Hiring managers and recruiters need to make a connection between your course work, internships, volunteer work, and their business needs. This article advises students to keep this in mind when describing their educational history and work background.
Or maybe I should say "A College Student Resume", since there is not one format or one approach to building THE best resume for a college student or graduate.
The single greatest challenge with a new graduate's resume is getting potential employers to find the skills and talents nestled in your academic-focused resume that would meet their business-focused needs. It is tough enough for those of us with years
of business experience to accomplish that, so it is definitely not an easy task for the new graduate. While relying on job networking or college alumni groups or your career center at school are all smart strategies to getting job leads, you will
still need a solid resume to supplement the search and interview aspects of your job search.
To get past some of these hurdles, your resume has to meet the classical needs as well as the new-age needs of the job search.
Notice that I did not say, "Focus on Your Degree". As a new college graduate, this is the most common mistake in the job search. I have seen people prominently put their school, their degree (major and minor) and their GPA on their resume and then, without further details, they listed their numerous summer or part-time jobs as burger flippers or cashiers at grocery stores.
While it is important to show the work, in many cases these job seekers are not grasping the point that after four or more years of college, the potential employer is needing much more information here than just a degree, school and GPA. Here are some things to expand on:
The most important thing I look for when interviewing college students is any type of work they may have performed during the last several years, this includes jobs that were held just prior to staring college as well as those during and since the degree programs. I am looking for work ethic, increasing responsibility, modest stability and a sense of professionalism. As a recent student, I expect you to focus on your academics and I expect the jobs may be just to supplement your income and not always a career path choice. So it does not surprise me to see an MBA graduate with a summer job at a Pizza Hut or an engineering student stocking shelves at Costco.
But what I do not want to read is a list of all your tasks at these places. Just give me the basic job description in a two-sentence paragraph and then add a bullet or two that focuses on what you did there to make your work stand out.
Did you consistently stock the shelves in less time than required, did you get a customer service award, did you recommend changes to the schedule to improve staffing coverage, did you exceed sales quota, did you offer to do the tasks that nobody else wanted, and did you leave on good terms with the management??
These are the things I want to know about…traits that could give me insight on how you might fit in at my firm. Look for the transferable talents you learned and exercised and then make those the central points of these non-career jobs on your resume.
Not all of your time at college is spent in studies or working. There are numerous extra-curricular activities that are worth mentioning on your resume, but be careful not to distract the hiring manager away from your skills.
For example, if you are the captain of a team, or a treasurer of a club, these roles are worth mentioning on your resume. If you compete in sports and you might be applying to a company that manufactures sporting goods equipment, then you would want to mention some of your sporting activities.
List at least one activity, as this shows that you have a life beyond your studies…that you are socially adept. But do not list more than about two or three activities, as this indicates you are less focused on academics and are more interested in all the distractions on campus. The hiring managers want a person that can socially "fit in" with their firms, but not a person that is too busy to put in an honest day's work.
Do not forget to list your volunteer activities (work). This does two things…it shows that the employer that you are willing to commit time to a cause that you think is valuable and it provides the employer with a small concept of your sense of
"moral direction". So make sure you take an active role in a volunteer group (that the employer would be proud of) and definitely indicate any leadership role you took in this group.
As I mentioned earlier, with electronic filtering of resumes, keywords have become one of the most critical elements of a resume. The recommendations for college graduates is similar to experienced workers that are seeking jobs. You must make sure you have the right keywords in your resume.
Once you have written your basic resume, go to Monster, CareerBuilder or your college career center and search for about five job descriptions that interest you (without regard to location). Then go through each one and highlight the keywords, products, capabilities or other words that identify skill, knowledge, or requirements that are identified in these job postings. After you have reviewed each job posting, identify the top 10–20 words that the job postings are listing that you are sure you have in your skill-set.
Now, find a way to weave each of those words into your resume in some fashion. The best way is to use the identical word in your resume at least once. Remember that the recruiter is looking for the keywords used in context in
your resume (not your cover letter, not lumped in a keyword section, not in your email) – the more matches, the more likely your resume will be further considered for its content, not just the keywords.
When a college student or graduate develops a resume, make sure you are listening to current advice…so much has changed over the years. The focus of the resume is usually your education, so lead with it if you have little work experience. If you have worked while in college, yes, list the jobs, but emphasize the aspects of the job that are relevant to your career search. Be cautious listing your extra-curricular activities by listing just the ones that are relevant to your career or where you showed leadership skills. And really focus on getting your keywords right…that is what allows recruiters to connect your resume with their job opportunities.
Source: C.J. Trayser, https://mrl8nite.com/2012/07/24/the-college-student-resume/
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 3.0 License.