Fresh out of college, you may be concerned that your resume will be too thin to help you land a good job. Remember that the best resume is the one that gets read, so completing a simple, clean resume that shows off your accomplishments will serve you well.
Here are some quick tips for that first resume:
Let the Content of Your Resume be the Focus
Let the content of your resume be the focus, not fancy fonts or elaborate graphics. Remember that recruiters and hiring professionals get hundreds of resumes, and they typically prefer a one-page document when they have a lot of applications to review.
Make it Machine-Readable
Most big employers will scan your resume and the recruiters will be looking at them on a computer instead of on paper. Don’t do anything elaborate or fancy that an OCR scanner won’t be able to interpret. Don’t do multiple columns either. If a recruiter looks at your scanned resume and it looks like gibberish, you’re out of the running for the job.
Contact Info Should be Current and Look Professional
If you have an inappropriate or immature email address, sign up for a new Gmail account and pick a professional user name.
Start with a Clear and Well-Written Objective
Let the reader know your specific interests and the type of work you want to do. Remember a job application process should be a two-way street; you want to determine if the job is what you want just as much as the employer wants to evaluate you.
Since you’ve just finished school, of course your education info will be included. But try to include achievements (academic awards, etc.) that will set you apart. Usually one wouldn’t include a GPA on the resume, but if your job history is thin, it might be a good idea to mention your grades (if they’re good!). High school should only be mentioned if you have something exceptional or relevant to the job to include.
Include Unpaid Job Experience
Typically one would only list paid positions, but for a new college graduate, mention any volunteer work or internships that might help boost your work history.
Include Relevant Extracurricular Activities
Extracurricular activities should only be included if you can make them relevant to your stated work objective. Did the activity help you develop leadership or communication skills? Great!
Don’t include references or use the phrase “References available upon request.” Prepare a separate sheet with your references and provide it only if the employer asks.
Additional Skills and Special Qualifications
Additional skills, languages spoken, or other special qualifications should be included if you have something relevant or impressive to add.
We’ve reached out to job recruiters and the number one thing on their mind these days is professionalism. They see a lot of fresh out of college grads who dress inappropriately or check their smartphones during an interview. Be conscious of the image you’re presenting to potential employers, whether it’s in paper on your resume, in person during the interview, or even the message on your voicemail inbox.