Are you a fresh graduate trying to find your first real job after college? Do you feel slightly uneasy when you look at all that empty space on your college student resume? Have you already applied for several jobs but you’ve yet to score a single interview?
What if I told you that your lack of experience isn’t the main problem? After all, everyone has skills and knowledge to show off. The biggest challenge is to discover and transcribe these skills and experiences into words in the right way.
Still, writing a resume is no rocket science—there’s no reason to feel intimidated. If you follow the simple guidelines below, you’ll easily get hired before the end of this summer.
1. Figure out why you’d excel in this position
Many fresh graduates are understandably unsure whether they have what it takes for a job. Yet, adopting a self-confident mindset from the start is absolutely crucial if you want to succeed.
Before you start writing your resume, sit down and try to think of 4-5 reasons why you’d excel in the job you’re applying for. Write them down in detail, it will help you articulate who you are as a candidate. You’ll have a much easier time writing your resume once you’ve asked yourself all the important questions. Moreover, it will also help you succeed at the interview.
2. Do your research and tailor your resume to every job
There’s no such thing as a one-size-fits-all resume. If you want to be seen as a great fit for a position, your resume needs to meet the position’s specific requirements. Create several different resumes. Always begin by carefully rereading the job offer and identify the most important skills needed for the job, which you can easily do using Jobscan. Make sure your resume corresponds to these requirements.
Even more importantly, research every company you’re approaching. At the end of the day, you should know everything about their core business, company culture, and even their hiring managers (LinkedIn is great for that). Once you have a clear picture, you can easily adjust your resume to fit their expectations.
3. Highlight your transferrable skills
Lack of experience doesn’t have to be an unsurmountable obstacle either. Perhaps you didn’t have enough foresight to do an internship. Still, you’ve just spent several years in college learning things. All you have to do is to articulate it now.
Many of the skills you’ve acquired in college may not be obviously related to the position you’re applying for. In your studies, you’ve probably also demonstrated competence in skills such as time management, oral and written communication, fundraising, or public speaking. Don’t forget to include these transferrable skills in your resume together with specific examples of how you used these skills in college or during internships.
4. Choose the right resume format
If you’ve already tried to write a chronological resume, you’ve probably realised how painfully empty it looks. Still, you can remove much of the anxiety by choosing the right resume format. After all, even if you don’t have much experience yet, it doesn’t mean you have no skills.
Write a functional resume instead. This resume format highlights your skills much more effectively than a classic chronological resume. For this reason, it works especially well for recent graduates such as yourself. Finally, you might also want to consider using one of the online resume builders such as Kickresume, they will help you structure your resume if you don’t know where to start.
5. Keep it relevant
A resume is not a confessional, it shouldn’t be about yourself. Instead, it needs to be about an employer you’re approaching. Resume has to show the employer that someone with your skills and experience is best-suited to solve the problems that come with a given position.
This can be a bit tricky. After all, even seemingly unrelated experiences can help give a better idea of what kind of a candidate you are. Still, there’s no way that something like taking a French class in high school (or high school as such) is still relevant. Scrap it.
6. Make your resume fit one page
Your resume has to fit on one page. Period. Especially as an entry-level candidate, there’s simply no chance you could make use of two pages effectively.
Perhaps you’ve already heard that recruiters usually spent about 6 seconds on each resume. You only have about 6 seconds to make a lasting impression. The shortness of this time is the reason why your resume should also be short. Remember, no one’s going to read the second page.
Tomas Ondrejka is the co-founder at Kickresume – world’s most advanced career documents builder with more than 400K users around the world. You can find him hiking in the mountains, snowboarding or traveling around the world.