Although you may not have a lot of work experience, make the most of what you have, especially any experience related to what you want to do. Bookkeeping, for example, is valuable experience for an accounting major. It’s not the same as accounting, but it is excellent, practical experience and is recognized as such by employers. A forestry major would emphasize any work with a timber company, even if it was only menial summer work.

As a recent or soon-to-be graduate, you have four things to sell: your education, your personality and character, related work experience, and work experience. If you have little or no related work experience, most of your resume will be devoted to revealing your personality, character, and work ethic. Employers need to sense the type of employee you will be. College graduates typically remain with their first employers for less than two years, so it’s fair for employers to seek those who will quickly contribute to the organization.

Internships and jobs where you’ve had a high level of responsibility, are particularly valuable. In John Etter’s sample resume on page 157, only one job was actually described because its value was so much more relevant than the other summer jobs.

The myth of the one-page resume is never more prevalent than in the case of the new grad. Employers need reasons for their hiring decisions and if you offer a record of excellence…you have immediately separated yourself from the pack.

Describing some or all of your summer or part-time jobs can be valuable in demonstrating your work ethic, maturity, and results.

Look for ways to reveal your personal qualities. Offices held in high school and college reveal leadership and responsibility. Your achievements in office can be impressive as can class projects that demonstrate value. Try a Special Projects Section or include them as part of your Education. Perhaps you were in a group with business students who developed a marketing plan for a small company or in a group of industrial engineering students who solved an actual manufacturing problem.

Below is a special projects section by a student who was very active on campus:

  • Planned and organized the University of Puget Sound 2007 Spring Parents Weekend and set a new record for attendance. Arranged programs and activities, obtained speakers, made hotel arrangements, ordered food, and headed up a four‐person committee. Increased attendance 20% over the previous year. Evaluations by parents indicated it was the best organized program since its inception in 1980.
  • Published the first Parents Association Newsletter which was sent to 3,500 parents of UPS students. The first two editions were well‐received and the newsletter has become an official school publication, published three times each year.

Lettering in sports indicates learning the value of teamwork and cooperation. Excellent grades indicate discipline and intellectual capacity. Participation in debate and theater can reveal communication skills, analytical thinking, and willingness to take risks. Participating in school committees and organizations reveals responsibility, and a sense of community.

The Qualifications Section of a resume is an excellent place to describe and call attention to some of the qualities you want an employer to know about, as the example below demonstrates.

OBJECTIVE: Mathematics/Statistics
QUALIFICATIONS

  • Excellent training in math and statistics.
  • Maintain excellent relations with supervisors. Always a valued employee. Loyal, cooperative, and easy to work with.
  • Work well under pressure, learn quickly, hard working.

You may have noticed that none of these statements was backed up with hard facts. The student who wrote this statement picked qualities she knew to be true about herself; which she can elaborate about at an interview.

When selecting these qualities make sure you can back them up when asked to. Don’t offer them just because they sound good. You might get the interview, but you’ll never get the job unless the in-person “you” matches the “you” on paper.

Value comes in a variety of forms. Demonstrating you paid a substantial part or all of your college expenses by working is a powerful statement of dedication and time management. Being willing to travel or relocate can be an immediate plus for companies where that kind of flexibility is valued.

Simple statements in a Personal Section will suffice.

PERSONAL
Earned 60% of college expenses
Willing to relocate

Offices held while in college should nearly always be mentioned. If you’re proud of some of your results, describe those results rather than merely listing the offices you held.

Class projects are often worth mentioning in a special projects or education section. Perhaps you were in a group with business students who developed a marketing plan for a small company or in a group of industrial engineering students who solved an actual manufacturing problem. Below is a special projects section by a student who was very active on campus:

Planned and organized the University of Puget Sound 2007 Spring Parents Weekend and set a new record for attendance. Arranged programs and activities, obtained speakers, made hotel arrangements, ordered food, and headed up a four‐person committee. Increased attendance 20% over the previous year. Evaluations by parents indicated it was the best organized program since its inception in 1980.

Published the first Parents Association Newsletter which was sent to 3,500 parents of UPS students. The first two editions were well‐received and the newsletter has become an official school publication, published three times each year.

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Graduating College Students / Recent Grads

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