How to become a Resume Genius Fresh Out of College is a guest post by Kevin Nelson
No doubt, writing a resume when you’re just out of college is a challenging task, especially if you think that most employers prefer candidates with experience. The first word of advice here would be to let go of this misconception — as a matter of fact, a lot of great companies are looking for young talent. This, however, does not mean that you should underestimate the importance of a well-crafted resume — after all, every job opening sees an average of 250 resumes, and only 2% of those candidates land an actual interview. Let’s find out how you can wind up in those lucky two percent and become a resume genius.
Start a career objective
For candidates with plenty of experience, a career objective on a resume is not the best idea. For students fresh out of college, though, it is the other way around — and not just because it helps fill the required space. A career objective offers a great chance to tailor your resume for every particular job you’re applying to, and the human resource managers will definitely appreciate the effort. All in all, customizing the resume for each job posting is always a great idea, but it simply works miracles for candidates with little or no professional experience.
Consider a functional resume type
Everyone has heard of the standard chronological resume type, where job applicants list their experience in order (sometimes, in reverse, but that choice usually depends on the country). However, there are other resume types that can be more beneficial for candidates with little experience to list. A functional resume is one of them; the ultimate goal of this resume type is to highlight your strong skills rather than simply enumerate the positions you took.
So, if the job you’re applying to calls for teamwork, you can list all the relevant team projects you’ve been working on under this section and follow the same logic with other professional traits the job may call for. It may sound unusual and unnecessary at first, but even professional resume writer services claim that functional approach is the best one for beginning job hunters.
Highlight the most important courses you took
Another great idea for beginning professionals would be to highlight the most important courses you held — both major and minor ones. This works equally well for functional and chronological resumes. However, remember to stay reasonable — the course you mention on a resume should be relevant for your job. While scoring in the top of your art classes may be a very impressive achievement, it will do little good if you’re applying for a software engineer position.
Mention coursework/thesis on your resume
A coursework and especially a thesis is a huge part of your educational experience, and you should mention it on a resume whenever possible — especially if your research is related to the job you’re applying to. For example, when applying for a teaching position, a thesis in teaching methodology is something that can score you a lot of points with the HR department, resulting in a job interview.
Do not underestimate your extracurricular activities
While the education and the courses you took will probably be the most important part of your resume, it would still be unwise to ignore the extracurricular activities — especially, if you did some volunteer work, learned to speak a foreign language, have lived abroad, etc. Here, the trick is to make all of those impressive achievements an integral part of your resume. Once again, a functional resume type can help you achieve this very purpose.
List all the jobs you took
Many students fresh out of college feel awkward about listing their seemingly ‘low’ jobs. Once again, this is a misconception you should get rid off. First, holding a part-time job — even serving tables or cleaning the floor at McDonald’s shows you as a determined, independent, and driven person. Then again, it does indicate some working experience — even if outside your current industry. And, of course, if your previous experience is at least somehow related to your major or to the industry you’re applying to, you should definitely mention it on the resume. In fact, you might even want to place such experience before your education section.
Use a lot of action verbs
While you should definitely avoid cliches, such as ‘creative,’ ‘innovative,’ and so forth, action verbs are your best friends when writing a resume — especially given that they are designed to highlight your achievements rather than simply list your experiences. If for example, you believe yourself to be an innovator, you can use such verbs as revitalize, transform, pioneer, etc. If you want to emphasize your leadership skills, you can use an uplift, motivate, support, ignite, mentor, etc. You can use all of those when describing the courses or the jobs you took, to explain what exactly you have achieved so far.
By following these steps you will be well on your way to becoming a resume genius and landing the perfect job in no time.
About Kevin Nelson:
Kevin is a professional educator and a private tutor with over 8 years of experience. He is also a content writer for various blogs about higher education, entertainment, social media & blogging. During his off time, Kevin enjoys traveling and cooking. Feel free to connect with him on Twitter, Linkedin & Google+.
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To your success,