10 ways College grads can make their resumes stand out


If you are one of approximately 1.8 million students receiving a bachelor’s degree this year, you’ve probably been working on your resume. This can be a challenging task for upcoming college graduates, especially those with minimal work experience. When you consider that hiring managers typically take less than 10 seconds to decide which pile your resume goes into, you will want to make sure yours stands out in a positive way.

1. Break It Down

Your resume should include at least 5 sections: your name and contact info, career objective, education, work experience (when applicable) and other relevant information such as honors or community involvement.

2. Organize Your Material

Later in your career, your resume will be a chronological list of your work experience starting with your most recent position, ending with your education. For now, keep your education near the top of your resume. Include the name of your school, field of study and the month and year you earned your degree.

3. Give the Correct Contact Information

This includes a professional email address. If your current email is something silly, create a new account that reflects your current career-focused mindset.

4. Include Your LinkedIn Account

A recent survey shows 87 percent of recruiters use LinkedIn to review candidates during the hiring process. Create a professional profile and include the link in your resume.

5. Tailor It to the Job

Your resume should list your objective near the top and correspond with the position you are pursuing. For example, don’t state your objective as being a wildlife photographer when you are applying for a job at a bank. Support your objective with the credentials that make you a strong candidate such as your degree, relevant work experience and skills you possess that relate to the position.

6. Include Your GPA – Maybe

If your GPA was above a 3.0, include it. If your average in your major coursework was better, use that instead. Mention any academic distinctions such as Dean’s List, special awards and scholarships.

7. List Your Most Relevant Experience

Emphasize any positions you have held within the industry you are applying. Include internships at companies you completed as a student. Don’t reach too far into your past just to flesh out this section. It’s more important that the jobs are pertinent to the position you are applying for.

Also look for ways to present other work experience in the right light. For example, previous positions that show longevity. Perhaps it’s a summer job you returned to over multiple years, demonstrating reliability and commitment.

8. Incorporate Keywords

Review listings for jobs you are interested in and identify the requirements you see most frequently. As much as you reasonably can, use those words to describe your expertise to optimize your resume’s SEO on digital platforms.

9. Add Extracurricular Activities

Involvement outside of work can set you apart, particularly if they helped you develop skills that relate to your future career. Include experience where you acquired new skills or were in a leadership position. Your volunteer positions can offer helpful insight into your values and personality.

10. Use Impactful Words

Avoid clichés and overused descriptions such as “hard working,” “team player,” and “highly motivated.” Instead, showcase your strengths by using effective verbs to describe your accomplishments. Words like “managed,” “achieved” and “created” tell your story more impressively.