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.
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:
- 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.
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 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.
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