Do’s & Don’ts Resume Tips For New Grads

January 16, 2022

This post is about tips for making a resume in 2022 for recent graduates that will help you stand out to employers.

Career Resume Tips for Little To No Work Experience

Graduated from college? Check. So now what? If you’re like me, I sailed through my college years taking courses and enjoying life and all of the sudden May graduation was upon me before I knew it. Because I worked throughout college as a server and attended classes full-time, I didn’t have internship or job opportunities like so many of my classmates and I felt at a massive disadvantage. Plus, the only resume I had ever written was to land said serving job. So, how did I create a standout resume that separated me from others competing with me for the same job?

First, I researched a TON. Then I connected with a friend of mine that was a corporate recruiter and had her review my resume and give me resume pointers. She gave me some great insider knowledge and tips for making a resume that I want to share with all of you! These 2022 resume tips are great if you’re like me and graduated with little or no experience. Because guess what? After implementing all of these Do’s & Don’ts tips on resumes for first jobs, I landed my first job & then my dream job two years later. It’s totally possible!

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Do: Utilize Keywords From The Job Description

This is one of the most important tips for resume writing I can give you, which is why it’s the first Do on this list of resume tips for students with no work experience. This is the easiest and most efficient way to get your resume seen by employers. The shift to online job applications has allowed technology to scan your resume for words that match their job listing & if you don’t have them, your resume automatically gets thrown out. No one ever even sees it and you’ve wasted your time applying!

For example, I was applying to Marketing jobs and one of my skills from my education experience was working with Google Ads. The role I was applying for was a digital marketing job which listed keywords in the job description of ‘paid digital marketing’, ‘Google Ads’, ‘copywriting’, etc. As these were skills in my wheelhouse, I made sure to put these exact keywords in my resume (putting ‘copywriting’ rather than ‘content creation’). The software systems these companies use will then list you as a match to the job role and put your resume in front of the employer’s eyeballs.

Don’t: Use An Overly-Designed Resume Template

This may be a controversial opinion for all my career girl new grads out there, but the next resume pointer is to keep it simple! While this may not apply if you are a graphic designer or in that line of work, this is important for most other industries. Graduating college, my initial inclination was to buy this exquisitely designed resume template that had cute colors and fonts and the whole nine yards. The reality is, these types of resumes take away from the content on the page & make you seem amateur…or like a new grad.

While, i’m not telling you to make your resume style as bland as possible, just keep it toned down and let your content speak for itself. There are a ton of great inexpensive templates on Etsy (my favorited linked here), which is where I bought mine!

Do: Include Senior-Level Classes & Relevant Group Projects

As a new grad, having little to no experience can make resume writing daunting. WTF do you put on it??! Like I mentioned earlier, I didn’t graduate with any relevant work experience or internships, so I was at a loss. Here’s what I learned from my corporate recruiter friend for writing resumes with no experience: include your senior-level classes and relevant group projects! I graduated with classes like Business Analytics, Marketing Management, Advanced Market Research, and all of those were relevant to the role I was looking for. Drop these in your Education section and give a one sentence synopsis of the different things you learned in each.

Additionally, I had group projects where we worked with local businesses in the community to improve upon their marketing plans and strategies. While this may not have a been a job I was employed for, this was definitely real-world experience. Plus, these serve as great talking points in interviews!

Don’t: Use The Same Resume For Each Job You Apply For

Taking it back to matching keywords with each individual job description, you should tailor your resume for each job that you apply for. This is TIME CONSUMING, don’t get me wrong! But using the same cookie-cutter resume for each job will get you nowhere. Take a look at the company’s website & things they value and incorporate these ideals into your resume. For example, a company you’re applying to prominently displays all of the good things they do for their community on their website? Add some volunteer experience. The company is cutting edge and is always looking for new ideas on their site? Add that you are a forward-thinker and industry-researcher onto your bio.

Here’s how I did that: My current company is all about testing- testing campaigns, testing ad creative, testing ad platforms….continual testing for better data and performance. Naturally, I am very data centric & I made sure that this quality was very clear and stood out on my resume. I even incorporated this into what I learned with school. In one of my highlighted courses, I mentioned that I had an understanding of Six Sigma from my Business Logistics class, which goes hand-in-hand with continual testing. Obviously, make sure everything you put is true, but match up the natural qualities you have with what the company ideals/culture is all about. Utilizing concepts like this in your resume will make you stand out!

Do: Include Hard & Soft Skills

There are two types of skills: hard skills and soft skills. Hard skills are actual, tangible things you know how to do. For example, Microsoft Office is a hard skill, so is knowing the Google Ads platform. Maybe you are wanting to be in Finance & you know how to use Quickbooks. These are all hard skills.

Soft skills are more intangible, non-technical skills that are very valuable to employers. Any employer can teach you how to use Quickbooks, but can that employer teach you how to be a good leader? Or teach you excellent communication skills? Conflict resolution, creative thinking, and more are all examples of soft skills that are vital to employers. Pick a couple that you are good at and add these into your resume!

Don’t: Include a Photo Of Yourself

Here’s a 2022 resume tip that shocked me. This was another resume pointer from my corporate recruiter friend: don’t add a photo of yourself onto your resume! First, this will take up a bunch of space on your resume and is unnecessary. I know what you’re thinking as a new grad, well I need to fill up some of this white space! Take a deep breath, we’ve talked about some things to include that will fill up space (like relevant classes & projects) and there’s a couple more tips coming below. Second, including a photo of yourself can lead to discrimination. Whether they mean to or not, employers can use your photo to discriminate against race, gender, and other factors. Best to leave it off and let who you are speak for itself!

Do: Add Your LinkedIn Profile

Here’s a simple 2022 resume tip for you! Add your LinkedIn profile (& make sure it’s actually linked if you are submitting your resume electronically). Your professional social media is important to a lot of employers & a lot of companies want it to stay up-to-date and filled with content. Take time and go through your news feed and share insightful posts or maybe even create a few of your own! This will set you in a favorable light and differentiate you as a recent graduate from your peers.

Don’t: Include Non-Relevant Work History

It’s tempting to put every single entry-level job you’ve had on your resume to just fill up space. But as someone in a corporate setting is reviewing your resume, they don’t need to know about your serving job or lifeguard job you did one summer. Relevancy is key. If you don’t have work experience, take some time before applying to jobs and go get some relevant experience!

Take an online course. I did a Digital Marketing course through Simplilearn and was able to put this on my resume as experience. Go out and volunteer! Volunteering is great for your resume & it shows that your value community. If you are looking for a corporate job, get involved with an organization and take a leadership role there. Like I mentioned above, include your senior-level classes and group projects! Do a short 3-month internship with a business. All of these things can be added into writing your resume and look a million times better than your summer ’19 lifeguard job (unless you managed employees- then that’s relevant).

Do: Include Your GPA If It Is Above a 3.2

Here’s a harsher resume tip for recent graduates: only include your GPA if it is above a 3.2. If it is a 3.2+, highlight that on your resume in the education section! You worked hard, so make sure you display that. For those with a GPA 3.1 or below, this doesn’t mean you didn’t work as hard, as you may have had other life circumstances come in the way & that’s okay! It’s just best to leave it off when writing your resume and focus on highlighting other parts about your educational experience.

These are all my Do’s & Don’ts Resume Tips for New Grads! If you have little or no work experience, I hope this article helped you gain some clarity and feel more confident in your resume. Drop me your tips below!

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