The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

Life after Guilford: Land the job with the perfect résumé

As you look out over a sea of caps and gowns toward your grinning loved ones snapping pictures, a warm feeling of satisfaction sweeps over you. You are a college graduate, about to embark on the adventure that will be your career.

The only problem is that you are not alone. Millions of new graduates all over the country will be doing the same thing. Unless you find a way to stick out and stand above the rest of the pack, you run the risk of falling through the cracks.

The best way to stand out to employers is with a stellar résumé.

“You’ve got to be remarkable,” said Justin Thomas, who is in charge of hiring for IT firm Chromatik. “The first thing we ask is how this person differentiates themselves from all the rest. You just have to sell yourself.”

While there are several different résumé formats to choose from, there are several features they all have in common, according to Amanda Fontenot, a career counselor at Guilford’s Career Development Center.

These include a good heading, objective statement, relevant experience, skills and educational history.

The placement of each of these elements comes down to the format you use.

While there are many different formats to choose from when constructing a résumé, there are two major schools of résumé design: the chronological résumé, which is organized by your experience, and the functional résumé, which is designed around your skill set.

Fontenot says that a combination résumé may be better for recent graduates than either the functional or chronological format.

A combination résumé lists skills acquired in a chronological sequence. It is better for recent graduates who ideally have been acquiring transferable skills during their time at school.

“It is all about transferable skills; they are what employers are after,” Fontenot said.

According to Fontenot, transferable skills can be anything from problem solving to communication, from teamwork to organization. Employers look for these skills across the board, whether or not you gained them from your major.

Fontenot also emphasizes that it is important to get involved while you are still a student. Experiences you have at Guilford may not only be personally rewarding, but when put on a résumé, they can make all the difference when seeking a job.

“If you finish with just taking courses, it may not be enough,” Fontenot said. “Whether it is an internship, volunteering, undergrad research, a student organization, just do something.”

Lisa Yeager, senior consultant with local employee agency Patriot Services, agrees that transferable skills are important to convey to each prospective employer.

“I have seen more and more (of) a shift toward an emphasis in skills in recent years, especially in the current economy,” Yeager said. “If a business is going to hire someone, they want to know they can do the job and not waste anyone’s time … They are selective about transferable skills.”

Both Fontenot and Yeager have advice for someone making a new résumé.

“Don’t use (generic online) templates,” Fontenot said. “Making your own résumé shows the person looking at it that you took your time, and that means a lot.”

Fontenot also stressed the importance of tailoring your résumé to the job you want to highlight how you’d be a good fit, as well as getting a friend to check your résumé for typos.

Yeager says that a résumé should never be over a page long.

“If I see a résumé with multiple pages I never look past the first one anyway,” said Yeager. “It’s a waste of time to do any more than that.”

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