Congratulations! You have walked the stage, sold back your texts books and packed up your college apartment- now it is time to get started on your post-college job search. Unfortunately, there are many new graduates just like you and experienced professionals out there who are competing for those open positions. Let’s start with the most fundamental element of your job search – your resume. Does your resume make you stand out from your competition? Are you communicating your full value to a potential employer?
Your resume is a marketing tool- not a legal document. Your resume does not need to be an exhaustive list of all places of employment and college activities. Instead, it should focus on “targeting” your resume to the position for which you are applying. Here are some quick dos and don’t to make sure your resume gets through the application tracking programs and noticed by the right people.
- An objective statement– Like anything the hiring process follows trends, your parents or an old article may say an objective statement is necessary, but now most hiring managers feel that they are passe. An objective statement is often repeating the obvious (you are hoping to get “X” job), and they focus on what you want instead of what you can do for the company.
- High School Information– At this point, high school was a long time ago, and an employer is much more interested in the education, and professional experiences that you have has as an adult. There are some small exceptions, if you are applying for a job as a high school music teacher, it would be relevant that you were the captain of your marching band.
- References or “References Available by Request”– Like an objective statement this is a resume trend that is outdated. Stating “References Available by Request, is just wasting space and stating the obvious.
Things to Include
- “Summary of Qualifications” or Skills Section – This is a list of 4 or 5 bullets that if the reader scans them, they will quickly understand what you offer as an employee. You want to target this list to the position that you are applying for, read the job advertisement and make sure that you highlight the skills and experiences you have for which they are looking.
- Achievement-driven bullets and quantifiable measurements-It is becoming more and more important in resumes that you explain not just what you did, but also how well you did it. You will want to make a note of times when you improved processes, elevated revenue, and lower costs in addition to any other measurable contribution you have made to the success of an organization, company or as part of a project. This can be individual achievements, things you did in the context of a team, or the result of team efforts that you led.
Remember to always run your resume through spell check or a system such as Grammarly to make sure your spelling and punctuation is correct. Still, need some guidance? Jewish Family and Career Services has been providing career counseling and employment assistance to the community for over 70 years. Our Career Quest programs are tailored for young adults and new graduates looking to find career direction, employment and launch their careers. Call Erin Heakin at 502-452-6341 or email her for more information at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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