Resume Tips for New Grads

This article is intended to help new grads like yourself optimize the formatting and content of your resume in order to draw the attention of recruiters and hiring managers.  While this article covers some of the basics, there are entire books and workshops dedicated to a comprehensive approach on how to write a resume.  The following sections are in a suggested order of how your resume should flow and what type of content should be included.

Preface

Understand the jobs you are applying for.  Take the time to carefully read each post, possibly several times.  Write down striking keywords or phrases that you can relate your experience or education to so you can incorporate those into your resume.  The better you understand your target positions and what is required, before you start writing your resume, the easier it will be since you will have more of a focus.

Lose the objective

First off, it’s obvious that you want a job.  Replace the outdated objective with a powerful summary of your skills, qualifications, and relevant experience.  Let the reader know right off the handle why you are a good fit for the job.  Keep it action oriented.  Keep “I” out of it; readers also know that the resume is about you.  There is no need for you to take up precious content to remind them that. Include some power words that describe some of your personality characteristics such as Motivated or Results-Oriented.  Keep it short, sweet and to the point.

Core Competencies

Think about what innate or learned skills and abilities you have and how they relate to a job you are applying for.  What are you good at that relates to the position you are applying for?  Read back through the job postings and try to match your strengths with keywords.  List them out in their own section.

Highlight your education

Hopefully you paid attention in class and have something to show for it.  Capitalize on what you studied.  Highlight your education towards the top of the page, below your core competencies.  If you were involved with any academic related extracurricular programs, let it be known.  Unless a minimum GPA is required for a job or unless you have a stellar GPA, feel free to leave it off all together.  Instead, you may want to list out some classes or areas of study that are directly related to the type of position you are after.

Work Experience and Internships

It is really important that when you write this section of your resume that you want to convey the results of your work, not just a job description of the work you performed.  Nothing could be more boring.  Try to keep the content relevant to your target jobs.  There are different ways to format this section, we suggest writing a short paragraph to give some context to the reader and then bulleting some key experience or accomplishments.

Technical skills

Chances are that any job you are going to land will require you to use some form of technology or software.  List what software programs you know, including the ubiquitous Microsoft Office Suite (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook).  In some cases, it may even be appropriate to list various social media.  Your technical skills can be listed out in a relatively short section.

Additional Qualifications

If you need to fill up some space, use this section to highlight some other key reasons you are a good fit for a job position.  You can include life experiences, other skills that may not have been listed in your core competencies.  Just make sure you keep it focused towards your target role

Formatting

If this is your first professional job out of college you should have a one-page resume.  It’s pretty much a given that if a hiring manager sees comic sans on a resume that it’s going in the trash. Use a grownup font such as: Times New Roman, Garamond, Cambria, or Calibri.  Also, these are standard fonts that will work on almost any device without having formatting compatibility issues.  Since you are a young professional and probably pretty light on content use a size 12 font, you can go bigger for section heading and certainly for your name in the header.  For additional formatting help you can find templates online for inspiration or use resume building software.

Best of luck!

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