Today's job market is tough; undergrads are facing more pressure than ever to set themselves apart from their competition. How do you set yourself apart from other graduates? Many college students believe that a good GPA and having some work experience automatically builds their resume and will impress prospective employers. With so much stiff competition, is that really enough? As a recruiter for Hajoca's Management Training Program, resumes come across my desk every day, and I know what works and what doesn't.
Here are five tips to help college students, especially business majors, build their resume into an impressive showcase for future employers.
1. Pick a major relevant to your field of interest. The first thing all college-bound students should do is pick a major that will prepare them for their post-collegiate life. Many students say they picked their major because it was a topic that sounded interesting, was easy for them, or seemed the most fun, only to realize after graduating that they were not prepared for the type of job they desired.
- Work with your school counselor to figure out the best major for your desired career path.
- Use your elective courses or take up a minor if you want to pursue some things outside of your career path; it will make you seem well rounded and can be a lot of fun.
- If you are planning a career in business or plan to go to graduate school, you want to stick with majors like Business Administration, Leadership or International Business. This will ensure you don't miss key classes that will shape your learning and add value to your resume.
2. Have an internship – and make it count. Working as an intern can be a great way to get your foot in the door at a company and gain some real-world experience. If you decide that an internship is right for you (or is required by your school), don't just “get the job done;" work on relationship building with your co-workers and managers. Having recommendations from one solid internship experience will go much further than working multiple part-time jobs or having multiple internships.
Business is about building relationships, and you'll quickly learn that making a good impression on your current boss could befit you for years – even decades – to come. If you realize you are in a heavily administrative internship, take on as many projects as you can – even if you aren't assigned to do them. Showing initiative looks good to your employer, as well as on your resume.
3. Join clubs/organizations early on and take a leadership role. College can be overwhelming at first: moving away from home, new roommates, difficult classes, and college life in general can be very scary for incoming freshmen. Joining clubs or sports that interest you is a good way to meet friends and build your resume. Showing your commitment to a club or sports team is a great way to show off your dedication, motivation and leadership skills.If you join as a freshman or sophomore, you'll have a better chance at being elected to a leadership role. Taking on a leadership role in a club or sport shows that you can lead a group, be responsible and have the ability to influence change.
4. Show off your technology skills. In today's job market, knowing the Microsoft Suite (Word, Excel, PowerPoint) is not only necessary, but expected. Go one step further and get involved with creating a website, social media platform or an App. Employers look for students who know about technology and can use it to increase sales, bring in customers or update their systems. Feel technology challenged? Use Internet tutorials to learn a new skill, or ask a current Website moderator how you can contribute to their site.
5. Develop your personal brand. Your personal brand is the way others see you; it's how you sell yourself to your potential employers. It's more than just your resume; it's your reputation, credibility and potential. Deciding early on to do the right thing, going above and beyond what is asked, and becoming the best person, friend, student and employee that you can be is the first step in developing your personal brand. Learn as much as you can from others: Talk to your fellow students, professors, work colleagues, friends and family. Always ask questions, but more importantly, listen. Learn when you can add value and when you can take away new understandings of ideas. Always live up to your potential and always do the right thing; this will put you on a path to success.
Kate May is a recruiter for Hajoca's Management Training Program, a three-year training program used as a source of external talent for leadership positions. Prior to her time with Hajoca, she worked at DuPont hiring recent college graduates into their engineering program. A graduate of Wilmington University, Kate enjoys spending her free time traveling and volunteering with youth groups where she resides in Philadelphia.
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