Résumé writing is about as much fun as having a root canal, especially when you're just out of school and have no professional experience to speak of.
According to a report by the job-search site CareerCast.com, there are ways you can help your resume stand out, and make yourself look like a budding professional.
First, use your email address as a marketing tool. Create an address that speaks to your professional identity and expertise — SystemAnalyst@hotmail.com, for example.
Highlight your target job title. Place a target job title at the top of your résumé, such as Web designer, immediately after your contact information. That title will focus an interviewer's attention on information relevant to the job you're applying for.
Replace "career objective" with "performance summary." Follow your target job title with a summary that addresses the skills you have to offer as they relate to the employer's needs. Or write three to six lines that speak of your desire for the opportunity to do this work and how your education has prepared you to do it.
Make the best use of valuable résumé real estate. Search engines invariably give a higher ranking to the placement and frequency of the most important keywords. Words at the top of a résumé have more importance than words at the end, and careful keyword repetition also improves visibility. A professional skills section places your most critical information at the top to make your résumé more accessible to the overworked and distracted recruiter.
Emphasize your professional experience. Paid jobs, internships and volunteer work can all qualify as relevant work experience for an entry-level professional — and they create searchable keywords. Be sure to include company names and employment dates for each job you've held.
And, of course, don't forget to do what others fail to do!
Marvin Walberg is a job-search coach in Birmingham, Alabama. For contact information, visit www.marvin-walberg.com.