#YourLaunchPlan – Fresh Start & Plumtree Financial have joined forces to provide recent college graduates with a roadmap for professional advancement and financial independence. The nice house and corner office don’t just happen overnight. You need a plan to get from here to there. We can help. Here is the 1st excerpt from our eBook, ‘5 Universal Truths for Recent Grads” A Step-By-Step Guide for Professional Development & Financial Freedom”.


1st and foremost, you must be accountable for your own career and make strategic choices that will get you where you need to go. No one else will do it for you, so be your own advocate … your own cheerleader. Easier said than done, right?

How do you take ownership of a non-existent career?


With a college diploma in hand and 16+ years of education under your belt, it’s time to get a job. Where do you start? The answer: BRANDING. What’s your personal brand? What’s your value potential? What makes you unique? What sets you apart from the millions of other new graduates scrambling to find their place in the world? Is your personal brand consistent and apparent across all aspects of your life. Not just your job search materials, but also your social networks?

Most hiring managers won’t make a decision to hire you based purely on your GPA. They also want to know about your leadership and interpersonal skills. They want to make sure that you are a good fit for their corporate culture. They want to see how you dealt with a challenging situation. What was the outcome? They want to know that you will ‘play nice in the sandbox’.

The 1st place that they will get a glimpse of all of this is your resume!


Resumes are personal marketing documents. They must be concise and value-driven to entice the reader to want to learn more about you and (fingers crossed) bring you in for an interview! Resumes need to be focused on the reader and readily address his/her ‘pain points’. For a recent graduate, 1 page should be sufficient.

You have 6 seconds to make a strong impression before your resume ends up in the recycling bin. That’s IF it survives the computerized gauntlet, also known as the ATS (applicant tracking system), which is used by ~90% of companies to find their new hires. (We will cover this roadblock later along with some helpful navigation tips).

The top 1/3 of your resume is prime real estate but the entire document should be QRAC: Quantifiable, Relevant, Appealing (visually) and Comprehensive. Don’t let your resume fall through the cracks!

A common mistake on resumes is including Every. Single. Job. that you have ever had and every responsibility to go along with those jobs. That’s a hot mess. Don’t go there! No one is going to wants to read through it. So what are the essential ingredients of a powerful resume?

  • • Contact / Header –Full name, full address, email, phone and (vanity) LinkedIn url. Be sure to have a      professional sounding email address. partytime247@hotmail.com won’t get you any decent interviews!
  • • Profile Statement – A few summary sentences as well as a branding statement or tag line. Don’t forget to include a list of core competencies (accurate key words/phrases that correlate with the desired job description).
  • • Relevant Experience – internships, externships, summer jobs, club leadership, volunteer work, work    study opportunities. Include any awards/recognitions, quantifiable outcomes in this section. The more #s, %s, $s, the better! Highlight HOW you have:
    • ○ Contributed to the bottom line or developed a creative solution to an ongoing problem at your job OR
    • ○ Led your intramural sports team to a decisive victory OR
    • ○ Were published in a professional journal about your thesis project OR o created a brand new student club on campus.
  • • Education –At a minimum: degree, school (city/state) and graduation date should be included. Other helpful information: relevant coursework, leadership roles, thesis title, academic awards, GPA (if above 3.0).
  • • Proficiencies – languages (with fluency level), computer programs (Microsoft Office), etc.

What DOES NOT belong on a resume?

  • Objective Statement: Gone are the days of “Objective: to find a challenging position where I can …”.Because, oddly enough, it’s NOT about you at all. Really? Yes! Today’s resume is all about what you can offer to the hiring manager based on your past performance and future potential.
  • References Available Upon Request: This is assumed by the hiring manager. If they want to bring you in for an interview, they will ask for references. So be prepared and have a few trusted individuals who would be willing to vouch for your work ethic and character. Keep them in the loop regarding your job search so they can be prepared to answer questions!

Stay tuned for the next excerpt arriving to your social media feed next week!


Kate Madden, MBA, CPRW is the founder of the Fresh Start brand – Fresh Start Resumes (writing service) & Fresh Start Careers (staffing agency). She is an award-winning certified professional resume writer whose work is featured in 2 books: ‘Modernize Your Resume: Get Noticed …Get Hired” and ‘Modernize Your Job Search Letters”. To learn more about Fresh Start, visit www.freshstartresumes.com and www.freshstartcareersusa.com.

Beth D’Andrea, CFP, is the founder of Plumtree Financial Planning. She is a Certified Financial Planner® with over 20 years of industry experience. Beth provides top quality, independent, fee-only guidance to motivated individuals and families who wish to reach their financial goals. Everyone needs a well thought out financial plan. Visit www.plumtreefinancialplanning.com for more information.