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The Resume Debate
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May 29, 2010

Calling All Graduates: Congratulations!

How to Ensure Your Resume Equips You to Compete in Today's Economy

Congratulations, Graduate! Now what? It's the start of an exciting new chapter in your life: Your Career! But can you land the job you want in today's tough economy?  How will you compete against all the experienced candidates flooding the job market, no thanks to corporate downsizing and layoffs?
Good News! It's not as tough as you think. For starters, you probably don't have the high salary requirements of someone older who may well have a mortgage and a family to support. What's more, employers may bet you won't consume as much of the shrinking employee benefits pie.

So how to present yourself as a candidate bursting with experience and maturity? Here are some tips that will help:

Format your Resume to Fit: The traditional chronological resume draws attention to employers, job titles and dates - not much help for the new graduate. Instead, consider using a skills-based resume to highlight your unique mix of strengths, talents and accomplishments. Like what? Read on.

Make Student Experiences Pay Off: A paycheck isn't all you earned in your on-campus or summer jobs.  These experiences, along with internships and volunteer work, equip you with essential skills that are meaningful to employers.  So take another look at what you did and what you learned in areas like these: time management, customer relations, problem resolution.  You may have discovered how to communicate effectively with clients, colleagues, managers and senior executives. If you started and ran a small business with others working for you, you gained experience hiring, firing, training and supervising staff.  You may even have learned how to schedule projects and handle a payroll. As a reporter for the school newspaper or secretary of your sorority, you now possess highly-valued writing talents and are adept at coordinating facts, figures, dates and details and meeting deadlines.

Talk about Tech: Your generation's fluency with the ever-expanding universe of software programs, Internet applications and social media is enviable - and appealing. Be sure to include these specialties on your resume, particularly when sending it to advertising and marketing firms as well as small businesses eager to broaden their customer bases.

Congratulations, Graduate!

Not only do you offer advantages over more experienced candidates, you've got plenty of vital skills to offer as well. Be sure that your resume presents them in a way that will convince recruiters and employers you can deliver genuine value to the organization.