Most college graduates face a similar problem when applying for their first job: When you haven’t had a real job before, how do you demonstrate you have the necessary qualifications for an open position?
Fortunately, even if your work history is brief (or nonexistent), you can craft a compelling résumé. Here’s how:
1. Lose the Objective Statement
2. Use a Combination Resume
Instead of listing your achievements in chronological order, consider a combination format. It allows you to place more focus on your professional skills by grouping them together near the top of your document. You might, for example, have sections titled “Web Design and Development Skills” and “Supervisory Experience.”
- Get Inspired: What almost seemed like another well-done résumé package made jaws drop as the 2010 Promotion Design Awards. View the Best of Show winner.
Don’t limit yourself to abilities you’ve honed through full- or part-time jobs. Skills you’ve gained through internships, volunteer work or even clubs or social committees can be just as relevant. If you helped design fliers or a logo while volunteering over the summer, include those accomplishments on your resume. Near the end of the document, briefly list your work history in reverse chronological order. Also include your educational experience – school, area of study and GPA if it’s higher than 3.0.
3. Focus on Transferable Skills
While entry-level design jobs typically require some specific technical skills, the years you spent scooping ice cream or working at a retail store may come in handy. If you supervised other staff members, for example, you have managerial experience to add to your resume. You also could highlight your strong customer service and communication skills, which are important for any creative job today — and can distinguish you from the competition.
4. Include Keywords
Increase your chances of getting an interview by using words or phrases from the job listing in your resume if they do, in fact, describe skills you possess. If a role requires candidates to have expertise in browser usability or familiarity with web protocols, for instance, integrate those phrases in your resume so your document will be more likely to catch a hiring manager’s eye or at least pass electronic resume filters.
5. Create a LinkedIn Profile
Create a profile on LinkedIn or an online portfolio site; many hiring managers and recruiters search these sites to find job candidates. Aim for a “100 percent complete” profile on LinkedIn: Include your experience, areas of interest and a photo. Adding a few recommendations — from a professor or internship supervisor — will further distinguish you from the crowd.
6. Seek Feedback
As a designer, you’ll likely spend a lot of time on the layout of your résumé, but don’t forget to scrutinize content as well. Proofread your document and ask a few trusted friends, mentors or family members to review it for errors and clarity. Because many of them have likely written resumes before, their advice can help you turn a good document into a great one.
7. Keep it Relevant
Avoid including personal information, such as your hobbies, unless they’re relevant to the position you’re applying for. Winning your dorm’s annual Dance-A-Thon two years in a row won’t help you land most jobs.
MORE RESOURCES TO ENHANCE YOUR CAREER