However, not any graduate resume will do the trick. It needs to be an outlier against the other resumes the employers are receiving. If the resume doesn’t stand out, then your chances of being chosen for the job are much lower.
And that’s why we’re here to help.
We have compiled this blog with all the information you need to craft that perfect resume. We will tell you what you should and shouldn’t include in the resume, guiding you through the whole process to make sure you get that first job.
So get your notes ready (or come back here when you are) and let’s begin!
College graduate resume example
The following graduate resume example will give you an idea of what your final resume should mirror. It will include all the points we’re exploring in the sections below.
Or if you prefer to skip the reading, check out our resume templates where we help you create a resume based on all the sections we explored above.
Salary & Employment rates for fresh graduates
First jobs probably aren’t going to meet the expectations you have of a great salary. But, there’s good news! Salaries for new graduates have been increasing over recent years and have reached an all-time high in 2021.
The average salary for new graduates is $55,260, which is an 8.5% rise from the average salary of 2018 which was $50,944. From our perspective, this amount provides a solid foundational base to build on your career. And of course, those in technical majors (i.e. engineering or computer programming) will have above average salaries ranging between $60,000 and $90,000.
List of average salaries:
- Business – $58,869
- Agriculture – $53,504
- Math and Sciences – $63,316
- Engineering – $71,088
- Computer programming – $86,098
How to write a College graduate resume from zero
Okay, let’s get into the meat of it. Before you write your resume, make sure you have all the information you need on hand. This way, you won’t forget anything or include incorrect details that can mess up your interview in the future.
The ???? goals of writing a college graduate resume are to:
- Communicate your positives (strengths)
- Showcase your education
- highlight your skills and experience
The tricky part of a resume is trying to sell yourself without overselling yourself. You don’t want to drown the reader with information. It needs to be comprehensive but in a precise, easy-to-digest manner. So, to keep in line with this, the main sections you need to include in a resume are:
- Accurate contact information (and your professional social media if you prefer)
- A brief summary – To provide a quick glance at where you excel
- Education details and certificates
- Any experience you may have
- Where your skills lie
Also, going the extra mile can sometimes work in your favor. So, if you have any other awards or experiences that can be professionally added to the job you are applying for, they should be included too. Some examples are:
- Volunteering experience
- Any publications or social awards
- Being part of clubs or student organizations
- Additional courses or certificates
These should be used at your own discretion. Don’t include all of it just to make the resume longer.
The College Graduate Resume Model for a Recent College Graduate
The ideal layout of a resume for graduates should have a structure that is easy on the eyes and simple to read.
Placing information haphazardly on the document can be off-putting to the reader. No matter what information you put in there, make sure you’re following a structure.
A resume can seem difficult to write because you’re always looking at the final result of someone else’s work. By breaking it into chunks, you’ll make it much easier for yourself to draft your own resume.
- Contact information
- Additional sections
Which type of resume should a recent college graduate have?
There are three types of resumes that can be used for a resume. Which type you use will depend on your own skills, accomplishments, and experience. You should determine which one works best by yourself.
- Chronological resume and college graduate resume examples – This is the most popular format. It lists all your details (school, work, experiences) in chronological order starting from your most recent to the past. This highlights all the most pertinent information right on top.
- Functional resume of a recent college graduate – This format is focused on highlighting your skills over your work experience. It will list your most prominent skills and qualifications right on top in bullet points with your work history pushed to the bottom.
- Hybrid resume – This combines the best parts of the two other formats. It includes the work experience section in chronological order while also highlighting your key skills in bullet points.
Now let’s move on to individual areas of the resume and what you need to include in each to draft the best resume.
Header for a Recent College Graduate Resume
The header section is the first thing the employer is going to look at when they glance at your resume. This part needs to clearly convey who you are. If you have worked in an internship or have something unique to highlight, then you can write a short summary about it (shown below).
Including a photo is at your discretion but it is typically removed from a resume. This is because of the following reasons:
- The resume should be kept short and pictures take up a lot of space. The employer will only be interested in your skills and qualifications (unless you’re a model or actor), so focus on that.
- There can be cases of discrimination. Whether on purpose or not, employers can disregard your application based on personal views of age, race, or gender.
If you think a photo will help your chances, however, here’s how you need to include it:
- Dress professionally and according to the company’s culture
- Consider getting your picture taken by a professional
Examples of a good & bad header
Education: Highlight your knowledge
Your education is one of the biggest selling points you have as a new graduate. Especially since you will have little to no professional experience, you need to detail your education to show employers that you’re interested in the field you’re applying for.
Here’s what you need to include:
- The name of your college/university
- Location of the college
- Graduation date
- Field of study
- Your GPA (you should only include this if you have a GPA of 3.5 or higher as it could end up hurting your chances if it’s lower)
This is an example a recent college graduate should use:
Experience: Showcasing it in your resume
The information you include in this section will depend on whether or not you have any professional experience. We have already gone over why this section is important so let’s jump right into both scenarios so you get a better understanding.
Graduate with Professional Experience
The above graduate resume sample clearly states where you worked, for how long, and what you were directly responsible for. It also highlights what you were able to achieve in that period.
