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6 Tips For Creating A 'Stand Out' Resume As A Recent College Graduate

Updated: Feb 28, 2021

Recent black woman college graduate sits with her laptop in hand typing up her resume

As a recent college graduate, there are a few considerations you ought to be bearing in mind as you prepare to jump headfirst into the world of work. Chief amongst these is ensuring that the first way in which a prospective employer meets you (your resume), leaves a lasting impression.

Now I know, that the whole idea of resume writing can be pretty daunting. After all, you are literally trying to sell yourself, by compiling all your accomplishments to date, into a 1 - 2 page document (no pressure right? ).

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I promise, however, that creating a 'STAND OUT' resume(see what I did there?), even if you've just graduated and lack years of work experience, is a lot less harder to do than it sounds.

In this instance, the key to creating a resume that does stand out, is to: 1) show off your personality on paper, 2) highlight your strengths, 3) showcase your transferable skills, and 4) express your willingness to learn on the job.

See? Easy-cheesy!

If you're still on the fence, that you'll actually be able to create a resume that stands out from that of your colleagues, no worries, I'm here to help. In this post, I'll be spilling the tea of all the resume writing tips I've learned over the years that have helped me to secure job interview after job interview.

So, let's get started, shall we?

Top Tips For Creating A 'STAND OUT' Resume

Just before we get into those tips, however, I have some somewhat disturbing news that will pretty much change the way you've been viewing your resume up until this moment.

Ready for me to burst your bubble?

Okay, but just remember you asked for it.

According to research carried out by TheLadders, an online job-matching service, the average job recruiter only spends about 6-seconds on a resume before deciding whether a candidate is qualified for the job or not.

Crazy, right?

Like how dare you only spare 6 seconds to read the 2-page document of my life's story, when I just spent hours preparing it?

Come on, you haven’t even gotten to the good stuff yet.

Apparently, however, your first 15-20 words are supposed to be the "good stuff", who knew?

Now that you know how much time is actually being spent reviewing your resume, let's discuss what you need to do to stand out.

Tip #1 - Don’t forget to include your Contact Information

For the love of me, please remember to write your name and contact information!

As a matter of fact, that should be the first thing someone see’s when they look at your resume.

Claim ownership!

Once you’ve sent your resume to a prospective job recruiter, there shouldn’t be any guessing or spelling as to who it belongs to.

Save yourself the embarrassment of “How do I get in contact with Chris? I think he’s the perfect candidate for this job”.

Well Chris, because you failed to add this information guess who just fumbled the bag.

Dammit Chris!

Tip #2 - Ensure your resume matches the position you’re applying for

Be specific, pay close attention to the job description, read it multiple times if you must.

Ensure you completely understand the role and responsibilities to which you are applying for, then craft your resume to suit it.

Instead of writing “a position in your company” or giving a ‘dry’ generalized title to your profession like ‘IT specialist’, come up with something like ‘Computer Technical Support Specialist’.

Just WOW!

Not only do I as the job recruiter, now know exactly what position you’re applying for but man do I want to know more about you.

'Un perfecto' resume (Chef's kiss😘) if I do say so myself.

Tip #3 - Include your relevant Social Media Accounts

In this day and age, technology is where it’s at. Job recruiters want to get to know a little about you even before they call you in for an interview.

That said, whether you add your social media accounts or not, best believe they will be looking for you.

By adding your social media accounts to your resume you give recruiters a backstage view of what you’re about so they know whether contacting you would be in their best interest or a complete waste of time.

While it’s not a must that you include all your social media accounts on your resume, my advice is to include the accounts you think a prospective employer would be most interested in based on the job description.

For example, if you’re applying for a job as a Social Media Influencer then, it should be a given that you include your account that has the most followers or highest engagement.

For the average person, however, LinkedIn is always a perfect account to include. Here, prospective employers can get to know their candidates by exploring their past work experiences as well as get an insider glance at their professional reputation.

Tip #4 - Get to the Point

Make it short. Know the difference between crafting a resume and a professional CV.

Simply put while your CV can stretch on and on, your resume needs to be short and spicy, so ensure it’s between 1 - 2 pages in length.

That said, please do not apply for that position as a Social Media Marketer and write that Cashier job you did one summer under your work experiences.

Add only your most relevant work experiences, when crafting your resume for the job at hand.

Tip #5 - Make your resume professional and easy to read

Appearance matters! Layout matters! Even format matters!

Make it readable.

Try double spacing, use easy-to-read fonts, and use font sizes between 11 and 12.

Be sure to separate headlines, from subcategories and descriptions.

Put in BOLD whatever you don’t want a prospective employer to miss in their 6-second perusal of your resume (and no I don’t mean you should go put the whole thing in bold now).

Ask yourself this, would you want to read something jumbled and hard to see? My point exactly.

Tip #6 - Perform a Grammar Check

By far this is probably going to be the most important tip I have to offer, be sure to check for grammatical errors.

After you’ve completed writing your resume you NEED to proofread. I literally cannot stress this enough.

Grammar and Spelling are of primary importance when it comes to resume writing.

One simple mistake can get you kicked out of the running as a top candidate for what may have been your dream job.

This, of course, is the kind of ending we want to avoid at ALL costs.

So try this, complete the resume and leave it.

Take a 15 minutes walk or do something enjoyable.

Once you start to feel relaxed, pick up your resume and review it.

Try to look at it from the perspective of an HR Manager or a Job Recruiter.

What stands out to you? How would you grade the overall presentation? Notice any errors?

The trick behind reviewing your resume when you feel most relaxed is that your eyes will be better adjusted and more intuned to spot errors quickly.

Once that’s complete, you'll only have one thing left to do, send it in and land that interview!

Closing Thoughts On Tips For Creating A 'STAND OUT' As A Recent College Graduate

As daunting as the prospect of resume writing can be, especially as a recent college graduate lacking in years of professional work experience, creating a 'STAND OUT' resume isn't impossible.

Like you, HR Managers and Job Recruiters are people. They get thousands of job applications and resumes to review a day, so they really don't have hours or even minutes to spend perusing through resumes that are subpar.

You only get 6 seconds to shine, so make them count!

As always thank you for reading. If you haven't already, go follow us on Instagram @survivingyour20somethings and on Facebook @survivingyour20somethings.

If you have any other resume writing tips I may have missed feel free to share them in the comments below.

And of course, if you loved this post, don't forget to like, share it with a friend and pin it for later. Have an amazing week!!!

Juanique Tennant - Creative Writer and Blogger

Hi There!

I'm Juanique better known as Jae T.

A 20something on a mission to impart as many Life Hacks, Career Development Tips, and Adulting Tricks, to young adults looking not just to survive but thrive as they navigate year 20something.

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