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
  • 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 »
  • 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 »
  • 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 »
  • Capella University

    An accredited online university, Capella University offers bachelor’s, master’s/MBA, doctoral, and certificate programs designed to take you to the forefront of your profession.

    Programs

    • MS - Addiction Studies
    • MS - School Counseling (CACREP-accredited)
    • MSN - RN-to-MSN Diabetes Nursing (CCNE-accredited)
    • More...

    Location: Online

    Capella University Request Info »
  • Baker College Online

    Baker College is proud to be the largest independent college in Michigan with the most focused approach to education and training available. With one of the highest graduate employment rates in the country, our mission is to help our students find meaningful employment.

    Programs

    • Elementary Mathematics - Additional Endorsement - Certificate
    • Business Intelligence - MBA (Master's)
    • Information Technology and Security - Bachelor
    • More...
    Location:
    Willis: 4500 Enterprise Dr. Allen Park,, Willis MI 48191
    Baker College Online Request Info »
  • Concordia University - Portland

    Concordia University - Portland offers several fully online 14-month Master of Education (M.Ed.) programs and a fully online Doctorate of Education (Ed.D.) program.

    Programs

    • M.Ed. in Curriculum & Instruction: Common Core State Standards Instructional Leader
    • M.Ed. in Curriculum & Instruction: The Inclusive Classroom (SPED)
    • Higher Education (EDD)
    • More...
    Location:
    Portland: 2811 NE Holman Street,, Portland OR 97211
    Concordia University - Portland Request Info »
  • USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work

    The MSW@USC is the first top-ranked MSW program offered nationally. Many online programs are limited to certain geographic areas or the availability of courses, making it necessary to travel to campus. Our program can be completed from virtually anywhere without the need to relocate to Southern California.

    Programs

    • Doctor of Social Work
    • Master of Social Work
    Location:
    Los Angeles: 3601 Watt Way, GFS-315, Los Angeles CA 90089
    USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work Request Info »
  • University of the Rockies

    Join the community of thought leaders at University of the Rockies. Pursue your graduate degree from the University’s School of Professional Psychology or School of Organizational Leadership.

    Programs

    • MA in Public Sociology
    • Doctor of Psychology, Mediation & Conflict Resolution
    • Doctor of Philosophy, Organizational Development and Leadership
    • More...

    Location: Online

    University of the Rockies 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 »
  • Rutgers Business School

    A Rutgers business education prepares students for success – not just in their chosen fields but also in their lives.

    Programs

    • Online MS in Supply Chain Management
    • Master of Governmental Accounting (Online)

    Location: Online

    Rutgers Business School 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.