If you’re getting ready to graduate college, you have probably already begun thinking about your job search. There’s a lot to consider as an entry-level employee embarking on a job search, including things like how to highlight education over experience on your resume. In this article, we give you all the information you need to write a successful college graduate resume, along with effective tips and a sample resume to use.
What is a college graduate resume?
A college graduate resume is an entry-level resume that showcases the skills, experience and education of a recent college graduate. Since most recent college grads lack professional job experience, these resumes prioritize education, internships, training and transferrable skills to show the potential of a job seeker.
While it can be intimidating seeking jobs that prefer experience in the field, know that all job candidates started their careers without experience, and that sometimes, employers would prefer to hire trainable and eager job candidates over more experienced ones. Knowing how to market what you do have to offer—such as soft skills, internship experience and college courses—will make all the difference.
How to write a college graduate resume
To write a successful college graduate resume follow these four steps:
- Provide professional contact information.
- Use a resume summary.
- Use keywords to highlight education, experience and skills.
- Emphasize hobbies, interests, publications and associations.
1. Provide professional contact information
Your contact information should be one of the first things that an employer sees when they look at your resume. Make sure you include your name, address, phone number and email address and that your email address is professional (typically, first and last name).
2. Use a resume summary
The resume summary is a statement about skills, experience and education inserted in the upper portion of a resume document, near the top. It highlights important elements of the experience and skills listed in the body of your resume. This is a valuable section for college graduates without much job experience because it allows you to curate the impressive highlights of your resume in a short statement that demonstrates your value as an employee.
3. Use keywords to highlight education, experience and skills
The three most important sections of any resume are education, experience and skills. In a college resume, you want to include each section with its own content in this order:
- Education: Include degrees completed, specialty training and certifications.
- Experience: Include any work history, volunteer experience or internships.
- Skills: Choose skills that highlight why you are a good fit for the job you are applying for.
To increase your chances of getting noticed by both recruiters and bots, it’s important to consider what keywords you should use when you write your entry-level resume. Use words that match the job and industry. One way to customize your resume for each job you apply for is to study the job description and use the same keywords.
4. Emphasize hobbies, interests, publications and associations
In the final section of your resume, you should highlight things like hobbies, interests, publications and associations. Any of these can be their own section at the bottom of your resume.
Related: Office Coordinator Resume Samples
Tips for writing an effective college graduate resume
Here are some tips for writing a college graduate resume that is successful:
Mention your GPA
If you graduated with honors, or had a 3.5 GPA or above, it could be a good choice to feature that prominently on your resume. Also, include any awards or accolades you received for academics.
Include business networking profiles and online resume links
If you have an online resume or you are on a business social platform or industry association networking site, include those links in your entry-level resume to show your level of engagement with others in the industry. If you do not yet have social business profiles, consider setting them up as it will enhance your professionalism.
Avoid mentioning high school
You may be tempted to put as much education on your resume as possible, but avoid including experiences in high school. These are not generally considered relevant in a professional setting.
Emphasize soft skills and education
Write a winning resume by emphasizing soft skills to supplement hard skills. Education and soft skills should dominate a college graduate resume.
Avoid using fluffy language
Try to use clear, concise language and avoid things like keyword stuffing where you use too many keywords and non-specific ones.
Emphasize important highlights
Use your resume summary, skills, education and experience to emphasize the most important and impressive part of your background.
Use action verbs
Use action verbs and bullet points to talk about your experience.
College graduate resume sample
Use the following college graduate resume sample to help structure your own:
545 Willow Tree Ln., Augusta, GA 30805
Professional with specialized education and training, ready to demonstrate critical thinking and knowledge needed for project management at Crystal Corp. Excel at mathematics and problem-solving.
University of Georgia
Aug 2015 – May 2019
Bachelor’s of Science in Business Management
Happy Days Development, Project Management Intern
Jan ’19 — May ’19
- Worked with project manager to enhance project management strategy by optimizing for efficiency
- Experienced project management in a DevOps environment
- Communicated at meetings to team about project management initiatives
Shine, Administrative Assistant Intern
Jan ’18 — Jan ’19
- Coordinated travel arrangements and amenities for a team of 6 executives
- Worked closely with administrative team to perform daily duties that are essential for daily operations
- Helped increase adoption of cloud systems by performing instructional design duties and creating training materials
- Knowledge of office software
- Written and verbal communication
- Critical-thinking skills
- Strategy and problem-solving
- Active listening skills
- Computer programming
- Research and analysis
- Ability to work with a team
INTEREST AND HOBBIES
- Mathematics society competition competitor and regional champion
- Software development
- Adobe products