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Career Corner
Career Coaching and Resume Writing Tips for College Students

Cecile Peterkin -- You are still in college, so the thought of preparing your resume may not cross your mind right now. You might even wonder why you need a resume anyway.

Well, you actually do need a resume, even this early. With a professionally-written resume, you will be ready for any opportunities that may come your way, even while you are still in college. These opportunities are typically in the form of part-time, seasonal, or temporary work, along with internships, assistantships, and fellowships. More importantly, with a ready resume, you will be in a good position to update it once you start looking for your first job after you graduate.

So what to do now? Here are some very important tips on how you should write your first resume:

1. Begin with a summary of your qualifications.

Professional resume writers say that a summary of your important qualifications is typically more important than an objective statement, particularly if you don’t have a clear career goal yet.

You should avoid writing an unclear objective because it is likely that you will just indicate what job you want. Hiring managers, however, don’t care much about what you want, because they focus on what they want from candidates. Instead of writing an objective, you might as well give the reader of your resume an idea of what value you can offer them. And remember to keep your summary brief.

2. Highlight your education.

In most cases, education is placed at the bottom of a resume. As a student, however, it will serve you better if you put it toward the top of your resume. This is because you don’t have experience to boast of yet. Thus, the most valuable information you can offer is your education. When writing your education, be sure to mention the name of your university or college, the state or city, your anticipated graduation date, as well as the courses related to your job target. If you have a GPA of 3.0 or higher, it is best to mention that, too.

3. Talk about unrelated jobs next.

If you have part-time or temporary work experience that is irrelevant to your possible career goals, there is no need to mention them on your resume. However, there are many employers and hiring managers who also prefer candidates that demonstrate good work ethic and dependability, even though the experience is in an unrelated industry.

4. Have a mindset of an employer.

When you are applying for internships or even jobs, it is important that you somehow think like an employer. Analyze internship announcements or job ads and think about how your experience and your education will match the requirements for those jobs or internships. This way, you can customize your resume according to what the potential employer wants, which will give you a better chance of succeeding in your application.

5. Use the right format and length of resume.

If you don’t have much experience to write on your resume, a one-page resume will be fine. However, not all hiring managers or potential employers will be willing to take a look at a resume from an obviously inexperienced candidate. With that said, career coaching experts would recommend going for two pages, if necessary.

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.

© 2015 Cecile Peterkin

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