A resume for a graduate program or entry-level role will probably be one of the most important resumes you’ll ever write. For most, it is your first foray in to the corporate/working world. It can be tricky to produce a standout resume without any solid work experience to highlight your skills.
However, it doesn’t have to be impossible. You will acquire marketable skills throughout your life, whether it is at a part time job, through university or through other personal interests. These skills are what the employers want to see, and so it is what you must present on your resume. You just need to make sure that you can clearly identify these skills and communicate them well through your resume. Here are some quick tips on how to write a Second Look graduate resume.
Keep this simple. All that is really required is your name, contact phone number and an email address so the potential employer can contact you for the next round! Don’t waste valuable resume real estate adding multiple contact numbers and email addresses (just make sure that the phone/email you’ve entered is accurately entered of course).
I am not a big fan of career objectives. It is assumed that your objective is to obtain employment with the company you are applying for, and establishing your career with them. However, if you want to add a career objective, keep it succinct. Incorporate how you can add value to the organisation (TIP: Research the company and identify their corporate values and how your values align).
Here is where you write a short summary of your resume. Use about 3-5 dot points and highlight your top strengths. Don’t just write a list of skills. Whatever your strengths are; support them with examples. For example, developed strong leadership skills as a the President of the Business Student Association.
This is important information and should sit somewhere on your first page. With limited work experience, your degree/qualification is usually a major selection criteria for graduate programs. If you’ve done well, it’s well advised to highlight your average score. If you’ve also achieved something important during your time studying, also highlight it. Ie.:
Bachelor of Business (Majoring in Marketing)
- Distinction average
- Competed in and won first prize for the Company x corporate challenge
- President of the Business Student Association
List the above in bullet points but keep details to a minimum, you can provide details further in the resume. You want to keep the remaining first page to include another important piece of information; your work experience (if any).
You can also include your high school VCE certification (again highlight scores if you’ve done well) and/or any other certification (ie. Certificate III in Customer Service).
This section is where you can highlight and show off your many talents! Even if you’ve worked part-time in a call centre, or a casual role as a retail assistant, you will have developed valuable skills that are transferable in the corporate environment.
- To figure out what core skills you can highlight, put yourself in the employer’s shoes; good customer service skills can be developed into great client management skills
- Don’t just list your duties. Identify what it is the employer is after and cater your duties to fit. So if the employer is looking for someone that works well in team, you could say working together in a team, coordinated stocktaking activities to increase efficiencies and completed earlier than required time
- Last but not least, include some concrete, quantifiable achievements, such as exceed KPI of +95% customer satisfaction and received employee of the month award as a result.
List skills including computing, business, customer service skills etc. Again, where possible, support them with examples. This section may be particularly important for certain roles ie. Technical or IT roles, so you may want to include this on the first page.
Extra-curricular Activities/Other Interests
Here you can go into further detail about university club participation, other achievements and/or personal interests. Again, as per your employment summary section, highlight your skills and provide good examples that support these skills.
Do not disregard the formatting. Of the hundreds if not thousands of resumes that the recruiter must scan through, yours will be a breath of fresh air after the 99th careers website’s template resumes. The following formatting tricks will create a point of differentiation
- Use easy to read fonts such as times new roman, cambria or arial. For a modern twist, try calibri or century gothic
- Widen the page margins slightly and use 1.15 line spacing
- Use dot points where possible, and keep them short and to the point. Don’t waffle on
- For added differentiation, use colour. Try and incorporate the company’s corporate colours. That will really make your resume stand out!
Remember, you will require a functional resume for graduate jobs; a skills based resume. Don’t just list your history, list your developed skills and provide examples/achievements to support these acquired skills. Best of luck!
PS. Of course, if you are still in doubt about your abilities to create a standout resume (or even if you are too busy studying for your final exams ;)), get Second Look Resume. I’ve had 100% success rate for my own graduate program applications. I know exactly what the employers are looking for and will endeavour to help you reach the same success!