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New Grads: Make Your Resume Stand Out from the Competition

CATEGORY: Build a Better Resume, Employment Tips, Find the Right Job
POSTED: April 9, 2013 at 7:42 am

by Bob M, ResumeEdge Certified Writer –

For many college students, the month of May brings a new level of excitement and apprehension, as well. That’s because, for them, it is time to graduate.

However, the market has not been very kind to college grads in recent years. True, the average unemployment rate for people with a Bachelor’s degree, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, is at a low 4.3 percent. Yet, as NBC News found, the Class of 2012 didn’t have it easy, with more than 53 percent coming out of college either jobless or unemployed.

Make no mistake, in the past few years the job market for recent college graduates has been fierce. While college Career Services departments are there to help you, keep in mind, the jobs they receive are generally open to the public. That means that not only are you competing with your classmates for that opportunity, you’re likely going up against grads from other schools as well as people who have been in the labor force longer than you have.

With the ever-growing amount of student loan debt grads are carrying, the sense of urgency to find full-time employment increases. So, how can you improve your resume to stand out from the rest of the crowd?

Choose a Professional Summary

First, stay away from an objective statement, and instead, consider putting together a professional summary. While your work experience may be limited, there’s a good chance that your skill sets are not, especially after four years of college. An objective is far too limited, as it only lays out the type of position you are seeking along with what you want.

A professional summary, on the other hand, can provide details about what you have to offer. For example, if you’re a communications major looking for work in public relations, think about the concepts you’ve learned in your courses. Adding some of those newly-learned skills can go a long way.

Select Projects over Courses in Education Overview

On the topic of your courses, it is best that you don’t list all of the classes you took that you might think are relevant. Consider the projects you completed either individually or as part of a group. What skills did you use during those projects, and what was the end result? A summary of those projects could serve you better than listing your classes.

Keep in mind, too, that as a recent graduate, you can place your education overview above your experience. In time, and as you work longer in your chosen field, you will eventually switch the two sections around.

Include Internships and Other Work Experience

Speaking of experience, ideally, you took advantage of working in an internship. In a 2012 study by a personal branding expert, Dan Schawbel, 91 percent of employers expect recent grads to have finished at least one or two internships.

However, if you didn’t have the opportunity to be an intern, all is not lost. You’ll still want to have your experience included in your resume. Consider, though, the work you have done. What aspects of your job would best translate into a new position? Those types of skills are what you should include as part of your work experience. Always remember, never just list out your job duties.

Provide Your Student Organizational Involvement

Finally, beyond your education and work experience, think about your involvement in student organizations. These activities, particularly the ones related to your specific field, are an excellent way to build your professional network. Be sure to include all organizations you were a member of, with the exception of political organizations, as you may run the risk of alienating your prospective employer.

Feeling overwhelmed at the prospect of creating or updating your resume? Consider working with a professional resume writer. At ResumeEdge, our certified writers excel in 40+ industries. They know what presentation works best for each unique situation and how to craft content to catch the hiring manager’s eye so you can land the job you’re looking for.

Bob M.

Skilled in IT, social media and web design, Bob has served as the Career Services Manager at Chancellor University. He holds a Master's Degree from Cleveland State University and has contributed articles on social media in job search.

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