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Top 5 Resume Tips for Recent College Graduates

Fri, 11/09/2012 - 4:26pm | by Guest Contributor

Your cap and gown are packed away in the closet, your new diploma is framed and placed conspicuously on the wall, and now it's time to nail down the job of your dreams. Of course, this is a tough time to be entering the workforce. Jobs are scarce, hiring managers are risk averse, and there are thousands of other applicants, most of them more qualified than you. Don't worry, that's the end of the doom and gloom! The good news is that the right resume can help you launch to the top of the pile, and get that all-important interview. In the end, the real decisions are made after you've met with coworkers or managers, and the best resume is the one that gets you in the door. It's a numbers game. You'll send out dozens and dozens of resumes, and the more frequently you get called in for interviews, the better your chances of landing a job you'll love. Here are five key tips to help the recent college grad concoct a winning resume.

First and probably most importantly, make sure you keep it short and sweet. Look up the most professional template you can find, and go with it. Don't get fancy with fonts and colors. As the saying goes, act like you've been there before. And only go with relevant information. Unless you're applying to some sports related company, your experience as a middle school cheerleader probably won't help.

Also keep in mind that most hiring managers will quickly skim a resume and put it in the 'keep' or 'trash' pile after only a few seconds. That means you've got precious little time to grab that person's attention and keep it long enough to make them consider an interview. It starts with including only the relevant work experience, but it extends to individualizing the resume for each company. Even corporations in the same industry will be looking for different types of people, with different skills. So research the company and tailor your resume to their needs. Start with a standard resume, that includes all of your work history, your relevant skills and your education, and then adjust it each time. Just remember you're a recent grad, and they'll know that as well. So packing the resume with filler won't trick anyone.

Although you may not have a ton of experience, that doesn't mean you won't bring some serious value to this company. It's your job to show them exactly how valuable you will be. The employees that are most in demand are problem solvers. Every industry poses difficulties to a company, and it's the people that can handle those difficulties that make the big bucks. So consider the problems this company faces when crafting your resume. If you can point out other instances, either in school or work, when you solved similar problems that will really help you along.

That leads right into the next tip, which is to sell yourself as hard as you can. It may sound silly, but you've got to give this company a reason to hire you over someone else. However green you might be, don't apply anywhere until you can communicate why you're the best choice for these jobs.

Finally, don't get held up waiting for it to be absolutely perfect. If you're not clear on the structure, find a resume service that can put your first resume together. But constantly tweaking the layout and wording won't get you any closer to a job. Keep sending it out there, even if you're not hearing back. Remember that numbers game, stay positive, and some incredibly smart hiring manager will give you a call before you know it.

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