Whether you’ve just finished school or you’re nearing graduation, it’s time to start thinking about jobs. You might be nervous, but with a killer resume, you’ll find that landing that dream gig is a breeze.
What’s that? You don’t have a resume!? That’s not good! Let’s fix that, shall we?
Most resumes highlight work experience. But as a college graduate, you probably don’t have much experience in the field that you study. For this reason, your resume needs to follow a bit of a different strategy.
These seven tips will help you create your first college resume and secure the job you want.
Start With a Bang
The best way to start your college resume is to write a summary statement that showcases the value you would bring to the company.
A summary statement is a brief intro section that describes your skills, accomplishments, and the type of work you’re seeking.
For example, let’s say you recently graduated with a communications degree and you’re looking for work as a social media specialist. In that case, your summary statement might look like this:
I’m a recent graduate of a top-rated communications program and have extensive internship experience in social media strategy, content creation, and performance analysis. I’m interested in trend forecasting and telling brand stories across multiple platforms, and I’m looking for work that allows me to develop these skills further.
Make sure to keep it brief. One or two informative, punchy sentences should do the trick.
Emphasize Your Education
The biggest accomplishment that you have reached at this point in your life is your education. You’ve completed college and you have a degree to prove it.
This is worth highlighting at the top of your resume. Include it directly under your summary statement.
Make sure to include your cumulative GPA (as long as it’s above a 3.0). And don’t forget to mention any notable academic awards or achievements.
List Relevant Skills
Even if you’ve never had a job, you still have some skills. After you’ve polished your education section, list any relevant skills that you learned through your coursework.
Of course, most college students have had some job experience, even if it’s not in the field that they studied. If you worked a part-time job during college and picked up any skills (even something like customer service), list it on your resume.
If you were lucky enough to develop relevant skills through an unrelated job, don’t be shy about listing those skills as well.
Use Quantifiable Action Words
Whenever you list your accomplishments, be sure to use action verbs to describe them. Words such as surpassed, delivered, or earned can make your resume more dynamic and engaging.
Indeed.com provides an extensive list of action verbs to use on your resume. Check it out and use those words to your advantage.
Using passive or weak verbs can take away the power of your resume. Be sure to use a variety of action verbs and avoid any cliches to make the biggest impact on the person reading your resume.
It’s even better to use measurements and metrics. Provide numbers when possible. Think of phrases such as earned a higher grade than 90% than all other students in the class.
Highlight Your Soft Skills
Even though soft skills aren’t quantifiable, they are valuable skills to have. Employers want good workers who can get along with others and follow directions.
You can be one of the best in your field, but without soft skills, you may be a bad employee. Hiring managers are aware of this, which is why they value soft skills as much as technical skills.
Communication, leadership, work ethic, honesty, and time management are all essential soft skills. You should use your resume to explain how you developed these skills through past jobs, classes, or internships.
Talk About Your Potential
As a new addition to the workforce, you need to communicate your potential. Consider yourself in five years. Where are your goals, and how do you plan to reach them?
If someone hires you straight out of college, they don’t expect you to walk into the office and know everything. What they do care about is your willingness to learn and put in hard work. Use your resume to prove to them that you’re a go-getter with big goals.
Of course, if your goal is to open your own business, you might not want to include that. Customize your resume to show your potential employer that you’re a good fit for their company. This may require some creative writing on your part.
However you word it, make sure you keep it honest. If you make any claims about your work ethic, drive, or eagerness to learn, you should be able to back them up when you’re hired.
Proofread (At Least Twice!)
Finally, it’s time to proofread. After you’ve followed the steps above and completed your resume, you should review it for errors. Submitting a resume with typos and grammatical mistakes is the easiest way to get it thrown in the trash.
To prevent errors from ruining your chances of landing a job, you need to review your resume with a fine-tooth comb.
Slowly read it out loud to make sure it sounds good. Run it through a proofreading app like Grammarly to find any errors you may have overlooked. Get friends and family to look it over and see if they catch something that you didn’t.
You may not get the job of your dreams straight out of school. After all, it takes time to work your way up to the C-suite of a Fortune 500 company.
You can, however, land a job that will set you on the right path. This new resume of yours will help you do that.
Susie is the General Manager of Copper Beech at Auburn, a community of apartments near Auburn University.