Fresh Graduate's Guide to a Winning Resume

Fresh Graduate's Guide to a Winning Resume

Fresh Graduate's Guide to a Winning Resume

To land your dream job, you need to be ahead of the curve. And a winning resume may be what you need to be noticed amidst a sea of applicants. Fresh graduates often fall into job application mistakes and if you’re not careful, you can become one of them. To save you from these blunders, here’s a quick guide to help you write the resume that will be your ticket to your dream job.

4 Steps to a Winning Resume

#1. Know How a Resume Differs from a Curriculum Vitae

Many people mistakenly think that your CV (Curriculum Vitae) and your Resume are the same when, in fact, they’re not. Although both documents outline your experience, skills and accomplishments, the two differs in several crucial aspects.

Your Resume summarizes your qualifications and eligibility in a manner tailored specific to the position you are applying for. Your CV, on the other hand, outlines all your career and educational experiences and remains the same across different job posts you are applying for. The CV is mostly used for an academic and research post, while the Resume is typically used in the corporate world. 

In a glance, your resume is...

  • A quick and concise summary of your career biography;
  • Targeted to the job/role you are applying for;
  • Comes with a cover letter.

#2. Keep it Short (2 Pages at most)

Like a good copywriter, your first goal is to catch the interest of the hiring manager. You want to be able to pitch your unique selling point to him at a glance. This is best done by keeping your resume concise and direct to the point. Take note that a winning resume doesn’t run longer than two pages and reserves the details in your job interview. 

Therefore, you must keep the substance of your resume intact while keeping it concise. This makes writing a resume very difficult. However, the key here is to use the keywords that the employer is searching for. 

#3. Aim for a Professional Layout

With a good layout, you can make your resume attractive, easy to read, and easy to follow. 

Also, remember that your work reflects your personality and this holds true for your resume. A dragging, bulky and unorganized resume can turn off the hiring manager. His reaction grows worse, if your resume looks like a grade school project. 

For creatives professionals, resume layout is more flexible as a way of showing inventiveness.

  • Margins - 0.5" to 1" on both sides is preferred.
  • Font Size - The headings are commonly larger than the body text. Feel free to size it beyond 12 point while keeping the Body text size between 10-12 point.
  • Font Styles - Common Font Styles are: Times New Roman, Georgia, Arial, Calibri and Helvetica.
  • Spacing - 1.0 to 1.15 line spacing is preferred to fit the contents in one page while keeping it readable.
  • Page Size - stick to standard letter size 8.50 x 11 inches.
  • Profile Image - in the Philippines, a recent 2 x 2 picture in professional outfit is preferred. Make sure you look professional with a pleasant personality in the picture. 

NOTE: While you want to keep it concise, never compromise readability. If you can't put all information in one page, the safest thing to do is to write a page 2.

#4. AVOID Typographical Error and Grammar Mistakes

You can’t afford to overlook even the slightest typographical error in your resume. Typographical mistakes or grammar errors will tell a lot about your capability. It means you’re not detail oriented or, worse, you have poor written communications skills. 

Your resume can be the ticket to the job that you have long dreamt -- but you have to do it well. Even as a fresh graduate, there are steps that you can follow to avoid the most common blunders of writing a professional resume.

Anatomy of a Resume

Anatomy of a Resume

Anatomy of a Resume

Objective or Summary Statement

The Objective includes your expectations and what you want to accomplish. Note that the summary statement and objective is written in third person point of view. So instead of I/my, use he/his or she/her. But the best thing to do is to keep it impersonal so there's no need to use pronouns.

Example of Summary Statement:

Administrative Assistant with six years of experience working directly for the President of the company. Possesses impeccable written and verbal communications skills and excellent interpersonal skills. (Source)

Example Objective:

Financial - Secure a position with a leading organization that will lead to a long term career relationship. (Source)

Skill Set

Next thing to include is your skill set or qualifications relevant to the job. Remember to highlight specific or hard skills, e.g SEO, photoshop, video editing. Only put soft skills like organizational skills, communications secondarily. Otherwise, if this is what the job vacancy is calling for, highlight these skills instead. A winning resume only includes skills targeted to a specific job post.
 
Importantly, it is not enough to list down what you are capable of doing. It is important to include proof.

Example:

Don't say: Fluent in Spanish
Do say: Finished Level C2 Spanish DELE Level

Career Experience

As a fresh graduate, the entries in this section would be understandably lacking. This often happens because many freshies do not include extra-curricular activities relevant to the job they are applying for. Aside from the internship, you can include in this section all relevant experiences you had, e.g when you volunteered in a fundraiser, worked in a local church, and held a position in civic or school organization. Taking active part in organizing conferences and events, although not part of your internship or coursework, can show your organizational skills and other expertise. By all means, include them.

When writing your experiences, do not focus on the job role or duties you had, rather emphasize your achievement on that experience. Be specific and quantify as much as possible.

Example:

SEO Writer - Developed ranking contents that led to 75% increase in website traffic of the company over a period of 6 months.

Education

Your education is one of the most crucial part of the resume along with your experience. As someone fresh out of college, now is the best time to flaunt your educational achievement. As you progress in work, the bearing of your educational attainment will gradually lose value, while your experience will become more relevant.
 
Make sure you list your highest educational attainment along with any vocational course or trainings you have had aside from your bachelor's. Include the school, degree year, and honors or your GWA (if it's high enough to merit).

Example:

Polytechnic University of the Philippines, Sta Mesa 2013 - 2017 Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering Cum Laude GWA - 1.55
TESDA -Marikina 2014 Automotive Servicing, NC-II

Free Resume Templates

When you’re running out of time to layout and write your own resume, try any of these resources where you can craft your own resume in just a few minutes. 

Resource: Resume Genius

Check out these curated resume templates that suits your line of career. Resume Genius offers free downloadable templates for professional and creatives people in a wide range of styles and designs.

Classic Resume

Here you can create your resume with the timeless classic look. Follow the three simple steps and you can quickly send out your resume.

Classic Resume

Classic Resume

Professional Resume

Log onto your Google Drive and create a professional Resume with this Google Doc Resume template. It is already limited to 2 pages, all you have to do is to type your entries for each section.

Professional Resume

Professional Resume

Creative Professional Resume

While you have the freedom to layout your own resume as a way of showing your creative side, you can still choose to use templates like this from CursiveQ.

Creative Professional Resume

Creative Professional Resume

Remember, resume writing is a skill. It could take you more than two revisions to achieve the best layout and wordings for your resume. It helps to ask for help from a professional or a former teacher when you prepare your resume. 

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