— June 7, 2018
You’ve taken your last final, written your last paper, donned your cap and gown, and finally have your degree in hand. Now that you’ve graduated from college, it’s time to jump into the workforce and put all of that education and training to use. But it can be hard to figure out what exactly to write on your resume since you’re just starting out in your career and may not have much experience to point to.
It’s likely that you have more experience than you think. Don’t overlook the value of volunteer work, work-study jobs, clubs you were part of, or freelance work you took on. These can all lend themselves to a variety of accomplishments and skill sets. Did you manage the drama club’s budget? Lead a group in sorting donations or serving meals at a community organization? Build a website for your accounting professor? Try to look at your experiences from the perspective of relevant skills and accomplishments that can show why you would be a good fit for the company.
- Do your research
It can be tempting to apply for every job opening you find that you might be remotely qualified for, but resist this urge. You’re better off figuring out what types of roles you want to do and tailoring your resume to these positions. Spend time reading a variety of job descriptions so you know what keywords to include, what desirable skills you possess, and what areas you may be lacking in. Then look for opportunities to build up these areas, such as taking an online training course, or finding a volunteer position where you can gain hands-on experience.
- Don’t overdo it
Hiring managers recognize that new graduates often have limited experience. Don’t try to stretch your resume to two or three pages by filling it with fluff if you can concisely convey necessary information in a single page. For instance, you don’t need to list every course you’ve taken. However, if you were very active in college and have several jobs or projects to highlight, don’t hesitate to do so as long as they add value to your resume.
- Polish up your professional image
It’s time to ditch the “partygurl123” or “beachbum4ever” email address when it comes to your resume. Keep those addresses for personal use, but create something more professional for your job search. Using your first and last name or a combination of your initials or profession is usually a safe bet. Think “JohnSDoe” or “JDoeCPA”.
Don’t forget to look at your social media presence too. Clean up your Facebook or Twitter profile. Delete pictures or untag yourself in questionable content. And don’t forget to start a LinkedIn profile so that you can begin building your professional network, scoping out job opportunities, and making connections.