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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 March 29, 2021

5 Types of Horrible Bosses and How to Beat Them All

5 Types of Horrible Bosses and How to Beat Them All

When I left university I took a job immediately, I had been lucky as I had spent a year earning almost nothing as an intern so I was offered a role. On my first day I found that I had not been allocated a desk, there was no one to greet me so I was left for some hours ignored. I happened to snipe about this to another employee at the coffee machine two things happened. The first was that the person I had complained to was my new manager’s wife, and the second was, in his own words, ‘that he would come down on me like a ton of bricks if I crossed him…’

What a great start to a job! I had moved to a new city, and had been at work for less than a morning when I had my first run in with the first style of bad manager. I didn’t stay long enough to find out what Mr Agressive would do next. Bad managers are a major issue. Research from Approved Index shows that more than four in ten employees (42%) state that they have previously quit a job because of a bad manager.

The Dream Type Of Manager

My best manager was a total opposite. A man who had been the head of the UK tax system and was working his retirement running a company I was a very junior and green employee for. I made a stupid mistake, one which cost a lot of time and money and I felt I was going to be sacked without doubt.

I was nervous, beating myself up about what I had done, what would happen. At the end of the day I was called to his office, he had made me wait and I had spent that day talking to other employees, trying to understand where I had gone wrong. It had been a simple mistyped line of code which sent a massive print job out totally wrong. I learn how I should have done it and I fretted.

My boss asked me to step into his office, he asked me to sit down. “Do you know what you did?” I babbled, yes, I had been stupid, I had not double-checked or asked for advice when I was doing something I had not really understood. It was totally my fault. He paused. “Will you do that again?” Of course I told him I would not, I would always double check, ask for help and not try to be so clever when I was not!

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“Okay…”

That was it. I paused and asked, should I clear my desk. He smiled. “You have learnt a valuable lesson, I can be sure that you will never make a mistake like that again. Why would I want to get rid of an employee who knows that?”

I stayed with that company for many years, the way I was treated was a real object lesson in good management. Sadly, far too many poor managers exist out there.

The Complete Catalogue of Bad Managers

The Bully

My first boss fitted into the classic bully class. This is so often the ‘old school’ management by power style. I encountered this style again in the retail sector where one manager felt the only way to get the best from staff was to bawl and yell.

However, like so many bullies you will often find that this can be someone who either knows no better or is under stress and they are themselves running scared of the situation they have found themselves in.

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The Invisible Boss

This can either present itself as management from afar (usually the golf course or ‘important meetings) or just a boss who is too busy being important to deal with their staff.

It can feel refreshing as you will often have almost total freedom with your manager taking little or no interest in your activities, however you will soon find that you also lack the support that a good manager will provide. Without direction you may feel you are doing well just to find that you are not delivering against expectations you were not told about and suddenly it is all your fault.

The Micro Manager

The frustration of having a manager who feels the need to be involved in everything you do. The polar opposite to the Invisible Boss you will feel that there is no trust in your work as they will want to meddle in everything you do.

Dealing with the micro-manager can be difficult. Often their management style comes from their own insecurity. You can try confronting them, tell them that you can do your job however in many cases this will not succeed and can in fact make things worse.

The Over Promoted Boss

The Over promoted boss categorises someone who has no idea. They have found themselves in a management position through service, family or some corporate mystery. They are people who are not only highly unqualified to be managers they will generally be unable to do even your job.

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You can find yourself persistently frustrated by the situation you are in, however it can seem impossible to get out without handing over your resignation.

The Credit Stealer

The credit stealer is the boss who will never publically acknowledge the work you do. You will put in the extra hours working on a project and you know that, in the ‘big meeting’ it will be your credit stealing boss who will take all of the credit!

Again it is demoralising, you see all of the credit for your labour being stolen and this can often lead to good employees looking for new careers.

3 Essential Ways to Work (Cope) with Bad Managers

Whatever type of bad boss you have there are certain things that you can do to ensure that you get the recognition and protection you require to not only remain sane but to also build your career.

1. Keep evidence

Whether it is incidents with the bully or examples of projects you have completed with the credit stealer you will always be well served to keep notes and supporting evidence for projects you are working on.

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Buy your own notebook and ensure that you are always making notes, it becomes a habit and a very useful one as you have a constant reminder as well as somewhere to explore ideas.

Importantly, if you do have to go to HR or stand-up for yourself you will have clear records! Also, don’t always trust that corporate servers or emails will always be available or not tampered with. Keep your own content.

2. Hold regular meetings

Ensure that you make time for regular meetings with your boss. This is especially useful for the over-promoted or the invisible boss to allow you to ‘manage upwards’. Take charge where you can to set your objectives and use these meetings to set clear objectives and document the status of your work.

3. Stand your ground, but be ready to jump…

Remember that you don’t have to put up with poor management. If you have issues you should face them with your boss, maybe they do not know that they are coming across in a bad way.

However, be ready to recognise if the situation is not going to change. If that is the case, keep your head down and get working on polishing your CV! If it isn’t working, there will be something better out there for you!

Good luck!

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