Resume Tips for Recent College Graduates

The time is almost here. You can’t hide from it. You can’t avoid it. It’s happening: you are graduating in May. Now before I go any further take a breath. You’re going to be okay. Most of us have been through it and have survived. It will be a huge change and feel crazy and strange, but at the end of the day you will find yourself and your path in this big bad world.

Now onto the reason I am pointing to the big scary elephant in the room: what’s next for you? Some of you may already be set up with graduate school, medical school, or law school, and that’s awesome! Go forth and have the best final months of college before you enter the big bad world of an advanced degree program. But there are some of you out there who are now on the hunt for an entry-level job that will hopefully help lead you to your dream career. Many of you who are in this boat are probably, for lack of a more eloquent way of stating this, freaking out. First of all: totally normal. Second of all: that’s why we’re here. We have some tips, tricks, and wise words of wisdom to help you hack your way to your dream job. So buckle up and let’s start with the always dreaded formatting nightmare that is your resume.

DOs & DON’Ts…

  • DO keep it to ONE page
    When you are just entering the workforce you usually don’t have a ton of experience that lends itself to the job hunt, so keep it succinct and focused.
  • DO include your contact information including…
    -A business email AKA some variation of your name @ gmail or another service
    -Include a linkedin profile link – yes, you need one
    -Your phone number
    -Name of the city/town you live in and zip code
  • DO include GPA (as long as it’s strong), degree title, and year of graduation
  • DO include a professional summary at the top of your resume
    Briefly explain your professional experience. But, NEVER include fluff like “good team player” or “motivated worker.” Instead include actions you’ve taken or highlight skills you’ve gained or implemented to push things forward.
  • DO include a list of specific, related skills that highlight what you can offer to the position
  • DO use active verbs
    The rule of thumb is if you are currently working somewhere use the present tense; if you no longer work somewhere use the past tense.
  • DO be as specific and detailed as possible when describing your work experience
    -Include helpful details like the number of students you were in charge of or the number of executives you supported.
    -On your first pass always put more detail. You can always cut it down.
    -Try to have one full line for each bullet point under each position. If it’s too short only add pertinent details.
    -Stick to facts then work to make those sound the best they can.
  • DO include honors, awards, and extracurriculars
    -If you’ve received an award or are graduating with honors include them in their own section after your work experience.
    -If there are significant extracurriculars then include those as well especially if they have leadership roles or activities that are pertinent to your desired career
  • DO make yourself irresistible to employers
    -Edit your resume with keywords for the position your interested in
    -Focus your skills and summary on the buzzwords from the listing
  • DO for the future, always keep all your materials updated and ready to submit
    You may find your dream job on your first try or you end up in a job that is only tangentially related to what you want to do. Either way make sure you are always updating your materials, so if you decide to leave your job, are fired, or find something perfect for you you are always ready to apply.
  • DON’T include your high school or any high school experience
    It’s been YEARS & it just looks unprofessional.

A-List Career Coaches and Advisors are ready to help, if you’d like some extra feedback or help creating your professional resume. Contact us if you’d like help getting started!

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