It’s exciting and scary at the same time. If you’re creating your first resume, it probably means that you’re finishing up your education and ready to enter the “real world.” It’s natural to feel some anxiety about putting together a resume; after all, the only job experience you may have is at your local pizza joint. But by following the tips below, you can produce a post-college resume that gets results.
- Include an objective. One of the most common complaints hiring managers have about entry-level resumes is the absence of an objective. An objective tells potential employers which job you’re after, and it’s especially crucial on a student resume because students typically lack the real-world job experience that can point HR in the right direction. Know this: employers aren’t going to take the time to figure out what your goal is. So, right at the top underneath your name and contact information, include your objective. Make sure it conveys what you plan to bring to the company, rather than the other way around. “Objective: To secure an entry-level reporter job where I can use my writing skills to enhance the Daily Star” is much better than “Objective: To secure a challenging and rewarding reporting job.”
- Determine a focus. Unlike professionals who’ve been climbing the corporate ladder for a few years, you probably don’t have a lot of relevant work experience under your belt. So while more experienced workers might start a resume with a work history section, you need an alternative, and it’s likely to be one of these three: academic achievement and honors, academics plus volunteerism and extra-curricular leadership, or a type of work history that highlights an applicable internship. Only you know which area is your strongest. Start there.
- Don’t embellish. Some recent grads are tempted to fudge the truth a bit in order to make their resumes stand out-perhaps “improve” some duties or the title you held at a part-time job. Don’t. Sure, you want to put the best spin on your experience and communicate the skills that you’ve gleaned, but outright lying on a resume will get you fired if you’re ever found out.
- Keep it short. Similar to the “not enough” fear that drives people to embellish their resumes is the temptation to add fluff to a resume in order to make it longer and, presumably, more impressive. The truth is that employers see tons of resumes every day and are adept at sniffing out the fluff. Stick to applicable skills, experiences, and honors. And unless you’ve had quite a college career, most student resumes should be only one page.
- Highlight your tech savviness. No matter your field of interest, you can’t go wrong by drawing attention to your knowledge of everything technology and computer related. Be sure to include on your resume the programs you’ve used, programming experience, and any other technologies that you’re familiar with (gaming consoles don’t count). One of the huge benefits of being right out of college is that you probably have computer skills that outpace more experienced professionals.
- Proof and proof some more. When your experience is thin, the last thing you want is to blow your chances because of spelling or grammar errors. You want to do everything you can to demonstrate your professionalism, and misspelling (or misusing) words won’t help. Ask your parents, a friend who aced English class, or even a professor to look over your resume.
- Ask for help. Most colleges and universities have a career center that can assist you in putting together an entry-level resume. It’s easiest to take advantage of these services while you’re still on campus, though most schools allow alums to use the career center. If you really want a slam-dunk resume, plan ahead and sign up for a Professional Writing course during your senior year. These classes are designed to help students master the fine art of corporate communication-including resume writing.
Free Printable College Student Resume Template for Internships in Word – download