Bad sample college graduate resume
Graduate Resume Template of a Recent College Graduate – Without Professional Experience
This example states clearly what the experience was, what you did, and how long you were doing it. At a glance, employers can get the gist of the experience, which is what you should be aiming for.
Bad example of a Graduate Resume
The problem with this example is that employers will be forced to read the entire paragraph to understand what you’re writing about. It provides very general information that anyone can write about their experience volunteering.
The information should be listed out in bullet points to browse through.
Skills: The best weapon a fresh graduate could have
As we have already gone through, you don’t need professional skills here (bonus points if you do though!). Just include any skills you’ve learned along the way through your courses or extra-curricular activities. This will help develop your college graduate resume example better, and create a better professional resume summary.
For best results, go through the job description to identify what the company is looking for. Match your own skills with these and note down what is relevant. However, you shouldn’t simply write down the skill with no context. You need to showcase relevant experience, and an education section in your college resume.
Here are some examples:
- Proficient in Google Suite and Microsoft Suite
- Efficient at analyzing customer data trends
- Skilled in using Photoshop for design
- Proficient in academic and blog writing
Look to create a perfect CV template. Focus on your transferable skills, and any project management experience you need. Also, look to showcase your key accomplishments, and make resume writing a priority.
About me: Professional summary for a graduate resume
Now, you have the option of either including this summary in the header section (if it’s short and succinct) or towards the end (for a more detailed summary). Adding it to the header section is a great way of highlighting your best achievements that will be seen at the first glance.
However, adding it towards the end is a good way of wrapping up your resume as well. Talk about any entry level position, and your hard skills. Recent college graduates also need to talk about their critical thinking skills in their entry level resume, and any volunteer experience. Take a look at a sample resume to know the perfect cover letter template. Also, take a look at the job advertisement to know if you need to showcase any specific skills.
There are two ways you can write a good summary:
- The resume summary – This is a brief statement noted at the top of the resume to highlight any accomplishments and skills.
- The resume objective – This is just another way of writing a summary but it is focused on showcasing how your career goals are in line with the company’s requirements.
Graduate Resume Model – Resume Summary
A good resume summary should not do the following:
- Go into detail about the accomplishments
- Be more than one short paragraph.
Graduate Resume Model – Resume Objective
A good resume objective should not do the following:
- State that you want the job
- Write in detail about your career goals
Additional sections for your College Graduate Resume Template
Depending on the industry or position you are applying for, there are additional sections you could include in the resume.
Some industries value legit certifications over actual college degrees. For example, being Google certified is more valuable to a digital marketing company than a degree in marketing.
If you’re applying for a position that deals with foreign clients or international markets, then proficiency in another relevant language is a definite bonus.
Including Computing Skills & Certifications
Technology in the modern workforce is a common requirement. The number of areas where technology is required in a business has grown. As such, most employers look for some level of computing skills when hiring candidates. If you know the type of skills required for the job role already, you can include the areas you are proficient in or where you have received certification.
If you are good at multiple languages, then highlighting them is a bonus point for your part. To include them on the resume you should:
- Create a separate section for languages
- Start from your most proficient language
- Mention at what level you know the language.
Tips to boost your resume
Now that you understand what needs to be included in a resume, here are a few tips to keep in mind when drafting it.
- Structure the resume so that it can be read at a glance. Break the content into chunks.
- Quantify your achievements (include numbers and figures)
- Check your grammar multiple times before sending the resume
- Remove any fluff and unnecessary words
- Do extra courses and certifications online
Check out some of our resume examples to get an idea of how your completed resume should look like.
Summary: Writing a perfect resume to get jobs as a graduate
- The header should be short and eye-catching
- Don’t include a photo if not required
- Try to keep the resume to one page
- The summary should only showcase your best achievements
- Highlight your education if you don’t have work experience
- Tailor your experience to match the job role
- Don’t just write down your skills, provide more context
- Including any relevant information that makes sense for the position you are applying to
Complement your resume with a cover letter
A resume and cover letter go hand-in-hand as they both cover important sections to getting you hired. A general cover letter won’t do. The cover letter will be the first impression you make on your employer, so it should go into detail about the points you’ve covered in the resume. According to statistics, you can boost your chances of getting hired by 49% by attaching a cover letter to your resume.
The cover letter should include the following information:
- A comprehensive introduction about yourself
- An explanation of why you are the perfect candidate for the job you are applying for
- Quantifiable achievements to validate your explanation
- Tell the employer why you want to join the company
- End with a call-to-action for a callback or interview
You can find cover letter examples to draft your own via ResumeExample.com.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I put the college in my resume if I didn’t graduate?
The fact that you haven’t graduated yet should not deter you. You can include this information as follows:
What is the hiring process for an internship?
Companies will typically create an internship program to test potential talent or find talent from local universities. So they will have requirements set before the hiring process begins. Typically, they will follow a standard structure:
- Find interns through local schools or by advertising on job boards
- Review resume applications and conduct interviews by phone or in-person
- Select intern(s) based on company requirements
- Inform the intern(s) and share the agreement for the required number of months