The numbers are pretty sobering. In the spring of 2015 some 2.8 million students graduated from college with either bachelor’s or advanced degrees. That’s a lot of young and inexperienced workers entering the workforce.
The job market since the great recession has not been kind to recent college graduates. Even today as the economy continues to slowly improve, 18-29-year-olds make up 40 percent of the nation’s unemployed. The unemployment rate among the same age group hovers around 13 percent, while the national average sits around 5.2 percent.
Getting started in a career can be difficult, especially with little to no experience.
That’s why it’s never been as important for recent graduates to create entry-level resumes and LinkedIn profiles that stand out, even though their level of experience may not be on par with competing job-seekers. Even with little to no work history, you can relate your past experiences and achievements, whether through community affiliations or extracurricular activities, beyond paid jobs to excellent talking points on your resume.
Highlight all your accomplishments and volunteer experience Maybe you didn’t land the killer internship last summer. So what did you do instead? Unless you spent the entire summer on the couch, you likely have some sort of experience to highlight — even volunteering.
Employers love hiring people who love to volunteer, and finding volunteer opportunities is never difficult. Nonprofit agencies are always looking for free labor and offer the skills you’ll need to enter the workforce There are countless ways to leverage that experience on your entry-level resume, and at Capstone Resume Services we can help you do just that.
Don’t count out minimum wage jobs as fodder for your first resume, either. Work in the stockroom at the local big box over the holidays? Turn that job title into “inventory control” and make sure to highlight any and all accomplishments.
Keep it short and simple Hiring managers and recruiters are bombarded with dozens of entry-level resumes every day, leaving them little time to study pages and pages of fluff designed to fill in gaps in experience. Yes, it’s important to detail all relevant work experience, volunteer service and achievements, but adding words or sentences just to fill out an entire page will ensure your resume won’t receive the attention it deserves. If you’re trying to avoid the half-page look, consider bringing in the margins a little bit, bumping up the font size of your name at the top and spacing out your contact info on separate lines.
Line up your references We all have people in our lives that can vouch for our work-ethic, intelligence and ability. Seek those people out and get them to agree to advocate on your behalf. While you may not want to list your references directly on your resume, ask them to write you a letter of recommendation that you can provide at a moment’s notice or that you can upload as separate files in online job listings. While you may not have a lot of relevant experience, lining up quality references who can speak well of you could make all the difference.