Friday, October 23, 2009

"Related Experience" = Key for Landing a Job for New Grads

Community Service - Is your major elementary education? How about volunteering a few hours a week at the local YMCA after school program? Health science or pre-med student? How about volunteering at a nursing home or hospital?

Clubs and Organizations - Do you belong to a fraternity or sorority? If your major is finance, you could run for office as Treasurer. If your major is public relations, you can head your philanthropic committee and organize fund-raising projects.

Shamelessly Exploiting Your Related Experience

Resume - Your related experience is the most important single piece of information on your resume so make sure prospective employers see it. Create a section on your resume called RELATED EXPERIENCE or INTERNSHIP (if that's what it was). If you have other experience waiting tables or flipping burgers, put that in a separate section, following the RELATED EXPERIENCE section and call it OTHER WORK EXPERIENCE. If you're one of those rare students lucky enough to have lots of related experience, you may be able to ditch the OTHER WORK EXPERIENCE section altogether. Once you've created a section on your resume for your related experience, describe your experience. Use paragraph style, bulleted style, or a combination of both . . . it doesn't matter.


What matters is that you demonstrate that you actually learned something. No one expects you to have directed a multi-million dollar project, but anything you can show that lets the reader know you gained some knowledge about your chosen field is good. Did you work as a team member? Then say so. Employers like to hire people who can work well with others on projects. Did you pick up any new skills that you haven't learned in college (new software, operation of specialized instruments/equipment? Write it down. Did you contribute anything through your own initiative that resulted in saving money for your employer, making money for your employer, and/or improving operational procedures? This is REALLY good! Don't forget to include these accomplishments.

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