Searching for a job can seem like a pretty daunting task, especially for people just fresh out of college! Millions of graduates tend to finish university at virtually the same time, so you want to make sure you stand out to potential employers and their HR departments during peak hiring seasons. Crafting a unique and well-written resume is one of the most crucial steps to getting noticed, and many applicants seem to take this for granted. Read on for some tips on how to write a proper resume.
Finding the right template
Different universities have their own resume writing kits and templates that help its alumni members identify themselves as graduates from that particular school. You can ask your respective university’s placement office or even your professors about where you can find them. If your school doesn’t have this or if you’d rather avoid a uniformed look, there are a lot of free online tools that you can use! Canva has some sleek and minimalist resume templates you can easily edit according to your own preferences. More on the creative side? Feel free to DIY and create a unique template that’s yours and yours alone.
All the right words in all the right places
Now that you have the structure of your resume, it’s time to place in all the important information that your potential employer needs to see. Every resume will need these five basic details: your name and contact information, a clear and personalized career objective, education, work experience, and enumerated skills.
- Name and contact details - At the very top of your resume must be your name and contacts such as your email address, mobile number, landline number, and if you’ve got any professional online profiles or portfolios, like LinkedIn. Make sure you’re reachable on all of these platforms.
- Career objective - Arguably the most crucial part of a resume, this is a brief two to three-sentence bit talking about your career goal and all the concrete reasons why you deserve to get that job.
- Education - Note down your university with your highest educational attainment here including the major (and any minors) you’ve graduated from. Here, you can also place your final GPA, whether you’ve graduated with honors, or if you took a semester abroad for an extra boost!
- Work experience - This is where you place any kind of work experience relevant to the job you’re applying to. Jot down your previous internships, college org experiences, community projects, and briefly describe your role and achievements in these particular stints, while being very specific.
- Skills - Are you great in English, awesome at Microsoft Excel, or an expert at Adobe Photoshop? List all your assets here in bullet points.
Always remember to keep your resume short and simple! Employees working in recruitment go through a large number of resumes per day, searching for the right candidate. No one has the time to read submissions that are four to six pages long. Keep your resume at one to two sheets at the maximum and only note down work experience that’s actually relevant to your career goal. It’ll be totally fine if you left out that one time you played a tree at one of your college theater productions.
Common resume writing errors
Despite a large number of writing guides out there that are easily googleable, a lot of job applicants still manage to commit errors and submit a half-baked resume. Run through these frequently-made mistakes and make sure you don’t repeat any of them.
- Basic grammar and spelling errors - Before pressing send, proofread your draft for any grammar or spelling mistakes. Better yet, ask an older friend, colleague, or even a teacher to quickly go through it. Your resume will be needing fresh eyes for checking prior sending to recruitment.
- Crafting a one-for-all resume - Personalization is key! It may be a lot easier to submit a generalized resume with the same career objective for each company, but on the outside, it could come off as lazy. Doing good research on that dream employer will help by a thousandfold.
- Complicated design - We know you want to make your submission look as gorgeous as possible, but something with a template that’s too all-over-the-place can be off-putting. Keep your design clean and minimalist, and stick to only one font type for uniformity. And please, keep those irrelevant graphs away! Putting a percentage or bar chart on how good you are with video editing isn’t very helpful.
- Information overload - Reiterating the statement above, do not submit a resume that’s four, five, or six pages long! Not only is it completely unnecessary, but it’s also really taxing for recruitment officers to go through. A one or two-page resume is ideal.
- Unprofessional email addresses - It’s time to upgrade your fifth grade email address and make something that sounds less ridiculous. Starting a new email account with your actual name isn’t so difficult, so get down to business and sign up again.
- Unnecessary headshots - Contrary to popular belief, there’s actually no need to put in your photo on your resume, unless the job requires it. This way, you can avoid future employers unfairly basing their opinions on your looks instead of your awesome track record.
Seal it with a cover letter
Congrats, your resume is ready for uploading on different job portals and your professional online profile! But if you find yourself applying to jobs via email (the usual way to go), send it in with a personalized cover letter to your employer of choice. A lot of graduates simply send their resumes with nothing written down on the email it’s attached to, which could indicate that you aren’t taking your application seriously, even if you are. Again, it won’t hurt to do some research about the company and the role you’re applying to. Express your interest in the company and write down exactly why you’re qualified for the job; like your resume, don’t just create a one-for-all cover letter. It’s always a good idea to personalize every application.
Now that you’ve got everything laid out, happy job hunting and send in those awesome resumes!