You may be familiar with this statistic: Recruiters spend an average of just six seconds on their initial scan of a job candidate’s resume. So, how do you make a positive, impactful first impression when you have limited professional experience?

A good resume is about quality, not quantity. It may be tempting to include every detail of every job you’ve ever had. But the trick is to include only information that is relevant to the job on the table. Especially in today’s market, where automated applicant tracking systems (ATS) are used by an increasing number of employers, your focus must be on tailoring your resume to your desired job.

What to Include

Your resume should include:

  • A strong, concise summary statement. Unlike the antiquated objective statement, this is a sentence or two that demonstrate the unique strengths that make you the best person for a job.
  • A link to your online profile. This leads the recruiter directly where you want them to go as they research your candidacy via the Internet and social media – which they will Research has shown that more than 90 percent of hiring managers check applicants’ online presence before further pursuing them as potential hires.
  • Professional contact information. Include your full name, street address, city, state, zip code, phone number and email address. If your email address is unprofessional, create a new one. Choose one based on your name, not your nickname, hobby or favorite pet. On your phone, be sure that your voicemail greeting is likewise clear and professional.
  • Relevant coursework and activities. If you have limited paid work experience, include courses, volunteering, or memberships in clubs or organizations that have given you relevant practical experience. This also could increase the chances that your resume will contain keywords that an ATS will search for. Browsing through the resumes of people in your desired field can be very helpful.

What Not to Include

You can omit:

  • “References available upon request.” This is a useless waste of resume space. You should definitely have professional references; just don’t list this on your actual resume. Instead, have a separate list of references available in the event that an employer requests it.
  • Photos or graphics. These often cannot be read by an ATS, and they also waste space. A good use of white space is preferable to any unnecessary or frivolous resume content. Do make sure your social media profile picture is high-resolution and professional, but leave it off your resume.

Applying Via Email

You may need to send your resume and cover letter as an email attachment. Be sure this is done correctly, so your message is read and to let the recipient know how to contact you to schedule an interview.

Are you a new professional looking for a job?

There’s a lot involved in crafting and distributing your resume, as you sell yourself as a job candidate. A professional career coach can be an invaluable asset to assist with this and other aspects of your successful job search. In engineering, accounting, finance, marketing, supply chain management and cybersecurity, turn to the experts at TRC Professional Solutions. Contact us today so we can tell you more.

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