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Recent Graduate? Stand Out with these Resume Tips!

April 2017 - By Erica Woods, Manager of Contractor and Community Relations

Here are some tips for entry-level professionals to help ensure your resume product gets selected by recruiters and hiring managers as “need to meet/interview:”

1. Customized objective.
Having a clear and concise objective can help “hook” (i.e. engage) your resume reviewer/reader, or it could completely deter them from “wanting more.” Always, always, always review your objective against the job description you’re applying for and adjust as needed. Below are two example objectives.

Example Objectives


Junior Software Engineer with one year of project experience building primarily front-end applications with JavaScript technologies, interested in full-stack development roles using Microsoft .NET and JavaScript technologies.

Entry-level Information Technology professional with a Masters degree in Information Technology, A+ Certification, and two internships focused on Tier I technical support.

2. Add Skills Summary
Before you build this out, ask yourself, “What are the primary jobs I’m interested in and applying for?” Then, “What are the major skills I have related to those target careers?” Too many ‘Skills Summary’ sections are generic, quoting things like ‘Strong Communication’ and ‘Proven Team Player.’ Develop a stronger section by determining the skills you have that align with your target jobs, and use the right buzz words to frame your experience relative to your target career path. This can also help optimize your resume to increase the likelihood it gets seen!

3. Leadership and added responsibilities from any personal jobs or internships.
One of the key interview questions I ask to gauge initiative and leadership potential is “Tell me about a responsibility you had in one of your jobs that wasn’t part of the original job description.” A candidate’s answer really demonstrates their initiative, commitment and other key traits! Did you train others, take on additional tasks, become the “go to” in any areas, create or enhance processes or documentation, etc.? If you went above and beyond, doing more than was in your original job description, it will give you a leg up, so highlight these in your resume!

4. Relevant Coursework
In addition to having your degree, concentration(s), school and graduation date, add the primary courses you took that are relevant to the types of jobs you’re pursuing. Below is an example.

Example


Bachelors, Computer Science, ABC College Graduating May 2017

Coursework: Database Fundamentals, Cyber Security, Programming, Advanced Programming Concepts, Introduction to UI/UX, Object Oriented Programming, Big Data, Machine Learning Fundamentals

5. Academic Projects.
Anytime you can provide an example of your work, either an individual or team project, that’s a powerful piece in your portfolio! Write a list of any projects you completed as part of courses or internships. The projects in an internship should be in either an ‘Internships’ or ‘Experience’ section, and then those you did as part of your classes could simply be bullet-pointed in an ‘Academic Projects’ section.

6. Community involvement and contributions.
Were you a part of any groups, clubs, honor societies, etc.? Have you supported any organizations or nonprofits while at college or in your hometown community? Did you have a role in any of those groups? Another one of my go-to interview questions for entry-level professionals who were a member of any clubs/organizations is “Were you on the board or a committee of any of the clubs/orgs you were a part of? Tell me about anything you contributed to that organization.” Per tip #1 above, hiring managers want to identify the best of the best, and initiative, leadership, passion, and commitment are skills they’re assessing to identify the best people for their team and that role!

Example


If you were on the board of your CompSci or Robotics Club and were in a sorority or fraternity, here’s how you could showcase your contributions.

Robotics Club Fall 2014 – May 2017

  • Built 6 robots, one per season in the club, using BASIC, Pascal, MATLAB, Python, and C/C++.
  • Participated in 3 robotics competitions, placing 2nd in the annual ___ Robotics Championship.
  • Served as the Treasurer for the Club from Fall 2015 to May 2017.
  • Acted as a mentor to new club mentors starting in Spring 2016.

ABC Sorority Spring 2015 - May 2017

  • Acted as the assistant Recruitment Coordinator May 2016 – May 2017.
  • Participated in the Greek Week planning committee, helping line up activities that included a scavenger hunt, volleyball, and kickball.

7. LinkedIn or GitHub profile.
It’s great that most colleges are teaching students about the importance of ‘online branding,’ and specifically, providing guidance on how to create a strong LinkedIn profile. If you have a quality profile that will contribute to showcasing your credibility and helping your candidacy, add the URL to your LinkedIn profile under the contact information section of your resume. If you are a programmer, focus on creating a GitHub profile and creating some small code samples you can upload to your GitHub profile, and include that URL instead or in addition to your LI profile URL.

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