Stomping the Yard: Career Center & Resume Tips
The Benefits of The Career Center
“The greatest positive difference in employment for those who utilized college career services is recorded for African-American respondents,” according to The National Association of Colleges and Employers 2014 study. “Among African-American graduates, those that used the career center had an offer rate that was just over 15 percentage points higher than for African-American graduates who did not use the career center.” This is in comparison to just a 1.3 percent increase for all students. African-Americans exponentially benefit more than all other groups, even those who are more likely to utilize career services.
Have you checked out your career services center lately? If not, here’s what you’re missing. Most college career service centers offer: resume and cover letter help, access to exclusive job listings, internship assistance, employer research, workshops, and practice interviews. These services can place students in an advantageous position in comparison to their peers who don’t utilize these services.
Resumes and cover letters in most cases serve as the entry point for employment. While career services can help you apply statistically advantageous changes to both, this article will only be providing tips on the ideal content for resumes.
Resume Content Tips
While you can use a single resume to help you write customized resumes, each resume submitted should be customized to the job ad. The reason for this is two-fold. First, most human resource departments use keyword finding software to match terms in the job description with those in your resume. These software programs serve as admissions screens, eliminating unfit applicants before they can even be evaluated in person. Secondly, each job is looking for a particular slant to your work experience. Generic past job descriptions are not strategically employed and lack the personal touches that lead to an interview.
For those entering a new field or the job market, the resume should begin with your career objectives. First rule of thumb? Avoid vague statements. Rather than saying you’re looking for a challenging position that will accelerate your personal and professional growth, point out specific skills and competencies you wish to gain on the job: project management, excel, knowledge of local fashion designers, etc. Make sure that these skills you wish to improve upon are part of your job description, or you’ll lead the hiring manager to think that your resume was generic and not-customized.
If you have substantial or relevant job experience, read this paragraph and place your job experience before your education. If not, proceed to the next paragraph. List your jobs, along with dates of employment, places of employment, and achievements related to your job performance. Structure your job description in an action/result format. Do not simply list your job functions. The ability to act will not impress hiring managers. Instead, focus on your achievements, making it easier for hiring managers to compare your qualifications against other candidates.
If you don’t have substantial or relevant job experience, list your education before you job experience. Connect specific skills and frameworks learned during school with items in the job description. While it’s fine to list industry-specific terms, do keep in mind that HR professionals are less likely to know what you’re talking about, so do provide definitions.
Finish your resume off with a personal section: award and achievements, organizations that you’re involved in, activities you enjoy, etc. This will help humanize your application. Companies are not just looking for qualified candidates, they’re looking for the person that they’ll enjoy working with, or at the very least enjoy sharing the workplace with.
While this article is limited to resume tips, your career center can help cover other topics of great importance to your job search that aren’t covered here. Use the resources at your disposable, they are there to help you.