How to Nail Your Graduate Resume – Part Two

In our last blog, we gave you some great tips on how to nail your graduate resume – what to put in, and what to leave out. Here, we will give you some more invaluable tips to help get you over the line. 

If this is your first resume, you may be nervous about singing your own virtues. After all, you are fresh to the industry; what can you offer? Some people can overcompensate and make grand claims that read well but can be hard to back up in an interview or even to corroborate on paper. So, by all means, be confident, assured, demonstrate your passion and commitment to your chosen industry, but do not go overboard with superlatives. 

Also, pay attention to the form and function of a graduate resume. When you are competing against other graduates for the very best positions or programs, you have got to stand out from the crowd or risk being lost in a sea of identical applications. However, it is important to make sure your resume gets noticed for the right reasons instead of the wrong ones. Plenty of graduates tend to fire off resumes without any editing; such at the very least, one round of proofreading.

Even if your skills and experience prove you are the perfect fit for the job, recruiters will be distracted if they cannot find your degree result, or if your resume is full of typos and grammatical errors. If writing is not your forté, there are plenty of online tools to help you. One of the best on the market is Grammarly, which is free to download and will ensure your document is grammatically perfect and typos-free. Download it here

Even your choice of email address can be a potential pitfall if it sounds dodgy or unprofessional. Make sure your email address is suitably professional, ideally with your first and last names showcased in the address and use one of the first-tier email service providers such as Gmail, Outlook or Yahoo.  

Avoid the following pitfalls as well:

  • Having a coloured background for your resume (These generally only work in the creative industries, and even then, sparingly)
  • Using fancy but hard-to-read fonts. Stick to one a sans-serif font throughout
  • Writing about yourself in the third person – it just sounds pretentious
How to nail your graduate resume

For nursing graduates, you need to outline your clinical rotations. The details you need to highlight are: 

  • Type of experience (Clinical Rotation, Senior Preceptorship, other)
  • Start and end dates
  • Total number of hours worked
  • Name of the hospital or institution
  • City and State
  • Name of the unit/department (examples: Intensive Care Unit (ICU), Medical-Surgical Unit (MS), Labour and Delivery Unit (L&D), etc.)

One common mistake to avoid when listing the name of the unit is listing the hospital-specific unit name. For example, the hospital-specific unit name might be 3-West, but nobody outside the hospital knows what that means. Instead, list the type of unit it was as designated by the type of patients the unit took.

Some graduate programs may specify that that is all they require for rotation details. If not, some other details you may want to consider are specific details about the experience you gained while engaged with your clinical rotations. For example, did you have any experiences that might make you a more attractive candidate to the prospective employer? Did you learn anything specific about compassion for patients, teamwork, the importance of learning and growth as a newly graduated RN? If you did, then try to offer the specifics to illustrate exactly what happened. 

For teachers, you need to detail your practicum experience, including:  

  • Start and end dates
  • Total number of weeks worked
  • Name of the school or institution
  • City and State
  • Year ranges and subjects taught (Primary – full range, etc.)

You also need to add a brief description of the responsibilities on each practicum, such as “Developed lesson plan, worked with students to explore the inquiry unit on multiculturalism and developed an assessment task, which contributed to their term grade.”

Finally, try to get feedback from other people you trust. All of the details you have included in your resume may make perfect sense to you, but you may be surprised at the things that others will stumble over or query. Be prepared to receive constructive criticism on your resume and to hear about the positive trait’s others see in you that they think you should sell. At the end of the day, you have one goal, to ensure that you have nailed your graduate resume and won that all-important interview

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