Graduate resume mistakes

There are some resume mistakes that are very common amongst all graduates.

For example, graduates tend to ‘pad out’ their resume. A one page resume is fine at graduate level. Avoid any unnecessary sections or words and stick to the point.

Keep all paragraphs and points short and concise, focusing on the outcome of your actions throughout your career rather than writing in full sentences.

Remember that a generic resume just isn’t good enough. Each role will have a different focus, so be prepared to tweak your resume slightly for each position you apply for.

Don’t ever leave the employer thinking ‘so what?’ Make a clear connection between your skills and resume content with the job’s requirements. You resume will be competing with many others, so it must be relevant and address each requirement.

Never undersell your achievements. Highlight your successes and think about which successes the employer will want to see on your resume. The trick is not to move into the ‘realm of arrogance’. Don’t’ undervalue your experience either. A club, society or volunteering work is still relevant if it has enabled you to acquire important skills. Quantify your experience if you can, e.g. I helped improve profits by 20% and prove all the statements you’re making.

If you have had many jobs, remember to only include your achievements and not just the boring, mundane details of how you worked in a coffee shop that summer. Instead, what about including the fact that you were put in charge of payments to demonstrate your trustworthiness and mathematical skills?

Finally, at natural points in your resume, you must include keywords. Keywords are job-specific phrases and terminology and can include qualifications, skills or areas of expertise. Employers and recruiters will be looking for these and sometimes use special software to help them to identify specific keywords.


Writing a high impact executive resume

To write a high impact executive resume, you must identify the key messages you wish to convey in advance and write your resume once your message in a clear and well-presented manner. Here’s how to write an impressive, high impact resume:

Use the right language
Try to convey leadership skills, behaviors, strategic thinking or other business skills when describing the achievements you have accrued throughout your career. Steer clear of examples of working under pressure or leading a team, which should be a given from someone of your caliber.

Use the right format
Use a clear, easy to read format and font. Remember that Arial and Times New Roman are favored. The most common file format is Microsoft Word.

Format is important
The best place for your personal information is the upper right hand corner. Use a personal email address rather than a work address too. Make the file name for your resume sensible too. Remember, at this stage, the smallest of details matter and help create a good impression.

Write a professional summary
Your professional summary will be noticed as it’s on the first half of the first page, so make sure it’s well written. Focus on your experience, knowledge and the skills you have acquired that set you apart from other executives.

Always put your experience in context too throughout your resume, explaining which skills and achievements apply to which job role. Focus on the past 3-5 years and use the second page to explain your experience and education in briefer detail. Ensure that you cover all of your education and work experience though, so there are no obvious gaps.

Be brief when describing education and training
Space on a resume is very valuable and is in short supply, so keep the details of your training and education brief. If you have attended a negotiation skills seminar, explain how you use negotiation in the workplace instead.

Alternatively, consider deploying the skills of executive resume writers. The Resume Center uses the services of professional resume writers, to give your resume the professional touch.


How to discuss your career progression

Clear and open communication on your professional development is essential. Moving forward in your working life is important and is what motivates and inspires us all. Whatever your goals, you need to become comfortable in communicating your thoughts with senior managers.

You may find it difficult to discuss your professional development but here are some tips that could help:

Book a clear time slot
You need sufficient time to discuss your career. Ask for a time slot and be clear on your discussion points. Although your manager may be busy, they will understand the importance of the meeting and could mention opportunities to you that you may not even have been aware of, if given a chance to prepare for the meeting.

Reflect on your strengths, abilities and achievements in advance and consider areas of further development to ensure a constructive discussion. Don’t forget that it’s not only your manager you may want to discuss your career with but also another influential colleague or the HR department.

Involve co-workers
Discuss your thoughts and feelings with co-workers in advance to focus your own career goals, gain new ideas and consider what is possible within your organization. Other people can often help you see obstacles from a different perspective.

Be willing to learn
Demonstrating a willingness to learn and embarking upon learning and development opportunities, from a training course to a secondment, will increase your skills and knowledge and impress your manager. Others are keen to encourage and support you in your career if you are confident enough to be pro-active and take your career development into your own hands.

Whatever you do, don’t avoid a discussion about your career advancement. By regularly reviewing your goals and aspirations, including the steps you need to take to get there, you can assure you are not doing yourself a dis-service.


The importance of networking for your career

As we seek to advance our careers, there is one issue we simply cannot ignore and that is the value networking can contribute to your career. To sustain your success, networking will always be your most powerful self-marketing tactic.

Anyone that leads a company or is a major player in their industry will understand the importance of networking and will recognize how it has contributed to their success. Networking can be face to face or via social media and is essentially about making the right connections and building long-lasting, mutually beneficial relationships. Ultimately, it’s about getting your talents known by the right people.

People ultimately want to work with those they like and trust, so deepening relationships throughout your career with managers and senior colleagues is a must in today’s competitive jobs market.

In regards to your current role, what can you do that will add value to their role? Be proactive and make helpful suggestions. You may be surprised by the response. Or why not ask them out to lunch so you can start to understand them better?

By cultivating such relationships and leveraging your network you can establish professional relationships that will prove useful to you throughout your career, particularly if you work within a closed, tight knit industry. Alternatively, meet industry influencers through relevant events through being brave and introducing yourself.

Networking helps you learn about the dynamics of your company and industry and enables you to connect with a professional community. That is the reason why more and more professionals are joining relevant professional groups on LinkedIn.

Further advantages of being an active networker include accessing new career opportunities, enhancing your knowledge and accelerating your professional development. So, if you want to develop and advance your career, ignore networking at your peril!


How to secure a job promotion

Nowadays, doing a good job isn’t always enough to secure you a promotion. To make sure your hard work will take you in the right direction, follow these tips:

Be clear on your goals
If you want a promotion, be clear on the reasons why you could demonstrate the requirements of your next position. Also, do you want to progress within your existing company or elsewhere? Be clear on your goals and express them through your resume and cover letter.

Make friends with the boss
If you want an internal promotion, speak to your manager about how you can be more effective at work. Honest feedback is crucial to your progression. If you want to progress externally to your company, research the competition and find out what they need from their employees.

Focus on your professional development
Identify courses that will increase your knowledge and are relevant to your career path. Pursue the qualifications and let others know when you’ve secured them.

Identify new opportunities
Be pro-active and identify new opportunities and trends on behalf of your firm. If you notice a gap in the market, let your managers know and act on your findings.

Look smart
Good advice is to dress as if you’re doing the job which is a level above yours to help others visualize you in that position. How we look makes us feel more confident, which can only be a positive in the workplace.

Be visible
Talk to people in other areas of the organization and key players in your industry via relevant events. By networking and becoming known, others notice you and naturally, more job opportunities will come your way.

A job promotion takes preparation, hard work and effort. However, focus, determination and your natural abilities will take you to the point you want to reach in your career during the fullness of time.