The end of May is an exciting time for college seniors—as most have graduated and are looking forward to a few weeks off before starting the next phase of their lives. However for some, this time of year can also be scary, because not everyone has a job lined up after graduation.
For those who do not have a job lined up, you are probably spending countless hours applying to every job board you can think of with the same old resume you learned how to create in high school or during your freshman year of college. If you have not updated your resume since then, we highly recommend taking advantage of the offer to get a free resume critique from our friends over at TopResume by going here or clicking the link at the end of the article.
If you are someone who already has a pretty solid resume but feel like something is missing to get you to the next level, we still suggest getting that resume critique. But if you feel like you are one or two items away from landing that job interview, our “Three for Thursday” this week focuses on three ways recent college graduates can make their resumes stand out from the crowd—especially with a lack of relevant field experience.
Professional Looking Contact Information
Is your email address something like, firstname.lastname@example.org? Okay, for those who are fans of Transformers—you know ladiesman217 was Sam Witwicky’s EBay username in the movie, so it likely isn’t your email address (I hope). But if you still have a non-professional looking email address, the time has come to change it to something more professional looking.
Why is this important? Simply, hiring managers look for any reason to pre-judge candidates before they meet them. They will attempt to nitpick any part of your resume, so let’s not give them something as easy and obvious as an email address to eliminate you before reading the rest of the resume.
The same goes for your LinkedIn URL as well. Our friends over at Virtus Athletes had a great article on Jobs.VIKTRE.com the other day on how you can customize your LinkedIn URL. We suggest you take a few moments to read it and fix it!
Internships > Courses
These days, most people complete one or two internships while they are in college. I understand not everyone does, but it is becoming more and more commonplace in the world. If you did have an internship while in college, your experience and responsibilities during that internship are much more valuable to prospective employers than what courses you took and what you learned in them.
Now for those of you who did not have an internship, you should only focus on your upper level courses. Hiring managers do not need to know if you took Communication 101 or Biology 102—they expect you to have taken the core level classes when you graduate. The specializations are what they are interested in to help develop a career path for you. Have a Business Degree but took a 400/500 level marketing class instead of a sales class? That is important information that will help separate yourself from the rest of the entry-level candidates for the job.
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Eliminate Space Wasters
I was taught a long time ago to make sure to have “References Available Upon Request” on the bottom of every resume. Well, the times have changed—as most hiring managers know that when they ask you for references you will provide them, or they ask that question on the application. So remove this statement ASAP from your resume.
Another major space waster you can get rid of is your high school experience. The world has shifted to “what have you done lately” more than ever, and this applies to your resume. You can chat about high school if it comes up in your interview, but knowing that you went to “High School X” and took college prep courses, played baseball and were an honors student just is not that important to them. They are concerned with how you did the last four years, not the four years before that.
The final space waster that should be re-written now is your professional summary. So many people waste space by throwing in buzzwords to describe themselves as being something in this statement. For example, “I am a go-getter who is a team player and great communicator.” Instead, use that space to SHOW them how you are those things. “Developed and managed a casino night fundraiser for my baseball team to raise money for new uniforms and made a donation to a local charity.” Now that is something a hiring manager would be interested in.
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