12 Resume Writing Tips for Recent Graduates and Job Seekers

 12 Resume Writing Tips for Recent Graduates and Job Seekers

You've already visited your college's career center for assistance with your resume. You've also sought advice from your department advisor, your parents, and even the guy who works at 7-11.

But you're still having trouble crafting the perfect resume.

Writing a great resume can be a time-consuming and frustrating process, but it is essential if you want to stand out among hundreds of other job applicants.

1. Maintain its relevance

Hiring managers are only concerned with how you will perform in this specific role at their company. Because you're not writing an autobiography, concentrate on your recent work history and any experiences or certifications that make you the best candidate. Once you start college, your high school diploma and an award from ten years ago are obsolete.

However, if you have room, feel free to include a line about your SCUBA certification or prize-winning rabbits in the "Additional Information" section. It's always a good idea to make an impression.

2. Reduce your digital footprint

Before you make any changes to your resume, Google yourself to see what comes up. Is there anything you don't want your parents to know about? Employers are unlikely to be thrilled with those positions either. Fortunately, there is a workable solution. Log in to your social media accounts and delete anything that appears to be inappropriate or controversial. Then, go through your privacy settings and restrict who can see your posts. Moving forward, be cautious about what you post.

Why is this listed as a resume writing tip? Because even the best resume will be useless if a potential employer discovers a slew of embarrassing Facebook posts.

3. Succession Plan

We understand that you want your resume to stand out, but when it comes to formatting, simplicity is best. Use Times New Roman or Ariel in sizes 10-12. Use wide margins and avoid using bright colors.

Your heading should be clean and simple as well. Your name, address, phone number, and email address are all that is required. These should be the same font and size, though the font size for your name can be increased. You can also include a link to your LinkedIn profile or personal website. One caveat: only include a link to your personal website if it is relevant to the role for which you are applying.

4. Begin with a summary.

Here's how it works: Hiring managers look at each resume for an average of six seconds. However, you can make an immediate impression by beginning with an eye-catching resume summary. Your resume summary is an excellent way to immediately highlight relevant coursework, certifications, awards, or other accomplishments. The hiring manager will then want to continue reading.

It is entirely up to you whether you want to write a short paragraph, a list of bullet points, or an objective. The important thing is to mention specific experiences, skills, or accomplishments that are listed in the job description as required or preferred qualifications.

5. Get through the ATS

It's unfortunate, but true: if you don't focus on the ATS first, a human being may never see your fantastic resume. An ATS, or Applicant Tracking System, is a computerized system that screens applications and resumes for key terms and phrases.

Set yourself up for success by incorporating job-related keywords and triple-checking for typos. At the same time, you should use a legible font, wide margins, and left justification. Also, avoid putting critical information in your header or footer; the ATS may not be able to read it.

6. It's all about the added value.

Rather than saying what you can do, demonstrate it. The best way to do so is to list specific accomplishments from previous positions. For that extra wow factor, use action verbs and include numbers wherever possible. "Developed social media marketing campaign that increased company website visitation by 35% year over year," for example.

7. Customize everything

Job applications are not one-size-fits-all. After you've polished your resume to perfection, you must tailor it to the job at hand. Otherwise, you will never get an interview. Update your resume for each position to which you apply, including relevant keywords and emphasizing all of the job requirements and preferences.

8. Arrange it in chronological order.

Once again, simplicity is the key. There are numerous ways to organize your resume, but the classic format is the best. Begin with your most recent achievements and roles and work your way back. Furthermore, if you followed our advice, you can still highlight your most impressive, relevant skills in your resume summary.

9. Limit it to one page.

While there is no hard and fast rule, it is best to keep your resume to one page. Remember that hiring managers skim, not read every word. As a result, a second page rarely receives the attention it deserves. The only exception is if you're a senior employee with more than 20 years of experience or writing a CV.

10. You do not require references.

It was once considered best practice to include a "References" section. Candidates wrote "Available upon request" under that. It's now considered a waste of space, and it can give the impression that you don't have enough experience to fill one page. If you advance to the final round of interviews, you will almost certainly be asked for references.

11. Use a proofreader (or three)

Make use of your friends as editors. You will almost certainly have typos, no matter how good a writer you are—especially if you've been working on your resume for six hours straight. Having someone else look over what you wrote increases the likelihood of catching any typos or other errors. So swallow your pride and have someone else (or several someones) proofread your work.

Bonus points: anyone who edits your resume can ensure that the formatting is consistent. A PDF may occasionally shift one line to a second page, or emailing a document as an attachment may change the font.

12. Align your resume and LinkedIn profile.

If you have a LinkedIn profile, make sure it matches your resume. Many hiring managers will look at your LinkedIn profile, and any discrepancies between the two may lead them to believe you're hiding something. Get a couple of endorsements and recommendations while you're there—it can't hurt!

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