• 4 winning resume tips for recent graduates

    August 01, 2016 by
    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.

  • Landing an internship at a major corporation

    July 30, 2016 by

    Should we stress out the importance of an internship? Probably not, no. You’re already here, which means that you’re probably aware of how significant experience as an intern is to your portfolio without us lecturing you about it, too. Everyone wants to obtain a master’s degree education level or to hire people with as much experience amassed as possible, and the best way to get this boulder off your chest is to make sure you play it safe and give them what they want.

    Photo by StockUnlimited.com

    Photo by StockUnlimited.com

    That said, you want to land an internship, but so does pretty much everyone else. How are you supposed to handle competition and stand out from the hundreds of applications that the hottest corporations at the moment need to go through at once? Here are some tips to make your resume shine.

    Take the initiative – Make one

    Make what? An internship program, of course. Let’s say you really want to intern at Big International Corporation X, you have your resume all written out, you’re ready to send it in and… surprise! It turns out that there was never a program like that to begin with. How is that possible? It seemed like such a natural inclusion that it’s almost surprising they don’t offer internship positions in the respective field.

    This is when you can go bold and prove your initiative prowess. Get in touch with the company – write them an e-mail, contact them on social media, and let them know that you have an idea for an internship program. Think it thoroughly before contacting them, though. This way you can offer detailed explanations and practical solutions, which are going to make you sound all the more capable, resourceful, and involved in the prosperity of the company.

    Create an interactive video

    Interactive resumes tend to be a surefire way to capture an employer’s attention. That’s because, even if all the applicants were to follow the same pattern and send in engaging applications, the only way that they can actually work is through personal charisma.

    Record a video introducing yourself and add on the screen links that redirect to other videos where you solely focus on one specific asset you want to expand on (for example, leadership skills). If you’re a developer, develop a mini-game where the player navigates a world filled with chunks of text from your resume. There are many directions you can follow, and the most important thing you need to do is exploit your personal talents and ace up your sleeve. If you’re a painter, paint the application!

    Build your resume out of Legos

    Welcome to the world of specifics. Today, we talk about Legos. They can be much more than sources of entertainment and deadly traps for clueless barefooted trespassers. Leah Bowman was a student at Northwestern University who managed to impress the company she applied to for an internship by sending them a resume in the shape of a Lego model.

    The crafting represented herself surrounded by the variety of skills she possessed, and it was paired with a cover letter which explained in further detail her assets and experience.

    Use apps to your advantage

    We know about LinkedIn, Twitter, or other forms of social media. Their usefulness resides in the name: social media. It seems obvious that platforms dedicated to human interaction could play a big role here. But what does an application via Snapchat or Vine sound like?

    If you have the possibility of emailing the resume to your desired company, include a link to a Vine where you creatively lay down your skills in six seconds. If you’re able to pull that off, surely there’s got to be a level of creativity in you that’s bound to spark some interest. Moreover, this is a way to showcase another really charming and sought-after trait – humor. Tell a story through images by using Snapchat and its colorful features and captions option. Just try to steer away from Tinder as we have no clue how that could prove useful… for now.

    The first step to landing an internship is to make your application stand out as well as possible. Small details, such as the title of the e-mail, the font, or the color of the page weigh a lot. If you want to take it a notch further and be sure that you nail that internship position, then just adopt one of the methods on this list.

    Karl Magnusson

    Karl Magnusson, guest writer

    Want more tips to help you land an internship or job at a major corporation? Keep visiting our blog and be sure to register as a job seeker on CollegeRecruiter.com, too. Follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube for regular job and internship updates.

    Karl Magnusson is a motivational writer and a career coach, with over five years of experience under his belt. He loves helping people identify their hidden talents and thrives on seeing his clients achieve professional acclaim.