Approximately 1.6 million people graduate from college each year, and all of them need to make their entry-level resumes stand out. For those without job experience, it pays to include projects and other undertakings such as improving traffic on a personal website or building campaigns for a nonprofit.
Start the section with your education, listing schools attended, degrees earned, and GPA. Next, add your academic honours and achievements.
The education section of a resume is a great place for recent graduates to showcase their academic accomplishments. This could include honours, awards, minors, publications and especially any coursework relevant to their career goals.
It’s a good idea for students and recent graduates to also include any other educational achievements in their work experience sections, such as coding skills or language proficiency. Then, they can use the optional sections of “Languages,” “Certifications” and “Hobbies & Interests” to fill in the remaining space.
Since a new graduate may not have much professional experience, it’s best to stick with the reverse chronological format which is one of the best resume formats. This allows hiring managers to easily identify a candidate’s most relevant job experiences. Adding action verbs to describe past jobs and internships is another way to make your skills stand out.
Having real work experience on your new graduate resume is crucial to showing your value. Don’t skimp on this section, even if it’s unpaid internships or personal projects you developed for fun.
Include your most significant professional accomplishments under each job. Highlighting results rather than duties gives your resume a more powerful, impactful feel.
For jobs that say “relevant experience preferred,” add a summary statement to the top of your resume. This quick paragraph is an excellent way to make the recruiter want to learn more about you.
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Including volunteer experience on a resume is an excellent way for new college graduates to fill in gaps in professional work experience. It also gives hiring managers a sense of the person’s personality and character, which is helpful when interviewing.
When describing volunteer experience, it’s best to focus on the impact of an individual’s responsibilities rather than the number of hours worked. Providing specifics, such as demonstrating leadership and multitasking skills or creating a data collection system for an organization, adds value.
Including academic accomplishments, such as scholarships and a competitive GPA, is also helpful. However, avoid listing the range of dates for your degree program or your high school GPA, as this can be considered bragging. Instead, include a detailed list of your key achievements and responsibilities.
No matter what field you’re entering, your college graduate resume must showcase your communication skills. You can do this by focusing on your use of verbs and quantifying the results of your past work experiences or internships.
For example, when describing your experience as an intern, don’t just say “assisted” or “interned.” Instead, write how you “led” the project and provide specific results like “oversaw the creation of new customer database,” or “enhanced employee productivity by increasing efficiency across departments.” You can also subtly talk up your communication skills by adding volunteer or extracurricular experiences to your college grad resume. This includes anything from fundraising events to fieldwork. Just make sure they’re relevant to the job.
Interests & Hobbies
Interests and hobbies are important sections to include on a resume, but they must be relevant to the job you’re applying for. For instance, your passion for cooking may not be relevant if you are looking for a role within an agency that works with food and beverage brands.
Hobbies that involve creativity, such as painting or playing music, can also look impressive because they highlight valuable skills like imagination and problem-solving. Team-based interests, such as sports or volunteering, are also good for demonstrating collaboration and leadership skills.
As a general rule, hobbies and interests should be included at the end of your resume, after your education and work experience sections. This section shouldn’t trump these sections, as hiring managers will focus on them first.
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