Career Planning

College Grads: How Your Resume Should Look

Find out everything you need to include on your recent college grad resume.

College Grads: How Your Resume Should Look
See what your resume should look like.
There is perhaps no resume more important than the one you use as a recent college grad. It’s the resume that’s going to get your foot into the door and your first job. It also helps you to summarize your college years, which have built the foundation that your career will build upon So where should you begin? First, every recent graduate resume should begin with contact information and an objective, or summary. Your contact information can include your email, phone number, and physical address. It can also simply be your phone, email, and LinkedIn profile URL. Either way, potential employers need to be able to get in touch with you, and they’ll reference your contact info for this purpose.
Your objective or summary will be the first real piece of content on your resume. This can state exactly the kind of job you’re pursuing. It can also be a space that is used to summarize who you are, what you’ve done in the past, and where you hope to land in he future. While most professional resumes you see continue with work experience, a recent college graduates’ resume needs to begin with education. While internships and part-time jobs have been crucial to you as you’ve developed professionally, it’s not the most important thing you’ve accomplished in the past four or five years. That would be your college education! Afterwards, you may get into your professional experience. These can include internships, part-time jobs, work study jobs, etc. If you’ve had a lot of work experiences, try to filter those and include only that which would be relevant to the field you’re interested in or the jobs that have been most impressive. Finally, you can close your resume with extracurricular activities, leadership positions and volunteer opportunities. Detailing your activity helps to show your personality and qualities.

Modern Take on Resumes

Ultimately, it doesn’t matter what your resume looks like – unless there are grammatical and punctuation errors – but resume templates have gone through a physical transformation in the past few years. You will find many resumes that look more like a social media profile, featuring a headshot of the applicant. These definitely grab your attention and can be especially valuable to those looking for a position in a creative, sales, or marketing field. They also enable prospective employers to put a face with the content on the resume. You don’t have to be an amazing designer to get a modern day look either. Sites like Canva allow users to create visually impressive resumes with minimal design experience. However, it should be noted that a flashy resume won’t win you a job offer over a standard, black-and-white summary of your experiences. It’s not about how the resume looks; it’s all about what it says (unless you are applying for a role where your design skills should be showcased).

Writing a Resume without Work Experience

Many college graduates face the task of creating a resume without work experience – or rather experience that they’re willing to showcase. When it comes to your first resume out of college, though, any work experience is good. Whether you spent summers flipping burgers or semesters in college working as a mail assistant in the admissions office, these part-time jobs are worth mentioning on your resume. They display your ability to work on a team, follow instructions, and willingness to contribute to a company’s goals. You may not feel like you did much or learned anything that would be applicable to your first real job out of college, but you did. You can highlight how many tangible goals you helped to meet as well as any special tasks or projects were entrusted to you. If you were part of an extracurricular group or honors society at school, your involvement and the roles in which you served can be great practice for the real world. Discuss the responsibilities you had as well as the improvements you made.

Have Your Resume Proofed

No matter how precise you feel your resume is, it's always smart to have your resume proofed multiple times. Consider having it proofed by an outside source. If you need further inspiration, check out the recent college graduate resume below for more help. Monster offers a free resume review to help you ensure your resume is ready to go. Also be sure to use all of Monster's tools for college grads, including their salary by major tool to estimate how much you'll be paid.

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Kathryn Knight Randolph

Associate Content Editor

Kathryn Knight Randolph is the Associate Content Editor at Fastweb. She has 17 years of higher education experience, working first as an Admissions Officer at DePauw University before joining Fastweb. In b...

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