College Central®

Ask around. The Network works.®

Career Corner
Got The Right Resume To Land Your First Job?

Cecile Peterkin -- One of the most challenging tasks any college graduate has to accomplish is to prepare their very first resume. Before you even start looking for a job to apply for, make sure that you have the right tool with you -– an effective resume.

The thing that makes it hard for college students to create an outstanding CV is their lack of work experience and history, and basically not knowing what should and should not be included in this very important document. But, what you just have to keep in mind is that your resume should be able to effectively reflect your skills, as well as your determination and enthusiasm, to land your first job.

According to experts, employers don’t really expect much from their new-graduate applicants. What they are expecting to see in their resumes, however, are their skills and more importantly, their potential. So how are you going to make sure that your resume will get positive attention from hiring managers? Follow these tips:

1. Gather all the necessary info

Before you write your resume, summarize all of your school projects or whatever job experience you may have had when you were still in college. Make a list only of the keywords that explain each of your experience. These keywords will serve as your guide, especially when you write a summary of your skills, which you should put at the beginning of your CV. By reviewing your skills, you also become more familiar with yourself, and this could help you later on in a job interview.

2. Highlight your accomplishments

While potential employers would want to know what your duties and responsibilities were in your previous jobs, they are keener on knowing how much you have accomplished in your jobs. You have to understand that you sometimes need to add in specific details and elaborate on how you were able to complete certain tasks. This gives hiring managers an idea of how valuable you could be in their organization.

3. Mention any related coursework

If you don’t think taking up a Writing 101 course won’t help much in your job search, think again. You shouldn’t ignore even the shortest course you’ve taken in college, especially if what you learned there is related to the job you are applying for. Again, hiring managers want to see your background so they could know if there’s any chance you would be the perfect fit for the positing they are filling in.

4. Don’t send out uniform resumes to all employers

It is not a good idea to produce several copies of your resume and send them one by one to various employers. It is your responsibility to customize your CV according to what employers may need to know about you. For instance, there are jobs that require applicants to have vast volunteer experience, while others don’t. This also means that you need to do some background check on the company just so you know what they are looking for.

5. Don’t give too much contact information

It is common to include in your resume your phone number, email, and home address, but see to it that you don’t give the hiring manager too many alternate phone numbers or email addresses. Choose one that you’re sure you can check from time to time so that you won’t miss any message you may receive from an employer.

6. Know your goal

Take note that you are not writing a career change resume. You are writing a resume to get your first job. With that said, you should do this for a very simple reason -– to market yourself. Keep in mind that your goal is to package, advertise, and sell yourself to the right employer. Thus, you have to make them believe that you are the best available individual out there by giving them only the information they need. Remember that whatever message your resume conveys speaks about you as a person and a professional.

Cecile Peterkin is a certified career and retirement coach, and a registered member of the Career Professionals of Canada and the International Coach Federation. She is also the Founder and Senior Career Strategist at Cosmic Coaching Center, provider of career and life management services for middle managers and mid-career professionals across Canada, United States and Europe..

© 2014 Cecile Peterkin

Return to top

The views and opinions expressed in these articles do not necessarily reflect those of College Central Network, Inc. or its affiliates. Reference to any company, organization, product, or service does not constitute endorsement by College Central Network, Inc., its affiliates or associated companies. The information provided is not intended to replace the advice or guidance of your legal, financial, or medical professional.