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Resume Writing Tips For Recent College Graduates

Resume Writing Tips for Recent College Graduates

If you are a recent college grad who believes that your greatest challenge is to find a job, you’re right. Yet, you have a more immediate challenge: writing a resume that will land you an interview for that job. Our resume writing tips will help you write a winning resume that gets results!

Without a well-written resume, your odds of getting an interview are greatly diminished. College activities, prior job experience, and volunteer work are treasure troves of information waiting for you to share them through your resume.

A mere list of those experiences isn’t enough — you must provide the details that employers are looking for. Keep reading to learn the secret of the best resumes!


Recent College Grad? Land an Interview with These Resume Writing Tips | Vertical Media Solutions


A Resume Only A Mother Could Love

You have probably already taken a shot at writing your own resume; how similar is it to the example below?

OBJECTIVE: To gain employment with The Corner Record Shop.


  • I have a deep appreciation and passion for music
  • I have played guitar for two years
  • I have taken Algebra and Trigonometry and am proficient in interpreting data


This resume, written by a fourteen-year-old boy (let’s call him “Dave”), shares a lot in common with those written by adults.

The most prominent detail about this resume isn’t its brevity; rather, it’s all the information that’s amiss. Why does he want a job at the Corner Record Shop? What kinds of specific skills does he have?

What if Dave’s resume read something like this:


Objective: To share my love of music with others in a record shop near home.


Relevant Experience

  • Intermediate-level guitarist who practices guitar technique and improvisation up to 10 hours per week
  • Lead and Rhythm Guitarist in the high school rock band
  • Proficient at the identification of patterns in mathematical data

Study and Research

  • Studied the history of the Blues and its influence on American popular music through a combination of internet, local library resources, and interviews with local musicians
  • Currently study jazz music theory and improvisation for guitar through an online course
  • Studied Algebra and Trigonometry in high school, with a 3.5 GPA in both classes

After some revision, we now know some valuable details about who Dave is as a person. He is a creative, analytic person with a passion for music. An employer might see Dave as a creative problem-solver.

Dave also possesses a high level of self-discipline. He also sets and attains goals through consistent effort. All in all, Dave is a hard-working kid that gets results from his efforts. Who wouldn’t want a employee like Dave?

How is your resume one that only a mother could love? Learn the resume writing tips to transform it into something HR managers and recruiters love!

Learn more about how to write a great resume


Entry Level Jobs are an Important Source of Skills and Experience

Entry Level Jobs You May Think Don't Count | Vertical Media Solutions

Remember your first job? Take a moment and think about what you did on that job. What kind of impression did it make on you?

What skills did you learn while working that first job? How were you an asset to your employer? Ask yourself questions like these about each job you have held and write the answers down.

Buried in those prior jobs are details about you that employers need to know about.

Spend some time to recall your past jobs and write down what kind of work you did. Note the skills you gained, and what you contributed to each job.

Liz Ryan, Founder and CEO of Human Workplace, shared a bit of wisdom in this Forbes article: “You have to make it clear what you’re all about — and you have to do it quickly! Most readers won’t look at a resume for more that a few seconds.”

Ryan goes on to recommend the creation of a summary that “will create a frame around your background and your career plans.” Excellent advice from a pro whose career path wound from opera singer to CEO of her own company.

What if you never held a job? Don’t worry — we have some resume writing tips just for you!

Learn About Our Fast Track Resume Services

What If I Don’t Have Any Job Experience?

Even if you haven’t held a job before, you have other experiences to draw from, such as volunteer work. Volunteering is often overlooked, to the detriment of college graduates like yourself.

Volunteer positions often require the ability to perform specific tasks. Skills gained through volunteer work can help a college grad land their first job. What kind of volunteer experience do you have?

Break it down into marketable skills to include in your resume. Be sure to include how you brought improvement through the efforts you made as a volunteer.

What if I Don't Have Any Job Experience? | Vertical Media Solutions

Let’s revisit Dave’s resume and update it to reflect his recent graduation from college. While we’re at it, let’s add the experience he has gained as an unpaid assistant to the Music Director where he graduated college:


Professional Profile

Detail oriented, collaborative Music Composer and Arranger with proven success interacting with other musicians. Worked with Music Director to create ensemble arrangements for performance. Fostered a focused, professional environment which emphasized collaboration and communication between musicians.


