It’s that time of year again everyone! All of your hard work and those years of studying have finally paid off as graduation is upon you. So take a moment to celebrate. Reflect on everything you have accomplished to get here today as you are now one step closer to the career you’ve been dreaming about for years.
Now, more than ever, is the time to set yourself apart as you begin to look for your first position. Just like you, there are thousands of new graduates looking for their first position all over the country. You will have competition, so what will help set yourself apart from the very beginning? Your RESUME.
Typically, when you apply for a position you do so by submitting your resume. It is what employers will use to determine whether or not to move forward with a candidate. So you must make sure that you stand above the rest with your resume. Here are some tips:
1) Keep It Clean.
A clean resume will allow the employer to focus on what is important, such as education, certifications, and work history. Using eccentric fonts and twelve different colors could be distracting in a negative way. It is best to keep the format clean and simple. If you would like to have a pop of color, I suggest using just one other color in the header. You may also include your picture should you have a professional headshot. This photo can make you more real to the employer and not just a piece of paper.
2) State Your Qualifications.
If the position you are applying for requires any certification or degree, make sure it is stated in your resume. If you are applying for a Physical Therapist position, place DPT behind your name in your header. This will let the employer know that you are qualified right away without having to search.
3) Important Information on Top.
The first things listed on your resume should be EDUCATION and LICENSES/CERTIFICATIONS. These things are very important as they ensure the employer that you are qualified for the position. Many employers will assume that you do not have it if it is not posted on your resume, which could cause them to pass you over for an interview.
4) Work History.
This should include all RELATIVE work history relating to the position you are applying for, such as clinical rotations, residencies, and positions relating to the field. Keep it clean but detailed. Let them know what you experienced in each position in 4-5 bullets. Important things to include would be important duties, documentation types, caseloads, and patient diagnosis. This will help give them an understanding of what you have seen and how it compares to the position available.
5) Highlights and Awards.
This should be one of the last things placed on your resume. I highly recommend you put anything down that truly sets you apart from others. Maybe you won a national award with your studies or you volunteered extensively abroad. These things can allow the employer to get to know you as a person. It’s important to create an emotional connection, too.
I highly suggest that you do not include references on your resume. Instead place “References available upon request”. This will prevent potential employers from reaching out without you and your references’ consent.
7) Cover Letter.
A cover letter is a great way to allow your resume to pop. Anything placed on your cover letter should be pertinent to the position you are applying for. It should include your name, contact information, and a mission statement or objective should you choose to include one.
These are just a few great ways to make you stand out before you even begin to interview. Congratulations on graduating and best of luck with your job search!