Congratulations! You did it! Four years or more of hard work and perseverance have paid off. You are now the proud owner of a college degree. So what’s next for you? Getting a job of course! In order to do that you will need to create a resume. You might be wondering how you will create a resume when you don’t have any information to put on a resume. Many college graduates will have little to no relevant work experience, making it difficult to fill the typical 1-2 page resume; however this doesn’t mean that you have nothing to offer. Resumes for new or recent college graduates don’t follow the same rules as those for job seekers who have been in the workforce for awhile. Therefore, you probably have more information than you think to create your resume.
On a typical resume, education and training are usually found at the end or bottom of the document; however, if you are a new grad with little experience it makes sense to lead with your educational information unless you have relevant experience in the form of an internship or paid position. Include any honors you may have received and list your GPA if it is greater than 3.0. Emphasize any projects that you were a part of and draw attention to the skills you needed to have in order to complete the project. Any special assignments, research, or field work could also be used to demonstrate the value of your experience.
Just because you weren’t paid for work that you did doesn’t make the experience you gained any less important. It is perfectly acceptable to use the skills you gained doing volunteer work, especially if they are transferable skills that could be used in the new position you are seeking. The same goes for any groups or associations you belonged to while you were in school. Highlight prominent roles you held to show your leadership abilities, or draw attention to an event that you helped organize to show your ability for logistical coordination.
The most common resume format is a chronological resume. This format works well for job seekers that have been working for a number of years and have enough experience to put in sequential order. For new college graduates a functional resume format is usually the most beneficial. With a functional resume you can highlight your skills and abilities rather than your career history.
Many new college graduates will be targeting entry-level positions. If you are finding it hard to land an entry level position offer to volunteer at an organization within your desired industry. It’s a way to gain the experience you need and also build network connections that may be able to direct you to an open position. This volunteer experience will provide you with valuable on the job training in addition to an abundance of information to be included on your resume.
If you look hard enough you will be able to find information for your resume that will leverage your skill set. Whether it was gained at the local hamburger joint, through a lucrative internship, or as the member of an industry association, a close examination of your time during school will result in the discovery a multitude of skills you may not have even realized you possessed.
by Megan Koehler