New Graduate Resume Tips
A properly formatted and engaging resume makes the transition from the classroom into the workplace much easier. New graduates, often having little or no relevant job experience, may be at a loss of how to build their resume. Considering that the skills necessary for academic success frequently coincide with “preferred qualifications,” a new graduate only needs to learn how to transfer their college or high-school history into relevant skills and experience.
The three most common resume sections are education, skills and experience. Recent graduates, who may not have enough related work experience, should showcase their skills and education. The education section includes the name of the institution from which you graduated, date of graduation, degree achieved, dates of attendance, and location. Dates of attendance will be written as a range; month and year enrolled to the month and year graduated. If you have a high GPA, or graduated with honors, include this information as well. If you graduated from one college and are currently enrolled in another program (such as graduate or professional school), list the institutions according to relevancy. Also, add an expected date of graduation and use “present” instead of date graduated when filling out dates of attendance. When including information about classes and campus clubs, always list full names and course titles instead of acronyms and course numbers. Refer to relevant coursework and use bullet points to describe applicable aspects of the class.
The skills section is most important when your work experience is not related, or if you have little or no work history. First, identify all of your transferable skills; these are skills that are useful in a wide array of industries. Transferable skills include: written and verbal communication, numerical (math and data entry), sales, problem-solving, leadership, analytical, computer (typing speed, Internet and software), time-management (punctuality and the ability to meet deadlines) and networking. Specificity is key; each skill should be supported with an example of how you learned or executed the action. For example, written/verbal communication may be supported by writing papers, class presentations, jobs with a high level of customer service (cashier or sales associate) and campus club activities. Second, skills are listed as bullets with a colon separating the skill title with its support (Software: Advanced Microsoft Word, Outlook and PowerPoint; Proficiency in Excel; Skilled in Picasa and photo editing). Last, when listing your skills, rank them according to relevancy. Job descriptions often have a list of qualifications desired; list your skills in the order the employer used.
The experience section includes any employment and volunteer history. All positions should be listed in reverse chronological order and include: your title, company’s name, dates of employment, and location. This section may also be split into “relevant experience” and “other experience”.
Gathering all of your experience, skills and education in one document is a useful step in the resume process. When applying for individual positions, however, each resume submitted should be tailored to fit the job description. Recruiters spend an average of 30 seconds to one minute on each resume; your resume should be easily scanned and full of keywords. Keywords are the skills and experiences listed in the “qualifications preferred/necessary” section of a job posting. Avoiding long sentences and paragraphs allows prospective employers to quickly read your resume. Using job-specific keywords will catch their attention. In addition, many companies use software to scan resumes; more keywords you use in your resume means increased chances of an interview. Ensure that all of your phrases begin with an actionable verb.