Are you feeling a tad bit intimidated because you’re currently crafting your entry-level resume and worry you don’t have enough experience to make your resume look impressive? Don’t worry! The key to resume success is to boost your current qualifications—even if you’re on a low rung of the corporate ladder. Giving yourself veteran appeal is easier than you think.
Just like writing a great title for a research paper, a great job target (or headline) can induce a hiring manager to read the rest of your resume. At the entry level, you may feel you don’t have enough experience to create a good job target, but with a little creativity you can convince an employer to schedule an interview with an “Ivy League Honors Graduate Looking to Bring Fresh, Captivating Ideas to the XYZ Corporate Public Relations Specialist Position.”
It’s easy to underestimate the value of keywords because they seem to be just words. But these words can make or break your chances of being called for an interview. This is because the first stage of your application process is likely to include the company’s use of screening software that scans for specific keywords throughout resumes.
If yours doesn’t include words that very specifically describe the field you’re in and the contributions you can make to the position you’re seeking (e.g. public speaking, press releases, international and external communications, trade shows, etc.), you may be denied the position before you’ve even had the opportunity to interview.
Another great way to give your resume veteran appeal is to include testimonials. This is still a relatively new concept and is something hiring managers may be pleasantly surprised to see. So take this opportunity to add about two or three very short quotes from an old boss, former professors, or other influential people in your field. This approach not only works as a great resume filler but helps make you that much more desirable as a candidate.
If you’ve received awards or recognition in your short career span, don’t be shy about listing them. It’s great to be recognized for your accomplishments—and even better when an employer looks upon them favorably and even considers hiring you as a result.
Just because you’re getting your foot in the door at the entry-level doesn’t mean you’re not highly qualified for the job you want. So take time to really think about your accomplishments to date and how they make you an amazingly appealing candidate.
Jessica Holbrook Hernandez, CEO of Great Resumes Fast is an expert resume writer, career and personal branding strategist, author, and presenter.