The Recruiter Roundtable is a monthly feature that collects career and job-seeking advice from a group of recruiting experts throughout the US.
The question we put before our panel this month is: "For someone who is writing his or her first resume and may not have much (or any) professional experience, what sort of advice would you give for creating a resume that is both realistic and attention-getting?"
Accuracy Rules Apply
First and foremost, write a resume that is accurate and clear. Recruiters will ask you about your background, so make sure you are prepared to answer any questions on information you disclose. If you do not have much professional experience, emphasize your education -- school, degrees, awards, scholarships, class ranking, recognition, etc. Did you complete an internship? Volunteer? Speak and write more than one language? It's all important. A good tip is to have someone with more than five years of experience read your resume and ask the question: "Would you or your company hire me with this information?"
-- Bob Hancock, independent staffing consultant
Start with an Objective
When writing your first resume, start with a clear objective at the top. The major you choose in school no longer dictates what job you'll end up in, so it takes away the guesswork for a recruiter who has several positions open. If you apply for several jobs in different fields, always make sure your objective matches the position; this means having several copies of your resume that you'll use to submit for different jobs.
Next, highlight your education. Include awards, clubs and organizations, especially officer positions which illustrate your leadership capabilities, diverse interests and unique talents. Even if you're applying for your first job, do include a Work Experience section. School research projects, volunteer service and other student assignments can be detailed in this section and will tell a hiring manager about your capabilities and interests.
-- Kristin Glunt, Learning & Development Manager, Wells Fargo
What Makes You Unique?
Don't sell experience if you don't have it. Most good recruiters know to hire for skills and fire for attitude. So sell your attitude. How? By leveraging past nonprofessional experience references. At Checkster we see that understanding yourself through other people is not only the best way to learn and grow, but also a very efficient way to communicate your unique selling points to the world.
-- Yves Lermusi, CEO of Checkster
'Experience' Has Broad Meaning
My guidance is to focus on internships, grades, extracurricular activities (especially leadership roles), awards and consistent work history, whether or not it's in your intended field. Seeing that someone has a solid work experience (at a restaurant for two to three years, for example) can provide insight about consistency and responsibility.
Find ways to showcase your ability to work in teams and groups -- in a class, extracurricular activity, residence hall setting. No matter where you work, participating in, leading and learning from group dynamics will be a major factor in your success.
-- Ross Pasquale, owner, Monday Ventures
Be Flexible and CreativeMake your resume shine with help from Monster's resume writing experts!
I would advise writing an objective statement that is written specifically for each position you are applying for, and not just a generic statement, such as, "To obtain a public relations position." Use this opportunity to show off a little creativity. I tend to pay more attention to recent college grads who also format their resumes nicely. Not too flashy, but a bit different than the regular Microsoft Word template.
-- Lindsay Olson, partner, Paradigm Staffing