This guest post courtesy of London-based Inspiring Interns.com
Your resume is the crucial first step to getting your desired graduate job. As a graduate in a competitive job market, you need to be thinking about how you can make your job applications stand out. Here are our five tips:
Make sure your resume is relevant to the roles you’re applying for. Essential information like your degree, university and work experience should be instantly accessible to the reader. A recruiter could look at your resume for a matter of seconds, so the information needs to be clear and easy to locate. There is no specific rule determining which should come first on your resume: experience or education. Consider which facts are most relevant. As a recent graduate, it’s likely that you will want to draw attention to your degree over your experience. However, if you do have relevant work experience, this needs to be brought to the reader’s attention. For example, if you did a humanities degree but are looking to get into marketing and have previous experience in CMS or social media management; your experience is more relevant so should feature above your degree. If you have done an internship as part of your degree, you should highlight this also. Don’t just write a list, explain the skills you have learnt and developed as a result.
In order to stand out from the crowd it’s important to express personality in your applications. Use your resume as a platform to showcase your skills – whether that’s creating an infographic rather than a traditional RESUME as a graphic design graduate, or adding links to articles you’ve had published as an aspiring content creator. Avoid generic statements about being a “team player” with “good communication skills” and focus on facts you can support. For example if you were a volunteer or member of a university society, you can demonstrate how you honed these skills. Also emphasise successes you’ve had, using numbers where possible to describe your achievements. By how much did you exceed your targets? How many hits did your blog accumulate?
It seems simple enough to avoid basic errors in your resume, from spelling mistakes to poor grammar, but it can be easy to overlook. Triple check yourself and then send it to a parent or a friend to have them check it for you. One mistake could mean you don’t reach the interview stage, if your lack of attention to detail fails to back up those claims of “excellent written and spoken English”. Keep paragraphs short and text succinct. Beginning paragraphs with action words like “Presented to” rather than “I presented” gets straight to the point and avoids overuse of “I”. Bullet points can help break down information and make it easy for the reader to digest.
Clean up your layout and format
A clean, simple layout with each section clearly labelled is ideal. The use of links to websites, online portfolios, blogs or previous projects is welcomed by employers and increasingly popular as graduates look to build up a strong online presence. A resume longer than two pages is unnecessary, particularly if you are a recent graduate with limited experience. Save your document as a Word or PDF file, and remember to change the title each time you edit your resume. Avoid saving it as anything generic like ‘RESUME for internship applications’.
Start with your name and contact details, followed by a short personal statement. Keep your experience and qualifications towards the beginning of the document and interests and achievements towards the end. Although less significant, your interests and achievements shouldn’t be overlooked. Highlight your passions and personal attributes, whether they set you apart from other candidates or offer a conversation starter in an interview. A company is looking to find a match for their culture and values, as much as they are keen to find the right skills.
Consider a video resume
Finally, consider going digital. Check out Inspiring Interns – the pioneers of video resumes– to find out more about filming a video resume and how it can boost your employability.
For further information please contact Catherine Moolenschot at firstname.lastname@example.org