Resume Critiques by a Professional in Human Resources

College Graduate Resumes

I recently had the opportunity to live critique college graduate resumes.  As I absorbed these resumes quickly and spit out as much feedback as I could in 10 minutes, I couldn’t help but notice a few reoccurring themes in the feedback I offered.  I thought it would be useful to post my top 10 tips for college graduate resumes.

  1. Draft your resume to be absorbed like a picture – Single spaced 8 point font text does not entice a reader to retain any information from your resume. Consider that your reader will only review your resume for 8-15 seconds and format your resume for speed reading.
  2. DON’T LIE! – This is the cardinal sin of any resume. There is a fine line between highlighting your strengths in your resume and being misleading so tread carefully.
  3. Begin your resume with an Executive Summary – Going back to the idea that a prospective employer only reviews your resume for 8-15 seconds. A good resume has a comprehensive and individualized summary section at the top of their resume.
  4. Focus on achievements, not job duties – Most people have a pretty good idea of your job duties when list a Sales Associate position at a local retail outlet. What they don’t know is that the assistant manager would put you in charge when they were out. They might not know that you were recognized as the employee of the month due to several customer compliments. Go ahead and focus on what transferable skills you gained in the positions you worked. This same philosophy can be applied to the education section.
  5. Only include the right extracurricular activities – Including a list of activities that occupies a half page of your one page resume might not be the best utilization of space. Keep in mind that quality is best over quantity. List organizations where you held leadership roles, managed change, or handled conflict.
  6. Don’t be afraid to put education first – After your Executive summary position, it’s best to highlight your strongest skills. For most of my clients, this is their professional experience. With college graduate resumes, it is the education section. Feel free to give your education top billing and expand on projects, extracurricular activities, and other accomplishments within your college experience.
  7. Create a base resume, then fine tune for each open position – It’s important to note that your resume should be edited for each position you pursue. Your executive summary should directly relate to the job description.
  8. Seek out feedback and edit, edit, edit! – It is important to get feedback from at least six different sources prior to submitting your resume in a professional capacity. You do not have to implement all of the feedback, but it’s important to know how people may or may not receive your resume. Make sure at least a couple of your feedback sources are professionals in the talent acquisition industry.
  9. Grammar, spelling, and formatting must be on point – During an initial resume review, HR professionals are looking for a reason to reject you, not keep you. Your resume needs to be free of errors and personalized to the position.
  10. Do not be afraid to visually display your abilities with technologies –Implement strategic formatting, graphics, and branding that will visually tell the reader about your skills, knowledge, and abilities. One of the biggest talents that college graduates have other over candidates is knowledge of the most recent technologies and trends.

Creating an effective first resume is a crucial step to moving forward into the professional world. The task should not be taken lightly. Make sure that you invest the time it takes to draft an amazing resume and then seek out appropriate feedback. There are thousands of ways to create a resume, but only one right way for you. Utilize me as one of your professional sources for feedback. I will provide you with a 6-8 page critique for only $99. Submit your resume today by clicking here.