  • Managed up to four ensembles through the promotion of standardized approaches to the study and practice of ensemble arrangements
  • Developed a system that streamlined ensemble instruction and practice of arrangements. The result was an increase from two ensembles to four without hiring extra staff
  • Collaborated with ensemble musicians to adapt practice regimens for optimal performance results
  • Created original arrangements of jazz standards for ensemble performance
  • Analyzed current student participation in jazz ensembles and worked to increase participation. Evaluated student schedules and participation in other college activities. Increased student participation through a scheduled that based on student availability.

Wow — Dave has grown into a well-rounded music professional with highly employable skills!


Resume Writing Tips for the Digital Age

A lot of job searches are conducted online, both by job seekers and recruiters. This means that your resume needs to be seen by search engines. In this blog post, Alison Doyle,  CEO of Career Toolbelt and Job Search expert at The Balance, offers great advice on how to make your resume searchable:

“Your resume should include the same keywords that appear in job descriptions. That way, you will increase your chances of your resume matching available positions — and of you being selected for an interview.”

Alison Doyle, CEO, Career Toolbelt

The inclusion of keywords used in job descriptions will make your resume much more visible on the internet and more likely to been seen by a recruiter looking for you unique blend of skills and experience.

To get even more out of the job description, find keywords that describe the employer, the products/services they offer, and the industries they serve. Use these keywords in your cover letter, your career objective, and your professional summary to show that you understand who the employer is and what they do.

Schedule My Free Career Evaluation Today!

The Secret to a Resume that Wins You the Interview

You want to translate your previous experience into marketable skills. Yet, you’re uncertain how to do that. Let’s take a closer look at a detail from Dave’s new Professional Profile.


  • Developed a system that streamlined ensemble instruction and practice of arrangements. The result was an increase from two ensembles to four without hiring extra staff.


When Dave began work as an assistant, he recognized the need for some improvements. Those improvements made it possible to create more ensembles without more staff. Dave made himself an asset to the Music Department in the following ways:

  • Leadership — He managed up to four ensembles at a time
  • Creative problem solving — Dave identified problems and found creative solutions to departmental issues
  • Excellent Communication Skills — He effectively shared ideas with through spoken and written words

That single detail from Dave’s resume demonstrated how he improved Music Department operations while he was an assistant.


So, of all the resume writing tips, what’s the secret to writing a resume that wins me an interview?

Show the employer how you were an asset. Describe how you identified a problem and solved it. Share details about how that solution benefited the employer. The more examples you can provide that show how you contributed, the more likely you will get that interview.


Learn about VMS Fast Track Resume Services


You’ve Got Your Resume — But What Now?

Before you do anything else, take a moment to think about what your current goals are.  What kind of job you would like to get? Where would you like to work?

Think about what you’re looking for in a job. Now, create a job-search strategy that focuses your efforts on these questions.


Job Search Strategy

An effective job search strategy has at least two steps:

  1. A clear job definition. Conventional thinking says to cast a wide net within your chosen field. However, this is a misguided notion. You may land a job in your chosen field, but it may not be the best match for you. Take time to create a profile of the job you are seeking. It will focus your efforts on landing an interview for a job you actually want.
  2. Resume adaptability. You worked hard on your resume and you’re proud of it…and you should be. To get the interview, adapt your resume to emphasize the skills and experience each employer seeks.

When you customize your resume for each employer, you show that you’re not merely another job seeker. A resume tailored to an employer shows that you took the initiative to learn about them and what they do.

As you begin your job search as a college graduate, remember that your resume is a powerful marketing tool with a single goal: to land you a job interview.

No matter where you live in the United States, the employment experts at Vertical Media Solutions are here to help. Our personalized resume writing process will to help you transform your experiences into a career you’ll love.


Schedule My Free Career Evaluation Today!

Published by:

Vertical Media Solutions

updated 7/25/2017

  1. Very insightful! I needed help with this topic and I’m glad I was recommended this article.

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