Career Advice: Preparing Your Resume After Graduation
Guest Author: Amy Klimek, VP of Human Resources for ZipRecruiter
Looking for great career advice? Please read this article for great career advice for students from our friends at ZipRecruiter!
Career Advice For Students
Now that you’ve graduated, it’s time to get serious about looking for that first job after college. You have the degree and the qualifications necessary to secure a job that will take you from student to professional, and your resume is the first step along that path. In most situations, a resume just out of school isn’t going to be longer than a single page. Most college students don’t have the benefit of taking part in internships, working professional jobs and as a result, may think they have nothing to put on their resume. With a little effort and career advice, you’ll find you have quite a few real, marketable skills, and it’s vitally important to emphasize those skills when creating your resume. Keep in mind that the degree helps improve your marketability. The unemployment rate for individual with a bachelor’s degree is only four percent. That’s less than half the national average of eight percent. Career advice is important too. Let’s look at some ideas.
Career Advice: What Is Important?
Decide on the Job You Want
Don’t create a general resume. Determine the type of job you want and gear your resume toward the skills required of that job. Tailor your resume to meet the qualifications of the job you want to apply for. For example, if you want to work in a government agency, consider what traits are desirable and highlight those traits. Remark on your dependability, ability to complete assigned tasks or any foreign languages you can speak. Cite examples of any major projects you completed in college. Alternatively, point out specific skills you picked up from working any part-time or volunteer jobs in college.
Employers want to know you’re capable of completing work, able to meet deadlines and have a high degree of dependability. Since you’ll be applying for entry-level positions, most employers expect you will learn the job once you get hired. Think about the courses you took in college, any labs you participated in and any extra-curricular activities. Put all of this information on a list to make it easier to sort through when it comes down to write out your resume.
Choose a Format
There are conventional and unconventional formats for job resumes. The choice you go with depends largely on the job you’re applying for. If you have any doubts, go with the conventional approach first. In a conventional resume, you list your information in the following order:
- Relevant Coursework
Using the conventional format, you can be sure to cover everything in a streamlined fashion in an order that most managers are used to seeing. An unconventional format may list skills and training at the top of the resume. Follow those sections with education, experience and employment. For a recent college graduate it makes sense to clearly state your goals and focus on your education. The education you received acts as a full-time job in the eyes of many companies.
Listing Your GPA
When it comes time for an interview, you may be asked about your grade point average. While you can include this information on your resume, unless you have high marks, it may be best to leave it off. A high GPA may put you at the top of a pile of candidates, and some employers may use your GPA to quickly weed through resumes. Generally, if you have a GPA of 3.8 or higher, it makes sense to include that on your resume. However, consider using more vague terms such as “graduate cum laude” or “graduated magna cum laude” instead of an actual grade point.
Expanding on Your Coursework
Most employers are not going to ask for your transcript. A resume may list the degree, but that doesn’t always translate to useful knowledge for an employer. Make it clear what you’re capable of by including specific courses that apply to the job you’re looking for. With each new job, it may be appropriate to list different coursework. Create separate resumes for each job that offer direct relevance to the job you’re applying for. For example, if you majored in history but want to apply to a job in the insurance industry, list any advanced courses you took in English, math or science to show your ability to work with detailed information and a command of the written language.
Focus on Your Abilities
Don’t neglect the things that you view as hobbies, or work you completed just for fun. If you designed websites, include this information on your resume. It shows that you’re a self-starter and capable of independent learning. Goal-oriented activities are important to recruiters and including information like this will help your job prospects.
Ultimately, don’t sell yourself short. You have more experience and skills than you likely realize. A resume should take several days to complete, and you may wish to enlist the help of a professional resume writer to polish and fine-tune your completed resume. Getting your first job after college is an exciting time, and it pays to put your best foot forward and get the job of your dreams.
About the Author:
Amy Klimek is an experienced HR recruiter and VP of Human Resources for ZipRecruiter, a company that simplifies the hiring process for small to medium size businesses. Prior to that Amy has held similar roles at Rent.com, eBay and US Interactive.
For Amy, corporate culture isn’t about dogs and free lunches, it’s about empowering employees and creating an enriching environment for people to excel. For more career advice, please stop by ZipRecruiter!
You can find more career advice articles and workplace advice, browse on our site and throughout the web. Also be sure to search for a free career test and career advice questions online so you can discover your strengths and find the right career for you.