This is the time of year where thousands of new grads throw their caps in the air, with all their newly-learned knowledge fresh in their minds, ready to go forth and enter the job market, applying all that they’ve learned and realized… into moving back into their parents’ house. Let’s face it, the job market is tough out there for recent graduates, and while you’re out there searching, the career advice that your college counselors gave may start to seem a bit suspect. (Hint: It’s free for a reason.)
A few years ago, when the economy collapsed, everyone thought it was a good idea to go back to school and bide their time while waiting for things to get better, figuring they’d be able to apply their newly-acquired degree to a revitalized job market. Well, here’s the good and the bad news: The economy is better than it was when you entered college, and there are more opportunities than there were four or five years ago. Here’s the problem: All those people that went to school to build their skills four years ago are all graduating at the same time you are. Luckily, we’re here to help share some advice to write a resume that will make you stand out among all the peers in your class. And if you’re NOT a recent graduate, this advice can help you stand out among all of these young whippersnappers coming to take jobs from you! (Sorry, kids.)
Writing A Distinct Resume
1. Everybody Talks.
You know how if you say a word too many times, it starts to lose all meaning, and then it doesn’t even seem like a word anymore? Like spoon. Spoon. Spoooooooonnn. Spoonspoonspoonspoon. Sorry, lost my train of thought there. Anyway, the same is true of reading words. If you look around at your graduating class, who are now your competition, 95% of them have subjective words and phrases like “Trustworthy”, “Dependable”, “Team Player”, “Big Thinker”, and other drivel on their resume. These phrases don’t tell your potential employer anything about your actual skills or capabilities, and are therefore absolutely meaningless to anyone reading your resume. Yet EVERYBODY puts them in there. Remember that the people that read your resume see literally hundreds of these things each day. If you wan’t to stand out, be the one person whose document isn’t littered with meaningless cliches, and instead uses facts and examples to show what they actually did.
2. To Heck With Tradition.
Many of you are probably worried that you didn’t take the supposed “traditional best route” through college. Maybe you didn’t land an internship, maybe you feel you should have been more involved in extracurriculars, or maybe you changed majors late in the game. Maybe you took some time off, or possibly didn’t graduate at all. No matter what the situation is, remember: You are not the only person who has ever been through this. Very, very few people actually go through the perfect “ideal” academic route you see in TV and movies. Plenty of people before you have been in similar situations and their lives turned out okay. So calm down, and don’t panic.
No matter what, there’s no way to change what you didn’t do, so the best tool you can have is a document that focuses on what you actually DID. No matter how limited you think your accomplishments are, by describing them for employers in a concise but thorough fashion, you are already putting yourself ahead of hundreds of others who may be more accomplished, but don’t bother explaining these achievements with any real meaning or context.
3. Break The Rules.
We were all taught at some point or another in high school that there is only one “correct” way to write a resume, and that style works for everyone all the time. However, times change, industries change, and your high school guidance counselor is likely unemployed by now. There are a lot of traditional notions and ideas about resume writing that drag your document down, and need to be put out to pasture. One of these is the “Objective Statement.” Employers know what kind of job you want, because if you didn’t want the job they offered, you wouldn’t be applying. Same with the “References Available Upon Request” tagline. If they want your references, they’ll request them. You don’t need to tell them that. That space can be better used telling them what you’re capable of offering their company.
All resumes are different, like all people are different. There’s no magical set of rules that we all have to follow, and you may have to bend tradition a bit to create one that works for you, and makes you stand out as an individual among job seekers. That being said…
4. There is Such A Thing As Standing Out Too Much
A resume is a professional document, so use it to show the person reading how professional you are. Different fonts, logos, colors, we’ve even seen cartoons and diagrams go into these things. (No one’s done a meme yet, we’re still waiting on that.) You may think all of these things make you stand out from the other applicants, and they do… in a negative way. They’re distractions, space fillers that take room away from a document that should be using every line to highlight your abilities. Remember how a professor could always tell when you were changing font sizes or rambling in the middle of an essay to fill up page length? Your employers will be able to spot that too, and will instantly define you as style over substance. Your descriptions and history should be interesting enough that the page itself doesn’t have to be.
5. This Isn’t Facebook.
Unless they are directly related to the work you are going into, hobbies and interests have no place on a resume. If they’re interested at all, they’ll talk to you more in an interview about your hobbies, and not enough about your actual qualifications for the job, and that’s the absolute BEST case scenario. If your hobbies ARE directly related, list them as “Independent Projects,” not hobbies. You’re trying to get a job, not a date. Just like you don’t care what your boss does in their time off, your employers don’t care how much you enjoy rock climbing.
These should be enough to help you get started, but obviously there’s literally hundreds of other ways to adapt and customize your document to fit your, and your employer’s needs. Of course, having a resume creation package prepared for you by the best professionals in the business at Resumetointerviews.com would certainly take a lot of the guesswork out of it for you. We want to get to know you, so your employers will, too.
- Article Name
- When The Economy Collapsed Scared Job Seekers Enrolled in Graduate School…Now What?
- Jason B.
- You have graduated grad school, but now what? The job market is tough for recent graduates, here are 5 tips to redo your resume to fit a new graduate.