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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 January 21, 2020

How to Increase Work Productivity: 9 Ground Rules

How to Increase Work Productivity: 9 Ground Rules

We all have those days when completing our assigned tasks seems beyond reach. With the temptation of social media, mobile games, and the internet in general—not to mention the constant bustle of people in the office—it’s easy to fall prey to disruptions and distractions at work.

So, what can we do about it? How to be productive at work?

While we don’t have a foolproof system that can completely eliminate disturbances and diversions, we do have 9 ground rules that can be applied to help give your productivity levels a boost.

Keep reading to find out our tips on work productivity.

What Does It Mean to Be Productive?

How to be productive at work?” is the age-old question plaguing employees and employers alike around the world. Regardless of where you work and what you do, everyone is always looking for new ways to be more efficient and effective.

But what does being productive actually entail?

Completing more tasks on your list or working longer hours doesn’t necessarily mean you’re being more productive. It just means you’re more busy, and productivity shouldn’t be confused with busyness.

Productivity means achieving effective results in as short amount of time as possible, leaving you with more time to enjoy freely.

It involves working smarter, not harder. It means refining processes, speeding up workflows, and reducing the chances of interruptions.

Productivity is best achieved when looking at your current way of working, identifying the bottlenecks, flaws, and hindrances, and then finding ways to improve.

9 Ground Rules on How to Be Productive at Work

1. Avoid Multitasking

Multitasking can give the impression that more tasks can be accomplished as you’re doing multiple things at once. However, the opposite is true.

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Research has shown that attempting to do several things at the same time takes a toll on productivity and that shifting between tasks can cost up to 40 percent of someone’s time.[1] That’s because your focus and concentration is constantly hindered due to having to switch between tasks.

If you have a lot of tasks on your plate, determine your priorities and allocate enough time for each task. That way you can work on what’s urgent first and have enough time to complete the rest of your tasks.

2. Turn off Notifications

According to a Gallup poll, more than 50 percent of US smartphone owners admit to checking their phones a few times an hour.[2]

Switching off your phone—or at least your notifications—during work hours is a good way to prevent you from checking your phone all the time.

The same applies to your computer. If you have the privilege of accessing social media on your work desktop, switch off the notifications on there.

Another good tip is to logout from your social media accounts. Therefore when you feel the urge to check it, you might be swayed because your page isn’t so easily accessible.

3. Manage Interruptions

There are certain disruptions in the office that are unavoidable such as your manager requesting a quick meeting or your colleague asking for assistance. In order to deal with this, your best approach is to know how to handle interruptions like a pro.

Be proactive and inform the people around you of your need to focus. Turn your status on as “busy/unavailable” on your work chat app.

If you’re on a deadline, let your colleagues know that you need to concentrate and would really appreciate not being interrupted for the moment, or even work from home if that’s a feasible option for you.

By anticipating and having a plan in place to manage them, this will minimize your chances of being affected by interruptions.

4. Eat the Frog

Mark Twain once famously said that:

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“if it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning. And if it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the biggest one first.”

What this basically means is that you should get your biggest, most urgent task out of the way first.

We all have that big, important task that we don’t want to do but know we have to do because it holds the biggest consequence if we don’t complete it.

Eat the frog is a productivity technique that encourages you to do your most important, most undesirable task first. Completing this particular task before anything else will give you a huge sense of accomplishment. It will set the ball rolling for the rest of the day and motivate you to eagerly complete your other tasks.

5. Cut Down on Meetings

Meetings can use up a lot of time, which is time that can be used to do something useful.

You have to wait for everyone to arrive, then after the pleasantries are out of the way, you can finally get stuck into it. And sometimes, it may take a whole hour to iron out one single issue.

The alternative? Don’t arrange a meeting at all. You’ll be surprised at how many things can be resolved through an email or a quick phone call.

But that doesn’t mean you should eliminate meetings altogether. There are certain circumstances where face-to-face discussions and negotiations are still necessary. Just make sure you weigh up the options prior.

If it’s just information sharing, you’re probably better off sending an email; but if brainstorming or in-depth discussion is required, then an in-person meeting would be best.

6. Utilize Tools

Having the right tools to work with is crucial as you’re only really as good as the resources you have at your disposal. Not only will you be able to complete tasks as efficiently as possible, but they can streamline processes. Said processes are essential to a business as they manage tasks, keep employees connected, and hold important data.

If you’re the manager or business owner, ensure your team has the right tools in place.

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And if you’re an employee and think the tools you currently have to work with aren’t quite up to par, let your manager know. A good team leader understands the significance of having the right tools and how it can impact employee productivity.

Some examples of tools that could be used:

Communication
  • Slack for team chat and collaboration.
  • Samepage for video conference software.
  • Zendesk for customer service engagement.
Task Management
  • Zenkit for task and project collaboration.
  • Wunderlist for listing your to-do’s.
  • Wekan for an open source option.
Database Management
Time Tracking
  • Clockify for a free tracker.
  • TMetric for workspace integrations.
  • TimeCamp for attendance and productivity monitoring.

You can also take a look at these Top 10 Productivity Tools to Help You Achieve 10x More in Less Time.

7. Declutter and Organize

Having a disorganized and cluttered workspace can limit your ability to focus. According to researchers, physical clutter can negatively impact your ability to concentrate and take in information.[3] Which is why keeping your work environment well ordered and clutter-free is important.

Ensure you have your own system of organization so you know what to do when the paperwork starts to pile up.

Being organized will also ensure that you know where to find the appropriate stationery, tools, or documents when you need it. A US study reveals that the average worker can waste up to one week a year looking for misplaced items.[4]

Here’s a useful guide to help you declutter and organize: How to Declutter Your Life and Reduce Stress (The Ultimate Guide)

8. Take Breaks

Taking regular breaks is essential for maintaining productivity at work. Working in front of a computer can lead to a sedentary lifestyle which can place you at a higher risk of heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. Even a 30 second microbreak can increase your productivity levels up to 30 percent.

As well as your physical health, breaks are also crucial for your mental and emotional wellbeing. That’s because your brain is like a muscle, the more it works without a break, the easier it is for it to get worn out.

Ensuring you actually take your breaks can prevent you from suffering from decision fatigue. It can also help boost creativity.

Take a look at this article and learn why you should start scheduling time for breaks: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

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9. Drink Water

Although we know we should, it’s easy to forget to drink enough water during the working day.

Many of us turn to tea or coffee for the caffeine hit to keep us going. However, like taking breaks, drinking water is essential for maintaining productivity levels at work. It’s simple and effective.

Not drinking enough water can lead to dehydration and also headaches, tiredness, and weight gain.

A good tip to avoid dehydration is to keep a water bottle at your desk as it can serve as a reminder to constantly drink water.

If you find the taste of water a little bland, add some fruit such as cucumber or lemon to give it a better taste.

You can also get more ideas on how to drink more water here: How to Drink More Water (and Why You Should)

The Bottom Line

The preceding 9 ground rules on work productivity aren’t the be-all, end-all. You and the company you work for may have other tips on how productivity is best increased and maintained.

After all, it’s something that can be perceived differently depending on the exact job and work environment.

In saying that, however, the 9 ground rules serve as a good foundation for anyone finding themselves succumbing to disruption and distraction, and are looking for ways to overcome them.

A good tip to keep in mind is that change doesn’t happen overnight. Start small and be consistent. If you slip up, just dust yourself off and try again.

Developing habits happens gradually, so as long as you keep up with it, you’ll soon start to notice the changes you’ve been making and eventually enjoy the fruits of your labor.

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Featured photo credit: Cathryn Lavery via unsplash.com

Reference

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