shutterstock_16710529_crop380wWith college graduations underway throughout the country, graduates are eager to put their newly earned degrees to use as they seek job opportunities. They scour the newspapers, Internet, social media, and personal networks for positions that fit their skills. In today’s competitive job market, it is vital to have a strong, polished resume. Although entry-level candidates may not have a wealth of real-world experience, the professionals at Chic Resumes know they often possess many desirable skills that hiring managers are seeking. So how can they best represent themselves on their resume to make a positive impression?

You worked hard for your degree – make it stand out. Because new graduates generally have minimal experience, putting education at the top of the resume is a way to highlight their abilities. This does not just mean listing your degree and university – it also involves incorporating these things into your marketing message.

  • “Brand” yourself – Beneath your contact information, create a brand identity for yourself that aligns with the type of job you are pursuing. Adjust it as necessary according to different openings. Examples include, “Human Resources Generalist,” “Information Technology Specialist,” or “Account Executive.”
  • Market your skills – In your summary of qualifications, highlight the various areas you are skilled in. Capitalize on the diversity of your education to show your versatility and flexibility to adapt to different positions. Showcase abilities and characteristics that you possess that are outlined in the job description.
  • List your education before professional experience – If you have recently graduated with your degree, include the education section of your resume just below the summary of qualifications and core competencies. This will show the employer that you have acquired the necessary education to do the job and are up-to-date on best practices and techniques. Following your education, include relevant job experience, whether it is internships, professional positions, or volunteer experience.

Target your core competencies. Core competencies are keywords that quickly convey your skills and areas of proficiency. This is a great opportunity to really make yourself shine and market your strengths. Select those skills that best align with the job opening and demonstrate what you have to offer. Resume scanners and applicant tracking systems are programmed to look for specific keywords, so make the most of this section.

Internships and volunteering can show real-world experience. Although you may not have been paid for these positions, they are valuable nevertheless. Internships convey your ability to integrate into the business world and apply what you have learned while under the guidance of experienced professionals. Highlight the projects you worked on and their results. Include any job-specific programs or skills that you used.

Volunteering not only shows your commitment to giving back and helping others, but can also lend itself to transferable skills. If you volunteered in your field of study, this can play a similar role as an internship. If you worked in another field, show how the tasks you worked on are applicable to the type of work you are seeking. Focus on the bigger picture and the core skill sets used.

Show employers that you are worth their time and investment. In applying for entry-level positions, it is important to show employers that you have what it takes to get the job done and make a positive impact on the company. Focus on demonstrating your strongest and most relevant skills and experiences. Make the employer see why you are a good fit and worth their time to schedule an interview.