Developing your first resume following graduation is an important step in launching your career. The process may seem daunting. You have to put all of your best qualities on paper, make yourself look more attractive than the next person and completely selling yourself, all on one sheet of paper. There are only a few seconds to capture the employer’s attention. Below are five things you should know about writing your college grad resume:
1. Start with the basics.
It sounds obvious, but your resume must include your name, address, phone number and e-mail address. Be mindful of the address you include. College students, in particular, tend to move often, so include a permanent address, such as your parent’s address. Ensure your email address is professional, using your name if possible. If you want to appear professional to an employer, a user ID like “sexygal2018” will not work. If your personal e-mail address is not appropriate, set up a new account just for job searches.
2. Include an objective and summary of skills.
These sections come right after your personal information and, for a first-time job seeker, should be concise.
For example: Excellent writer proficient in copy editing and familiar with AP style. Extremely organized, with ample experience meeting deadlines and working in high-pressure situations.
Your “summary of skills” should highlight experiences and qualifications that the employer is seeking. Remember, a resume is not about what you want. It’s about what you can offer your prospective employer.
3. Choose the right resume style.
There are three basic types of resumes: chronological, functional and combination. Chronological resumes focus on work experience, and list professional experience in order from most to least recent. Functional resumes concentrate more on skills. A combination style works well for first-time job seekers. You can point out professional experience, but also draw more attention to your skills, since your work experience is probably limited. Recent college graduates should divide their resume into these categories: work experience, academic experience and community service/extracurricular experience.
4. Brainstorm your experience and skills.
While you may be struggling to think of pertinent work experience, you have more than you realize. For example, if you have worked in a retail operation, your skills and qualifications include customer service skills, dependability, accountability, the ability to work as a part of a team and experience in managing money. Were you a full-time summer babysitter? This means you coordinated schedules, handled finances, and were extremely responsible. Many skills learned in part-time positions are quite relevant to the corporate world. Don’t underestimate the skills you have gained.
5. Your academic and volunteer experience is relevant.
Don’t think that your schooling means nothing to an employer. Your computer skills will be particularly attractive and should be highlighted. You can also demonstrate your aptitude and strengths by project-specific examples of class work you have done. For example, if you were a journalism major in college, tell the employer about major articles you wrote and the legwork you did to complete those projects. Also consider your volunteer and extracurricular experience. If you held an officer position in a club or fraternity/sorority, were an athlete, volunteered or took a leadership role in any other extracurricular organization, you have valuable experience to list.