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You’re about to prepare a recent college graduate resume.
Whether you’re diving into data, hurrying into healthcare, or flying into finance, you are ready to embrace the opportunities and challenges of post-grad life.
Your college grad resume has to be on fleek.
This recent college graduate resume guide will show you:
- Recent graduate resume examples better than 9 out of 10 other resumes.
- How to write a resume for a recent college graduate that gets more interviews.
- Tips on how to put skills and achievements on a college grad resume.
- How to describe your experience to get any recent graduate jobs you want.
We have resume guides no matter which level of education you’ve accomplished:
- Scholarship Resume Guide
- High School Resume for College Applications Guide
- Internship Resume for College Students Guide
- First Resume with No Work Experience
- Graduate School Resume/CV for PhD Programs
What’s the Best Format for a College Graduate Resume?
Remember cramming before a major exam?
Prospective employers skim through resumes just that fast.
It’s a measly 6-second glance per resume, at first. Those who don’t make it past that first scan must continue their job hunt elsewhere.
Use the chronological format.
This structure keeps your resume in order like the campus police. HR managers and recruiters across all industries are familiar with this resume layout.
Here’s how to format a resume for recent college graduates:
- Start off with a compelling resume objective or resume summary.
- Document your knowledge in the education resume section.
- Talk up any experience you may have earned during your studies.
- List skills and abilities you have which match the job advertisement.
- Stand out from other applicants by adding extra resume sections.
As you’re fresh out of university, your education is almost always more impressive than your work experience. Place your job history below unless you’ve had relevant experience during your college years.
Don’t have any work experience yet?
No problem. Just lose that section and go hard on the others.
Pro Tip: Save recent college grad resumes in the PDF format. Like an accredited school, the PDF format ensures it is accepted no matter which device the HR staff view it on.
Don’t think the reverse-chronological format is right for your new graduate resume? There are other options. See our guide: Best Resume Format: What Resume Model to Choose? [+ Resume Format Examples]
Recent College Graduate Resume Objective or Summary?
When you prepared an academic paper, causing the reader to snooze was a point in your favor.
Not so on a recent college grad resume.
Write a heading statement that makes them focus on you like an Adderall.
You’ve got two options: the resume summary or resume objective.
Got experience in your prospective industry from some part-time work or an internship?
Use the resume summary.
The summary statement is a short paragraph summing up your experience and skills. Use an accomplishment with numbers to prove your value to them.
Here’s an example college graduate summary for a data science job:
College Graduate Resume Examples: Resume Summary
|IBM Watson-certified data scientist with 8 months experience from data science internship at private investment banking startup. Achieved 135% investment returns through pioneering new alpha extraction method and modeling relevant financial metrics.|
|I have just finished a data science internship where I learned many new data analysis skills and knowledge. During this time, I studied machine learning, created AI models, assisted with statistical analysis, and designed automated pipelines.|
Both look pretty impressive, huh?
However, in the right example, you give a key win or accomplishment with numbers to back it up. It proves your experience rather than giving a laundry list of duties.
But, what if you have no relevant work experience?
Use a resume objective.
The objective tells your prospective workplace how your career goals align with their plans. You’ll still use relevant skills, experience, and quantifiable achievements.
Here are two recent college graduate resume objective statement examples:
Recent Graduate Resume Examples: Resume Objective
|Recent university graduate with computer science major and data science minor. Created class project utilizing AI to beat 500+ students at determining winners across multiple sports disciplines. Seeking to leverage 3.9 GPA and 80 data science-related classroom hours to obtain the junior data scientist position at Brooklyn Tech.|
|I’ve just graduated from university with a bachelor’s degree in computer science. I haven’t had any paid working experience yet, but I have the will to learn and many classroom hours.|
Here, the right example briefs them on your background, gives a key achievement, and it even mentions the company’s name to let them know you tailored your resume to the job.
Now this is an objective that’s Magna Cum Laude!
Pro Tip: Whether you choose a resume objective or summary, it goes at the top of your new college graduate resume. However, you don’t need to write it first. Instead, save writing it for the end, so you have the rest of your resume to inform its creation.
Want more advice on writing a career summary or career objective on a college graduate resume template? Check out our guides: Professional Resume Summary Examples [20+ Resume Summary Statement Examples] and General Resume Objective Examples [20+Examples of Great Career Objectives]
Is Your Education Section Underperforming? It Might Be
Graduation is your biggest achievement since navigating your way out the birth canal.
