Congratulations! After years of study, you are now ready to begin your career as a qualified professional. As part of your preparation for the big job search, you need to have a professional resume that will catch potential employers’ attention and ensure that you make it to the ‘must interview’ list of applicants.
If you’ve been working while you studied, the chances are that you will have a resume already – but does it tell people who you are as a professional? If the jobs you’ve been doing were in fast food outlets or retail businesses, it possibly won’t. You may feel that you don’t have enough experience to apply for the jobs you dream about, but that’s not necessarily the case.
The key is a professional resume that will highlight the qualifications and experience that make you the most desirable recruit. One2One Resumes has assisted graduates from all disciplines, including those who have just graduated and those who have been out looking for a while.
Before you even begin to write your new resume, consider this: nobody sits down and reads every word of every resume in a stack of applications. With job competition as fierce as it is currently, there can be hundreds of applications for any position, and the Human Resources personnel or manager handling the applications simply won’t have time to read them all. Instead, they scan resumes for applicants who satisfy criteria for the position, so you have to be able to grab their attention within the first few seconds, or your resume and application will hit the ‘no’ pile.
A well written, professional resume will stand out from others and could get you to interview stage. It will give you the edge when you go to the interview, because the interviewing panel will have already decided that they want to meet the person behind the resume.
What you need in your resume is everything that you have done that demonstrates to a potential employer that you are a competent, focused individual with a strong work ethic who will fit into their organisation now and also has the potential to grow and contribute.
To do that, you should include what you have studied. Don’t limit yourself to a list of grades — but do list awards that are grades based. Include projects you did and portfolios you may have created of samples of your work. Those can be directly related to the kinds of things you may find yourself doing in a work environment.
Those part time jobs that have been keeping the wolf from the door throughout your studies…list those, even the really basic ones. While they may be jobs you hope to never do again, they demonstrate commitment and a work ethic. The also show off your time management skills — after all, you worked, presumably had a social life, and still managed to get through a major course and achieve excellent grades!
Include any seminars, workshops and conferences you’ve attended. Seminars and conferences are an important component of professional development and your early experience presenting and participating will stand you in good stead in the workplace. You should also include extra-curricular activities that are relevant in a professional and personal capacity. Don’t discount your recreational activities either. Membership of a sporting club shows long term commitment, that you have been part of a team, have community interest, balanced competitiveness, that you keep yourself fit and, if you have held office, that you have leadership skills. These are all incredible personal attributes that employers of graduates are looking for when they are recruiting.
Don’t forget to make your resume keyword rich. Apart from standard means of doing a job search — newspapers, agencies and networking — there are the online job sites. If you choose to post your resume online you need to ensure that people searching will find your resume easily, so aim to include keyword phrases that potential employers may be searching for.
Take a good hard, honest look at yourself. What are your unique selling points (USPs)? What are those experiences you have had that make you the stand-out applicant? Don’t think that because you’re ‘only’ a graduate with no professional work experience that you don’t have USPs. You do, because you have all those activities that were part of your course, plus activities in student organisations and groups, internships you may have done, contacts in the industry you may have built as a student and other extra-curricular activities that may be pertinent. You want your resume to grab an employer’s interest. You want YOU to jump off those pages and make them want to meet you.
Having trouble with writing your own resume? It can be hard to present yourself, because we don’t see ourselves as others do. We don’t always see our own potential clearly. Resume writing is a skill, like any other. Dedicate time to the development of your resume and soon you will be able to go out there with an attention-grabbing resume that will get you noticed and increase your chances of obtaining an interview.
© Michelle Lopez, Owner/Career Consultant One2One Resumes
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