You need more than a sparkling résumé to get that first job 

Recent college grads need more than a résumé to obtain that all-important first job.

Career coach, author and speaker Ford R. Myers provides these up-and-comers with the top 10 tools they will need to stand out from the crowd and start on the right career path:

  1. Accomplishment stories. Write five or six compelling stories about school or work-related tasks about which you feel proud.
  2. Positioning statement. Prepare and practice a “15-second commercial” about who you are, what you’ve done in the past, and the particular strengths you can contribute to an employer.
  3. Professional biography. Write a one-page narrative of your career in the “third person” — as though someone else wrote it about you.
  4. Target company list. Make a “wish list” of adjectives that would describe your ideal employer. Then research specific organizations that meet those criteria, and put them on a list of 35 to 50 “target companies.”
  5. Contact list. Compile a list of all the people you know personally and professionally. Remember that approximately 80 percent of new opportunities are secured through networking.
  6. Professional or academic references. List colleagues or professors who would “sing your praises” if asked about you. Contact each of them, and get approval to use their names on your list of references.
  7. Letters of recommendation. Request letters from four or five respected business colleagues or academic associates.
  8. Networking agenda. Write-out a full networking agenda so you’ll know exactly how to manage the networking discussion — how it flows, what to expect, how to react to the other person’s comments, etc.
  9. Tracking system. Keep a detailed record of your job search activities, including phone calls, meeting notes and correspondence.
  10. Résumé. Be sure your final résumé is carefully edited and succinct (no more than two pages) with a layout that is easy for the eye to follow.

Myers adds, “It may take some time to produce these documents and to learn how to use them effectively, but it will be worth it.

Reprinted by permission of Ford R. Myers, a career coach and author of “Get The Job You Want, Even When No One’s Hiring.”

Marvin Walberg is a job-search coach based in Birmingham, Ala. For contact information, see

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