How-To Write a Resume

As graduation draws near, students start to worry about whether or not they are prepared for the job search that’s ahead of them.  By keeping a professional profile and resume and knowing how to market themselves, it will be easier for students to find a job after graduation.

When creating a portfolio, students should include their resume, letters of recommendation, college transcripts, certifications, diplomas, awards, citations and degrees.  The portfolio should also include a business card. Brenda Newhouse, a teacher at Mesa Community College, who teaches an art portfolio class, said “students should include something in their portfolio that brands them. Like a logo. You can use a business card, stationary, a thank you card or a postcard with that logo on it. You want to stand out from the rest of the applicants.”  A portfolio can set the student apart from other applicants and can also showcase their work. The portfolio should be professional and organized so the potential employer can easily browse the contents.

The most important part of the portfolio is the resume. A resume is what validates a job candidate for that position. Most employers won’t consider a candidate for a job interview until they see their resume and will proceed with the interview if their qualifications are what they need for the job. The best way to think of a resume is to think in terms of an advertisement. If an employer sees the advertisement and it isn’t persuasive they aren’t going to buy the product or in this case hire the job seeker.

One way the job seeker can set themselves apart is in the design of their resume. It is becoming more common for applicants to create a resume in Adobe Photoshop to demonstrate their technical skills with the program. Heather Campbell, advisor at Grand Canyon University’s Career Center, said “if an applicant doesn’t have a lot of work or real world experience then this can be a great tool to set them apart from their competition. It also proves to the employer that what is  on the resume isn’t just fluff, they are the applicants actual skills.” Here are a few tips on how to create a good resume:

Heading. A resume is made up of five parts.  The first part is the heading, which includes the student’s name, address, zip code, e-mail, and telephone number.  It is important for the employer to know the job seeker’s contact information.

Objective section. The resume also needs to include the student’s objective for that position. “The objective section lets the employer know what the job seekers goals are. For graduates, they should focus their objective on learning about the industry and gaining experience rather than making career advancement their focus,” Campbell said.

Qualifications. The employer needs to know why the person applying is the best candidate for the job and can be demonstrated through their qualifications. Students need to include the summary of their qualifications, their education, job experience and skills.  It should also include the activities, honors and awards that they have received and completed that relate to the position.

References. The reference section should be the last part of the resume. Most applicants don’t list their references and just write “references available upon request”. This will usually suffice but if it is specified in the job posting that references are needed upon applying for the job then the applicant needs to include them.

Technical Skills. This section is optional on a resume. Applicants that are applying for a job that require certain skills like for a marketing position the applicant may need to know how to use InDesign should include this section. Applicants can also include other skills that would make them a qualified candidate for the position.

In addition to the resume, the portfolio should also include any samples of the applicants work. The samples can include pieces of work like articles, proposals and brochures. The applicant needs to include their best work since potential employers will be looking at it and may possibly base their decision on their samples. “Including samples of previous work in the portfolio can be a great tool to promote the applicant’s abilities. Along with the resume, samples can showcase the applicant’s abilities and can also help them stand out against the competition,” Campbell said. For students who are graduating and don’t have any samples of their work, Campbell suggests that they either do freelance work for an online publication or lend their services to a non-profit organization.

Students who are entering the workforce may be competing against a more seasoned worker for a job and they need to set themselves apart from those applicants. This can be done by using their technological skills to their advantage. Most students who go into marketing are knowledgeable in social media and how to drive business via technology. This can be a selling point for potential employers because they aren’t training that employee on how to promote the company in a way that could drive business at a very low cost.  “The best way for a student to sell their abilities on their resume is to highlight the skills that will set them apart,” Campbell said. Students shouldn’t be afraid to apply for a job just because they lack the work experience because their technical skills could make up for the lack in experience.

Students should use social media to help promote themselves and to circulate their resume. One site that can help students in the job search is LinkedIn. On LinkedIn, students can create a profile, post a picture and upload their resume for colleagues, friends and potential employers to see. Students can also use this site to search for jobs at their favorite companies and possibly connect with the person that would make the hiring decision. This site is great for networking and introductions to the hiring managers.

When putting together a portfolio and writing a resume, students need to keep in mind that they are marketing themselves. They need to be professional and highlight what sets them apart from the other candidates. Job applicants need to remember that their resume and portfolio are marketing tools to promote them and their past work experience.    The job hunt can be daunting but if the student is prepared and professional then they could land their dream job in no time.

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About Rachel Slade

Rachel Slade is a Public Relations major at Metro State. She wants to eventually go into corporate communication or media relations and loves meeting new people.

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