So how, in those six seconds, does a college student with limited professional experience really impress an employer?
To help answer that question, here are six things every young professional’s resume should include…
A summary statement is not the same thing as a generic line stating your objective. Instead, a summary statement is the written equivalent of your “elevator speech.” That is, it’s a quick summary highlighting what makes you a great candidate—in a few sentences, explain your skills, accomplishments, and the ways in which you could benefit a potential employer.
Links to Online Profiles
This may be a link to your LinkedIn profile, or it could be a link to an online portfolio showcasing your writing, art, design, or other work you have created. Whatever you choose, make sure that you have a professional presence online.
This does not mean that you need to delete all traces of your social media profiles. In fact, having a social media presence where you demonstrate involvement in your desired field—talking about a conference you attended, posting a link to an article you read—can be a huge benefit during a job search.
Suitable Contact Information
Still using that email address you created in high school? You may need to create a new email address. Choose one that is based on your name rather than on hobbies, jokes, nicknames, etc. For your phone number, include one where your voice mail message is dedicated to you and is clear, brief and sounds professional.
Young professionals who have limited paid experience might still have gained relevant, applicable experience by doing something other than paid work. For example, college coursework, volunteering, internships or membership in clubs or associations all provide valuable hands-on experience.
Including these types of experiences could also increase the chances that your resume contains the relevant keywords that an applicant tracking system will be looking for.
Don’t fear having too little information on your resume!
A resume is not meant to take the place of an autobiography; it is meant to give hiring managers—and, increasingly, applicant tracking software—an idea of whether you have the skills and experience necessary to succeed at the job. White space is easier on the eyes than clutter. If you hate the idea of leaving too much off your resume, then prepare a second, more-detailed version of your resume to bring with you once you are offered an in-person interview.
For each organization you have worked, interned or volunteered for, consider adding a sentence or two describing its industry, size, and mission. This information can give recruiters a better overall picture of your experience. It can enhance your candidacy if a recruiter knows, for example, that your internship experience was in a start-up environment. Recruiters are not going to stop to research every organization that every applicant has been involved with. If you do the legwork for them, you just might include the information that lands your resume in the “yes” pile.
And three things to leave off…
If a recruiter or hiring manager is reading your resume, they already know that you want a job. A stilted statement about your desire to “obtain a position” or “leverage your experience” is not necessary, and won’t tell a recruiter anything that they don’t already know.
References Upon Request
Resume real estate is valuable; there is no need to use any of it up with this throwaway line. Just don’t.
Even if you have a polished, professional headshot, you should not include a picture of yourself on your resume. Any time that a recruiter spends looking at a picture is less time that they spend reading about your skills and accomplishments. Additionally, photos and other graphics cannot always be read by applicant tracking systems.
It can be especially hard to make a resume that stands out when you are at the beginning stages of your career. But by incorporating these helpful hints, your resume is sure to impress!
For this post, YouTern thanks our friends at JobScan Blog!
About the Author: Trista Winnie has been writing and editing professionally for nearly a decade, primarily covering the job search, investing, engineering, and health. She earned her bachelor’s degree from Pacific Lutheran University and her master’s degree from Gonzaga University. In her free time, she enjoys reading, cooking, and sports.