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How A College Graduate Can Nail The Perfect Resume

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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 August 25, 2021

Why Personal Branding Is Important to Your Career

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Why Personal Branding Is Important to Your Career

As a recruiter, I have met and interviewed hundreds of candidates who have no idea who they are.

Without a personal brand, candidates struggle to answer the question: “tell me about yourself—who are you?” They have no idea about who they are, what their strengths are, and how they can add value to the company. They present their CV’s believing that their CV is the key to their career success. In some ways, your CV still has its use. However, in today’s job market, you need more than a CV to stand out in a crowd.

According to Celinne Da Costa:[1]

“Personal brand is essentially your golden ticket to networking with the right people, getting hired for a dream job, or building an influential business.” She believes that “a strong personal brand allows you to stand out in an oversaturated marketplace by exposing desired audiences to your vision, skillset, and personality in a way that is strategically aligned with your career goals.”

A personal brand opens up your world to so many more career opportunities that you would never have been exposed to with just your CV.

What Is Your Personal Brand?

“Personal branding is how you distinctively market your uniqueness.” —Bernard Kelvin Clive

Today, the job market is very competitive and tough. Having a great CV will only let you go so far because everyone has a CV, but no one else has your distinct personal brand! It is your personal brand that differentiates you from everyone else and that is what people buy—you.

Your personal brand is your mark on the world. It is how people you interact with and the world see you. It is your legacy—it is more important than a business brand because your personal brand lasts forever.

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I have coached people who have very successful careers, and they come to me because they have suddenly found that they are not getting the opportunities or having the conversations that would them to their next role. They are having what I call a “career meltdown,” all because they have no personal brand.

A personal brand helps you become conscious of your differences and your uniqueness. It allows you to position yourself in a way that makes you stand out from the pack, especially among other potential job applicants.

Don’t get me wrong, having a great CV and a great LinkedIn profile is important. However, there are a few steps that you have to take to have a CV and LinkedIn profile that is aligned to who you are, the value you offer to the market, and the personal guarantee that you deliver results.

Building your personal brand is about strategically, creatively, and professionally presenting what makes you, you. Knowing who you are and the value you bring to the table enables you to be more informed, agile, and adaptable to the changing dynamic world of work. This is how you can avoid having a series of career meltdowns.

Your Personal Brand Is Essential for Your Career Success

In her article, Why Personal Branding Is More Important Than Ever, Caroline Castrillon outlines key reasons why a personal brand is essential for career success.

According to Castrillon,[2]

“One reason is that it is more popular for recruiters to use social media during the interview process. According to a 2018 CareerBuilder survey, 70% of employers use social media to screen candidates during the hiring process, and 43% of employers use social media to check on current employees.”

The first thing I do as a recruiter when I want to check out a candidate or coaching client is to look them up on LinkedIn or other social media platforms, such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Your digital footprint is the window that highlights to the world who you are. When you have no control over how you want to be seen, you are making a big mistake because you are leaving it up to someone else to make a judgment for you as to who you are.

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As Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, once said, “Your brand is what people say about you when you are not in the room.”

In her book, Becoming, Michelle Obama writes about the importance of having a personal brand and her journey to defining her personal brand. She wrote that:

“if you don’t get out there and define yourself, you’ll be quickly and inaccurately defined by others.”

When you have a personal brand, you are in control. You know exactly what people will say about you when you leave the room.

The magic of a personal brand is that gives you control over how you want to be seen in the world. Your confidence and self-belief enable you to leverage opportunities and make informed decisions about your career and your future. You no longer experience the frustrations of a career meltdown or being at a crossroads not knowing what to do next with your career or your life. With a personal brand, you have focus, clarity, and a strategy to move forward toward future success.

Creating your personal brand does not happen overnight. It takes a lot of work and self-reflection. You will be expected to step outside of your comfort zone not once, but many times.

The good news is that the more time you spend outside of your comfort zone, the more you will like being there. Being outside of your comfort zone is where you can test the viability of and fine-tune your personal brand.

5 Key Steps to Creating Your Personal Brand

These five steps will help you create a personal brand that will deliver you the results you desire with your career and in life.

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1. Set Your Personal Goals

What is it that you want to do in the next five years? What will your future self be doing in the next five to ten years? What is important to you? If you can answer these questions, then you are on the right path. If not, then you have to start thinking about them.

2. Create Your Unique Value Proposition

Create your unique value proposition by asking yourself these four questions:

  1. What are your personality features? What benefit do you offer people?
  2. Who are you and why do people enjoy working with you?
  3. What do you do and what do people want you to do for them? How do you solve their problems?
  4. What makes you different from others like you?

The answers to these questions will give you the information you need to create your professional story, which is the key step to creating your personal brand.

3. Write Your Professional Story

Knowing who you are, what you want, and the unique value you offer is essential to you creating your professional story. People remember stories. Your personal story incorporates your value proposition and tells people who you are and what makes you unique. This is what people will remember about you.

4. Determine Which Platforms Will Support Your Personal Brand

Decide which social media accounts and online platforms will best represent your brand and allow you to share your voice. In a professional capacity, having a LinkedIn profile and a CV that reflects your brand is key to your positioning in relation to role opportunities. People will be connecting with you because they will like the story you are telling.

5. Become Recognized for Sharing Your Knowledge and Expertise

A great way for you to promote yourself is by sharing knowledge and helping others. This is where you prove you know your stuff and you gain exposure for doing so. You can do this through social media, writing, commenting, video, joining professional groups, networking, etc. Find your own style and uniqueness and use it to attract clients, the opportunities, or the jobs you desire.

The importance of having a personal brand is not going to go away. In fact, it is the only way where you can stand out and be unique in a complex changing world of work. If you don’t have a personal brand, someone will do it for you. If you let this happen, you have no control and you may not like the story they create.

Standing out from others takes time and investment. Most people cannot make the change by themselves, and this is where engaging a personal brand coach is a viable option to consider.

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As a personal brand coach, working with my clients to create their personal brand is my passion. I love the fact that we can work together to create a personal story that defines exactly what people will say when you leave the room.

Other People’s Stories

Listening to other people’s stories is a great way to learn. In his article, 7 TED Talks About Personal Branding, Rafael Dos Santos presents the best Ted Talks where speakers share their stories about the “why,” “what,” and “how” of personal branding.((GuidedPR: 7 TED Talks About Personal Branding))

Take some time out to listen to these speakers sharing their stories and thoughts about personal branding. You will definitely learn so much about how you can start your journey of defining yourself and taking control of your professional and personal life.

Your personal brand, without a doubt, is your secret weapon to your career success. As Michelle Obama said,

“your story is what you have, what you will always have. It is something to own.”

So, go own your story. Go on the journey to create your personal brand that defines who you are, highlights your uniqueness, and the value you offer to the world.

Featured photo credit: Austin Distel via unsplash.com

Reference

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