Four Ways to Update Your Resume After Your First Real Job

Nancy Anderson
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Your college career guidance center probably gave you plenty of good advice when you prepared your first real resume upon graduation. However, now that you have taken your first steps into the working world and are at your first post-college job, how should you update your resume to reflect the major changes and growth in your life and career? Make your resume look professional when you are one job away from college.

Delete the College References

Now that you are out of college, no one cares about your grade-point average any more. No one cares that you were on the honor roll or what campus organizations you joined. As you update your resume, get rid of anything that could make a hiring manager think you are still in school. Continue to list your education at the top of your resume, but focus on the basics: your degree, the date of the degree and your major. If you were a member of a fraternity or sorority, mention that in a bullet point; after all, you never know when a hiring manager might be a Greek brother or sister. If you held very significant positions on campus that demonstrate your leadership or job skills, such as student body president or editor of the campus newspaper, mention those. Also mention significant awards. Move your internships to your work experience section, and leave everything else off the page.

Focus on Job Responsibilities

Since your job title in your first post-college job may be ambiguous or not that impressive, take special care when you update your resume to emphasize your actual job responsibilities. Expand on the details because you only have one real job to mention. Using a bullet-point format lets you fill the resume page more easily. Make sure the responsibilities are clear and that they are written in the priority order of an employer.

List Your Skills

Adding a skills section when you update your resume lets you include any job-related skills you picked up during your extracurricular activities in college. If you want to mention specific training, this is the place to do it. For instance, if you were a film major, you can mention all the equipment in which you are proficient. If you organized major campus events, create a listing of your event-planning skills. Make sure to include software proficiency skills. Take a look at the job descriptions for any positions you are considering applying for, and rewrite your skills section to reflect their language.

Make Your Resume Look Professional

Every time you update your resume, tweak it a little to make sure it feels current in its style and presentation. Mirror the language used by any potential employer, and update any formatting or font choices to make sure your resume looks clean and professional. Do one last pass at proofreading to make sure you have not left any silly mistakes.

Update your resume as soon as you graduate and get that first job so you are not caught unawares with only a college resume in your files. Keeping your resume updated even when you are not seeking a new job is a good idea in general, and especially so when you are in the sometimes volatile post-college years.


Photo courtesy of Stuart Miles at



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  • LaToya J.
    LaToya J.

    The material was very useful.

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