New Grads: Build Your Best Resume and Nail the Interview

Dec 22, 2020

It can be daunting for new graduates to enter the workforce. Here are some tips for building your best resume and nailing your interviews!

Resume Tips

A resume is a way to share a picture of the work you have done and the experience you have. While you may have extraordinary skills and be the best candidate for the job, if your resume does not convey this, you may never get yourself to the interview. A resume should highlight your abilities and your interest in the position.

  • Don’t Include Your GPA. Generally, GPA is a poor predictor of how well one would do on the job if hired, so employers do not usually take this number too seriously. Instead, include any academic awards or recognitions you received (scholarships, cum laude honors, dean’s list, etc.).
  • Tell your story. Build a list of accomplishments for each job on your resume. You don’t need a long list of awards or recognitions—just think about what you did well. What were you better at than most everyone you worked with, and what set you apart? These accomplishments are the building blocks of your resume. Also, pull in anything relevant from outside your professional life, like a club where you held a leadership position.
  • Add internships and volunteer work. In a competitive job market, the biggest issue new graduates encounter is a resume with no work experience. If you do not have the work experience that employers want, internships and volunteering experience can change the situation and increase the chance for employment. An internship is a career preparation to fill experience gaps, gain real-life experience, and hone professional skills. Volunteering experience shows interest beyond academics and showcases commitment to an employer.

Interview Tips

When you have your degree, resume, and good references lined up, you are now ready for the interview.

  • Confidence is key. Self-confidence is a vital skill mandatory in every interview. Maintain your confidence level from the second you walk through the door until you finish up. First, think positively before attending an interview. Try to recognize your strengths and weaknesses, and plan to address them. Present yourself by dressing for success and going in with a solid handshake, make eye contact, use good posture, and wear a genuine smile.
  • Do your research. Part of your preparation should be doing some research into the organization. You need to demonstrate that you know something about their business. How has it grown in recent years? What are the corporate or organizational goals? Using the company website will give you loads of information that you can include in this type of answer, and your interviewer will be impressed that you have taken the time to gather some details about the company.
  • Bring a pen and paper. Jotting down a few notes during the interview can come in handy as you write your post-interview thank-you note later that day. (But remember to listen closely to the hiring manager, and don’t get distracted by your note taking!) Most employers don’t mind if you make note of a question, especially if it’s unique or challenging. If you’re not sure how to answer, don’t be afraid to take your time to think.
Written by: Brianne Tomko

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