Writing your first resume may overwhelm you.
Don’t let it. College Recruiter is here to help with a brief video providing five basic resume writing tips for college students and recent college graduates.
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1. Keep a running list.
Prior to writing your first resume (beginning the minute you step foot on campus during your first year of college, ideally), it’s helpful to keep a running list of what you’re up to—on-campus involvement (sorority and fraternity involvement, clubs, etc.), work experience, scholarships and awards earned, and volunteer activities. Take note of titles of scholarships, companies, managers, and organizations. It’s easy to forget these details when you sit down to compose your first resume, but if you’ve been maintaining a running list, you’ll have it all on hand.
You can keep this running list in whatever format suits your style—Microsoft Word document, a journal, or audio files. Just be sure these notes are kept in a place where they can be easily retrieved when you are ready to write your first resume.
2. Avoid templates.
Resume templates—both those you pay for and those you download at no cost—often look appealing and impressive at first glance.
However, resume templates can create snags for you when you begin to edit your resume later. Templates also contain formatting which is troublesome for Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS); almost all corporations utilize ATS’s when resumes are submitted online. In addition, you might think the template you select will set your resume apart from others, but if it’s available for purchase or for free online, chances are that lots of other job applicants have formatted their resumes using the same template in the past.
3. Ask for help.
If you haven’t already done so, schedule a resume writing appointment with your career services office on campus. The professionals in your career services department want to help you succeed in finding your first full-time job or internship, and creating a basic resume is an essential part of that process. When you show up for your appointment, take your running list (tip #1) with you as well as copies of job descriptions you’ve held in the past if you have those on hand (tip #4).
College Recruiter also offers college students and recent grads a free resume editing service. After drafting your resume, submit it to us for feedback as well.
4. Retain copies of job descriptions to help you write accomplishment statements.
Each time you obtain a job, even if it’s a part-time job or an unpaid volunteer position, retain a copy of the job description. The best time to ask for and obtain copies of job descriptions is during the hiring process, but if you forgot to ask for them, you can almost always find copies on company websites.
Job descriptions list job duties. Job duties morph into accomplishment statements on your resume. What are accomplishment statements? Accomplishment statements are bulleted statements listed on your resume beneath each job title that quantify and qualify your efforts and demonstrate to your future employers that you’re the right person to hire. Accomplishment statements answer the questions, “How much?” and “How many?”
Most students—and even professionals—need help when wording their accomplishment statements, so be sure to seek assistance from your career services professionals and from College Recruiter’s resume editors when working to tweak the accomplishment statements on your resume.
5. Tailor your basic resume when applying for jobs.
Once you’ve created a basic resume, you’re ready to move forward and begin applying for job openings. It’s always a good idea, though, to tailor your basic resume to better match the positions you’re applying for. Analyze the job description for the open position you’re applying for, looking for terms describing technical skills or job duties specific to that role—which keywords stand out? Be sure to fit those keywords into your tailored resume if you possess those skills; your resume will stand out from others the more closely your qualifications match the employer’s specifications.
Crafting a concise basic resume is the first step to success on your job search journey.
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