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Attention, College Students: 3 Tactical Resume Tips to Land Your First Job
By: Don McLean
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If you’re a college student, look around next time you’re in class. If you’re a high school student, you rock for reading this. You are competing with every one of those people for a job, including the people who graduated the year before you. The problem — nay, the opportunity — is that there's just not many entry-level jobs available. The next thing you should consider is what you can do to position yourself ahead of the competition.

Some may say join a club, be a leader at your school, and other things like that. I agree that those are important, but it still all falls under the “education” bucket of your resume. What can you do to put something under the ever important “experience” section? Keep reading.

Stand out by volunteering
Add direct experience to your resume and volunteer. Figure out what you’re really passionate about, like rescuing puppies. Once you’ve done that, reach out to an organization or two and meet with the person who runs the volunteer program. Tell them you want to do something more and offer to put together a PR plan or pitch reporters on upcoming news and events. Make sure to follow through. If you keep this up, you not only have something to include as experience, but now you have a work reference who can speak to your results and character.

Show off your thinking
Elevate your personal brand by blogging or writing contributed content for publications. This will prove your storytelling capabilities before you get the job. Once you get an article or two under your belt, it gets easier. Add your communications blog to your resume and start regularly sharing articles on social networks like LinkedIn and Twitter.

Have it reviewed by everyone
I literally mean every single person you know. Start with your dad, then move on to your professors and school counselor. Ask for honest and constructive feedback. You want this to be a living document, so you have to work at it. Let each person review it individually, meaning that you let them look it over for a few days and incorporate their comments before moving on for the next round of feedback. After you think you’ve got it in the right spot, run it past a mentor. A mentor is someone you trust, who is respected in their field. It could be an aunt or uncle, a friend of the family, or even someone in your desired industry that you’ve proactively reached out to for advice. It’ll look very different from where you started and push you ahead of the competition — just don’t forget spellczech.

This is just the start. There are all kinds of online networking ideas you can use to build your personal brand off the resume. However, the resume should be the single most important document to you during the time of finding your first real, non-barista job. It’s the first thing and the last thing a recruiter will see. Keep yours out of the trash can.


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About the Author
Don McLean, MBA is an account supervisor at Airfoil Group, an independent marketing and public relations firm serving tech companies and innovation-centric brands with offices in Detroit, New York and Silicon Valley. Follow Don on twitter at@mclean_don.  
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