making that happen.
1: Use A Header
Your resume might look a little thin without a long list of previously held jobs, so it's important that an employer's first impression isn't one of disdain or diffidence. Start off with a strong, bold headline that will set the tone for the rest of your resume, like describing yourself as a "three-year hospitality major and certified ServSafe food handler with an emphasis in quality control and customer service."
2: Offer An Objective
Why should they hire you? What value can you bring their business? Create an objective or branding statement that uses keywords from the job listing or company creed. For example, if they're looking for someone with technical skills, talk about maximizing your talents in the development and implementation of business software. If their company recently went international, mention your excitement to work in the global economy.
3: Detail Your Education
Don't be afraid to devote a large chunk of your resume to your schooling. Include things like your major, GPA, class rank, et cetera. Mention that you were valedictorian or on the dean's list. If you graduated early, be sure to include dates of attendance. If you earned any certification or accreditation through your courses, list those as well.
4: Highlight Relevant Experience
Even if you've never had an actual job within the industry, you can probably boast more experience than you think. Have you ever attended extracurricular lectures or workshops? Did you shadow someone for college credit in your junior year? Were you an intern, lab assistant or even a gopher for someone with name recognition in your field?
5: Emphasize Your Modernity
As a recent graduate, your greatest value is in your current, up-to-date education, especially if you're going into a field where things change quickly. For instance, if you've just spent several years in medical school, talk about your familiarity with the new DSM-5. You'll have the edge over applicants who were taught from the old, outdated DSM-IV-TR.
6: Tailor Your Template
Electricians shouldn't craft their resumes the same way as preschool teachers. The job requirements are different; the demographics are different. Speak to the specifics of your industry by customizing your application to fit them. You can use a sample resume as the foundation for your own if you aren't sure how to get started.
7: Talk About Your Talents
Without a list of accomplishments to fall back on, you'll need to bolster your resume by other means. You can do this by listing your skills, passions and capabilities as they relate to the open position. Camp directors can talk about their CPR/AED training; loan processors can list their expertise in underwriting and document verification. The key is to establish yourself as someone who understands the demands of the job even if you haven't actually worked in the field yet.
These are just a few strategies for building your resume as a new graduate. Use them wisely to land an interview and secure your future in the working world.