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May 22, 2015

7 Ways For New College Grads To Improve A Resume

Are you just about to graduate college? Is your excitement building with each passing week? Have you started applying for jobs? The end of a school year inevitably brings about the revisions of resumes for summer jobs, internships and new careers. But is your resume really ready for your first post-graduation job?

Here are 7 quick ways to impress employers even before an interview with a great resume:

Show the Benefits

Showing the benefits of what you did instead of just stating what you did is important. You didn’t just “serve coffee” as a barista, you “provided excellent customer service and developed customer relationships.” Every job has an importance. Make sure to show how you benefited the company and their customers.

Ditch High School

High school was so four years ago, right? Right. Lose the high school items from your resume. The only things to keep are the name of the high school you attended if you want to bulk up your education section, and only include an accomplishment if it will wow and amaze a potential employer.

Volunteer Work

Consider what volunteer work you did, and how much time you gave. If you volunteered for a significant amount of time, make sure you add that to your resume. (But if you only volunteered for one day or a weekend, it’s not going to make much of an impression.) If you volunteered every weekend for a semester, that shows persistence, leadership skills, and a great attitude. Make sure it’s on the resume – it’s telling as to who you are as a person.

Be a Leader

Your leadership roles are important, and should be showcased to potential employers. Did you include that Board of Directors position with your fraternity/sorority? Did you include the time you headed the Environmental Club’s recycling campaign and both educated students and increased the amount of recycling over campus? Whether it was a club, a class, or a leadership role academically or in a residence hall, these accomplishments and positions should be noted. If you’re short on experience, this is a great place to add content to your resume… content that matters.

Spellcheck

A major turn-off to a hiring manager is a lack of correct grammar and spelling on a resume. They may spend only 30 seconds on your resume – for some, one single typo is enough to show them that you aren’t detail-oriented enough for the job (or that you just don’t care enough). Not proofreading your resume is inexcusable. Check for typos, bad grammar, and the overall ease of reading. You may not catch every error after you’ve stared at your resume for too long, so have a great proofreader go over your resume as well for true perfection.

Make it Beautiful

Some people – even many recruiters – say that how a resume is formatted doesn’t matter. We disagree. There is a significant message sent to your future employer by an organized, clean, beautiful resume: that you are organized, that you pay attention to detail, that you care, and that you stand out. With hundreds of templates available both in text programs and online, there’s no reason for an ugly resume. Having a streamlined, easy to read, and classic resume will help you to stand out. Make sure the way the information is formatted in the template reads well and is easy for anyone to follow down the page. Spend some time (or some money) and make it beautiful — be proud of your resume!

Consider the Delivery

An often overlooked facet of a great resume is the delivery of it – emailing it, attaching it to an online application, or posting it to an online job board. And wait! I bet you forgot the most important delivery: a physical copy.

For the digital copy of your resume, first see if you can see what file type they asked for, and send that. As a general rule of thumb, send a PDF if your resume is highly designed in order to keep it beautiful, or if you’re looking for a job where design matters or it’s a smaller company. For larger companies, they will often use robots to scan your resume, so sometimes a Word Doc is best – but often they will tell you what they want. If it’s in Word, remember that Word reformats, and their computer may not have your special font, so you’ll need to keep it simple.

When you show up for an interview, have at least 3 copies of your resume printed and available on a nice paper. Splurge a little to make that extra special impression.

Bonus Point: Let Someone Else Handle the Resume for You

Ultimately, you can ignore most of this advice if you just let someone else handle the entire process for you. For example, some recruiting firms (Innovative included) will take whatever resume you have, and put it in their standard format for you at no cost to you. This might be the easiest way to make sure you have a great resume – and to make sure that it gets in the right person’s hands.

Whether you’re submitting your resume for a summer job, internship, entry level position, or a high level job, keeping your resume polished can be the difference between making the “considering” pile and the “not considering” pile.

Are you a graduating senior looking to start your dream career and want some help getting your resume ready? Innovative Career Resource’s team of staffing professionals can not only review your resume with no obligation, but help you cater it to any one of the many jobs they have open. So, while you’re looking to put your science degrees, finance and accounting degrees, business degrees, or any other degree to use, check out Innovative’s list of open job positions here, and follow them on Twitter.

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