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Crucial Resume Information for New Graduates

School is out and you finally have that hard-earned degree. Congratulations! Now it’s time to get that dream job and begin your long and illustrious career that you’ve spent all those years studying and prepping for. Even if you know all the right people and have top-notch connections, you still need to organize your curriculum vitae into a cohesive summary that shows off the best of your skills and succinctly explains what sets you apart from other applicants. Here are some do’s and don’ts to keep in mind when crafting your resume.

Do:

  • Eliminate old or inapplicable experience. Using information that’s irrelevant to the job you are applying to can lead the hiring manager to disregard your application, thinking you’re not serious about the job or aren’t qualified.
  • Customize your resume for the job target. Of the applicable jobs you’ve held, what were your specific responsibilities and acquired skills within that job role that relate to the one you are seeking?
  • Be consistent! A neat and well-organized resume is key. Avoid complicated fonts, colors or graphics. You want your resume to be easy to read. Most likely the hiring manager is going to scan it, so make it easy to do so. Nobody has time to decipher your resume.
  • Use a one-page resume. The hiring manager probably won’t take the time to read the second page of your resume, so make sure to keep the most important information at the top.
  • Include links to professional online profiles (i.e. LinkedIn). This is especially important if you’re submitting an application online. Links allow the hiring manager easy access to additional material if they’re interested in you, additionally, it shows a level of professionalism.
  • Include contact information and put it at the top in an easy to find spot. If you don’t, it is very unlikely you will get the job. No one is going to want a careless employee.
  • Use strong action verbs. Verbs like enhanced, improved, trained, etc. catch the reader’s eye, highlight your qualifications and make your resume shine.
  • Show your value and make it relevant. Record accomplishments and contributions (not just responsibilities). These will show the hiring manager that you have excelled in a specific area and were recognized by your peers and/or managers for doing exceptional work.
  • Proofread. Your finished resume should be flawless. Mistakes in your resume show mistakes you may make on the job. It also shows a lack of professionalism and preparation, which reflects poorly on you.  

Don’t

  • Oversell or undersell yourself. Over promoting your accomplishments or lying on your resume to make yourself look better is never a good idea. If you are hired, your supervisors will quickly learn your lack of knowledge and won’t be impressed. Under-promoting yourself is also a mistake, if you are capable of doing something highlight it in your resume.
  • Ignore the job requirements. The hiring manager is looking for someone to fill a specific position. Your resume should not only show that you fit the requirements for the position, but also explains how you will excel at the job.
  • Repeat information.  Space is valuable real estate in a resume and repetition is wasted real estate. Repeating yourself will show the hiring manager that you either don’t have enough experience to fill the page or that you’re careless. Neither of which are good things.
  • Say you will provide references upon request. This is simply a pointless addition to your resume. Don’t take up limited space with obvious information.
  • Include photos in your resume. Time spent looking at your picture is time the hiring manager could’ve spent reading your information, which is much more valuable to both of you.
  • Use an unprofessional email address. No nicknames. It is best to use an identifying contact email address.
  • Forget to title your resume file. Use an identifying, relative title in case you have to send it as an attachment. Not Resume.doc but JohnSmithResume_AccoutingClerk.

Additional Resources:

Purdue Online Writing Lab: Resume Workshop: https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/719/1/
Resume Resource: http://www.resume-resource.com/

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