Tips from Employers for Recent Grads

Last month, I had the fortune to sit down with a handful of recruiters and hiring managers to discuss recruiting entry-level talent.  Through the course of the discussion, many opinions were shared about a variety of recruiting topics, some of which I would like to share with my readers.  Please know these are opinions of a handful of individuals, and while their insights are helpful, there may be situations when their advice is not applicable.

Objective Statements on Resumes:

Overwhelmingly, the group did not recommend including objective statements on resumes. One hiring manager recommended one use the extra lines to add additional information about oneself.  Another offered that a poorly written or generic objective statement will have a greater effect (negative) than a well written statement in his evaluation of a candidate.  Another shared the insight that since most employers of a certain size require applicants to apply online, the resume is already flagged for a specific role within the company.  Thus, the hiring manager know the applicant is applying for a specific role within the company.

There was one recruiter at the meeting who offered a slightly different perspective on objective statements.  She felt that an objective statement could be useful if passing along a resume through a networking contact to a third individual.  Since the final recipient has not interacted with the candidate, it would help the recipient to better understand the focus of the candidate.  This is particularly helpful when resumes of humanities and liberal arts students come across her desk.  For example, a chemical engineering resume will be routed to the engineering recruiters but she needs direction where to route the philosophy major’s resume.  In this situation, it helps her to have an objective statement to help guide the resume to the appropriate hiring manager.

Relevant Experience: 

Having relevant experience is the most sought after piece of information on a resume.  Knowing this desire, candidates were encouraged to move relevant experience as high up on the resume as possible and draw attention to this information.  Recruiters mentioned that relevant experience is not limited to only full-time jobs or internships – class projects, extra-curricular activities, and volunteer efforts could also be seen as relevant experience.

While discussing the topic of resumes, employers agreed that it is okay for a recent grad to go onto a second page of a resume as long as the experiences and entries listed on the resume are relevant to the position to which the person is applying.  Hiring managers do not want to read three entries about your band at various clubs if one is applying to a civil engineering job.  Showing diversity of experiences is encouraged but having multiple unrelated entries or having unrelated entries causing your resume to be multiple pages is not recommended.  As one recruiter put it, “If you cannot convince me you are qualified on page one, I am not flipping to page two.”

As more tips become available, I will be sure to share.


About Kevin Monahan

I have 10+ years experience in coaching clients in their career management and career change efforts. Personal career consulting services combined with employer outreach to help find opportunities for both constituents.
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