You’re graduating from college. Congratulations on making it this far! Now, it’s time to get a job. To get a “real” job, however, you need a strong resumé. It won’t be a piece of cake to create one, especially in your case because you probably have very little experience to show at this point.
This is understandable; you did just spend 13 years of your life working through grade school, then another four to five getting your undergraduate degree. When did you have time to get a job??
Regardless of whether or not you can answer that question, most employers are expecting something that’ll wow them. You might have a sparkling personality, super strong work ethic, and play well with others, but in order to show them all that in the interview, you need to look good on paper. We’ll help you do that.
Here are 6 tips for writing a dazzling resumé:
1. Gather Your Experiences
Think about everything you’ve ever done that you’re proud of. Now write them all down. Consider your experiences as they’ve pertained to community service, extracurricular activities (e.g., sports, clubs, etc.), internships, work-study programs, academics, etc. Highlight the ones that were really meaningful, that you did well in, and that you were able to take something away from. It’s reasonable to keep the list from about 9th grade to college graduation day. If you have an over abundance of activities, jobs, and the like, take only the most crucial to you. Remember that you don’t want your resumé longer than a page.
2. Be Versatile
The best resumés are obviously the ones that exemplify your strengths in one or two areas. In many cases, our life experiences point us toward one path. We take something we’re really good at and run with it. Take another look at your skill set and everything you listed in number one. What’s the common denominator? Which jobs and activities highlight your strengths the most? Those are the ones you’ll want to focus on. If you truly are a rock star and have excelled at everything you’ve ever done, consider making multiple versions of your resumé that correspond to various types of jobs out there. It’s more time consuming, yes, but it will pay dividends in the long run.
3. Use Action Verbs
This is an important aspect of the resumé simply because verbs play a big role in the English language. Use this to your advantage. Don’t worry so much about which ones you’ll use when drafting your resumé. When you’re in the final stages, get a thesauras and start plugging in some of your verbs to see if you can find stronger ones to bulk up your page. Word to the wise: Use verbs that you recognize and would use in everyday conversation. Yes, the resumé is meant to impress others, but don’t forget that you also need to be yourself. You’re not doing anyone any good by painting a picture of yourself and not living up to its standards.
4. Focus on the Positives
No matter what type of job you are seeking, your employer will want to know that you can produce favorable results. They will look for elements in your resumé that point to how effective you were in past experiences. Make sure to go through each of the accomplishments, jobs, services, etc. that you listed in number one, and list how you contributed to the organization. Remember, regardless of whether you were compensated for the jobs you performed, if you played a crucial role (especially as a leader) and generated positive results, you should highlight it. That’s what your resumé is for.
5. Include College Achievements
Anytime you can reference how well you did in college (not just on a resumé!) is ideal. If you graduated with Magna Cum Laude (or other Cum Laude), were on the Dean’s list, had a high GPA, were valedictorian, received awards and recognitions that pertain to your academic career, you should definitely include it under your Academic Experience section. These accomplishments show discipline, motivation, and hard work. Anything you can do to pad your resumé (honestly, of course), you should.
6. Review, Review, And Review Again
Your first few drafts should be reviewed by you, then the final one should be reviewed by your peers, mentors, academic advisers, counselors, parents, smart older sister, etc. This is a very important step. Remember, your resumé is the first thing employers will see, so you need to make sure your achievements and personality really shine through. The best way to ensure that you’re giving others a true sense of who you are is to ask trusted friends and family members to take a fresh look at your one page ticket into an interview. Ask for honest feedback and you’ll get it.
For most of us, synthesizing all the hard work and effort that went into shaping a significant portion of our lives is challenging, but this is the best way to take stock of what you’ve done and impress others with it.
What’s your best resumé writing tip? Share with us on our Facebook page!