The best resume format for a new graduate largely depends on your experience and skills. A good resume gives the employer a positive first impression of you even if you have limited experience in the professional workforce. Choose the best resume format to highlight your strengths and minimize your weaknesses by highlighting either your work experience or your knowledge, education and training.
Choosing Between a Functional and Chronological Resume
Many recent college graduates have significant training and theoretical knowledge but lack practical work experience. A chronological resume focuses on your work history and career accomplishments while a functional resume typically offers the best resume format for a recent graduate. If you have a few years of work experience as a volunteer or you worked during college, you can highlight it in the work experience section of a chronological resume. However, the functional resume or a hybrid offers the best resume format for a recent college graduate because it prioritizes the skills and abilities you learned in classes and internships over how many years in the workforce you have. Chronological resumes account for the majority of resumes submitted, but this format may not adequately showcase your college achievements.
The Most Important Sections to Include in Your Resume
Write a functional resume summary that details your skills, talents and abilities in paragraph form. Discuss a skill and then back it up with a related accomplishment. If you state that you have an affinity for picking up new technology, cite a certificate course you completed as an example.
Create additional sections to detail your skills, professional experience, employment history and education. Use bullet points in these sections, and strive to use short, concise sentences to succinctly describe your experience. In the skills section, create a brief one- to two-sentence bulleted description for each skill. In the professional experience section, detail a specific transferable skill from college that is a useful work skill. For example, if you took a research methods course, emphasize that you have a strong ability to perform effective research and incorporate references.
Complete the resume with your work history and education. In the employment history section, list the company name, state and city, the position you held and the years you worked there. Follow that up with your education section. Include the college name, graduation date and any awards received.
As you work on your resume, ask yourself whether the information you include is pertinent to the job's requirements. Create a different resume for each new job prospect to convey to the employer that you have researched their company and are the right fit.
Tips to Help You Complete Your New Grad Resume
Depending on the job requirements, use your resume to discuss any team projects you headed, emphasize your ability to meet deadlines and talk about any interpersonal relationship skills you developed during college. Turn the courses and classes you took into real-world practical skills that will transfer over to your new job. Read your resume aloud and give it to several people to review and comment on. Ask any professors you developed a relationship with to review your resume and offer suggestions.
After you complete your resume, check it over to make sure that it has specific information relevant to the job you're applying for. If your new graduate resume offers generic information that makes it suitable for multiple positions, then make revisions to tailor it to a specific job or company. Research the company culture, and give a hint of your personality in the summary statement. Use words like "thoughtful," "energetic" or "detail-oriented" to illustrate aspects of your personality that would fit the company environment based on what you're able to ascertain about the business culture and values.
If you encounter any issues or have any questions about choosing the best resume format for your situation, the tips, samples and templates available at LiveCareer can help you.