The job market is tough for entry level workers. Whether you’re fresh out of school or you have a year or two under your belt, you should know how to craft a resume that makes you look like the smart, talented worker you are. Here’s how you can really write a resume that “sells” your entry-level experience and skills.
Use Targeted Keywords
You should know what type of job you are looking for, and what industry you would like to work in, prior to putting the finishing touches on your resume. Interestingly enough, you don’t have to have years of experience in an industry to know what employers are looking for. Keywords are, well, key. They grab the attention of the reader, and show that you know what issues and skills are important in the market. And how your experience, limited though it may be, will help you get the job done.
Also, it’s important to note that many companies use resume and application screening software programs that look for specific keywords, and reject those resumes that fail to use them. Your best resource when picking out key words is likely the job description itself. Keep an eye out for unique or different phrases and descriptors, beyond the common ones such as team-player, good communicator, etc. While it’s good to write for the computers, you also want your resume to read well enough to impress a human recruiter as well.
Testimonials and References
While you might be surprised to hear that resumes now often include quotes from former bosses, professors, or other influential people, these testimonials offer recruiters an inside look at the type of worker you really are. Think of your resume as the back of a book. It’s a brief overview of your work experience, your story. Testimonials can be just the thing to encourage readers to read your book.
References are another great way to show your quality as a potential hire despite the lack of a lengthy CV. They bring a real human element to an otherwise dry medium. Nothing makes a potential hire look as good as a former supervisor with glowing reviews. Just be sure to check with your references before you list someone. Few things come across worse than a reference who is either caught by surprise, or who just doesn’t know what to say about you.
Awards and Recognitions
Don’t be shy! Your resume is the last place you want to be modest. So if you’ve earned a couple awards or any professional recognitions, here is the time to really brag about them. They show your commitment and drive as a past and potential future employee. Recognition of your accomplishments is valuable, particularly in how it communicates your value to prospective employers. If your resume is short on work history or experience, things like awards and recognitions, extra-curricular activities, even volunteer projects and personal interests, can help to flesh out an otherwise impersonal and uninteresting resume.
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