Let me tell you a secret: If you feel that writing a resume is very difficult for a fresh grad, well, employers don’t feel any better than you do.
Hiring managers dread the thought of going over countless resumes that basically say the same things over and over again just to try and find the perfect candidates. What’s even harder for them is to shortlist applicants who don’t have any experience (read: fresh grads). Don’t worry though, I have a few pointers here that could help draw their attention to your resume:
1. Set yourself apart with a great summary.
As you know, this should contain a summary of your qualifications and objective. Remember that the person who’s going to read it doesn’t have any idea who you are. So it’s imperative that you should be able to convince him that you’re a good catch.
Emphasize relevant skills in your summary — your potential employer should easily see that your qualifications and academic background are in line with what he’s looking for.
2. First things first.
As a fresh grad, it shouldn’t be a problem for you to keep your pages to a minimum. But just the same, it would be good to note that the person who’s screening applicants probably reads hundreds of resumes and you could only expect him to skim over each one. What you should do: Put all the crucial information on the very first page. That includes your academic background, accomplishments, honors and relevant skills.
3. More is not always merrier.
Your school probably had fire safety or drug prevention seminars but that doesn’t mean you should include them in your resume. Believe me, a long resume is not equal to an impressive resume. Just pick those that are really relevant to the position or in highlighting your skills.
4. The all-important work experience.
Had an internship or a summer job? Instead of just listing what your responsibilities were, highlight what you did that made a difference for the company. More than anything, employers want to see results rather than a numbered list of tasks that was assigned to you during your stay.
5. Yes, include those extra-curricular activities, too.
This means any volunteer work or medical mission you’ve participated in. This is to emphasize that you’re a well-rounded individual — that you’re not always stuck in the library but also care enough about the community you live in to help out.
6. Keep it reader-friendly.
Make sure the overall formatting is easy to the eye and does not make the pages look cluttered. The distinction between section headings and entries should be apparent so the screener won’t have a hard time in finding keywords he’s looking for. You might have the most impressive qualifications but without presenting them properly, you could totally miss out.
At the end of the day, your goal is to make the employer interested enough in you to ask you for an interview. (If ever you get rejected, don’t dwell too long on that — just keep on improving and trying again.) Hey, welcome to the real world!
Geeky Kat is a professional resume writer who can make your resume stand out! See here for more info.