My current client base includes very few students or new graduates, and this is most likely due to the free resume assistance offered by most campus career offices (although it is limited in depth and scope), and/or because students are not aware of the true value of hiring a professional resume writer.
However, since I used to work for the University of Calgary Career Services (hence my knowledge of its depth and scope), I have some sound advice for the student population:
1. First, free resume advice is not always the best advice. I can not stress enough the true value of a professionally written resume – especially for new graduates. In a competive job market one of the best ways to secure the coveted interview is to ensure you have a winning resume. A resume’s job is to secure you an interview, so eliminate the wasted time and money that a poor resume will certainly cause you by ensuring your resume is top notch.
2. Next, do away with the misconception that as a student you have no skills to sell! You have plenty of skills! I recommend brainstorming a list of everything you have to offer, and take into consideration your education, your volunteer experience and all of the part time jobs you have held. There are plenty of skills to be found.
3. Own your skills. After you have created a list of the skills that you possess- be confident in them. Believe in what you can do, as this will translate into both your resume and future interviews. If you are not confident in yourself and your abilities then employers will not be either.
4. Target your resume for the industry or occupation you are pursuing. Meaning, custom tailor the resume’s content and skill sets to ensure they relate to the role. Prove to employers that you have what it takes to do the job. Include concrete examples of your skills and abilities in your resume, and stay away from laundry lists of basic tasks and duties.
5. Finally, get your resume ready well before you graduate. Many employers begin posting and recruiting for new graduate roles very early in the new year. Do not wait until the Spring to have your resume created.
Last but not least students- stay away from canned resume templates, and seek professional resume advice if you need it. Invest in your future!