College students and recent graduates may not know what to put on a resume as they may have little relevant work experience. However, not having a long list of prior employment on a resume does not mean you are not the best person for the job. A well-written resume is easy to read, concise and highlights the applicant's great qualities so that the employer will want to meet you. The goal of the resume is to secure a job interview.
A resume is a job seeker's personal profile. There was a time when job seekers would tailor their resumes for a specific job they were hoping for and begin their resumes stating what position they wanted. Today, the emphasis in a resume must be on the job seeker and not on the job sought. A good resume showcases what the applicant has to offer a potential employer. At the University of Maryland's Career Center, they advise graduating students to begin a resume with a Profile section that briefly describes skills, experience and professional goals. Tailor this section to the specific work you are interested into help a potential employer make connections between your background and their needs.
At the Career Center in Boston College, students are instructed to focus on their accomplishments, not job duties, when writing their resumes. A list of accomplishments, however, is not a list of everything the student has ever done. Accomplishments are the things that make one job applicant stand out from the rest and are relevant to the type of work sought. For example, "wrote powerpoints" is a job duty. "Developed powerpoints to train other employees that were successful and adopted by the employer for use after my internship ended" is an accomplishment.
College students should list their soon-to-be alma mater near the top of their resume, under identifying information such as name and contact information. At Boston College's career center, they recommend including GPA as long as it is at least 3.0. If you have earned a 3.5 in a school in which 4.0 is the highest, you may write, "3.5/4.0." Some schools use 5.0 as the highest grade point, so it is good to clarify. "Relevant Coursework" is a separate section on your resume and does not need to be right beneath the name of your school.
The Department of Career Management at Lim College suggests a resume should fit on one page. If a line or two pushes the document to two pages, alter the margins on the top and bottom or the sides up to one-half inch. Use an easy to read font and avoid using fancy fonts that look like handwriting. The resume should be black ink on white or off-white paper and avoid pictures unless you are applying for an artistic position such as graphic design. Convert the finished resume to PDF to avoid formatting changes when it is emailed and print the final version to ensure it prints on one page and looks correct.
Samantha Hanly is an organic vegetable gardener, greenhouse gardener and home canner. She grows a substantial portion of her family's food every year. After receiving her bachelor's degree, Hanly embarked on a career teaching dramatic arts, arts and crafts, and languages. She became a professional writer in 2000, writing curricula for use in classrooms and libraries.