Assess your skills

When working on a basic résumé, you need to know precisely which skills you have. Perhaps your job at the supermarket taught you something about customer service?

Capax, a job recruitment agency, recommends that you produce a basic résumé from which you may handpick elements when applying for specific jobs.
You should not mail the basic résumé to anyone; rather, it should function as a shopping list detailing what you can do and what you have learned. You may divide it into different areas and skills (for example, education, work experience, leisure activities) and supply each section with thorough descriptions.

For you, as a recent graduate, the first section of your résumé may concern your education; this is perfectly fine, since, during the last 3-6 years, you have spent most of your time studying. In this section, you must highlight why you chose to study your particular subject. Highlight the courses that interest you the most.
This will also help you discover which positions will be relevant for you to apply for. In your basic résumé, it is okay to list a lot of courses, subjects, and your specialty, but when you apply for a specific position, you must emphasize the particular subjects, which match the job you are applying for.

“Highlight specific subjects, if they match the job you are applying for. If you list everything, you may drown out that which you’d like to call attention to.” – Marianne Petersen

In the work experience section, you may list your student jobs. Of course, those who are relevant to your profession should be accompanied by some key words. Those not relevant to your studies should only be mentioned, if you can “translate” them into a specific skill demanded by companies. Perhaps your job at the supermarket, your summer job as a bartender, etc. have given you skills regarding teamwork, conflict resolution, and/or customer service and have taught you to work independently, create work schedules, and/or train new employees? Some of these qualities may be transferred to your tailor-made résumé, if they correspond with some of the values championed by the company you are applying
for a position at.

Decoding a job ad may prove difficult, when you are customizing your résumé. Find out which qualities are most important to the company – do some research on their web page or call them. Calling a company may prove difficult, but you may find inspiration on their web page. If you have prepared 2-3 questions in advance, you won’t take up too much of time and the person in charge of hiring new employees will not feel too bothered. Also, if your questions are relevant, you will not be rejected.

Suggestions for questions:

  • Of the qualifications listed in the job ad, which three would you say are most important?
  • Should the person hired have specific character traits (outgoing, ­innovative, etc.)?
  • What should I focus on to make my profile appeal to you

By asking questions, you will get an idea of what you need to highlight in your application as well as in your résumé. You also show that you are able to act independently and are willing to take the initial steps to get to know the company. Make sure to contact the right person.

Source: Marianne Petersen, Capax