So this is you: Upon graduation, you’ve gone to all the career centre sessions, downloaded few resume templates online, updated your own resume, and had a friend look over it.
You then did what most graduates do: Went on Seek, Indeed, LinkedIn..etc, and submitted your resume for tens of jobs, only to get rejections. You then conclude that “I can’t get a job”.
Now, let me tell you why this is not working for you.
While getting a graduate job might involve a bit more than a good resume, a good one will always be your main selling document to potential employers.
Now what does that ‘good resume’ look like? It’s essentially a resume that is Relevant, Readable, and Reviewed.
What does that mean? Let’s take the 3 R’s one by one:
Perhaps the biggest mistake I find in graduate resumes is that they are not relevant to the job. Now I’m not talking about your hospitality and retail experience, which is definitely relevant in most cases due to the transferable skills, I’m referring to the irrelevant childhood hobbies and projects that don’t directly relate to the role.
You can be the most popular kid in high school and have won tens of awards, but if the role is technical, for example, having half of your resume to talk about such achievements isn’t relevant. Similarly, If you’re a graduate that knows over 10 programming languages, and the role is mostly managerial or only requires 2 or 3 of them, then having a full list of your technical skills isn’t relevant.
What also makes a resume relevant is mentioning the keywords from the job ads. For example, if the job ad asks for competence in ‘Microsoft Office Suite’, you’d have a higher chance of matching if you mention such a term as opposed to just saying ‘MS Word’.
Making a resume readable means ensuring it’s visually appealing (i.e. easy to read). Your resume should be easy to read by a person AND the Applicant Tracking System (ATS). If you are a graduate with less than 5 years of experience, your resume should not exceed 2-3 pages. In most cases, you can compile the relevant information into 1 page.
Making a resume readable also means consistent font sizes, clearly divided sections, and sufficient line spacing (i.e. it’s not cluttered). A quick tip to make your resume more readable: Go to alignment options on top in MS Word, then click ‘Justify’ to align it to both sides of the page and see the difference. Magic isn’t it?
While this is self-explanatory, you’d be surprised how many graduates get it wrong. Inconsistent formatting, informal language, misspellings, and wrong verb tenses are all examples of common resume mistakes. Specifically, Grammarly estimates that 60% of all mistakes in resumes are grammatical. So please double-check your resume before submission.
In short, it doesn’t matter how much time you’ve spent on the resume if it hasn’t been reviewed properly. A mistake or two in your resume and you guarantee that you won’t get far in your job search.
Once you have a resume that passes the 3 R’s test – Relevant, Readable, and Reviewed, you know that getting your first job is only a matter of time!
Unsure if your graduate resume would pass? Get a free review here!