Value of feedback

BY SAMANTHA NOLAN Modified: August 31, 2012 at 1:36 pm •  Published: August 31, 2012
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Dear Sam: I am a 26-year-old recent graduate who is in dire need of job search help.

I received my bachelor’s degree in accounting and have been searching for a new job for a few months. Every position seems to require two-plus years of experience in the field.

My experience is quite limited. I have worked for a grocery chain for 10 years, mainly as an assistant to the manager of front-end operations. I worked as the payroll administrator for two years, but had to give up the position due to my school schedule.

Outside of that, I don’t feel I have much to differentiate myself from other candidates. My GPA isn’t great and I was not able to partake in an internship, mainly due to the fact that I have been on my own for some time now and have needed the steady income of my current job to pay bills.

On the two interviews I have been on since graduation, the interviewers told me I should focus on getting my foot in the door by accepting a bookkeeping position, one of the most basic positions in the accounting field.

As I continue my search, I can’t find a position I am qualified for. Please give me any advice that you think would help my situation. – Andrew

Dear Andrew: I am really sorry to hear of your struggles as a new graduate, and I am so glad you sent me your résumé so I can provide you with some valuable feedback. I have presented a copy of your résumé so readers can refer to it while I offer opportunities for improvement.

You have great experience and certainly enough of it to get your foot in the door for something more than a pure entry-level role.

With two years of payroll administrative experience, eight years of team leadership exposure, and a four-year degree in the field, there is no reason why you shouldn’t be edging out your more junior competitors.

Let’s take a look at what you can do differently to make your résumé more effective.

Nix the objective statement — You must “sell” your candidacy up front, utilizing the most important real estate on your résumé to tell the reader why you are qualified for the job.