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How A College Graduate Can Nail The Perfect Resume

How A College Graduate Can Nail The Perfect Resume

If you ask most people, “Why would you write a resume?” their answer would be “to get a job.”  The best answer to that question is to get an interview.  At the career center I work at we call resumes marketing pieces.  You as the applicant are the product, and you are marketing yourself to the employer.  A resume is a document with your features and benefits.  In other words, your skills and the results your skills will provide your future employer.  So, as a college graduate your resume will look a little bit different than someone with more work experience.  This is how a college graduate can nail the perfect resume:

Use the job description of the post for which you are applying.

Match your language to their language.  Match your skill set to the skill set they require or prefer.  Most companies today scan resumes into a computer data base that scores resumes based on matched words. If you don’t use their language chances are your resume will never make it into the hands of the recruiter.  The exception to this, (and the best way to go) is to get your resume into the hands of the recruiter or hiring manager by a referral.  However, if your language and skill set doesn’t match theirs’ you probably won’t make it past this stage either.

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Use bullet points.

If this article was one long paragraph that went on and on, would you read it? Neither would I.

Use a modified version of the STAR method when writing bullet points.

The STAR method is how you will also answer the interview questions you will be asked once this resume gets you the interview.  STAR stands for Situation, Task, Action and Result.  Where did you do the action? What was the task?  What was the action?   What result did your action produce?  On a resume you will use a modified version because the heading answers the question of where you did the action. Let me give you an example:

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  • Created a customer spread sheet comprised of products our top 100 customers did not have which increased cross sell by 80%

Notice I have a percentage sales were increased.  Numbers are the language of business.  If you can’t measure results, employers will not be impressed, and this leads me to the next component of the perfect resume.

Quantify your results

As I stated above, numbers are the language of business.  It is important to use the words from the job description, and it is equally if not more important to use numbers to measure your past successes.  As an employee your effectiveness and success at the company will be measured.  Promotions and raises will be based on your performance and the way businesses measure performance is with numbers.  You will want to set-up your resume in the same way because past performance is an indicator of future success and you will want to demonstrate this in a language they understand.  Your message should always be, I am what you need and I can prove it.  Quantifying your results proves your success.

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Leave out high school.

You may have had huge success in High School, but you are no longer there.  A resume written by a recent college graduate should include class projects, internships, relevant work experience and community service.  High School experiences should not be on your resume.

GPA

GPA or grade point average is a tricky one only if you have one below 3.0 or a B average.  If you leave it off, most employers will assume it is bad.  If you include below a 3.0 on your resume you will not go into the callback pile.  My advise, 3.0 or higher put on your resume, below a 3.0 leave off and maybe your experiences will get you into the right pile.  Of course the best thing to do is to study and avoid this situation all together.  Once you have a job grades do not matter.  When you are coming out of college however, decent grades send the message to employers that you can learn.  The ability to learn is very important to an employer because in the first year of your job they will have a lot to teach you.

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Work history

You do not have a 15 year work history.  One page is the standard length and what a recruiter is looking for.  A one page resume is easier to read, keep track of and scan for companies.
If you stick to these basic principles your resume will stand out and put you in the best light.  Remember, a resume is a marketing piece and you are the product.  You are what the company needs and you can prove it.

Featured photo credit: The Internship, 20th Century Fox via google.com

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Last Updated on July 16, 2019

7 Powerful Habits To Win In Office Politics

7 Powerful Habits To Win In Office Politics

Office politics – a taboo word for some people. It’s a pervasive thing at the workplace.

In its simplest form, workplace politics is simply about the differences between people at work; differences in opinions, conflicts of interests are often manifested as office politics. It all goes down to human communications and relationships.

There is no need to be afraid of office politics. Top performers are those who have mastered the art of winning in office politics. Below are 7 good habits to help you win at the workplace:

1. Be Aware You Have a Choice

The most common reactions to politics at work are either fight or flight. It’s normal human reaction for survival in the wild, back in the prehistoric days when we were still hunter-gatherers.

Sure, the office is a modern jungle, but it takes more than just instinctive reactions to win in office politics. Instinctive fight reactions will only cause more resistance to whatever you are trying to achieve; while instinctive flight reactions only label you as a pushover that people can easily take for granted. Neither options are appealing for healthy career growth.

Winning requires you to consciously choose your reactions to the situation. Recognize that no matter how bad the circumstances, you have a choice in choosing how you feel and react. So how do you choose? This bring us to the next point…

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2. Know What You Are Trying to Achieve

When conflicts happen, it’s very easy to be sucked into tunnel-vision and focus on immediate differences. That’s a self-defeating approach. Chances are, you’ll only invite more resistance by focusing on differences in people’s positions or opinions.

