8 Resume Tips For New Grads

As a recruiter for a staffing agency, I have come across resumes that both make me want to laugh and cry. From people stating one of their strengths as being “emotionally stable,” to others referring to their position at Subway as a “Sandwich Artist,” I feel like I have seen the good, the bad, and the ugly. Here is a quick little guide for you new grads to get your resumes noticed and taken seriously. Some of these may seem like common sense, but I assure you that from my experience, they apparently aren’t.

1. Create a gmail account using your name. You may have gotten attached to your college email, but there will come a time in the new future that it will no longer work. Also, I pray that your silly AOL or Hotmail email is long gone at this point…no one will ever take you seriously when your email has angel, princess, or baby in it.

2. Pick a font, format, and style for your resume and stick with it throughout. If you decide to change one part of it, then you must adjust it all. Otherwise, it looks sloppy and like you don’t care. And please triple check for typos, because that just never looks good for you.

3. Use a font that is legible and doesn’t hurt your eyes. You may think the cursive or the typewriter fonts are cute and fun, but when I have been looking at hundreds of resumes all day, those ones are just the worst. Don’t make me dislike you based on your font choice.

4. Do not, I repeat, do not put a headshot on your resume. Unless you are attempting to be an actress, model, or newscaster, providing a headshot will just make recruiters laugh. Especially when it’s one of you at the beach staring off into the distance…sadly, a true story.

5. Never put your resume in the body of an email, always attach it. When it is in the body, it is hard to read and often loses its formatting.

6. When you attach your resume to an email, ideally it should be a PDF. Word Documents are fine, but they can often add an extra blank page that you didn’t notice or change up your formatting. However, PDFs will stay in the format that you set it and look more professional. Also, never send a resume that you created in notepad, that font is terrible and you will not be taken seriously.

7. Give your resume a real and proper name. Don’t attach a resume that says “Ash New Res” or “Resume-5.” Title the document as [Your Full Name] Resume. If you have different versions, that’s when you add dashes, periods, and commas to differentiate them.

8. Don’t try to make your internships or random retail jobs sound more glamorous than they were, we will see through that. In fact, if they have nothing to do with the type of job you are applying for, then just leave it out. I may have spent a summer selling food and drinks at my county fair but my future employer really doesn’t care about or need to know that.

So there ya go, new grads! I hope that my experience as a professional recruiter has helped you out a little bit. The job search sucks so be sure to take any advice you can and utilize any connects that you may have. It’s tough to ask for help, but when push comes to shove, you gotta do what ya gotta do.

Rachel Woolslayer

Rachel Woolslayer graduated in June 2012 from UC San Diego with a degree in Communications and a minor in Business. After spending a year working as the Marketing Assistant for a trivia company in San Diego, she decided it would be a great idea to quit her job and move to Austin, Texas with her best friend from college. While she will always be a California girl, she has enjoyed embracing the Texas lifestyle, y'all...well, minus the ridiculous heat, and the bugs. Aside from that, she has a wanderlust that won’t quit and is constantly planning her next adventure. In her free time, she enjoys pretending to be friends with her favorite celebrities, getting too emotionally involved in her TV shows, and knowing way too much pop culture. Feel free to see if she has remembered to tweet recently at @Rauncheezy.

3 Comments
  1. This is great stuff Rachel. How long have you been a recruiter?

    I would even go one step further with tip #4 and say hiring personal don’t like head shots or images of you because the don’t want to be accused of discrimination. It may seem weird but it’s true.

    I know a hiring manager in Charlotte who told me about the times they would get images showing a person and if they didn’t like the persons resumes or skill set they might be accused of discrimination. They hated images.

  2. A very useful post! It is weird how the job hunting proces can be so culturally different as well. Nowadays in Belgium, where I’m from, it is almost abnormal if you don’t have a headshot on your resume. When I started applying for jobs in England, I still had a picture of myself on my CV, but after my English bf (and the internet) assured me this was really not done I took it off. So I’m sure I’ve made some recruiters raise their eyebrows at my CV. Oh well.

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