Resume Absolutes for Recent Grads

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Resume tips for recent grads

While your resume may not be absolutely the most important part of your job search strategy, it does heavily influence whether or not you have an opportunity to get in front of the right people in order to find the right opportunity.  Therefore, it pays dividends to take a little extra effort when preparing this very important document.

If you are a recent graduate, or are about to be, then there are a few specific tips that may be helpful to you in preparing your resume:

  • Avoid empty phrases. Although you truly are a “hard-working, goal-oriented team-player”, those descriptors don’t carry much weight unless you back them up with examples. Yet it’s so easy to include those phrases on your resume when you lack several years of experience! Try to be more specific when describing your abilities and use phrases that you can back up with examples.
  • Work History – possibly 2 sections. If you are like many recent graduates, you likely have some work experience that is related to your chosen career as well as some non-related experience. Consider dividing your experience into two sections – “Accounting Work Experience” and “Other Experience”. By listing the accounting experience on top, the reader will focus on that first.
  • Focus on career-related experience. You also have likely worked less in your chosen career field than outside your field up to this point in your working life. Provide the most detail on your career-related work versus your non-career related employment. By providing more details in these areas, it causes the reader to focus more attention on that experience.
  • Plans for certification. If you plan to pursue a certification then list that intent on your resume, but only if you are serious. Be prepared to discuss how you will achieve the certification. If the employer is looking for someone to grow with the company, this will likely make a difference.
  • Listing of classes – not necessary. Providing a list of the courses you took isn’t necessary unless they specifically pertain to the job for which you are applying. Listing your tax and business law classes on your resume doesn’t help when applying for a cost analyst position, just as listing your cost accounting course doesn’t apply to tax positions. Plus, it takes up valuable real estate on your resume that could be devoted to relevant material. Listing courses is fine, but only do it if it helps your case.
  • Email addresses. Use a professional sounding email address. Nicknames may be cute, but the hiring manager or HR department may not possess the same sense of humor!
  • GPA. Simple… if over a 3.0, it’s OK to list it on the resume. If not, it doesn’t help. (Unless of course your university gives you different guidelines)
  • 1 page is plenty. Unless you have substantial experience in the field you are targeting, your resume should only be one page. If you find that difficult then you are likely listing too much detail, possibly in your non-related work history, details of classes taken, or in the organizations / awards sections.
  • Let a friend proofread… your resume. Once you have revised your resume a couple times, it’s difficult to be unbiased. Let a friend read it in order to make sure it makes sense to them and doesn’t contain any errors that you may have overlooked.

I hope these tips are beneficial to you. Sometimes it’s easy to look at a document so many times that you start to miss some of the details.  Your resume is no different.  Getting a second opinion helps.

See you next week! There’s more to come…

Mark Goldman CPA

Where Accountants Go