As a brand new graduate and first-time job seeker, you’ll be facing tight competition. But as it happens, you’ll also be facing a low bar. Most employers don’t expect polish and perfection from a resume submitted by a 22 year-old, and a few awkward phrases and missed opportunities are par for the course when employers are reviewing candidates for an entry level position.
But before you sigh with relief, stop and recognize what this low bar means for you. If you place just a little extra emphasis on the details and work a little harder to impress, you’ll leave vast numbers of your peers behind. A clear phrase here and a corrected typo there may not make waves at the mid-career level, but right now, these simple fixes can help you stand out and get your foot in the door. Here are a few other moves that bring disproportionate advantages at your stage of the game.
1. Honest self-assessment.
Most candidates your age can’t or aren’t willing to admit their mistakes and openly address what they’ve learned from these mistakes. If your cover letter reveals just a bit of resilience or critical self-examination, all the attention in the room will turn your way.
2. Clear and elevated language.
In an entry level resume, simply removing the fluff and smoothing out your sentence structure can push you into the next round. While you’re at it, get rid of hollow buzzwords, exclamation points, slang terms and text speak. (Believe it or not, many young job seekers won’t.)
3. Professional formatting
The layout details that appeal to a hiring manager may not be immediately recognizable to someone with your level of career experience, but a few examples and a little guidance can help. Visit Free Resume Builder and review samples and templates that can show you what a serious professional resume looks like.