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Entry Level Resume Advice

Posted Tuesday, February 28, 2012, at 1:22 AM

They say that nothing is harder than getting started, and when it comes to finding an entry-level job in the current job market, they're entirely correct. Entry-level jobs give you the experience that you need to climb further in your chosen field, but if you are right out of school or otherwise brand-new to the industry, it may feel as though you are only getting doors slammed in you face. Make sure that you are putting your best foot forward by checking out these resume tips; the resume of an entry-level job seeker should stand out at all costs.

First, remove inconsequential job positions. If you are getting started in your industry, the last thing that you want them to remember about your resume is the time that you spent as waitstaff or in a mascot costume. Many people rebel against this; if you don't have a lot of experience, it can feel as though you are gutting your resume. After you remove all of the things that do not belong, your resume may feel very empty, but it is far better that it look skimpy rather than stuffed with things that don't fit.

If your resume feels empty after you have removed the inconsequential positions, you need a new resume format. Instead of doing a history-based resume, consider a skills-based resume instead. A history-based resume is ideal when you are entering the job market with plenty of experience in the field, but for an entry-level job, it only highlights your inexperience. A skills-based resume, on the other hand, allows you to show off the skills you have without letting the places where you worked get in the way.

Tailor your resume. Think about what qualities the job that you are applying for requires. For example, if you are getting a sales position, emphasize what good communication skills you have and how convivial you can be. If you are interested in a tech position, you'll find that it is important to emphasize your problem-solving ability and your facility with the technology in question. A general resume is not going to help you stand out in this market.

Ask others to look at your resume. If you have friends in the industry that you are trying to break into, ask them to check out your resume and to rate it. Is this a resume that would catch their eye? Does this resume represent someone who could work at their place of business? These are things that they can help you with, so don't hesitate to ask. Of course, your friends don't need to be in the business to be helpful. They can also check your grammar and your spelling. Even if you are very careful, you'll find that it is easy to let simply mistakes slip by, especially if you have been working for a while.

Tweak the resume between jobs. Check out resume advice from sites like rileyguide.com and resumehelpblog.com to further improve your resume. Each job you are going to be applying for is a little different. Research the job before you offer them your resume. This tells you about the company's goals and policies. This allows you to tailor the resume a bit. If you are looking for jobs in the same industry, the tweaking can be relatively minor. For example, if your prospective employer has a great deal of pride in company relations, increase the emphasis on your communication skills and your customer service ability. A small amount of tailoring can go a long way towards getting you noticed.

Remember to follow up. One way to make sure that your resume gets the notice that it needs is to call the company one or two days after getting it sent in. Do not be pushy; just call to ask if it was received and if they need any further information. This ends up placing your resume at the top of the pile.

Finally, when in doubt, seek professional help. There are services out there that are designed to help people with their resumes, and when you need to get your foot in the door, you should see what they can do for you.

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I am a masters level career counselor. I am internationally certified as a Career Management Practitioner (CMP) by the Institute for Career Certification International and have been recognized as a National Certified Counselor (NCC) through the National Board for Certified Counselors.
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