For the majority of new graduates, landing that first full-time job can be an intimidating feat, even when the job market is strong. While education is your strongest asset, it’s important to show that you possess the capabilities to build upon your education and succeed in your chosen field. That’s where your resume comes in.
According to the National Center for Education Statistics, US colleges and universities were projected to award 1.0 million associate’s degrees, 1.9 million bachelor’s degrees, 790,000 master’s degrees, and 183,000 doctoral degrees for the 2017-2018 school year. Many of those graduates will be looking to secure their first job with a mediocre resume and no strategy or knowledge of the hiring process.
You’ve worked incredibly hard and invested a lot toward your education. Don’t you think it’s time for your degree to work for you?
Like it or not, your resume is typically the first point of contact between you and an employer. If you’ve been searching for that first job for some time without tangible results (interviews), it’s probably not you, but how you’re portrayed on your resume. This is great news because you can do something about that 🙂
Below, I have compiled a list of 5 tips—by no means exhaustive—on how you can spruce up your current resume and better showcase your assets in today’s modern job market:
Personally, I find it appalling that there are still so many articles out on the Internet that say you should include an objective on your resume. These statements are weak, outdated, and solely focused on what you want versus how you can meet the employer’s needs. For example:
“Seeking a dynamic and challenging position in a growth-oriented company where innovation contributes to the bottom line.”
This statement takes up valuable space without answering the employer’s #1 question: what’s in it for me? Instead of an objective, writing a robust and informative career summary that introduces you to the reader and summarizes the clear, tangible benefits that they will receive by hiring you will not only help you to make a stronger connection with the employer but it's a much more effective approach to inspire the reader to call and invite you for an interview.
Most people find the summary section to be the toughest portion to write on a resume. A great way to get started is to spend a little time reflecting on your professional life up to this point, identify skills that got you hired in the past for internship and full-/part-time positions, and note the positive qualities that your peers, professors, or colleagues have noticed by working with you or seeing your work in action.
- Emphasize your education. Since this is likely your primary selling point, it’s important to include this information at the top of your resume. Additionally, if you received academic awards, had a high GPA (usually 3.0 and higher), or graduated with honors (cum laude), it helps to include that information.
On a related note, if you were active in several campus organizations, the education section can be a great place to include this information. These experiences can make a significant difference in your personal growth by teaching you and helping you hone those key transferable skills—working with others, building relationships, enhancing networking capabilities—that many employers find highly valuable in a candidate.
- Positioning relevant coursework as skills and knowledge. The knowledge that you acquired in those courses is relevant and is a great substitute even if you don’t have any real-world job experience. This strategy is very effective for incorporating relevant keywords and keyword phrases that will maximize your resume’s chance of success with both digital and human readers.
Remember to be selective and only include the most relevant information for the specific job target. For example, if you are targeting R&D Chemist positions, the Hiring Manager will be more interested in your problem solving and practical laboratory capabilities attained from your chemistry coursework than that elective theater class.
- Highlight any internship, full-/part-time work, or volunteer experiences. Here’s the deal. Even if you do not possess relevant experience in your target field, the transferable and adaptive skills acquired from your part/full-time or volunteer positions matter because those are the skills that govern human interaction.
This is actually great news for you because if you can emphasize your ability to show up on time, work well independently and collaboratively, and hone your problem-solving, communication, and time management skills, you will position yourself as a valued candidate above your competition.
I’ve worked with many qualified new graduates who are discouraged from applying for positions that advertise statements like “must have at least 3 years of experience in XYZ field” or something along those lines. Honestly, if you can handle the job requirements, just apply.
Don't let some arbitrary period of time determine whether or not you're qualified to be successful in a given role.
- Take your job search game to the next level with LinkedIn. With over 97% of recruiters and hiring managers using LinkedIn daily to find top talent, it pays to have an engaging profile that separates you from the 450+ million other LinkedIn users.
Whether you’re a college graduate or a seasoned industry professional, it’s never too early to start building your online brand.
Most people understand they need a resume and a cover letter to conduct a job search. Unfortunately, LinkedIn tends to be an afterthought and it definitely shows in the way that most people use LinkedIn, by simply copying and pasting the content from their resume onto their LinkedIn profile. This practice works against you because you lose out on an opportunity to market yourself in a more casual and humanizing way.
Who knows? Your story could be just the thing that prompts a hiring professional to contact you over your competition for an interview.
If you’ve been a searching for a role for some time without results (interviews) or you’ve taken a gap year after graduation and are not sure how to positively position that experience on your resume, it may be time to seriously consider working with a reputable certified resume writer.
The investment is a small drop in the bucket compared to a year’s worth of textbooks, which can average around $1,200 a year. While those textbooks won’t help you get your foot in the door with an employer, a well-designed resume with a qualitative focus can prevent interviews from slipping through the cracks and save you hundreds to thousands of dollars for each day, week, or month that you shave off your job search.
LIMITED TIME SPECIAL OFFER: From now until August 31, Scientech Resumes is offering a complimentary LinkedIn profile analysis for any new graduate who invests in a resume and/or a resume and cover letter package. Get started today with a no-obligatory complimentary resume consultation!
Scientech Resumes is committed to working with people who know that an investment in themselves will pay dividends. I look forward to discussing your career goals and helping you get into your next job faster, with greater results!