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Posted August 01, 2016 by

4 winning resume tips for recent graduates

Businessman passing document to businesswoman photo by StockUnlimited.com

Photo by StockUnlimited.com

You don’t like getting spam, do you? Well, neither do hiring managers. It may be quick and efficient to upload your resume on popular job sites and send employers the same robo-resume, but hiring managers view these generic, mass mailings as spam. They can spot one-size-fits-all resumes in a nano-second and quickly discard them.

Here are four tips from hiring managers featured in the book, Graduate to a Great Career, on how to create a winning resume:

1. Add a short profile statement and your key selling points at the top “above the fold”

Realize your resume is an ad for branding yourself. Like a newspaper, an ad, or web page, the most important “real estate” is in the top half of your resume. Branding resumes begin with a profile or qualifications statement, a couple of crisp sentences that define your value. A strong profile statement is critical for recent graduates. You don’t have an impressive job title and career history yet, so you’ll need to specify your career focus and value proposition in your profile statement. In fact, many hiring managers told me a big problem with new graduate resumes is it can be hard to determine what entry-level job the new grad is looking for, especially if the grad doesn’t have a career-specific major like accounting or computer science. A profile headline like “Seeking an entry-level positioning” is too generic and doesn’t convey your career path. Remember, it’s your job to convey your career identity, not the hiring manager’s. For example, a recent grad named Erin who was a psychology major pursuing a career in marketing began her profile with the headline, “Aspiring marketing assistant: Psychology grad with pulse on the consumer mindset,” followed by a few bullets outlining her focus, strengths, and marketing credentials through two internships.

2. Expand your skill set to take advantage of new market opportunities

Be willing to take advantage of where the momentum is in the marketplace. During her job search for marketing jobs, Erin, our aspiring marketer mentioned above, noticed big retailers were advertising entry-level jobs and internships in merchandising, an area related to marketing that involves selecting products and evaluating sales performance. She decided to expand her job search and pursue both career paths: merchandising and marketing. Because there were a lot of merchandising internships online, she snagged a three-month, part-time internship at a large global retailer. But Erin needed a different elevator pitch and resume to apply for full-time merchandising jobs, and now with her internship, she had a story to tell. She had a hands-on role in compiling trend and competitive analysis reports, which gave her specific marketable skills. Here is Erin’s new profile statement for her merchandising resume, “Merchandising assistant with strong analytic, merchandising, and marketing skills.” She included new skills such as “completed Excel reports for accurate demand forecasting that resulted in a 10% improvement in accurate buying.” Before long, Erin was offered a merchandising job at a top global retailer.

3. Play to keywords and how the resume robots screen resumes.

The first “person” your resume has to impress is not likely to be a human being but a computer. Due to the volume of resumes that large and medium-sized companies receive, most companies use ATS (applicant tracking systems). Most ATS’s are not kind to new grads since they are programmed to check for a strong keyword match. Since most recent grads have limited experience, they don’t score high on an ATS (Only 25% of resumes make it past the resume robots). If you do have a strong skills match with a job posting, take the time to use the same exact words in your resume so the resume robots pick them out. Your resume can also be discarded if you format it incorrectly. Keep the layout simple with commonly used section titles like profile, work experience, education, etc.

4. Emphasize skills, experience, and results in the “Action + Numbers = Results” format.

Employers now give twice as much importance to specific skills and work experience as academic courses and grades. How do you make your abilities and skills stand out when you’re a new grad with limited work experience? It might take more effort than for an experienced job seeker, but you have more experience and accomplishments than you realize. Make a list of everything you’ve ever accomplished in internships, school projects, volunteer activities, part-time jobs, and the like. Then, follow this formula to create a powerful results bullet:

Action + Numbers = Results

Did [A] + as measured by [N] = with these results [R]

Here are a few examples of how college students and recent grads have created marketable results bullets out of internships and part-time jobs:

• Raised $55,000 in first month calling alumni for university capital
campaign; the top student performer all four weeks.

• As a brand ambassador interning at X Company, challenged to increase
website traffic, wrote ten blog posts that generated over 240 responses,
and helped boost sales.

• Prepared detailed Excel reports and pitches for business development
group at fast-growing technology company that
increased response rate by 15%.

The key to a successful resume and job search is to go for quality over quantity. You need to invest a little more time to create a resume that is right for each job, but it will pay off. Your efforts will be rewarded, and you’ll be on your way to an interview in no time.

