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Resume Writing Essentials for Recent Graduates

When you’re fresh out of school, the job hunt can feel extremely overwhelming. You’re trying to compete against people with years of experience as you get to work on networking and applying. However, you should have no fear because there are plenty of strategies that a recent graduate can use to make sure their resume stand out against more seasoned professionals.

  • Use your education to your advantage: If you majored in advertising and want to work at an advertising agency, make sure to highlight your degree and school at the top of the resume. So you may not be able to compete with Don Draper quite yet, but putting this at the top shows that you have up-to-date knowledge pertaining to the field. In many industries, younger perspectives are actually welcome as business professionals try to navigate social media and other millennial-friendly areas.
  • Add internships: Don’t discredit the power of an internship. Even if you didn’t get paid, you still got to see the inner workings of that business and learned a lot of valuable skills. List your internship experience prominently, and go into depth about exactly what you learned there.
  • Additional experience counts: If you want to go into event planning and have helped plan fundraisers at a local charity, make sure you list this. It doesn’t matter if you got paid or not, you learned the basics required to put together a successful event. This is the knowledge you’ll need to have success as a paid professional.
  • Shape your experiences carefully: Your time slaving away for hours at Abercrombie & Fitch can actually benefit you if you use it correctly. Instead of listing off that you folded shirts and stood around trying to look busy, highlight some of the other things you learned during the job. Did you interact with customers and help to make sales? Did you help organize merchandise in an attractive way? Though your next job may not involve folding jeans and cleaning up dressing rooms, the basic skills can certainly translate.
  • Pick your verbs carefully: Many people fall back on boring, passive verbs like “helped” or “assisted” when it comes time to write a resume. Instead, use compelling verbs such as “publicized” or “spearheaded.” These add some spice to your resume, and give your entries some power.
  • Don’t rule anything out: When you first sit down to write your resume, get out any and all experience that you had down on paper. Then, take a look at these pieces more carefully and figure out which ones most closely apply to your chosen field. You may find that jobs that seemed completely irrelevant actually helped you learn a lot.

New grads should also get a LinkedIn profile and use this as another way to catch the eye of a potential employer. There is no such thing as too much networking or self-promotion when it comes time to find a job.

What tricks did you use to make your resume stand out, even if you were lacking in the experience department? Tell us in the comments!

Written by

Lauren Levine is a copywriter/blogger who contributes to a number of magazines and websites including The Frisky, USA Today, and others. She also authors her own blog called Life with Lauren. She loves cooking, anything on the E! network, and is trying to convince herself that running isn't so bad.

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