Hooray for you – you have made it to graduation. You have a degree in hand, and everything that this represents, to offer the world of work. Now, how to launch your career? Along with making polite networking calls to everyone you know who might be in the position to hire, or be acquainted with someone who can hire; you need to assemble your resume/curriculum vitae. We’ll discuss some ideas for optimizing that effort.
You may have been applying for jobs since you were of legal age to work. You may have a list of work experiences that fills several pages already. On the other hand, your first job hunt out of college may be, in fact, your first job hunt. In either case, your resume is your best means communicating how wonderful you are to prospective employers.
Employers are receiving masses of resumes these days. While your parents may complain about how hard it was to get an employer’s attention back when they were trying to get their first jobs, your situation is more extreme. Your target employers are getting resumes via email as well as snail mail and personal delivery ‘over the transom’, as the old-school phrase described it. The amount of time that they can dedicate to your individual resume must be measurable in nanoseconds!
You need to make the most of your one chance to grab the attention and eyeballs of the person who is making the hiring decision. In everything you do, consider the limited time available to make an impression on your reader.
Don’t send out a one-size-fits-all resume – Know your audience
You need to research the organization or entrepreneur the resume is meant to impress. With the help of your computer and a printer, customization is not only possible, but crucial. See above for the reason; limited time on your reader’s part.
She/he needs to be able to see how your qualifications are going to help them IMMEDIATELY. The reader should not have to figure this out. Spoon feed them! Connect your qualifications directly to the firm’s mission. The only way to do this effectively is to know the firm, their product, and anything else you can find out, in as much depth as possible. And, no, the effort is not wasted if you do not get that job. This research will stand you in good stead in applying to any similar firm.
Don’t undersell yourself – Make the most of what you are
Consider all your good points and everything you have accomplished for inclusion in your resume. What should you include? Things that are legal, which you could discuss without embarrassment with your parents, are good items with which to start.
Make a list of all courses you have taken, including non-credit ones. Make another with all your volunteer service, and one listing any experience that paid. List your travel, camps, outside lessons (e.g., violin, fencing, karate), and most especially, your honors. Go deep here, and list everything that could be construed as an award or distinction. List, as well, anything you did as your private passion. Maybe you taught yourself to fish, or knit, or had a garage band.
Don’t include trivialities
After you have listed everything – EVERYTHING – the real work begins. Your list is valuable and you should keep it. This investment of time you have made is a long-term one. However, you must select from this comprehensive list only the right items to put in each customized resume.
For example, the prize you won for raffia work in middle school is not relevant for most office job applications. However, if you are applying to be a camp counselor, this could get you the job! Your embarrassing stint wearing historic colonial costume and demonstrating the crafts of the 1700s and 1800s may not seem immediately useful, but one young lady parlayed that very experience into an actual job teaching history.
The internet makes all information shareable – fast. Assume that any assertion you make can and will be followed up on if you receive a serious job offer. Be sure that you have provided enough information to allow your employer to reach someone who can confirm your achievements or at least your dates of employment. This is more important when you are starting out than perhaps later on. Employers are concerned about, among other things, your work ethic, and work habits, because you are just starting out. They cannot infer these things from your resume, and it is fair that they wish to speak with someone who knows you. Just be honest. If you cannot be sure that you will get a good reference, leave that employer or experience out.
Your personal interests and the people/bands/movies/online games of which you are a fan do not generally constitute relevant information unless such predilections have resulted in some tangible achievement. Save such revelations for your social media page, but be careful there as well. Be sure that you have set things up so that only your presentable information is visible. In your resume, be professional rather than cute.
Be truthful but not gushing, and toot your own horn. No one else will. Your resume is your best means to this end.
Contributed by David Tucker. David is a professional freelance writer and blog manager. He currently works with Helpfulpapers.com – content writing service, which provides online essay writing and editing services of high quality. David enjoys sharing his knowledge and the most important recognition for him are the grateful remarks from his readers and followers.