Resumes can be intimidating; the details, the rules, the formats, oh my! The trepidation on a first-time resume writer's face can be amplified by the lack of professional experience.
Every professional has been in your shoes; fresh out of college looking to put their knowledge to practical use. You’re not alone! Military Youth Jobs Network, Powered by MSCCN, can help you create a professional resume!
A resume has one job--to land an interview! It should be engaging and interesting. It should pique an employer’s interest, leaving them wanting more. Achieving this balance can feel impossible, especially for new job seekers with little to no experience.
So how do you create the balance?
Resumes begin with a summary. Think of this as the opening paragraph of a college paper (and you thought your writing days were over). The summary is an opportunity to identify yourself (recent college graduate) your interests, (degree program) and talents (what you accomplished). The next three-to-four sentences should be a high-level overview of your skills, experience and what you have to offer an employer.
Be confident and be creative!
Next comes the education portion. This is the chance to show off the degree you have worked so hard to earn! List the university attended, degree earned, graduation date and major/minors. Unlike your college papers, punctuation is not your friend on a resume so don’t use it. Any honors, awards, and relevant coursework should be added to this section. No need to list high school information. Obviously, if you graduated from college you completed high school. Once you’ve established a work history, the education portion will move towards the bottom of the resume, but for now, it should be front and center.
Volunteer work creates a wealth of soft skills (i.e. people skills). Answering phones and greeting customers equals communication skills, coordinating fundraisers equals leadership skills, collaborating on school projects equals teamwork. These are soft skills that employers seek. People can be trained in software systems and office procedures, but communication, teamwork, and leadership are more difficult to teach so employers want candidates who already possess these skills.
Use volunteer work, summer jobs, internships and/or community service projects to fill in your work experience. When possible include metrics. Numbers speak volumes!
Putting Your Resume to Work:
- Quality not quantity: Apply for jobs you are qualified for. If the requirement specifically states 10 years of industry experience, don’t apply. You don’t meet qualifications.
- If it’s too good to be true, it probably is: "You can make six-figures working 20 hours a week just by posting to social media!" Yeah right! If it were true, we’d all be doing it. Job search scams are real don’t fall for them.
- Assessments are used to assess you: Assessment tests can feel like a waste of time but employers use them to rule out candidates quickly. Pay close attention to the questions and take your time.
- Stay the course: Job searching is a frustrating experience (second only to taxes--a topic for another day). You’ll apply to more jobs than you did colleges. You won’t hear back from most of them. You’ll feel like you nailed an interview, but not get a callback. It happens to us all, rejection is part of the process, but don’t give up, you will find the right job for you.
- Social Media Warning: Employers will search for you on social media! Remove anything that may cause embarrassment or give an employer pause. My advice: only post what you're comfortable with your parents and pastor seeing!
Written by: Amanda Marksmeier