Q: I’m graduating college this year and still working on my resume. Do you have any tips?
A: Congratulations on your graduation and welcome to the workforce!
We often help recent college graduates with their resumes. One of the most common mistakes new job seekers make is not providing detail on the jobs they held during school. For instance, a candidate who worked as a receptionist in the Dean’s office might list their duties as “answering phones,” overlooking and failing to mention other valuable office experience like: planning meetings, greeting important people and organizing events.
I recommend thinking about all the work experience you have from college – including part-time or unpaid jobs, internships, work study and extracurricular activities – and the responsibilities you were given in those roles. Then think about the special achievements you accomplished during each experience. Use bullet points to call out each item.
However, don’t succumb to the other common mistake new job seekers make of writing about every detail you can think of. Keep it relevant to the job you’re seeking or the kind of work you want to do. For example, if you worked as a lifeguard during school, it would be appropriate to include the details of that experience if you’re looking for new lifeguarding jobs. If you’re pursuing office work, you should think about the aspects of your lifeguarding experience that are relevant to office employers, such as record-keeping, managing schedules, etc.
Rather than providing detailed information about special events, trips or assignments, just list them and save the big story for the interview. If the employer is interested in your trip to China during your internship, they’ll ask you about it. Conversely, if they’re not interested, it doesn’t benefit you to include all the details on your resume.
Finally, I can’t stress enough how important it is to proof-read your resume. Print it out so that you can see what it looks like from the eyes of the recipient. Is it formatted correctly and is there enough ‘white space’? Employers aren’t likely to read every bullet, so you want to make sure your important information stands out. Ask a friend, family member or professor to proof-read it, too. They may catch a mistake that you’ve overlooked.
About the Recruiter
Katy Leveque is a Senior Group Manager at PSG. Katy learned the recruiting business from the ground up. She joined PSG shortly after graduating college over five years ago and today Katy oversees the service teams that support some of PSG’s most valued clients.