If you're a recent or soon-to-be college graduate entering the job market, this page is for you. Here, we'll delve into the specific nuances of how to write a resume for college students and recent graduates.
1. Do employers look at your college GPA?
Yes. If you are new to the workforce and are currently enrolled in college or you've recently graduated, employers will often look at your GPA when considering your application. Many new graduates have limited or no work experience, so college performance is a way for employers to get a sense of your work ethic.
Some may advise you only to include your GPA on your resume if it's above 3.0. If you're not proud of your cumulative GPA, but you have recently brought your grades up, you should list signs of academic improvement, like making the Dean's List or earning honors. Employers will notice an upward trajectory even if your cumulative GPA isn't great.
2. How should I write out the name of my degree?
Different schools and colleges have varying designations for degrees, so be sure of the exact name of the degree(s) you have earned. If you're not sure, your transcript should include that information.For example, at the undergraduate level, you may be earning a Bachelor of Science, Bachelor of Music, Bachelor of Music Education, or Bachelor of Business Administration — spell out the full name of your degree rather than using acronyms.
3. Should I list my degree if I haven't graduated yet?
It's perfectly acceptable to list your planned graduation date and degree on your resume. When the employer sees a graduation date in the future, they will understand that you're still in school. For example:
Bachelor of Science in Psychology, Rollins College, Winter Park, FL, May 2020.
However, you may feel more comfortable adding the word "expected" to the above:
Bachelor of Science in Psychology, Rollins College, Winter Park, FL, expected May 2020.
4. Should I list my college minor on my resume?
Some experts say to only list a minor if it's relevant to the job or industry to which you're applying, but others suggest always listing your minor on your resume. A computer-related minor is almost always relevant.
Foreign-language minors can be very relevant, depending on the job. If you have not completed all the courses for a minor, or if your college doesn't have a formal minor program, consider stating that you have an "emphasis," particularly if it's relevant to your desired position.
5. Should I list my college coursework on my resume?
Unless your coursework contributes something specific that would be relevant for employers, just stick with your major. If you do decide to list coursework, it's better to list major course projects you completed rather than names of the classes themselves. Similarly, don't list course numbers; they will mean nothing to readers outside your university.
6. Should I really include class and team projects on my resume?
Absolutely! You have probably participated in many projects during your college years that have real-world applications and helped you polish your transferable skills. If you have some job experience and a relevant internship, you may not need to go into much detail about class projects. But if your experience is sparse, class projects are a perfectly legitimate way to beef up your resume.
In one of our favorite examples of a student resume that makes the most of class projects, the student states clearly that these are class projects; but she portrays them with the same weight and seriousness that she gave her internship experience. You could also consider detailing your class projects on a supplement to your resume.
Read our article, Emphasizing Your Classroom Transferable and Marketable Skills for more ideas on how the skills you honed in the classroom apply in the real world. You can also consider using our College Experience Worksheet for Resume Development.
7. Should I list my high school on my resume?
Many new job seekers wonder how — and whether — to list their high school education on a resume. Unless you are currently a high school student, or it is very early in your college career, omit high school education from your resume. Some international companies and industries expect to see high school information on your resume. Do your research and be aware of industry standards.
Your resume format is key. If you are trying to condense your resume down to one page, your high school information should be the first thing to go. If for some reason you decide to list high school, put your college education first.
8. What about listing community college?
Only include community college if it adds specific information to your resume, and only if you earned a degree or certification. If you are trying to condense your resume down to one page, community college is something you can easily omit. These same rules apply if you attended more than one college; only list the one that awarded you (or will be awarding you) your degree.
9. Should I list academic awards, honors, and recognitions under the Education section?
You can, but sometimes doing so pushes the important Experience section to a less prominent position on the resume, so use your best judgment. If you have received multiple awards or honors, consider listing them in a later section toward the end of the resume — or you could create a supplement to your resume that lists all your honors if needed.
Items to include: Dean's List, Honor Roll, Awards and Scholarships. Try to briefly describe the criteria for scholarships, since the reader usually won't know what you did to earn a scholarship just based on its name.
10. What else should I list under the Education section?
Include any special or private training, certification and seminars. You may also want to list study-abroad experiences.
11. Should I list the specific name of my Greek organization?
Doing so is a calculated risk. Employers may screen you out based on deep-seated rivalries or animosities toward your Greek organization or the Greek system in general. Avoid information that could be used to screen you out. We recommend that you list Greek organization generically, for example: Membership vice president for social fraternity.
12. Should I list sports on my resume?
Absolutely. Being a student-athlete is an integral part of your college experience. College-level athletics are a great place to gain many transferable skills, such as teamwork, leadership and competitive drive. Many on-campus recruiters specifically ask to interview athletes. Consider listing sports in your Experience section, especially if you don't have much job experience or have a leadership role.
Final thoughts on new grad resumes
If you need help writing your recent college graduate resume, put LiveCareer to work. Use our Resume Builder or Resume Templates when you get down to the work at hand (and take away a lot of the guesswork that can sometimes be involved when creating a college resume).