If you have recently walked down the aisle to the tune of “Pomp and Circumstance” with family and friends cheering you on, then congratulations! Now that you have completed college and earned your degree (the easy part!), it’s time to take what you learned from your university education and apply it to the world we all live in.
Of course, the world of work looks very different from the world of college, and judging from most of the student resumes I review, it doesn’t seem like much is taught in today’s college classrooms about resume writing.
Does Your Entry level Resume Reflect What You’re Capable of?
As a Certified Professional Resume Writers (CPRW), we receive a lot of resume service requests from recent college graduates. Many of these otherwise smart and savvy grads, it appears, have little knowledge about how to properly construct, organize and write resumes.
This is unfortunate because no recent college grad wants to be overlooked as an applicant because of an inferior resume that doesn’t really represent their capabilities.
Resume Writing Advice for the Recent College Grad:
- College grad resumes should list their education, relevant coursework, school projects and such before their experience, assuming they have little to no relevant experience.
- If you have significant work or intern experience, considering listing it first instead of your education. Relevant work experience trumps school projects every time.
- If you have work experience that is not directly related to your degree (you waited tables, worked in retail, etc.) list that separately in a section titled “work experience.” Internships or work performed related to your degree should be listed first in a section titled “professional experience.”
- Your college student resume should also include your computer skills, language skills, your quantifiable and qualitative skills, your character traits, etc.
- Feel free to briefly list your extracurricular activities as the last line on your entry level resume.
- With few exceptions, entry level and recent college graduate resumes should be one page in length.
What to Omit from a College Grad Resume
When working with college students to write resumes, we frequently get asked the same types of questions about what to put on – and leave off — a resume. When putting together your job-winning resume, omit the following:
- Your GPA, unless it is 3.5 or higher. College students are generally surprised to learn that most employers put very little emphasis on grade point average.
- Your SAT score. See above.
- Every course you ever took in college or every club you ever participated in. Please only include relevant courses, skills, and traits.
- Your personal identifiers, such as your race, age, ethnicity, religion, gender, country of origin, etc. These types of characterizations were once common on resumes but today they are not permitted due to discriminatory statutes.
Other Concerns of College Student Resumes
It is worth mentioning here that your entry level resume is not the place to air or explain any disputes or issues you may have had earning your degree. If you have not yet been awarded your degree and are currently in dispute over this matter with the university, do not explain this on your resume.
Simply put the name of the degree you are earning and “Expected Graduation Date: Spring 2015” or something to that effect. Lying on your resume about having earned your degree, regardless of the rationale, will come back to haunt you.