Five Fabulous Resume Tips for College Grads (or Anybody)

Fluffy clouds. Chirping birds. Green trees. Colorful flowers. It's springtime! All of these things bring thoughts of joy and serenity to most people, but to you, dear college senior, it is usually a hectic time, full of final exams, decisions to be made, Graduation Day, and looking for a job. Sure, the job search is a major thing on your to-do list, but having fun, studying, and exams usually take the top spots as the months wind down and Graduation Day nears.

In all the preparation for Graduation day, you've probably forgotten about the most important tool needed to land that perfect job. The resume. This handy little tool is the key to getting your foot in the door just to speak to someone. And you forgot? Don't you know that the resume is your calling card and it can make or break your chance of getting an interview to have a chance at a job that is being sought after by hundreds of other graduates.

Never fear my dear college senior, here are five tips to making the best impression with your resume.

1. Maximize your experiences.
Whether you helped out at your dad's office for the summer or planted trees for the local Arbor Day foundation, those experiences adds up to know-how. Think about all of the skills you used on each task and list them. Use lots of adjectives and please use the active voice.

2. Toot your own horn.
Did you increase sales by 50% (you go girl, er guy!)? Did enrollment jump from 350 to 1,000 because of you (you are incredible!)? Did you increase the efficiency of the sundae-making procedure (so industrious, aren't 'cha?)? If you changed the way your company or organization did something, say so. Employers like to see initiative in potential employees, so by all means toot your own horn. Just make sure that it's the truth. Which brings me to the next point.

3. Be honest.
It is now standard practice for employees to do a background checks on a person's credentials, credit, and references so be sure that all of the information on your resume is accurate. Even if a background check is not done at the time of hire, one could be done in the future and your job could be terminated if you were dishonest on your resume.

4. Make it pretty.
Okay it doesn't have to be pretty but it does have to be neat. As a recent graduate you want to keep your resume to one page, one and a half at most (K.I.S.S. Keep It Short Sweetie). The format, how it's arranged on the paper, should be easy to read. Leave plenty of white space so the eye (of your prospective employer) doesn't get tired. Use white or ivory, executive-type paper. If you are e-mailing your resume, keep it simple. Don't use bullets, lines, etc. because it will more than likely not be formatted correctly in the recipient's e-mail reader. Copy and paste the resume into the body of the e-mail because most people are leery of opening anything with attachments because of computer viruses.

5. List your skills.
This may seem obvious, but too many times people only list their hard skills such as computer software or hardware knowledge. It's good to list soft skills as well such as written and oral communications skills, initiative, organizational skills, and being a team player. These skills are all highly sought after and they could make the difference in whether you are hired or not.

Spring is here. The birds are chirping. Graduation Day has come and gone and now you are faced with the start of your career. Your resume is your calling card, so use it as the first tool in your arsenal of getting a job. Remember the 5 tips list above: 1. Maximize your experiences. 2. Toot your own horn. 3. Be honest. 4. Make it pretty. 5. List your skills. Next time we will talk about negotiating your salary. Ciao.

Samantha Gregory-Applewhite is a technical writer by day and a freelance article and busines writer/speaker/personal coach by night. She has 10 years experience writing resumes and coaching individuals in the resume writing process. Her business is Applewhite Communications and her writing website is Applewhite Spaces She lives and plays in Huntsville, Alabama with her husband Odel and her two children Lexi and AJ. Reading, traveling, internet surfing, and spending time with family friends is her passion.

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