The following is a guest post by Noel Rozny of myFootpath
The college diploma: With graduation just around the corner, it’s that important-looking piece of paper that college graduates are dreaming of this time of year.
Too bad you can’t take it with you to a job interview.
The truth is that once you enter the working world, the bachelor’s degree you worked really hard to get is going to occupy just a small amount of space on a much more important piece of paper: your resume.
That’s right: it’s your resume, not your actual diploma that future employers care about. Sure, they want to see that you graduated from college, preferably in a field related to the job you’re applying to. But more importantly, they want to see what kind of job skills you have, where you worked, and what kind of impact you had on that organization.
And the resume is they key to relaying all of this information. If it’s done correctly, your resume can get you past the hundreds of other applicants going after the same position (the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports the unemployment rate is still 8.5 %) and into the interview room.
So if you want to a job after graduation, you’ll need to start working on your resume now.
How to Get a Jump Start on Your Resume
1. Get Help From a Professional
Do you have a resume? If not, start working on yours right now. Your college or university probably has a career center on campus, so take advantage of it. The career experts there can help you build a resume from scratch and best of all, they’ll do it for free. As an alternative, there are also many professional resume writing services that can help you out for a fee.
2. Don’t Forget Collateral Materials
So you helped design the brochure for your dorm’s annual fundraiser? Awesome! Did you write a letter or article that was included in your student newspaper? Great! Get these materials together so you can take them to future interviews. Future employers don’t just want to hear about what you did, they want to see it if at all possible. Put your samples in a nice clip book or organizer and bring them to your interview. Even if you email any links beforehand, it’s still nice for your interviewer to be able to see what you worked on in person.
3. Go Digital
It’s not enough to buy some nice letterhead and call it a day. Nowadays you also need a strong digital presence, so that when recruiters Google your name, they get your LinkedIn profile and your Google+ profile, not some ridiculous Facebook photo that’s 5 years old.
If you haven’t joined these social networks yet, do it! They’ll not only help you show up positively in the search results, but they’re also great networking tools. Put up a professional head shot, use strong keywords to describe who you are and what you want to do professionally, and above all else, keep them free from profanity and other inappropriate posts.
I know it sounds like a lot of work, but trust me, it’s well worth it. Job searches can take several months so the sooner you get started, the closer you’ll be to that first job out of college.
Noël Rozny is Web Editor & Content Manager at myFootpath, a career and education resource for students of all ages. Visit myFootpath.com to find the bachelor’s degree, master’s degree or PhD program that’s right for you.