Your education section is crucially important to get right.
Here’s how to list education on resumes:
College Grad Resume Examples—Education Section
2019 BS in Computer Science
Cornell University. Ithaca, NY
Minor: Data Science
Relevant Coursework: Python for Data Science, Research Design and Application for Data and Analysis, Statistics for Data Science, Fundamentals of Data Engineering, Applied Machine Learning, Experiments and Causal Inference, ML at Scale.
Honors & Awards: Dean’s List (past 5 semesters)
As you may have noticed, you need not list the range of dates in your degree program; the year you earned your degree will suffice.
Also, skip the GPA on a resume. Unless it’s super close to a 4.0, it’ll just hurt your chances while taking up space.
Since you’re a recent grad, go ham on your education section. Add any honors and awards, minors, publications, and especially any coursework relevant to your job field.
Finally, don’t add your high school diploma since you’ve completed university.
Pro Tip: If you took part in an externship during your university studies, add that information here in your education section. If it’s an internship, however, place that in your work experience section, which we’ll talk about now.
Got another educational scenario? Check this guide out: Education Resume Section: How to List High School & College Education
How to Describe Experience on a Recent Grad Resume
According to the NCES, employment rates for those with bachelor’s degrees and highers in 2017 were lower than they were in 2000. On top of that, there were almost 50% more bachelor’s degrees awarded in 2017 vs 2000.
Needless to say, there’s a LOT of competition.
How to beat other newly graduated candidates?
If you have relevant job experience from before you graduated, such as a college internship, write a work history section to put yourself ahead of other applicants.
Don’t only list your job responsibilities. Include key accomplishments with numbers to prove your abilities.
Here are two college intern resume samples:
Entry-Level Experience for Graduate Resume—Internship Examples
Data Science Intern
Key Qualifications & Responsibilities
Data Scientist Intern
Like an assignment without your name on it, the second internship experience is not ready to hand in.
It’s lacks the oomph of the first example: detailed responsibilities and a numbered achievement.
What if you’re writing a new college grad resume without relevant experience?
Talk up your most significant duties and achievements to show them your work ethic matches their company values:
Recent College Grad Resume Example—No Related Experience
Bank Teller & Consultant
Key Qualifications & Responsibilities
Experience as a bank teller seems to have hardly anything to do with our other example of becoming a data analyst. However, pick the responsibilities and achievements you have which are most relevant.
No fluff, just the good stuff.
If you’ve done some freelance work or online gigs, add only the most impressive one.
And, if you are writing a resume for your first job, just skip the work history section. However, be sure to double down in the other areas if you want to stay in the running!
Pro Tip: Use action verbs to begin each job duty and accomplishment. However, don’t choose the same tired words that everyone else uses (e.g., responsible for). Use power words to give it some life.
Check what else to put in your experience section in our guide Work Experience on a Resume: Job Description Bullets that *Kill* [100+]
How to Put Skills on a College Resume for Graduates
Up till now in your life, you’ve earned hella skills.
They span the spectrum, from financial management to social etiquette. Which skills to add to a recent grad resume template?
Not to worry.
First, create a simple table or list of skills, like this one below.
Include hard and soft skills: hard skills are ones you study and learn (e.g., Microsoft Office), and soft skills are ones you develop during life (e.g., decision making skills).
Top 14 Skills for New Graduate Resumes
Don’t just add a list of random skills and call it a day.
Your resume will receive an immediate suspension.
Rather, go back to the job description to figure out the specific skills your company requires.
Here’s a data analyst job description, for example:
- You will build and maintain reporting dashboards and management tools to help stakeholders make decisions 
- You will develop and manage systems and data models for new and rapidly-evolving business processes - including our sales funnel, global expansion, member value programming and more
- You will systematically improve our operations by identifying opportunities, deriving business hypotheses on how we might leverage those opportunities, and validating those hypotheses through experimentation 
- Institute data capture systems and processes to help us understand what’s going on in our business and in our spaces around the world
- Capture holistic data and use that insight to identify creative ways to improve financial and operational performance 
Reading the job ad thoroughly makes it a breeze to pick the right skills:
New College Grad Resume Samples—Skills Section
Adding skills like our second example is just like taking Underwater Basket Weaving 101—
The right example, however, is tailored perfectly for this particular job.
Finally, keep the ATS in mind.
An applicant tracking system is software which helps larger companies and recruitment firms handle the numerous resumes they receive each day.
