Many students about to graduate are asking how to build a resume now that they are one the verge of entering the working world and leaving the classroom behind. Odds are those that graduate and find employment in their desired fields knew how to build a resume and did it well. Building a good resume revolves around three key areas: having a readable format, promoting yourself and being able to show experience and a work history. Think about if you were a hiring manager, would you hire someone who had their information all over the place, didn’t’ list their qualifications and had little to no past employment? Chances are no.
But, before you sit down and try to build your resume, you need to list all of the positive aspects of yourself, and we don’t mean things like “great at rollerblading” or “really likes being nice.” Employers have seen statements like this on numerous resumes and typically don’t take these candidates serious at all, which means their resumes end up in the garbage. Think of aspects such as, your ability to complete a task without being distracted, multitasking and being detail oriented.
Now that we have scratched the tip of the iceberg on how to build a resume, it’s time to sit down a start crafting a resume that will land you your dream job.
Format is king with a resume. Employers do not want to waste their time searching for the information they need the most. Your name and contact information, including address, contact number and email should appear at the top of the resume. Then beneath this should come your education experience, work history, skills and any special awards or certifications that you have received. Seeing that a candidate has received an award or additional training in a field is exceptional to a potential employer. It shows that you have gone above and beyond to further your knowledge or that you are so exceptional that you have been recognized by others for your work. All of your content needs be neat too. That means that your school name and the names of your past employers need to be in bold and the related information to these needs to be bullet pointed beneath. Also, remember past work experience should be in the past tense. If you were teller at a bank two years ago, then you need to write, “Assisted clients and dealt with their financial issues.” Do not write, “Assists clients and deals with financial issues.”
Many when they ask how to build a resume feel that they need to be modest when writing about their past experiences and accomplishments, but this is not the case at all. You need to be proud of what you have done. Even if you were a stock boy at a grocery store, you most likely did your job and did it to the best of your abilities. Coming out of college employers understand that candidates have little to no experience outside the classroom in their field of study, but they do expect some solid work experience. With this, you need to show that you were the best employee possible. Writing, “Unpacked box and placed goods on shelves” is quite negative. Instead, write something along the lines of, “Received shipments from vendors and then organized and displayed them in the store so that they were visually appealing.” The second example illustrates your job and shows that you actually put forth effort and cared about your duties, even if they seem menial to you. It promotes you as an employee and shows your potential employer that you can work hard for them.
Since you are just coming out of college, your work history is sparse. But, you should have some type of work history. Employers want to see that others have hired you, been impressed with your performance and kept you around for a while. The length of your employment also factors into an employer’s decision to bring you on as part of the team. Since you are just coming out of school, it does not necessarily matter that you have had experience with other unrelated fields, but it does matter on how long you had worked there. Listing multiple jobs that you were at for only a few months each shows a company that you may only work there for a little bit. Having multiple years of experience with a past employer shows that you are reliable and dependable.
With these basics, you should have a good springboard for tackling your question of how to build a resume. Remember to make sure that you resume should be visually appealing and professionally appealing. You are going after your first job out of college, so the road ahead may seem daunting. But, with tenacity and the right knowledge behind you about resume and cover letter writing, you should soon be starting the career that you have always wanted.