If you are reading this page, there is a very good chance you are a recent college graduate, or you will be soon. If you are looking for a job that will utilize your newly-obtained degree, your resume needs to reflect that, and below you will find several strategies to make you look more appealing to employers. Resumes for recent graduates are quite different from resumes for mid-career professionals, so make sure to utilize the following advice to ensure your resume is effective. Remember, you only have one opportunity to impress employers, so making sure your resume is written properly is essential.
All good resumes include a “summary of qualifications” (or similar) located at the beginning of the resume, and your resume should not be an exception. The summary paragraph is a golden opportunity for you to highlight your recently-acquired knowledge (via your college degree) coupled with your transferable skills (relevant to your new/potential employers) from your work and life experiences. Try to avoid mentioning overused skills, such as being a “self-starter” with good “time management” skills, and focus more on legitimate skills which are relevant to the job you are applying for. The more tailored the summary paragraph is to the job, the greater your chance is of landing an interview and starting your new career.
Traditional resumes are typically written to focus on employment history, since that is usually what is most important to employers. This is not the case, however, for resumes for recent graduates. If you are seeking a job that is in the same field as your new degree, your education is going to be the highlight of the resume. Make sure to include all details which are relevant to your education, such as coursework, scholarships, extracurricular activities, and your GPA (if it is respectable). Your academic information will serve as a list of your credentials, essentially, so make sure it is impressive.
When it comes to employment history, recent graduates typically do not have an impressive background. Often times, students will find part-time jobs simply to pay their bills, without any specific industry or career path in mind. Because of this, your employment history should be as simple and concise as possible on your resume. Why, you ask? To be blunt, employers do not really care about what you have been doing unless it is relevant to their company. For instance, if you recently graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Nursing, do you expect a hiring manager at a hospital to have any interest in what you did as a waiter or bartender? No, they do not. List the company you worked for, your job title, and the dates of your employment. Do not waste the reader’s time with a big list of irrelevant responsibilities which they can probably infer based on your job title.
In conclusion, show employers what they want to see and leave off irrelevant information. Mention your new skills in a powerful summary paragraph, highlight all aspects of your education, and include a very brief section covering the basics of your employment history. Following this formula has been very successful for me throughout the years, and nothing beats the advice and real-world results of a professional resume writer.