dcsimg
You are here:

Your first resume out of school

It's common to get stuck when preparing your new resume after getting a degree. If you are just beginning your career how can you illustrate your capabilities with little hands-on experience? If you're a career-changer, how should your resume reflect that you spent a lot of time in school? We answer those questions and others, below.

Relate Your Experience to the Job You Want

First, don't sell short your academic background. If you earned a high GPA, put it on your resume. If you've taken classes or conducted research related to the job you're applying for, say so. Include that information under your "Education" heading, along with the name of your school and degrees earned or expected.

Your experience encompasses more than just jobs you've had. Have you volunteered? Been an intern? Served as a leader in a student group? These roles demonstrate that you possess traits and skills that are valuable to employers, such as ambition, discipline, and the ability to work on a team. If you're an adult student who had a part-time job while going to school, ask yourself what skills you developed to successfully juggle work and class. Organization? Time-management? Multi-tasking? On your resume, communicate how your various experiences have equipped you with skills pertinent to the job you're after.

Four Resume Tips for Recent Grads

1. One resume is not enough. Tweak your resume to emphasize the parts of your background most relevant to each prospective job. If you're applying for a sales position, devote fewer words to your job reshelving library books and write more about your past retail gig or your record-breaking sale of raffle tickets for the sorority fundraiser.

2. Communicate what you've accomplished, not just what you've done. Even a recent college graduate has accomplished a lot. Be specific and use hard numbers if you can. "Advised over 100 freshmen and sophomores during two years as a peer tutor" is a more powerful statement than "Worked at peer tutoring center during junior and senior years."

3. Consider a funtional resume. A functional resume lists your skills and job history under separate headings. The benefit is that the format puts the focus on your abilities and aptitudes rather than on what might be a sparse record of employment. But you still need to convey how your skills were acquired through specific experiences.

4. Get feedback before sending your resume out. Many schools offer resume consultations at the career services office. Advisors can offer some of the best resume tips for the profession you're targeting. And while you're there, ask about other resources that might take some of the pressure off as you make the exciting transition from college to the work force.

--
Tim Mullaney currently teaches analytical and fiction writing at Washington University in St. Louis. His recognitions include the Salamander Magazine Prize and the Gival Press Short Story Award. He is a former Van Lier Fellow at the Asian American Writers' Workshop in New York City.

Search Schools

      
Matching School Ads
  • Argosy University

    Argosy University offers doctoral, master's, and bachelor's degree programs to students through its eight colleges.

    Programs

    • Psychology (BA) (Online)
    • Business Administration - Accounting (BS) (Online)
    • Business Administration - Healthcare Management (BS) (Online)
    • More...
    Location:
    Phoenix: 2233 West Dunlap Ave., Phoenix AZ 85021
    Argosy University Request Info »
  • Full Sail University - Online

    Push Your Creativity To The Next Level

    Programs

    • Graphic Design, Bachelor of Science (Online)
    • Internet Marketing, Master of Science (Online)
    • Music Production, Bachelors of Science (Online)
    • More...

    Location: Online

    Full Sail University - Online Request Info »
  • Ashford University

    You've found Ashford University, where school comes to you. Earn your bachelor's or master's degree online.

    Programs

    • AA/Early Childhood Education
    • BA/Early Childhood Education Administration
    • BA/Education Studies
    • More...

    Location: Online

    Ashford University Request Info »
  • Colorado Technical University Online

    A degree from CTU connects you to what matters most: powerful professional network, real-world professional faculty and innovative technology. Once you earn your degree you hit the ground running.

    Programs

    • Bachelor of Science in Nursing (RN to BSN completion)
    • Master of Science in Management - Healthcare Management
    • Master of Science in Information Technology - Network Management
    • More...
    Location:
    Colorado Springs: 4435 North Chestnut Street, Colorado Springs CO 80907
    Colorado Technical University Online Request Info »
  • Regent University

    Regent University prepares students with the knowledge to excel and the faith to live with purpose.

    Programs

    • Master of Arts in Law - Non-Profit Management
    • Bachelor of Arts in English - Self-Designed
    • Bachelor of Science in Professional Studies
    • More...

    Location: Online

    Regent University Request Info »
  • University of Maryland at College Park

    Study online with University of Maryland at College Park.

    Programs

    • MBA - Information Systems & Business Analytics
    • MBA - General
    • MBA - Marketing
    • More...
    Location:
    College Park: , College Park MD 20742
    University of Maryland at College Park Request Info »
  • Keiser University

    Since 1977, Keiser University has provided quality student-centered, career-focused education.

    Programs

    • Master of Business Administration, MBA - Information Security Management
    • Bachelor of Arts in Psychology
    • Master of Business Administration, MBA - International Business
    • More...

    Location: Online

    Keiser University Request Info »
  • Ultimate Medical Academy Online

    Ultimate Medical Academy (UMA) offers industry-relevant knowledge and training for in demand careers in healthcare.

    Programs

    • A.S. - Healthcare Information Technology
    • Diploma - Medical Administrative Assistant
    • A.S.- Health Sciences (Pharmacy Technician)
    • More...

    Location: Online

    Ultimate Medical Academy Online Request Info »
  • Platt College

    Turn your talents into a career at nationally recognized and accredited Platt College.

    Programs

    • Veterinary Technology Alternate Route - Certificate
    • Respiratory Therapy
    • Veterinary Technology - Associates
    • More...

    Location: Online

    Platt College Request Info »
  • Concordia College - New York

    Concordia College-New York M.S. Degree Programs Online

    Concordia College-New York offers accredited, innovative graduate degrees online to help you advance your career and become a transformative leader.

    Programs

    • M.S. in Digital Marketing
    • M.A. in Digital Media
    Location:
    Bronxville: 171 White Plains Road,, Bronxville NY 10708
    Concordia College - New York Request Info »
  • Matching School Ads

    Quick School Search

    College & Career Search Tools

    • Careers: Unsure about your career path? Study profiles of hundreds of professions.

    • Interviews: Professors and deans sit down with our team to give you unique insights on college life.

    • Military Education: Find only Military friendly online schools and campuses.

    • Student Reviews: Know before you go. Read student reviews on over 2000 accredited colleges. Write your own experience.