"If I were a so-so student, I'd put [my education] on the bottom of the page, or perhaps in the middle of the page," Cohen says. "I'd want an employer to be impressed right off the bat." Emphasis on your education should also decrease as you age. "We recommend to our alums to move their education to the bottom ... because their most recent work experience is more relevant for their next role," Tsung notes.
[See the 10 M.B.A.'s with the most financial value at graduation.]
5. Don't improvise: Being one amidst a sea of candidates might compel an anxious recruit to get creative. But experts like Cohen say, "You have to learn to follow the rules before you break them. Don't send a PDF résumé when you were asked for a Word document." She adds: "Make it easy on the company to like you; don't put road blocks in the way. If a student has manners and follows instructions, they will be far ahead of the average student that's graduating."
To make your personal mark, consider a different strategy. "Handwritten thank you notes [following an interview] are a very nice touch and can differentiate you," Tsung says. Just remember to first send an E-mail thank you to the hiring manager. Maintaining a solid LinkedIn profile also makes a strong impression. "We encourage students to have an updated LinkedIn profile and to join industry associations and school groups," says Tsung. "It's a wonderful way to connect with and research individuals."
6. Don't embellish: Learn the difference between selling and falsifying yourself. Not being truthful is a cardinal sin for any job seeker, business graduate, or otherwise. "Just don't lie," Cohen says. "Don't lie about your GPA; don't lie about where you went to school. Don't lie and say you have a degree when you don't."
If scholastic achievements aren't noteworthy and/or if work accomplishments are few, Cohen suggests focusing more on volunteer work and side projects "It's great information to include if they have limited experience," she says.
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