By: Danny Hahn

For the graduating senior, portraying yourself and all of your achievements in the most positive of light is utterly critical for that oh-so-monolithically-imposing moment we all know and acknowledge the approach of. It’s the moment in which you stand at the podium with your diploma, your family looking proudly on from the crowd as your name rings out and you shake the hands of deans and officers, and wonder to yourself, “What do I do now?” For the lucky, that question will thankfully have already been answered. For those who don’t want to be a part of the latter camp—those who don’t have secured employment upon graduation—there are many ways to better portray yourself and ultimately strengthen your resume in the process. The following three points of advice represent just a fraction of what you can do to better yourself, as well as better frame your strengths and skills. Without further ado, here they are:

1)   Don’t restrict yourself to conventional resume fodder.

This one is all about realizing the best of what you represent and not selling yourself short. Do you have skills that aren’t easily filed under past work experience or a campus activity? If they are relevant to your career interests, or they show transferrable skills, include them. If you are worried about where to put these abstract skills, you can put them under a skills or hobbies heading at the bottom of the page.

2)   Personal projects show enthusiasm and initiative.

This point is especially salient for those creative hopefuls but can easily apply to any major and career path. If you have a personal project such as a blog, a professional social media account, maybe you take on projects to achieve Photoshop mastery, whatever it may be, as long as you can demonstrate that you are passionate about your studies and your career, it is more than worthwhile to include. Being involved in a personal project shows that you are truly passionate about your career and not just pushing through a four year program purely to make a bigger buck than the next guy. If you don’t have a personal project, it’s never too late to consider starting one up.

3)   Presentation is everything.

While it may be irritatingly cliché, this old adage holds ever so true for many reasons. Are you looking to become an art director? Account executive? PR liaison? All of these careers emphasize and value different traits and attributes, and your resume should reflect these distinctions. One quick example, an art director may value an unconventional yet creative resume layout that uses casual language, whereas someone looking to work on the account side may need to stick to design conventions and more formal language.

These three points are just a smidgen, a mere sampling of what you can do as talented success bound students to make the most of the talent you possess. Just remember that the person that reads your resume knows you entirely as a set of words on a sheet of paper; don’t make the simple mistake of choosing the wrong words.

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Written by Ad Buzz

The American Advertising Federation Illinois Chapter brings to you Ad Buzz, a blog dedicated to all things advertising related, from our favorite campaigns to trends going on in the industry.

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