Just graduated? Congratulations. We laud you for your hard work.
What’s next?Well, as the Big Lebowski said to the Dude: My advice is to do what your parents did: get a job.
And if employment is your aim, drafting a resume is a good place to start. But how do you catalog your professional experience when you don’t have any? Don’t sell yourself short. Chances are the past four years – or was it five! – have yielded plenty of good resume material to catch a prospective employer’s eye. It’s all about how you package it.The overriding principle is to focus on your accomplishments and the skills you used to achieve them. Think in terms of anecdotes: Once upon a time I was faced with a challenge. I surmounted the challenge in these ways (with these skills). I accomplished a positive outcome. And everyone lived happily ever after.
When creating your resume, be sure to consider your:
- Extracurricular activities
- Volunteer work
Take extracurricular activities, for example: Perhaps you were the sports editor of the university weekly. Even if the gig was unpaid, you still used a lot of real-world skills.
In this scenario, you could highlight your management skills (getting writers already burdened with heavy course loads to hit their deadlines is no small feat); your organizational skills (it was your job to set up an editorial calendar, make assignments, etc.); and your problem solving skills (for when those writers didn’t hit their deadlines).
Whether you were on the school paper, the manager of a sports team, a member of the student government or something else, you likely had many pseudo-professional experiences from which you can glean for your resume.
The same goes for volunteer work and internships. Highlight your skills and successes, and refrain from downplaying things just because they weren’t fulltime, paid jobs.