Being a college graduate is a satisfying achievement, while at the same time overwhelming. You have just completed several years of hard work, all to benefit your future. But now the future starts. In order to get started on your career path, you need a strong resume to sell yourself to potential employers. This can be difficult, because not only do most college graduate resumes require starting from scratch, many of them also lack relevant work experience. Here are some valuable suggestions on resumes for recent college graduates:
1) Start with a targeted objective or summary of skills
Sit down and review all your educational, extracurricular, volunteer, work and internship experiences from high school and college to decide some valuable skills you developed, such as leadership, promotions, communications and mentoring. Use these to develop an objective statement on your resume for the job you want to pursue. State your specific strengths, how you can apply them and areas in which you would like to further develop your skills.
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2) Draw marketable skills from any job you have held
Even jobs commonly held by high school and college students such as cashiering or waiting tables teach you valuable skills you can apply to many other jobs. Though jobs such as these may not have been in the career field you are looking to go into, they are still quite effective on the resume for a recent college graduate, as long as you state what skills you learned that will help you in the job you are applying for. For example, if you were a waitress and applying for a marketing assistant job, you can explain on your resume how the job taught you to multi-task, work under pressure and sell the restaurant’s specials to clientele.
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3) Highlight specific educational experiences
How you performed in educational situations such as class projects, speeches, internships and practicums can be an effective way for hiring managers to see on a resume for a college graduate how they will be able to apply their skills in the workplace. Explain how you were able to overcome challenges, delegate responsibilities and solve problems. You do not have to provide a list of the courses you took in college on your resume however, unless you want to include certain ones that are particularly relevant to the job you are applying to.
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4) Include your GPA only if it is high
You want to highlight your strengths on your resume, and a GPA that is a 3.0 or above definitely counts. If your GPA is lower than that, you can include your GPA in your major, or even any specific courses relevant to your potential career that you excelled at. Otherwise, just state what college or university you attended and your major.
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5) Use active verbs
To make yourself sound as professional as possible, get more creative with the language you use to describe your accomplishments. Instead of using words such as “did”, or “was responsible for”, use more descriptive action verbs such as “managed”, “persuaded”, “created”, “executed” or “promoted”.
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