Recent graduates have some special considerations when it comes to writing a resume. If you’ve recently graduated from college, here are my top tips for you!
Keep it to a single page. You don’t have enough experience to justify a longer resume. (This is not a bad thing!)
Include a summary statement. This should succinctly demonstrate your potential value to the employer by highlighting the skills you can directly contribute to the position. Here’s your opportunity to tell your future employer why they should hire you.
Be honest. Don’t lie about job dates, titles, responsibilities, or anything else! Also, don’t use words you wouldn’t feel comfortable defining if asked. Your resume should accurately represent your knowledge and skills. Within your work history, indicate any positions that were internships.
List your education first. As a recent graduate, your education is probably your strongest credential for your first job. Position your education at the top of your resume, before any work experience, to draw attention to your degree. If you’re applying for a job unrelated to your education and have a strong work history in that area, you may be an exception to the rule. For example, if you’ve worked in retail clothing stores throughout college, and you’re now applying to be a manager at a clothing store, I would advise you to list your work history first.
Leverage your experience to demonstrate your skills. Even if you have no direct experience, you probably have skills relevant to the position for which you are applying. As a bartender, you have customer service experience, so if you’re applying for a call center position, you can highlight the customer service aspect of your bartending experience. (We’ll discuss this in more detail in a future blog post.)
Exclude information that isn’t directly relevant to the position you’re applying for. Remove school activities unless they are directly related to the position or demonstrate relevant skills. If you’re applying for a position as a recruiter, include your experience as your sorority’s recruitment chair. If you’re applying for a job in finance, include your undergraduate memberships in finance organizations or your role as the Spanish Club’s treasurer.