How to write a cover letter with no experience, a first job cover letter, or an entry-level cover letter that makes the best impression.
Congratulations. You earned your diploma.
That and $4 will buy you a latte.
You need experience. But you can’t get it without a job.
You know you’ve got the skills to change the world.
Your college graduate resume just needs to show achievement.
And you’ve got plenty of that.
In this guide:
- A proven recent college graduate resume sample that gets jobs.
- How to write a resume for college graduates that shows you’re no mere newbie.
- How to make your education section shine in a resume for college graduates.
- Why you can’t just list college graduate skills (and what to do instead).
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Looking for a different kind of resume help? We've got you covered:
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What is a College Graduate Resume?
A college graduate resume is a document that presents your education, extracurricular activities, and skills. The college graduate resume should be short, to the point, and tailored to the job. Make sure to highlight any relevant work experience or internship as doing so will make you stand out from the crowd.
College Graduate Resume Sample You Can Copy and Use
Prolific programmer skilled in Python and Java. Seeking to exceed coding KPIs at Procore. Created data analytics app that tracks 10,000 sensors. Developed scalable business management app with MySQL database. 2nd place contestant, TopCoder contest intermediate division.
BS Computer Science, Augsburg University
Data Science and Analytics
- Created soil sensor analytics that can track 10,000 sensors.
- Maintained 4.0 GPA in Data Analytics coursework.
- Developed traffic optimization app that would cut traffic 20%.
- Developed "money ball" app to build more effective sports teams.
- Wrote social media sentiment tracking app that won school fair.
- Assisted with development of open source cloud app SaaS to create legal forms. Forms have 500+ users per month.
- Created and managed 4 virtual machines.
Game Development & Design
- Developed 2 single-player games with Android Studio.
- Created models of 15+ 3D objects.
- Created bank management system in C. Added scalable MySQL database to track customer accounts, profiles, and preferences.
- Developed golf score tracking app with Android Studio that links to Google Sheets by API. Included data visualization functionality.
- Worked in team of 4 programmers to create RESTful API that works with Amazon to build store product databases.
- Wrote Pacman game in Swift and Java that works on desktop, Android, and iPhone. Received 1,400 downloads and a 4-star rating average.
2018—2nd Place, TopCoder Intermediate Division
- Attended Global Game Jam Hackathon 2019.
- President, TrogdorByterz Coding Club with 18 members.
- Teach music therapy classes to at-risk high school students.
- Avid road cyclist.
- Why Big Data Needs Machine Learning, Visitor Panel
- Pairs Programming Best Practices, HackSource
Hard Skills: Java, Python, C, PHP, app design, testing, debugging
Soft Skills: Teamwork, critical thinking, communication, problem solving
Here’s how to write a college graduate resume that gets jobs:
1. Use a Professional College Graduate Resume Format
Don’t blow it.
If you don’t look the part, they won’t hire you.
That’s why resume formatting makes a difference.
Begin with the reverse-chronological resume format.
Then build it out like this:
College Graduate Resume Format
- Write a 1-page resume. Set 1-inch margins.
- Use Didot, Calibri, or another 10–12pt respected resume font.
- Make these resume sections: heading, summary, education, experience, and Skills.
- Send in a PDF resume. Those look professional on different screens.
2. Write a Recent College Graduate Resume Objective or Summary
You’re not a clone. But—
You’d never know it once you’re buried in a stack of college resumes.
Worse, you’re up against people with years of experience.
You’ve got to show your value fast.
That’s a brief paragraph with a couple greatest hits.
- An adjective (prolific, resourceful)
- Your job title
- How and where you’ll help (exceed coding KPIs at Procore)
- Best accomplishments (created own paid file clerk internship...)
- Some key skills (2nd place, TopCoder contest...)
Here’s a tip—
Make it last for easy writing.
See these college graduate resume examples:
Recent College Graduate Resume Objective—Example
Both of those list app development and MySQL. But—
The first one adds created app that tracks 10,000 sensors and developed scalable MySQL database.
That’s the difference between saying you can do something and showing you have.
Expert Hint: College graduates earn 38% more than high school graduates. But to make college pay for itself, show what you did in school. That’s next.
3. Make Your Education Section Count
You’re in the top 36%.
That’s how many in your age bracket have college degrees.
But there’s a catch.
If you just list education, you’ll look sophomoric.
Make your resume education section count.
See this college graduate resume sample:
College Graduate Resume Example—Education
That’s Good Will-Hunting-level.
You showed school projects with skills that matter to employers.
You can stretch out your college resume education section into skills, classes, and projects like that.
4. Write a College Graduate Job Description and Skills Section
What skills go in a Recent college graduate resume?
Here’s a list of the ones employers like:
College Graduate Skills for a Resume
- Interpersonal skills
- Oral communication
- Written communication
- Work ethic
- Problem solving
- Critical thinking
- Active listening
- Self motivation
- Computer Skills
But those are just general skills.
You need technical skills too.
Which ones should you put on your college graduate resume?
That depends on the job ad. Read it, find the skills they want, and show how you’ve moved mountains with them.
That’s called targeting your resume.
Don’t put too many skills in a resume for college graduates. That looks suspiciously like lying.
Look at these recent college graduate resume samples:
Say the job wants these skills: C, MySQL, Android Studio, collaboration, Java, sales, and problem solving.
College Graduate Job Description for a Resume [Sample]
For contrast, here’s a bad college graduate resume example:
The second of those college graduate resume examples lacks C, Android Studio, and all the other skills the job requires.
It’s also missing numbers like 1,400 and 10%. That makes the claims look academic.
5. Add Bonus Material to Your College Graduate Resume
To impress employers, first impress yourself.
Look back on your past. What have you achieved? What skills have you already used?
Add those things in a few “extra” resume sections.
Try a couple of the following:
- School honor societies
- Volunteering positions
- Additional activities
- Sports teams or pursuits
These sample college graduate resumes show how:
College Graduate Resume—Extra Sections
Which of those college graduate resume examples would convince you?
The first one works because it lists accomplishments.
Expert Hint: Don’t forget to write a recent graduate cover letter with your resume. To wow recruiters, describe your passion for the company, and why you want to help.
Haven't written your cover letter yet? See:
How to write a recent graduate resume:
- Use the college graduate resume template up top. It lets you show experience without a work history.
- Don’t just “list” your education. Show academic excellence and achievement based on skills.
- In you resume experience section, add proof you’ve learned the skills recruiters want.
- Communicate your character by adding resume sections like projects or volunteering.
Got questions on how to write a great college graduate resume? Having trouble getting a response to your recent graduate resume? Leave a comment. We’ll be happy to reply!