One of the most valuable things I was taught in college was the importance of a good resume. I remember attending a workshop that was held specifically for this – how to make a clean resume, what it should communicate, and how it would help us bag our first job. In fact, we had our photography professor click official pictures of us for our CVs – I use mine to this day!
A resume is the beginning of your professional journey. It gives the recruiter an idea of your achievements and skills, which allows them to decide if you’re a good fit. As a fresher, putting your strengths and interests are as important as putting in your academic qualifications. Your recruiter will try to understand which role suits you best and interview you accordingly.
To get more insights into what makes a fresher resume pop, I spoke to Shilpa Laharwal, the founder of Career Faktor. With 18 years of experience in human resource management, Shilpa provides guidance to individuals looking for jobs as well as to start-ups looking to set up HR practices.
You will also find two sample resume templates for freshers at the end of this article.
So, let’s begin.
- Choose the right resume format
- Write a solid objective statement
- List your qualifications and internship experience
- List your acquired skills
- Highlight your achievements
- How to make a resume for media freshers
Choose the right resume format
Did you know that it takes just 6 seconds for your resume to make an impression?
This is why your resume format is important.
Recruiters have to go through mountains of resumes, so you have to make sure yours stands out. Which resume format is best for freshers? Shilpa says – if you are a fresher, your educational qualifications and internship experience should stand out. Combine that with a solid career objective statement, and you’re good to go!
Make sure that your resume isn’t longer than one page. A well-formatted and concise resume is one of the top 5 things that makes a fresher’s application stand out.
Your resume should be crisp and clear, visually appealing, and proofread to perfection.
Write a solid objective statement
As a fresher, your objective statement is a reflection of your enthusiasm to kick-start your career.
It is another important thing recruiters look for in a fresher’s job application. Freshers wouldn’t require a summary statement because they don’t have the work experience to summarise it.
To write a good objective statement, Shilpa suggests to keep it simple. “Avoid using fluff words in your objective statement. Recruiters can see right through it,” she says. Instead of using words such as ‘motivated’, ‘dedicated’, ‘hardworking’, etc., try personalising the objective statement to the company’s interests. That way, you will be able to catch your recruiter’s attention.
Shilpa elucidates, “If you’re applying for an HR executive position, for example, you can say that you have graduated from HR and that your idol is xyz. Then go on to how the skills you have learnt will add value to the company.”
List your educational qualifications and internship experience
As a fresher, your educational qualifications and on-ground experience matter a great deal. This section should be mentioned in precise detail. Starting with your latest degree, mention your credentials, the institution where you have studied, the year in which you graduated, and your pass percentage/CGPA. You can do the same for any certificate courses you may have completed.
Your internships are the closest thing you have to industry experience, which is why recruiters are looking for it in a fresher resume.
Shilpa says that it’s not enough to add where you’ve interned; you must describe the role you had to play as an intern.
Simply mentioning worked at HSBC bank under internship experience wouldn’t make a good impression – writing a couple of sentences on your role in the organisation would give the recruiter an idea of your skills and experience.
Recruiters also keep an eye out on the places where the candidate is interning, so be mindful of the places you pick to intern. Recruiters are also experienced at sniffing out lies in a resume, so it’s best to be honest.
List down your acquired skills
Your acquired skills are those you have developed both in and outside of the classroom. Broadly, there are two types of skills – hard skills, and soft skills.
Hard skills, or technical skills, are skills related to your degree.
If you’re a computer science graduate, your hard skills will include all the programming languages you’ve learned. If you’re a mass communication graduate with a specialisation in advertising, your hard skills will include digital marketing, copywriting, content creation, and social media management among others.
To list down your technical skills, go through your coursework in detail and think about all the things you have learnt from each subject. Make a list of those skills and eliminate those that do not serve you. Then, list down the technical skills starting from the strongest to the weakest.
Soft skills are skills related to how you work. These could be skills you’ve developed working on group projects, assignments, or volunteering for your college fest.
Soft skills are important when you’re working in a professional setting because you have to work with other people to realise the organisation’s vision. Some soft skills include problem-solving, critical thinking, teamwork, and flexibility.
In today’s day and age, what matters immensely is your soft skills. Today, more than ever, recruiters are hiring not just for IQ, but also EQ – emotional quotient.
Given the change in the workplace structure due to the pandemic, here are some important skills to include in your resume in 2020:
Time management. Given the nature of the pandemic, being able to manage your work with little supervision is an asset.
Emotional intelligence. The ability to understand your and your coworkers’ emotions is a big asset in today’s professional world. Being empathetic is a great skill to possess, as it makes you more approachable and easy to work with.
Creativity. Most career options today require some amount of creative thinking. While some people are naturally creative, others struggle with it. A good way is to take up regular creativity-boosting activities.
