If you've recently graduated from college, or are just about to graduate, you already know you're entering a tough job market with lots of competition. When the "Work Experience" section of your resume is nearly empty, how can your college graduation resume stand out to an employer? Use these resume tips to highlight what makes you special to help differentiate your resume from the rest.
Highlight Your Actual Experience
A college graduate's resume is likely to include a lot of random jobs including things like food service, work-study jobs and babysitting. Instead of just listing the places you've made a few dollars during your college years, think through the actual experiences you've participated in. As a college graduate, your resume might be filled with interesting internships or honors you received. Did you make presentations as part of your studies? Represent your academic department at conferences or seminars? Take charge of departmental activities or events? All of these belong on a post-college graduation resume, with some details to let the reader know exactly what you did and how it applies to the position you're applying for.
If you're a recent college grad applying for an entry-level job in the field you wish to go into professionally, no one expects you to have significant work experience yet. However, you can undermine yourself if your resume makes you look too inexperienced or unprofessional. Keep your listing of part-time jobs unrelated to your field, such as food-service jobs, to a minimum. Don't list your GPA or any of your college activities, such as clubs or sports, unless they are relevant to the job you're applying for. However, if you can point to extracurricular activities or specific coursework that applies directly to your prospective field of employment, treat them as professional achievements and include them. It should go without saying that even a recent grad's college graduation resume should have a strong professional layout and should be completely free of spelling, grammar and punctuation errors.
Tailor Your Resume for Each Job
When you have little actual experience to tout on your resume, and few work-related achievements or successes to point to, it becomes even more important to tailor your post-college graduation resume for each job you apply to. Comb through the job listing and look for the keywords it includes, then make sure you use those words in your resume. Use your resume to market yourself and your specific skills to match the needs of the hiring company. If you got the lead for a particular job from a professor, counselor or internship, make sure to include that person's name when discussing relevant coursework or intern experiences.
Because each college student's academic experience is different, your resume can draw on the uniqueness of your college years to make you stand out from all the other recent graduates. Use these resume tips to highlight what you bring to each job you apply to, and let your resume open the door to a brand new world.
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