You’re aware that the job market these days is highly competitive, but you feel confident that your education, personality, and determination will land you a job sure to make your mom and dad sit up and take notice.
While a positive attitude such as this is sure to serve first-time job seekers well, it’s going to take more than positivity to snag the job of your dreams.
For starters, you should craft a resume that is sufficiently compelling to capture the interest of prospective employers.
Resumes Can Open Doors
For job seekers of all ages, it’s difficult to overstate the importance of a winning resume coupled with a targeted cover letter in opening the door to job interviews and, hopefully, job offers.
For those new to the job market, the resume takes on even greater importance. Employers have only so many minutes in the day and only a fraction of that time to devote to interviewing job candidates. With scores of job seekers to choose from, companies will opt for those whose resumes — and cover letters — strike just the right chord.
How, then, do you write a resume likely to capture a prospective employer’s attention and sufficiently impress him to call you in for an interview?
No Real On-the-Job History
Assuming that you’ve just graduated from college, you probably have little in the way of practical on-the-job experience, apart from what you may have gained in summer jobs or internships. This necessarily rules out a resume that focuses primarily on past job experience.
Basically what you have to offer is your knowledge of the subject matter and skills that are central to the company’s line of business, whatever that might be.
And perhaps even more important is your determination to make a positive contribution on the job wherever you might be hired.
What’s Your Objective?
Near the top of almost every traditional resume is a brief — but vitally important — section that is variously called Job objective, Career Goal, Target, or words to that effect.
Because it is near the top of the resume, it is one of the first things a hiring manager will see. It is also an opportunity for you to engage a prospective employer’s interest and set yourself apart from all the other job seekers the employer is considering.
If you give this all-important section of your resume short shrift, it will probably guarantee that hiring managers will accord your application similar treatment.
Try to imbue your career or job objective with the passion you feel for the field of work involved and your determination to make a positive contribution to that field. If the job for which you are applying inspires no passion in you, it’s likely that this is not a field in which you should be working.
Emphasize Knowledge, Skills
Because your on-the-job experience is limited, your resume should focus on a summary of the knowledge and skills you can bring to the workplace.
Be sure to list advanced courses on subject matter relevant to your job objective, as well as skills or experience you may have developed as a hobbyist in computers, social media, or other pursuits that are related to the job you’re seeking.
Unless you’re still living in a cave somewhere, your basic resume, once drafted, probably resides in computer memory.
For each and every job you’re applying for, take the time to individualize not just your cover letter but the resume itself.
If you highlight the experience, studies, internships, or other background that is most pertinent to each job opening, hiring managers are more likely to be favorably impressed and to call you in for an interview.
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Good luck in your search.