Your resume is like the cover of a book about you—a quick way for prospective employers to learn whether you might be a fit at their company, and—importantly—whether they'd like to learn more about you. The more interest you can generate, the more likely you are to land an interview, which is the next step in your journey to landing a job. But how do you write a resume when you're just out of school and your professional experience might be limited? Read on for our top resume tips for recent college grads.
Use a professional email address
While your university email address is great for school-related contact, set up a professional email address to make a first impression that shows you mean business. If you don't already have an email that works, you can sign up for a free email at Outlook.com.
List internships and part-time jobs
Showcase your experience by highlighting your internships and other jobs. Add bullet points to point out your most exciting achievements. Remember that your resume is telling a story, and be sure to craft the narrative you want. Even if your work history doesn't match what you want to do in the future, use those experiences to showcase the recurring skills that you'll use in your dream job. For example, do you want to go into sales? Great! Show how you increased sales and revenue in your retail position. Interested in graphic design? Don't forget to mention that you designed flyers and promotional materials in your summer internship.
List achievements, extracurriculars, and leadership opportunities
No matter your future employer's management style, companies like to know that you can work autonomously. Think about the times you stepped forward to lead a group or initiative and highlight those on your resume. Also, use extracurricular activities to showcase the things you're passionate about. And if you've received awards and recognition, show them off!
Use active verbs and numbers
When describing your activities and achievements, use strong verbs to showcase the actions you took. Then, add in numbers to show how you contributed to the company's bottom line.
Add your GPA when it makes sense
Top of your class? Let prospective employers know by sharing your GPA. A good guideline is that anything over a 3.0 is worth considering, and over a 3.5 is great to list.
Stick to university work
You may have aced high school, but you'll want to list only your university education on your resume, like college or post-graduate coursework. If you haven't yet graduated, you can add your college, major, and expected graduation date.
Add a link to LinkedIn
Recruiters and hiring managers often browse LinkedIn to look for candidates for their open jobs, so while you're creating your resume, make sure to update your LinkedIn profile to increase your odds of getting found. Then, add a link to LinkedIn on your resume so employers can find the most current information about you. On LinkedIn, your colleagues can also endorse you for particular skills. If there's something you're great at, ask someone you've worked with to provide an endorsement to help elevate your talents.
Resume templates to get you started
Ready to work on your resume? Browse Microsoft's Resume and Cover Letters collection to find a resume template that's right for you. Using a template can help you format your resume to stand out from the crowd.
Want more tips for finding the perfect job for you? See Land your dream job.