by Darlene Zambruski, CPRW, SME
Many entry-level candidates either graduated in a field that is considered “industry-soft” (eg: History, English, Liberal Arts, etc.) or in such a crowded field (eg: Information Technology, Marketing, Education) that when it comes time to find a job, they must seek something outside their field of interest.
This creates the challenge of proving to a hiring manager that despite a non-related degree, the candidate is a good match for the opening. To overcome employer objections, adhere to the following guidelines when creating your resume:
1. Fully research the job opening: Look at several openings in the same field you’ve targeted to get a sense of what an employer is looking for in terms of qualifications. Make a list of all the qualifications required that you meet.
2. Dovetail what an employer wants with what you can do: Taking that list of qualifications you’ve just made, write a brief sentence on how you fulfilled that qualification in the past (eg: “Bachelor’s Degree needed” — Received Bachelor of Arts in History in 2004). This will build your summary of qualifications which will open your resume.
3. Showcase previous work history that’s related to the new opening: Even if you only worked summers and part-time at night during school, list any professional activity that’s related to the new job. For example: If you worked in customer service and received stellar reviews because of your interaction with customers, this can be used in a resume in which you’ve targeted a sales position, which is certainly people-oriented.
4. Emphasize general coursework if what you learned will help in the new job: Every college student has to take math, English, and a host of other general academics in order to graduate. If you are considering an entry-level job in which math is important, showcase the math you took during college, while also including any academic awards you received.
5. List general skills that are sought by all employers: This would include typing speed (if over 40 wpm), ability to do 10-key, experience in answering multi-lined telephone systems, and computer proficiency (be certain to include names of applications as hiring managers always prefer specifics).
6. Also include specialized skills: Languages in which you are fluent, licensing if it can be used by the employer (eg: notary public, medical billing), and anything else that will enhance your candidacy.
7. Volunteer work or community activities: If you’ve met goals in fund-raising or helped a candidate get elected to office, these are invaluable people skills that could be parlayed into a sales position.
The idea is to take what you have and show how it relates to the current job opening.