TOP 6 Tips for Writing Excellent College Graduate Resume

For someone who’s just fresh out of college, writing an effective resume can be a challenge, considering you might have little to no work experience to speak of. You will likely be vying for a position against seasoned applicants, and that means you need to work extra hard in giving recruiters and hiring managers good reasons to choose you over them. Easier said than done, but not entirely impossible, especially when you keep in mind the following tried-and-tested college graduate resume tips.

college graduate resume tips infographic

1. Use a professional-looking email address

Leave the witty college email address behind and replace it with something more formal. It may have elicited plenty of guffaws back at the dorm, but the only thing it’s going to do for your recent graduate resume is hastening its way to the trash bin. If you want potential employers to take you seriously, create a professional-looking email address, even if it’s solely meant for job hunting.

2. Include a LinkedIn profile

As the social media platform of choice for professionals, it has become essential for job seekers to have a LinkedIn account that they can attach to their resume. A LinkedIn account allows interested recruiters to learn more about applicants and do a bit of background checking to see if a shortlisted candidate would be a good fit for the company. So make sure your LinkedIn profile is polished, and attach a working link to your college graduate resume.

3. Write a strong and concise summary

Too many fresh grads waste their summary on proclamations that only serve to annoy rather than impress. Savvy recruiters can spot a template-based one-size-fits-all college graduate resume from a mile away, so make sure your summary statement is tailored not only for the particular job but the company as well. Avoid tired words such as “go-getter,” “team player” and “ambitious.” Begin your sentences with strong active verbs like “spearheaded,” “mobilized,” “coordinated,” “orchestrated,” and the like. And keep your paragraph four to five lines max for brevity.

4. Use the right keywords

Companies today are increasingly using applicant tracking systems (ATS) to screen resumes before they reach the eyes of a recruiter or hiring manager. And the best way to pass these systems is to include the right keywords in your recent graduate resume. Review the job listing thoroughly and take note of the key terms and phrases used for the skill and experience requirements. If you possess them, make sure to work them into your college graduate resume. The Core Competencies and Work Experience sections are great places to use these keywords.

5. Mention your college, but not your high school

HR people are more interested in your recent activities, so focus on highlighting your accomplishments and key contributions during your college years, with emphasis on those that could prove helpful to you getting the position. It’s best to forgo mentioning high school altogether unless you have major academic achievements that add value to your college graduate resume.

6. List your GPA if it’s 3.0 or higher

A high-grade point average never fails to impress, especially for recent college grads. If your GPA is 3.0, 4.0, or higher, make sure to mention that in your resume. Don’t bother if your score is lower. And be prepared with an honest answer in case they ask you why you didn’t include your GPA during your job interview.

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3 FAQs about college resume writing

Q: How long should my recent college graduate resume be?

A: Even when you have plenty of experience to speak of, it’s best to limit your resume to one page. Studies suggest that readers only take an average of six seconds to evaluate a resume and decide if it’s worth shortlisting. A one-page resume ensures that recruiters can make up their mind quickly on whether they are interested in hiring you.

Q: How should I format my recent college graduate resume?

A: Here’s the most effective way to format a college resume: Start with an attention-grabbing summary or objective. Next, list your current academic accomplishments in detail, complete with honors and coursework. If you have work experience, frame these with quantifiable achievements. Don’t forget to check your resume for errors. You want to show recruiters and hiring managers that you are meticulous about detail.

Q: What should I include in my college grad resume?

To provide employers with a well-rounded idea of your qualifications, here’s how you should structure your new graduate resume:

  • Contact information
  • Summary statement
  • Education history
  • Relevant experience
  • List of hard and soft skills

This format works for most cases, but depending on your situation, you may want to organize the sections according to what you want to highlight the most. If you believe your skills make you highly qualified for the job, then you can move your resume’s Skills section closer to the top of your resume. If you have any internship that relates to the job you are applying for, mention these in the relevant experience section.

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