Adaptability. Thanks to the pandemic, being adaptable is an indispensable quality. The ability to adapt to changing circumstances, changing technologies and changing formats is a great quality to have and develop.
Collaboration. Departments across an organisation aren’t as rigid as they used to be. The ability to collaborate with employees outside of your team is another asset to develop and list.
Regardless of the skills you mention, remember to use words that you can associate with your qualifications and experience in some capacity.
Recruiters know when you’ve copy-pasted jargon to beef up your resume, which is neither required nor recommended.
Says Shilpa, “A lot of freshers write a lot of big words without knowing what they mean. So when I come across someone who has written words like ‘multitasker’ as a skill, I pick on the word and ask them to explain what they’ve done to call themselves a ‘multitasker’.
Be prepared to answer these questions if you’re using complicated words in your resume!
Highlight your achievements
Shilpa stresses on the importance of having a holistic resume. Any achievements – academic or otherwise – are welcome as they showcase your personality outside the professional setting.
Shilpa, in particular, looks for volunteering experience and interests in a fresher’s resume. Don’t hesitate to brag about your dance or photography skills, or your level-1 scuba diving certification. All these things count!
Here are Kool Kanya’s sample resume templates for a little inspiration. Go on and give your resume an impressive makeover!
How to make a resume for media freshers
Now that you’re up-to-date on the basics of how to make a resume, let’s get into the specifics of your chosen career path.
If you’re a mass communications graduate – be it journalism, event planning, writing, video producing, or editing – your resume should highlight your internship and volunteer experience as this field requires practical application.
Career objective for media jobs
To write a career objective as a media and communications major, you should take from your coursework and write about how your theoretical knowledge and practical skills will help the organisation.
Here’s an example with the key skills highlighted in an objective statement of a journalism graduate:
A media and communications graduate with a specialisation in journalism seeking to work with XYZ company as a content writer. With excellent written and verbal communication skills, a knack for research and a deep interest in travel and culture, seeking to grow within the field of lifestyle and F&B content. Bringing proficiency in Microsoft Office and Canva, and basic experience with Adobe Premiere Pro.
Important skills to list in a resume for media freshers
The most important skill you will have as a media graduate is the ability to communicate well.
As mentioned in the skills section of this article, your list of skills should include both hard and soft skills.
You should ideally derive your hard skills from your coursework; your soft skills play an important role as a media graduate. Make sure your resume reflects that throughout. It’s all in the way you write about your work experience.
Some important soft skills for media graduates include:
- The ability to work in a fast-paced environment
- Strong sense of taking initiative
- Familiarity with the latest trends in social media, technology and content
- Team player
The most important tool for media professionals to get hired – a portfolio
Your resume might document your qualifications, but nothing demonstrates them better than a portfolio.
As a media and communications graduate, your portfolio is of utmost importance because this field requires practical application.
Your chances of getting hired depend on what you have to show for your listed qualifications.
Your portfolio should start building itself from your time in college. Don’t freak out at the thought of that – your coursework is likely built in a way that helps you with it! Your assignments and projects are a great starting point.
Another significant tool in your portfolio-building process is your internship – leverage it!
Choose an internship that helps you build a specific set of skills – if you’re a journalism major, find an internship in a news agency or publication, offline or digital, and don’t be afraid to diversify – that will not only add to your portfolio but will also give you a taste of what you truly enjoy working on. Head here to read our expert-verified, step-by-step guide on bagging a great internship.
Aside from this, it doesn’t hurt to put your personal projects in your portfolio either.
Do you run a personal blog? Are you working on a graphic novel to put your design skills to use? Have you helped your friend set up an Instagram account to kick off her home baking business? Did you volunteer to generate funds for an NGO? All of it counts! You’re showcasing your skills through your passion – nothing is off the table.
Here’s a step-by-step guide to making your online portfolio on Wix:
The best way to showcase your body of work is by creating a portfolio online. You can put all your work in one place for easy reference. Your specialisation will determine where you make your portfolio – websites like Behance, Wix, WordPress, and Squarespace are great for building online portfolios.
To share your portfolio, add the link to your resume so your recruiter can access it easily. With your social media profiles and portfolio added on to your resume, you’ll make it easy for the recruiter to decide how good of a fit you are!
Here are two Kool Kanya-verified resume templates for media and communications freshers.
To sum up, here are some important tips to remember when building your resume:
- Keep your resume crisp and easy to read.
- Use simple words and proofread your resume.
- Add your social profiles for your recruiters to see.
- Highlight your key skills.
Building a good resume can take some time, but it is completely worth it. It’s the first thing an employer will read about you, so it is important to put some time in and make it speak for you.
Shilpa concludes with some solid advice: “Write in a manner that it shows what’s in it for the other person.”
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