Writing Your Post-College Resume

By Joe Stein

Recent college graduates have a particular challenge in constructing their Resume since they typically have limited experience. In light of this challenge, lets this week, provide some tips on how to write a winning College Resume.
 
·         Don’t feel obligated to produce a multi-page document. The typical length of the Resume for a recent college graduate is one page.
 
·         Drop any signs of professional immaturity. This would include inappropriate e-mail addresses or the use of a college nickname. Also, make sure your Resume is typographical error-free. If you struggle with proofreading, have a friend or family member review your Resume. 
 
·         The rule of thumb is that, typically, High School is no longer relevant. Once you receive your college degree, your High School activities, clubs, awards, etc. should be dropped and replaced with your college achievements.
 
·         Provide viable contact information. Besides your name and address, supply a phone number that you can be reached at. If this is your cellular phone, then drop the casual voice greeting and ensure you in a position to talk to the Recruiter prior to engaging he or she in conversation.
 
·         Include in your Resume, the college campus activities you have been involved in, especially if you served a leadership role. If you were a member of any college chapter professional organizations, this should be captured, as well on your Resume.
 
·         Don’t procrastinate. It is very easy to delay creating your resume due to all of the school work this time of year. You then have winter break and your desire to enjoy yourself during this respite from school. The reality is that your Resume should be written ASAP, so you can begin to interview on-campus and have something to submit when you network.
 
·         Use your Career Development Department in your school to review your Resume. They should be able to provide you with some professional pointers on the document, along with tips on interviewing.
 
·         Consider dumping the Objective Statement. At this point in your career, you are probably pretty wide-open (and with good reason). Typically, for college students, this section is a couple of very generic statements that are a waste of space. Instead, replace it with a “Qualifications Summary”. This should be a couple of sentences that summarize why you should be selected for this entry-level or Management-trainee role.
 
·         Reverse the experience with the education. As you mature professionally, you will flip this so that your education is on the bottom of your document. Since your experience is minimal, open with your lead item, which is your education. Your experience should be presented in reverse chronological order. If you have not completed your education yet, then list the expected Month/Year when you will finish.
 
·         Generally, the cutoff for listing your Grade Point Average (GPA) is 3.0/4.0. Anything lower causes a Recruiter to question your commitment to school or your academic acumen, even if you have an excellent explanation for your <3.0 GPA. Instead of spending the time and energy trying to explain it, consider just dropping the subject.
 
·         Search for relevant and transferable work experience. If you have relevant experience, such as an Internship, that’s great! If not, seek out what is transferable from the positions you have held, previously. Among the items to consider is if you worked on a successful team, you saved the company money, or if you exceeded expected productivity. If you have a transferable skill, such as a software program, then that should be noted on your Resume. If you are fluent in a foreign language, that can be extremely valuable and definitely should be noted.
 
·         Employers like to see that you have given back to the community while going to school and working. List any volunteer activities. Get specific by listing the organization and the time period you volunteered.
 
·         Save the references until you are further along in the process. There is no need to list them on your resume. If you like, you can state that “References will be provided upon request”, but that usually is a given and not really needed.
 
As you can clearly conclude by reading above, a key to a successful College Resume is the effort you expend in school, work, volunteering leading up to the creation of the document.   Give yourself a competitive advantage by writing a winning Resume!
 
 
As always, best of luck in your job search.