Having just graduated from college, the hardest thing is going into the workforce with little experience. Sure, we did internships, joined student organizations and volunteered while in college, but none of those things add up to the typical 3 to 5 years experience many job descriptions ask for.

With today’s competitive job market, recent college graduates may be competing with more seasoned workers. But do not get discouraged; simply make sure you sell yourself through your resume, cover letter, and portfolio. The important thing is to get your foot in the door, and that little piece of paper is the gatekeeper between you and your first interview.

Go to Your School’s Career Resource Center

Your university’s career resource center can be a great place to learn basic resume writing techniques. University career resource centers have counselors who will proof your resume and give tips on how to improve the content and format. If you’re like me and are no longer in college, look for your local career resource center. The career counselor can help you organize your experience and skills.

Career Resource Centers in Lakeland: Polk Works, Florida Southern College Career Center, Polk State College Career Zone, Southeastern University Career Services

Organize Your Resume Based On Your Skills and the Positions You are Interested In

Before building your resume, decide how to best format is based on the types of jobs you will be applying for. If you are applying for a job in advertising or design, try creating a visually pleasing resume that will give potential employers a sneak peek of your design abilities. However, if you are applying for jobs in finance, try using a simple layout and font (Times New Roman size 12 is always a safe bet). Limit the number of bullet points you use. Recruiters want to know the most important and impressive tasks you did in your previous positions and how they will help you in the position you are applying for. If you’re like me and don’t have a plethora of experience, put your education first. Remember, recruiters are looking at a lot of resumes at once and you want to catch their eye quickly!

Customize Your Resume

Like I said above, think about the position you’re applying for when writing your resume. Think about the company’s mission statement and the description of the specific job you are applying for. Pay close attention to what makes a company unique and tailor your resume to match the company’s mission statement.

Since most applications are submitted online, be sure to save your resume with your first and last name. You could also include the name of the company or the position you are applying to ensure recruiters won’t lose your resume, don’t use a generic name resume.pdf. Also, remember to save the file as a PDF to make sure recruiters won’t have any issues downloading the it. This will also ensure the format of your resume will not change in the process.

Avoid Unclear or Vague Information

An unclear or vague resume will make a negative impression on a recruiter. Making sure you avoid any errors or vague wording is key when writing a resume that will be submitted to a future employer or a company recruiter. Remember, your resume is often the first impression a company will have of you as a person and possible future employee. Be clear, concise and detail oriented when writing your resume. Having simple grammatical or typographical errors on your resume is a surefire way to have a recruiter disregard you before you even walk through the door.

Responsible for designing a new marketing campaign

Designed new marketing campaign which increased sales by 25%

The first example is a generalization of the position but doesn’t tell what you did. The second example gives recruiters more details on what you did and how it helped the organization. By including how your work improved the organization’s mission, recruiters can see how you may be able to help their organization.

Proof, Proof, and Proof Again!

Having as many people as possible proofread your resume before you print (or submit) the final draft will help ensure you avoid any simple errors. Even if you feel your resume is perfect and there isn’t anything more you can do to improve it, it is always a good idea to have an extra set of eyes look it over. Having a fresh pair of eyes look over it is a great way to get feedback and catch any spelling or grammar mistakes (and ensure you follow tip #4). I think it is smart to have at least three or four editors proof your resume before submitting it. Have a professor, friend or employer from an internship read it over… each person will likely have a different perspective on what you have written. The more feedback you receive on your resume, the more confident in it you will become.

Keeping your resume in tip-top shape will leave a positive impression on future employers and hopefully be the first step to your future career. For more tips on how to build that perfect resume, check out our social media