There’s a lot of anxiety that comes from graduating from college. Finding a job nowadays is rarely easy, but having a curated, well-planned resume is a big part of the process. One of the biggest challenges is that recent college grads have a lot of education but limited real-life experience in their industry.
While some students might have had internships or part-time jobs in college, these might not transition into their career. Luckily, job prospects are looking up. The unemployment rate in 2018 dropped below 4% for the first time since 2000. That being said, recent grads should take their resume seriously when they begin applying to jobs no matter their goals.
Here are the best resume tips for recent college grads that work in 2019. Is your resume ready for applications?
Highlight the Strongest Experience
As we said before, one of the biggest challenges is translating education into experience. That being said, it’s perfectly acceptable to highlight the experience you do have, even if this experience isn’t necessary direct career experience. For instance, volunteer opportunities and even classroom work can show skills and education in a way that appeals to employers.
What counts as related experience? Depending on the industry, you can adapt your resume to meet any expectations. Employers understand that recent grads aren’t swimming in experience, and they don’t expect that. Here are a few examples of experience that can be used on a resume:
Many students work part-time to pay for their college expenses. They might work in customer service, administrative, or food and beverage. While these might not be related to what they plan to do after college, they’re still a great way to earn valuable skills.
Volunteer opportunities are another way to gain real-world skills. Volunteering with other businesses, nonprofits, and local organizations is a great way to apply industry skills.
If the students succeeded in their education or worked on any exciting research projects, these demonstrate a commitment to the industry. Many educational programs today help students build their own portfolio, and this can be used on a resume.
Use a Resume Template
It’s easy to think the resume is a chance to be creative, but this isn’t usually the case. While there are some exciting resume ideas on the web, following the standard is usually a good idea. Unless you’re applying for a creative position like graphic design, fashion, or a design-related field, it’s better to stick with a traditional, expected resume format.
If you’re not sure where to begin, don’t fret. Starting with a resume template is a great way to figure out the wording and format. Read through these resume examples for some inspiration. Don’t get hung-up about small details that are easy to overlook. While you want your resume to be grammatically correct, don’t worry about treating it as a writing exercise.
Include the Right Keywords
Finally, understanding how the resume process works will help you get noticed by employers. Most mid-sized to large employers use an applicant tracking system to sift through the first round of resumes. If your resume doesn’t have the right keywords, it’s likely to be ignored by this tracking system.
Where do you find the right keywords to use? They’re usually in the job listing and description. For instance, if the company is looking for a strong communicator, you’ll probably want to include that in your resume. This is especially true if the listing includes specific programs, certifications, or education requirements.
Land Your First Job
Landing your dream job right out of college probably won’t happen, but that doesn’t mean you can’t find a great fit position for your skill level. Don’t let your inexperience get in the way. As a recent grad, you’re actually a great candidate for entry-level positions.
Graduating from college comes with its own set of skills. You’re a strong learner, you know your major really well, and you’re ambitious for the future. Use these resume tips above to snag that job you’ve been looking for.