In a previous post, I wrote about 28 questions students ask when writing resumés.
To find a job in the U.S. after earning a graduate degree is by itself is a full time job. Resumés play an important role in job searchs.
When a student looking for a job doesn’t have any prior job experience, then things will get interesting…and challenging.
However, having a resumé that attracts interview calls is what makes the difference. I will discuss about the most common mistakes made by students when writing a resumé.
I was reviewing a few resumés last week and I saw almost all the resumés had one common mistake. (Again, these resumés were from entry level students with no job experience.)
When students still don’t have any job experience, their project experience and internship experience will help their resumé stand out from the other entry level students’ resumés.
Employment candidates will typically try to match the work experiences of others, such as having worked on college course work projects, team work capabilities, communication and technical skills, etc. These experiences and skills sets must be reflected in a resumé.
A resumé must be crafted to say what you have accomplished so far. Guided by a good resumé template, it will help you get those job interview calls. I call those resumé as “winning resumé.”
Project Description vs Project Accomplishments
“Project Description” and “Project Accomplishments” are completely 2 different things. But in majority of these resumés, students write about Project Description.
Employees are not much concerned about Project Description. They are looking for quantitative project accomplishments.
Example Project Description
- wExpose for Windows: wExpose for Windows is a tool that replicates the Expose feature of Mac OS in Windows OS.
Example Project Accomplishment
- Designed and Implemented wExpose for Windows OS using Perl.
You will see the difference in Project Accomplishment. Quantitative values can also be associated to the project accomplishment.
- Implemented the wExpose for Windows using Perl in 1 week.
Employers will be looking for what students have accomplished so far and evaluate if their past actions will fit into the company’s culture and work environment.
So when writing resumés, make sure you include the project accomplishment, not the project description, in the resumé.
That’s the another reason why resumés are more than 2 pages in length.
When students write about project description, it typically would exceed 2 pages. I have seen resumés from students with only 1-2 years’ work experience and then after applying for a master’s program, their resumés are already at least 5 pages long.
This happens because they simply write descriptions of the client and descriptions of the project without any words to explain their accomplishments in the resumé. These kinds of resumé usually turn the employers’ interest down.
Job search must start as early as possible. This is because so that you will know what to look for, where to look for jobs, and how to search for jobs.
I have seen students struggle when they start the job search after they graduate. So go ahead and get started now. I will be suggesting some different effective ways to search for jobs.