In an earlier era, a college degree had the power to open doors, generate job offers, and launch any marginally talented person down the path to a successful career and a middle class lifestyle. Once you received your college acceptance letter, all you had to do to live a financially stable life was simply place one foot in front of the other for the next 45 years until your retirement. Meet minimum expectations for coursework, tests, job applications, and daily work-related responsibilities, and the American dream would arrive at your door like a package delivered by mail.But those days—and those basic expectations—are long gone, if they ever actually existed at all. In our modern world, a college degree can help you accomplish certain things, but it won’t provide an all-access pass to the good life. A growing number of job applicants have them, for starters. And many employers feel a diminished confidence in academic institutions and their ability to prepare young people for the realities of working life. So your degree may not elevate your profile above that of your competitors, and depending on the circumstances, it won’t impress employers as much as some students imagine.So what can you do about this? When you graduate and hit the job market for the first time, how can you set yourself apart, and how can you use your resume to showcase what you have to offer—in addition to your diploma?
Pitch Your Experience—Even If You Don’t have Very Much of It.
You may not have much professional work experience if you’ve been spending most of your life in school, and that’s fine. Just change the title of your “work history” section to “relevant experience” as you draft your resume. Then populate this section by describing your most important labs, internships, volunteer work, and leadership experiences. Draw a clear connection between what you learned from these experiences and how these lessons can help you contribute to a company you’d like to work for.
Pitch Your Personality!
Your degree may not distinguish you in a crowded pool of applicants, especially if the job post clearly requires a specific degree in a specific area of study. If you have a degree in accounting with a minor French literature, and every single other candidate in the pool has the same educational background, you’ll need something else—something extra. But you’re in luck, because you also have a winning personality! Your charm, your work ethic, your attention to detail, and your commitment to excellence will all help you make your case.
Let Your Media Send Your Message.
Your dedication and experience—and your interest in the job— are all qualities that you can demonstrate in the actual writing, presentation, and formatting of your resume and cover letter. If you care enough to make sure every aspect of your application is perfect, you’ll demonstrate the way you plan to approach this job after you’re hired.Bring your best and brightest self to the resume creation process and you’ll gain an edge over your competitors. Visit MyPerfectResume for application building tools that can help you make you case.
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