For recent graduates of community college, resume writing is an important skill. They often find out quickly that getting a job with no experience can be difficult. The upside to community colleges and technical schools is they generally teach in a manner that lends itself to make a college resume. While university graduates are often trainable but not necessarily trained, community college graduates usually have marketable skills.
Here are four steps that will help translate lessons learned in community college to strong points on a well-written resume.
First, write down all the courses you took in school. Include everything from basic classes to advanced courses. As you think about each class, identify skills you learned. List them specifically, including details of your proficiency in each.
Second, make a list of any other activities in which you participated while in school. Include clubs, volunteer positions, service projects and similar endeavors. Consider how your participation in each activity might represent abilities that would benefit a potential employer. Pay particular attention to any leadership positions you held.
Third, match the skills and abilities from the first two steps to the career you hope to pursue. If you have a particular job opening in mind, note how your talents fit that position. Take into account those items about which you are most passionate. Such feelings often come through in interviews and even in the way you present yourself on your resume.
Fourth, build your resume to correspond with how your qualifications go with the occupation or specific employment you seek. To do this, you’ll need to use a functional resume format, instead of a chronological resume. A functional resume will showcase the particular skills you learned in community college. You can include a section on “Selected Accomplishments” or “Special Skills” that demonstrates your capabilities. You can also include a segment called “Community Involvement,” which shows your other qualifications.
Making a community college resume in this manner will make getting a job with no experience much easier.
They say you only get once chance to make a first impression and writing your resume is definitely included in that. So what do you need to do in order to make your resume stand out from the crowd?
1. Tailor it to the job
Now I don’t mean lie! But adapt each resume for the job you’re applying for. Not lots, otherwise you’ll be forever typing, just enough to give it the edge. Maybe an introductory couple of lines, a bit like a cover letter. Or maybe by excluding things that are totally irrelevant to the job you’re hoping to get.
2. Make it look professional
If your resume is on flimsy paper that looks like it’s been dragged through a hedge backwards, there’s a good chance you’ll get ignored. Use a reasonable quality paper and make sure that the formatting is in tact. Computer word processors do a good job most of the time but occasionally they can mess with page settings and suddenly your work of art is looking more like a pig’s ear.
3. Proof read it
Read your resume. Out loud. I don’t care who’s watching or listening! You’re checking for factual errors, awkward gaps and whether or not it actually reads well. Reading out loud is the best way to do this – wherever you stumble, something is wrong.
4. Follow any specific options on the ad
You’d be surprised how many people don’t read instructions. Some adverts specifically ask you to include certain points. If that’s the case, be certain to do so.
5. Use a nice email address
The jokey email you set up at school or college probably doesn’t project the best image for you. Since most employers will expect you to include an email address, choose carefully (which means be boring!). Email addresses are free so if yours doesn’t send the right tone, get another one.