Resume Strategies for New Graduates

Emphasize skills gained through experience and studies to fully develop a powerful, qualitative resume.

An effective resume captures an employer's interest within the first 15 seconds. Typically, a new graduate's most relevant skills are gained through academic study. However, unless a candidate's education is in a highly sought after area, competing with more experienced candidates may prove challenging---especially if one does not have related work experience. Thus, a well-designed resume with a qualitative (versus quantitative) focus will immediately pique interest and maximize the marketing potential of your recent education, practicum, internships, etc.

Rarely will the title of a program or degree fully convey the full breadth of one's skill set. A carefully designed resume---through strategic presentation of key program elements and your personal areas of focus---will quickly demonstrate to an employer the skills you bring to the table; this in turn allows you to stand out from other candidates. An Academic Skill Conversion™ resume leverages your hands-on classroom, project, lab, and internship activities as they pertain to your current career goals. And if you have related work and volunteer experience, it can be used to add further value to your overall presentation.

Also, it is not uncommon for new graduates to underestimate the strength of transferable skills gained through work that is unrelated to the degree. For example, you may have held service-oriented positions in the retail or hospitality industries. In these instances, it can be advantageous to show professional strengths that demonstrate aptitude in customer service, administration, or general operations. This is achieved by developing a well-targeted qualifications profile.

In addition to an effective qualifications profile, you can present specific details of projects in the experience section that follows your profile and education. If you have work, volunteer or internship experience, it would be listed here, in reverse chronological order. For examples, click here to visit the "Student/Recent Graduate" section on the Professional Resume and Cover Letter Examples page.

Ultimately, the key to a successful job search will be largely determined by the power of your presentation. You've worked hard to earn your degree, and now it is time to have your degree work for you.

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