As a recent college graduate, you will be looking to get to put together a resume that highlights your skills and expertise in the best way. Do not underestimate the benefits that a good resume can bring you, regardless of the industry you are looking to enter. A perfect resume and a poorly crafted one may very well make the difference between scoring an interview and your application being tossed aside.
In this guide, you can find out everything you need to know about putting together a recent graduate resume!
Get the Layout Right
You may already know that prospective employers do not have the time to take a thorough look at each and every resume they receive. Upon receiving your application, the first thing they will do is give it a quick scan and if they are interested, it will be shortlisted to the next round where they will take a closer look. The key here is to ensure that your resume does not get tossed aside after a first glance. To do this, you must make sure that you get the layout and formatting right.
When in doubt, always remember to follow the chronological format. With a summary right at the top, where you mention the skills you possess, move on to list out your education and work experiences. As a recent graduate, you may not have much to put under the work experience category. If that’s the case, you can skip straight to education experience.
Even if you have some job experience, such as an internship, keep in mind that your education experience is always going to be more impressive at this point. For this purpose, any job history should always go below your education section. Be sure to highlight a few skills and abilities you have acquired throughout your education that match the job advertisement.
Make the Most of Your Resume Summary
This summary should go on the very top of the page, making it the first thing potential employers will see. As such, you should pay close attention to it and make sure that any keywords connected to your skills and experience are mentioned. Keep in mind that this summary should only be a short paragraph at most, so you do not want to be cramming too much information into it.
If possible, include some figures and statistics that will help to quantify your experience. Having numbers to back things up is a way of proving your experience instead of just listing out what you can do. Remember, your resume summary should be tailored towards each job you apply for, not one size fits all. To make this more obvious, you can consider mentioning the company name in your summary.
Play Up the Education Section
At this point in your life and career, the most impressive section of your resume is going to be the education section. Knowing what information to include can be crucial here. You only have to include the year in which you graduated next to each institution you have studied at. If you are a university graduate, there is no need to include your high school diploma in your resume.
Are there any awards or honors you have earned throughout the course of your education? Have you published any papers or completed any fieldwork relevant to your industry? If so, these details should be included and can add more to your resume than a long list of grades. Unless your GPA is near perfect, consider leaving it off. It will only take up space without increasing your chances of landing an interview.
Bring on the Details and Specific Examples
Now, it’s time to take a closer look at your skills and experience section. During your time in college, chances are, you have acquired a wide range of hard and soft skills. Instead of listing them out in a way that does you a disservice, think of how they relate to the job description. From there, link each one back to the skills that the perfect candidate for the job should have.
For example, instead of simply stating “international communication skills”, you could write something along the lines of “adept at identifying and accommodating cultural sensitivities in an international setting”. Some other ways you can phrase your skills include “proficient in making informed decisions from software derived data” instead of simply stating that you know how to use this range of software.
Keep in mind that many prospective employers make use of data scanning software tools to shortlist resumes to the next stage. These programs look out for specific keywords in your resume that match the job description, allowing them to decide whether to take your application further. If your resume does not score a high enough match, a human recruiter will not even lay eyes on it.
Include Additional Sections as Appropriate
While your education and skills section may be the most impressive as a recent graduate, you can consider adding in additional sections as appropriate. For instance, those in the IT field can add a certification section that proves their proficiency in using specific software. If you don’t have any paid work history, adding a volunteer experience section can highlight the relevant skills you have gained.
If you speak a second language or are learning one, consider adding a language skills section. In today’s globalized world, being able to speak another language is always a plus. Do you engage in any hobbies frequently that have contributed to the way you see the world and allowed you to develop certain skills? If so, you may consider adding in a hobbies and interest section, but always make sure that you phrase them in a way that’s relevant to the job description.
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