The way to mitigate this without looking like you’re fighting to emerge as a winner in this conflict is to focus on the business objectives. In the light of what’s best for the business, discuss the pros and cons of each option. Eventually, everyone wants the business to be successful; if the business don’t win, then nobody in the organization wins.

It’s much easier for one to eat the humble pie and back off when they realize the chosen approach is best for the business.

By learning to steer the discussion in this direction, you will learn to disengage from petty differences and position yourself as someone who is interested in getting things done. Your boss will also come to appreciate you as someone who is mature, strategic and can be entrusted with bigger responsibilities.

3. Focus on Your Circle of Influence

At work, there are often issues which we have very little control over. It’s not uncommon to find corporate policies, client demands or boss mandates which affects your personal interests.

Gossiping and complaining are common responses to these events that we cannot control. But think about it, other than that short term emotional outlet, what tangible results do gossiping really accomplish? In most instances, none.

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Instead of feeling victimized and angry about the situation, focus on the things that you can do to influence the situation — your circle of influence. This is a very empowering technique to overcome the feeling of helplessness. It removes the victimized feeling and also allows others to see you as someone who knows how to operate within given constraints.

You may not be able to change or decide on the eventual outcome but, you can walk away knowing that you have done the best within the given circumstances.

Constraints are all around in the workplace; with this approach, your boss will also come to appreciate you as someone who is understanding and positive.

4. Don’t Take Sides

In office politics, it is possible to find yourself stuck in between two power figures who are at odds with each other. You find yourself being thrown around while they try to outwit each other and defend their own position; all at the expense of you getting the job done. You can’t get them to agree on a common decision for a project, and neither of them want to take ownership of issues; they’re too afraid they’ll get stabbed in the back for any mishaps.

In cases like this, focus on the business objectives and don’t take side with either of them – even if you like one better than the other. Place them on a common communication platform and ensure open communications among all parties, so that no one can claim “I didn’t say that”.

By not taking sides, you’ll help to direct conflict resolution in an objective manner. You’ll also build trust with both parties. That’ll help to keep the engagements constructive and focus on business objectives.

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5. Don’t Get Personal

In office politics, you’ll get angry with people. It happens. There will be times when you feel the urge to give that person a piece of your mind and teach him a lesson. Don’t.

People tend to remember moments when they were humiliated or insulted. Even if you win this argument and get to feel really good about it for now, you’ll pay the price later when you need help from this person. What goes around comes around, especially at the workplace.

To win in the office, you’ll want to build a network of allies which you can tap into. The last thing you want during a crisis or an opportunity is to have someone screw you up because they harbor ill-intentions towards you – all because you’d enjoyed a brief moment of emotional outburst at their expense.

Another reason to hold back your temper is your career advancement. Increasingly, organizations are using 360 degree reviews to promote someone. Even if you are a star performer, your boss will have to fight a political uphill battle if other managers or peers see you as someone who is difficult to work with. The last thing you’ll want is to make it difficult for your boss to champion you for a promotion.

6. Seek to Understand, Before Being Understood

The reason people feel unjustified is because they felt misunderstood. Instinctively, we are more interested in getting the others to understand us than to understand them first. Top people managers and business leaders have learned to suppress this urge.

Surprisingly, seeking to understand is a very disarming technique. Once the other party feels that you understand where he/she is coming from, they will feel less defensive and be open to understand you in return. This sets the stage for open communications to arrive at a solution that both parties can accept.

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Trying to arrive at a solution without first having this understanding is very difficult – there’s little trust and too much second-guessing.

7. Think Win-Win

As mentioned upfront, political conflicts happen because of conflicting interests. Perhaps due to our schooling, we are taught that to win, someone else needs to lose. Conversely, we are afraid to let someone else win, because it implies losing for us.

In business and work, that doesn’t have to be the case.

Learn to think in terms of “how can we both win out of this situation?” This requires that you first understand the other party’s perspective and what’s in it for him.

Next, understand what’s in it for you. Strive to seek out a resolution that is acceptable and beneficial to both parties. Doing this will ensure that everyone truly commit to the agreed resolution and will not pay only lip-service to it.

People simply don’t like to lose. You may get away with win-lose tactics once or twice but very soon, you’ll find yourself without allies in the workplace.

Thinking win-win is an enduring strategy that builds allies and help you win in the long term.

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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