Student Graduates: Resume Strategies that Work

Congratulations, Graduate! Now what? How do you compete against all the experienced candidates flooding the job market, no thanks to corporate downsizing and layoffs?

Good News! It’s not as tough as you think. For starters, you probably don’t have the high salary requirements of someone older who may well have a mortgage and a family to support. What’s more, employers may bet you won’t consume as much of the shrinking employee benefits pie.

So how to present yourself as a candidate bursting with experience and maturity? Here are some tips to help you:

Format your Resume to Fit: The traditional chronological resume draws attention to employers, job titles and dates – not much help for students. Instead, consider using a skills-based resume to highlight your unique mix of strengths, talents and accomplishments. Like what? Read on.
Make Student Experiences Pay Off: A paycheck isn’t all you earned at summer and on-campus jobs, internships and volunteering. You acquired essential skills that are meaningful to employers — such as time management, customer relations, problem resolution and the ability to communication effectively with clients, colleagues and senior management. If you operated a small business with others working for you, you learned how to hire, fire, train and supervise staff, and how to schedule projects and handle a payroll. As a reporter for the school newspaper or secretary of your sorority, you possess sought-after writing talents and are adept at coordinating facts, figures, dates and details and meeting deadlines.
Talk about Tech: Your generation’s fluency with the ever-expanding universe of software programs, internet applications and social networking sites is enviable – and appealing. Be sure to include these specialties on your resume, particularly when sending it to advertising and marketing firms as well as small businesses eager to broaden their customer bases.

Congratulations, Graduate! Not only do you offer advantages over more experienced candidates, you’ve got plenty of vital skills to offer as well. Be sure that your resume presents them in a way that will convince recruiters and employers you can deliver genuine value to the organization.