HR managers scan resumes into the software. Next, they give the program specific resume keywords to search for on those resumes. Then, they receive a score back for each resume based on how well they match the job description.
No match, no job!
Pro Tip: Soft skills are great, but lean towards “going hard” in your skills section. Save your cover letter and interview for showing them you have great social skills and problem-solving abilities.
Want more tips for writing the skills section for new grad resumes? See our guide: 99 Key Skills for a Resume (All Types of Professional Skills with Examples Included!).
How to Add Other Sections for an Effective Recent Graduate Resume
Here’s the thing: every recent uni grad will have these previous sections on their resume.
How will you stand out?
Include additional resume sections to show you’re one of a kind.
Here are great extra sections to include on a resume for post-college jobs:
College Graduate Resume Samples: Extra Sections
Many employers weigh official certificates heavier than even your degree (don’t tell your parents). Add relevant ones, such as CompTIA A+ for IT or the Red Cross BLS/CPR certification for medical professions.
Volunteer experience on recent graduate resumes is an awesome way to add work experience when you don’t have any paid job history. If you have multiple volunteer positions in your past, choose the most job-appropriate ones.
In this globalized world, proficiency in a second language is more important than ever. Add the language and your skill level in it in a standardized proficiency scale.
Adding your interests, pastimes, passions, and hobbies to a resume is a great way to subtly talk up skill sets.
Not a resume section, per se, but an impressive addition for certain industries, nonetheless! For example, if you’ve written on a personal blog, a portfolio of those articles would look great for marketing positions. Add the portfolio URL to your resume contact information section.
And speaking of your contact deets—
Your address on the resume is core, but here are a few pointers to set it up for success:
- Your contact info goes at the very top, above your resume summary or objective on a single-column resume, but beside it on a two-column resume.
- Give them a professional email address. You’re all growed up now, no more “email@example.com.”
- Add relevant social links. LinkedIn is always a good idea, but rarely Facebook or Twitter. Designers can add Behance, while IT pros might add GitHub, for example.
- Avoid unnecessary or potentially harmful information, such as date of birth, citizenship status, marriage status, or race.
- Skip the address on the resume unless it is important for local jobs. Check the job ad.
- Include a branding statement as a subtitle below your name to stand out.
Finally, optimize your LinkedIn profile!
Pro Tip: Your college career advisor may have suggested adding references to a resume. Don’t do it. Employers know that “references are available upon request,” and you can use that precious real estate to include more important items.
How About a Recent College Graduate Cover Letter?
A resume without a cover letter is like failing a core class—
You’ll just have to do it over.
Here’s how to write recent college grad cover letters as refreshing as a gap year:
- Start with a compelling introduction on your job or university intern cover letter.
- Explain why you are the best candidate for the post-college job position.
- Add numbered achievements like on your college resume template.
- Show them you’re excited to be a part of this company and their team.
- Close it out with a powerful call-to-action for the best chance at the job.
Also, never write a generic cover letter (if you want the job, at least). Recruiters hate spam.
Your recent grad entry-level cover letter is the first impression you’ll make on the hiring manager—
If they’re not impressed, this college resume is irrelevant.
Pro Tip: Before sending everything off, proofread and get a friend to check it all for errors and inconsistencies. Then, check your online presence—you don’t want to be derailed by one stupid frat party photo you forgot to take down!
Want to know more cover letter tricks that always work? See these articles: 35+ Best Cover Letter Tips, Advice & Guidelines and How to Write a Job-Winning Cover Letter in 8 Simple Steps (12+ Examples)
Also, don't forget to see a dedicated cover letter example for recent grads: Recent Graduate Cover Letter
Making a uni grad resume was easy as a Netflixer, right?
Let’s sum it all up.
Here’s how to write a resume for recent college graduates:
- Use the reverse-chronological format to make it familiar and easy for HR.
- Begin with an intriguing college grad resume objective or summary.
- List your educational achievements with relevant coursework and honors.
- Talk up any experience and internships you have using relevant wins.
- Document your skills in a list which uses the job ad to pick applicable ones.
- Include extra college resume sections to stand out from the other new grads.
- Attach a fascinating recent graduate cover letter to your university resume.
Now THIS is a college graduate resume that aces Career Ready 101!
Got any questions on how to write a recent grad resume? Not sure how to talk about fresh graduate resume skills or professional achievements? Get at us in the comments below, and thanks for reading!