Expert Resume Tips for Recent College Graduates

As a new graduate, you may be missing  (not by your own choice however) one if the most important aspects of a resume:  relevant skills and work experience. Therefore, when writing your resume, you will need to concentrate on showcasing your educational experiences, part-time work, volunteer work and other transferable skills rather than the standard work history more experienced applicants have.

Match Academic Focus to a Private Sector Industry

If you haven’t already done so, the first and perhaps most important step in writing your resume is choosing your career focus. Employers who read your resume want to see that you have skills that are relevant to the position you are applying for, so you absolutely must do this before writing a resume. This usually is a simple matter of matching university study focus with an industry, research/study topics to an industry, or personal interests developed at university to a corresponding industry.

The next step is identifying the skills and attributes that will be relevant to the positions you’re applying for. The easiest way of doing this is to look at job ads and job descriptions to find out what employers are looking for in terms of both practical experience and professional attributes. You want to try to find the positions in industries in which you have the most overlap in terms of background, skills, and knowledge.

Prime Transferable College Skills

Even if you have little or no work history, your college education has provided you with many skills that will be important in the workplace. A few of these include:

  • Leadership skills (This includes the managing of group projects, academic clubs, or inter-department organizations)
  • Time management (This is something all busy graduates have in spades and is even more impressive when club activities and part-time employment are factored)
  • Written and verbal communication (From presentations to applications the ability to communicate in both written form and verbally are valuable and transferable skills)
  • Problem-solving (From research assignments to working around the confines of college life, problem solving skills should be kept on hand to use as examples when asked)
  • Analytical skills (Research and writing with quantifiable data, statistics, charts and tables are all examples of your analytical skills)
  • Computer skills (From knowledge of Microsoft Office to advanced PowerPoint presentations skills and even photo and video editing software experience are highly valuable)

The key is showcasing your transferable skills—those skills you’ve gained at college that you can bring to the workplace. You’ll want to do this right away in your career objective section and then throughout the body of your resume.

The same principle applies for any jobs or internships you may have had during your college years. Any transferable skills you gained can be added to your resume, even if the job itself was not directly relevant to the positions you’re interested in now.

Don’t overlook the value of unpaid work experience—anything and everything counts, as long as the skills you list are transferable, and relevant to the type of job you’re seeking. This can include volunteer work, fraternity, sorority and campus club positions as well as internships.

Choose a Resume Format that Compliments

As a new graduate your big selling point is usually your education—this means you can include a more extensive education section than you might on a standard resume for a more experienced job seeker. Including a high GPA adds value to your qualification and you can also add a summary of completed courses.

Choosing a format for your resume is the final step before you start writing. If your relevant work experience is limited, a combination resume format that includes elements of both chronological and functional formats is best.  Learn all about the 3 primary resume formats, which one is best for you and how to write them with this comprehensive resume formats guide. This allows you to highlight your transferable skills and downplay your limited professional experience.

About Rudeth S

I'm currently a Senior Talent Acquisition Specialist for a leading Fortune 500 company, a mother of 3 and herbal tea lover!

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