Catherine Kaputa, guest writer

Catherine Kaputa, guest writer

Catherine Kaputa is a Personal Brand Strategist, Speaker, and Author of the newly-released book, Graduate to a Great Career: How Smart Students, New Graduates, and Young Professionals Can Launch Brand You. (April 2016. graduatetoagreatcareer.com). She is the author of two best-selling books, You Are a Brand and Breakthrough Branding for entrepreneurs. She is the Founder of SelfBrand (selfbrand.com). Speaking clients include Google, PepsiCo, Microsoft, Intel, Citi, Merck, Northwestern University, New York University, and University of Illinois.

Posted August 26, 2015 by

Is Your Resume “Hire Worthy”?

young smiling woman holding her resume and applying for a job

Young smiling woman holding her resume and applying for a job. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

When creating your resume, you are probably thinking about including enough information that will get you an interview.  While that is the goal, a job seeker should also focus on whether or not his or her resume is “hire worthy”.  In other words, if you were the employer, would you be impressed with your resume to hire you?  Does it meet all of the expectations an employer is looking for?  Here are some tips to write a resume that reflects the best you, which can turn you from a job seeker into a job candidate. (more…)

Posted May 05, 2015 by

Entry Level Job Seekers, Do You Meet the Expectations of Employers?

Whether you are a recent college graduate or other first time job seeker, there are certain skills and qualities that employers want you to have to get hired for entry level jobs.  Ask yourself what you bring to the table that can add value to a particular company.  Why should you do that?  It seems that in today’s job market, employers are having a difficult time finding what they want in candidates. (more…)

Posted February 11, 2015 by

Resume Tips to Reap a Successful Job Search

With so much competition in the job market, job seekers must find a way to distinguish themselves in order to get the attention of employers.  While some employers may look to play it safe and hire conservative candidates, others may look to bring in candidates who bring a little something extra to the table.  How can you go about proving you are the best candidate for a specific job?  One way is to write a quality resume that shows you can handle the position.  Here are some resume tips to help you reap a successful job search. (more…)

Posted January 29, 2015 by

Is an Internship in Your Future? Tips to Find One

An internship is a great opportunity to gain skills and work experience in a specific career area.  It gives you an idea of what to expect in the workplace, not just the work itself but also the culture that exists.  For college students and recent graduates looking to get entry level jobs, landing a quality internship can be a stepping stone for their careers.  So, what does it take to obtain one of these opportunities?  Here are some tips to help you find your future internship. (more…)

Posted January 13, 2015 by

Searching for a New Job on Social Media? 6 Tips that Can Help

Social media can not only serve as a personal platform but also a professional one.  It can help you establish your personal brand and connect with the right people if you’re looking for a new job.  In order to succeed on a social level in your job search, there are certain things you need to understand.  Otherwise, social media can actually harm your search.  Here are six tips to remember when trying to find a job on social media. (more…)

Posted October 20, 2014 by

Seeking Entry Level Jobs? Make a Social First Impression with Employers

Social media can work for or against you, depending on how you use it.  For job seekers, it is important to understand that while their posts might seem harmless to them, other people may not agree.  Today, employers are paying attention to what they see on social media sites and making decisions based on this information.  So, if you are among the recent graduates trying to find entry level jobs, you must focus on creating a positive first impression of yourselves online to be considered serious candidates for employment.  Here are some things you can do. (more…)

Posted September 15, 2014 by

Serious about Seeking Entry Level Jobs? 7 Things Young Job Seekers Can Do Daily

College students and graduates who are serious about obtaining entry level jobs can do these seven things in the following post daily to enhance their employment chances.

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Posted September 12, 2014 by

Trying to Close Your Cover Letters for Entry Level Jobs? 5 Powerful Conclusions

When writing cover letters for entry level jobs, be sure to finish them by leaving a lasting impression.  Here are five powerful conclusions for your cover letters in the following post.

Writing a cover letter pretty much sucks. The content, tone and length all have to be just right. And even when a job seeker gets it just right, there are those who say, “No one reads a cover letter anymore… stop wasting your time!” Here’s the truth: in many companies, cover

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Posted September 12, 2014 by

College Graduates, Interviewing for Jobs? Answer the “Tell Me About Yourself” Question in These 4 Ways

When interviewing for jobs, college graduates may be asked the “tell me about yourself” question.  In the following post, learn four ways to answer it.

Everyone hates this interview question, “So, tell me about yourself.” How a candidate reacts and answers this simple interview question can be extremely telling of a candidate’s viability as a candidate. You must bring bring your A-game to this challenge! Here’s how:

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