It’s been a long time coming but you know how great it feels to finally make the transition from being a recent graduate to a young professional. Kudos! But you have extra work to do as you begin to adjust to your new working lifestyle and it includes making changes to that oh-so-lovely resume that you spit all your elbow grease into to get your first job.
“But I don’t have enough experience on my resume!” you scream. It’s okay. Here’s how to help your resume mature as you do, even if you have very little to put on it. As you edit your resume, don’t delete everything entirely. Create a master list of all your experience with detailed bullets and save it. This will be helpful for when you need to create job-specific resumes.
No More Fast Times at Ridgemont High: If no one gave you this advice in college, we’ll give it to you now. Ditch all of your academic and extracurricular experience from high school. It’s awesome if you were captain of the cheerleading squad, student body president, and won ten awards for community service. Clearly that experience propelled you into the next stage of life, which was college. But now that you’re all grown up, your job working at your local drugstore just isn’t pertinent to HR professionals.
Cut the Clubs: As we’re on the topic of removing extracurriculars from your resume, we might as well say, college clubs should be removed if you are 25 and older. If you are fresh out of college, only keep club/organizational experience that is in line with your overall passions and goals or is targeted towards industries that you would like to enter into. So, if you’re interested in becoming an accountant, claiming that you served as the secretary for your sorority is fine. Sharing that you were the co-leader of the annual naked run through your college library? Not so much.
Grow Your Past: Okay, you’re mad because you just had to cut that super important experience from when you lead a club in high school or college (yay to pep squad!). You can show your passion for a project by getting involved with an alumni association affiliated with the club. If your organization has an option for grown-ups get involved. Listing alumni associations on your resume show how committed you are to specific causes and how willing you are to support institutions, even long after you’ve left them.
That’s My Alma Mater: You love your college, we know. Who doesn’t? But here’s something important you should remember as you move on in your career. When you’re fresh out of college, typically under 27, it’s important that you lead your resume with where you went to school and what degrees you received. Employers expect this of you because you’re just starting out, you may have switched industries through grad school, or joined the peace corps. As a young professional you’re still learning and developing, and that should be reflected on your resume. But as you inch closer to 30, your work experience should lead your resume or any bio you send out. People are going to want to know where you worked and what you have been doing. Point. Blank. Where you went to school will still be effective, but by that point in your life, it becomes icing on the cake.
Lose the BS: If you have any exaggerations on your resume or work experience that you never really had, delete it now. The last thing you want is for a background check to be run and for a future employer to contact someone on your resume to find out that you didn’t actually work where you said you did. Don’t make up work experience, educational backgrounds, or associations on your resume just to get a job. It may be tempting because of how hard the job market is, but the last thing you want to do is look dishonest or unethical before you even walk in the door.
Be Flexible, Baby: Since you’re still beginning in your career, your resume should still only span one page. However, your interests may change from time to time or you may realize that you need a part-time gig to support those nights out on the town. Create job-related resumes and copy and past your experience from that master list you created earlier. That way, when you think you need a retail job you have a resume that shows your customer service or you’ll be able to whip that community-oriented resume for a tutoring job in the future.
Know Your Objectives: When you start inching towards 30, you should be getting closer to defining what it is you want out of life and want you want your career to be. If you’re a recent graduate, you don’t need an objective or personal statement printed on your resume. However, it should be a thought that’s revolving in your mind. Many employers will ask you how you envision yourself growing professionally over the years. You may not be spot on or have it all figured out by 24 (many of us rarely do), but you should have passions and goals revolving in your head. As you get closer to 30, an objective statement will be important in getting across to a future employer who you are as a working professional and who you want to grow to be.