Graduating college is only the tip of the iceberg of people’s lives. Students might think that the endless coursework, difficult exams and terror professors are the be-all and end-all of their experience. The truth is, colleges serve as a microcosm of the society outside the four walls of the classroom. They simulate situations that a person might encounter in the real world and ideally equip the student with the information, attitude and aptitude to reach their potential and achieve success.
The real journey starts when the fresh college graduate tries to land a high-growth and lucrative job. It can be an intimidating endeavour to break into the job market due to intense competition and greater scrutiny of achievements. Many graduates can get stumped in writing their resumes—the employer’s first look at their abilities. What’s the right format? Does this font show professionalism and competency? But the most pressing question is, “What can I include in the area for work experience if this will be my first job?”.
New graduates have a plethora of experience they can list in their resume. The key is identifying marketable and transferable knowledge and skills that showcase your value to the company. Hiring managers already expect limited work experience since it is your initial foray into the labour market. In fact, according to the National Center for Education Statistics, young adults with a bachelor’s degree have a higher employment rate (86 per cent in 2018).
Here are some areas new graduates can highlight in their resume.
Coursework and projects
At this point, education is your greatest asset. Writing down the relevant subjects you took in college can show the employer what topics you are familiar with. Projects like studies, websites and prototypes also illustrate the skills and application of what you’ve learned. It is also helpful to include your grade point average or GPA since it gives an overall picture of how you were as a student.
College internships and extracurricular activities
Employers value experience outside of listening to lectures and taking tests. You will be ahead of the crowd if your resume lists internships related to the job since you’re already exposed to the intricacies of the industry. Having a considerable amount of extracurricular activities also increases your chances of getting hired. Working on jobs while spending your gap year in places like Australia and the United Kingdom can give your resume the edge it needs, especially when compared to peers with similar education.
Related hobbies and side projects
Some hiring managers look for interests and hobbies a person has beyond school. Jobs these days are more dynamic and rarely stick to one function. Skills honed through side projects are sometimes more valuable than what is learned through formal means. It also shows you have the initiative and desire to learn more than what is given by learning institutions.
Awards and training attended
Highlighting the awards you’ve received and the training you’ve attended in your resume shows that there is an external body validating your skills and experience. They give extra credibility and make a compelling case for hiring managers to shortlist you for the job.
Fresh graduates don’t need to fret about the lack of work experience in their resume. They can leverage other aspects like coursework, hobbies and internships to show they can bring value to their dream company.