Resumes & Cover Letters

How to Write a Resume If You Are a Fresh Graduate

August 25, 2020

Knowing how to write a resume is important in helping you apply for a job successfully. Writing a resume that includes your best qualities can help you impress hiring managers and get the job you want. Even if you don't yet have much professional experience, you can still adjust your resume to look good for potential employers. In this article, we discuss how to create compelling resumes that can help you convince recruiters no matter how recently you've graduated.

Experience to include on a resume for your first job

If you've been working in a professional role for several years, your “Work Experience” section will make up most of your resume. For someone without work experience, it is important for your resume to demonstrate the steps you are taking to gain skills relevant to the position you are applying for. You also want to share experiences that highlight the personal qualities that qualify you for the role.

Here are examples of experiences you can include when writing your first resume:

  • Jobs like serving at a tea shop or part-time customer service associate at a retail store
  • Extracurricular activities, including sports and clubs
  • Apprenticeships and vocational training
  • Volunteer work

In your resume, you want to mention specific skills you gained in each role relevant to the job listing. Be sure to highlight important goals or improvements you achieved during the period preceding your job application.

Here is an example of how to outline your experience when applying for a customer service position at a restaurant:

Bao Bao Noodles Shop

2018-Present

  • Welcome diners into the shop, making sure they get a comfortable seat
  • Chat with customers and recommend the latest items on the menu
  • Take guests' orders, send their requests to the kitchen and ensure timely and correct delivery of meals
  • Process payments, balance accounts after shifts and train staff to provide high-quality service
  • Use customer service skills to improve guest satisfaction, client retention and conflict resolution
  • Help improve the ratings of the shop by 55% according to monthly customer surveys
Easily apply to jobs with an Indeed Resume

How to write a resume as a new graduate

Follow the following steps to create your resume as a fresh graduate. The most important thing is to ensure that your resume includes skills and experiences relevant to the job you are applying for. Here is a step-by-step guide to help you write a powerful resume if you have no work experience:

1. Choose an appropriate resume format

Before you write a resume, you must choose an acceptable format. The format should allow you to showcase the qualities that make you an ideal candidate for their role.

Many employers prefer the chronological resume format where you list experiences and achievements from the most recent to the oldest. However, you can also use a functional or combination resume format if it allows you to best showcase yourself as a good fit for the role. Regardless of the resume format, make sure the document has a consistent structure throughout.

2. Use a resume header

Your resume header contains your contact details. It should include your name, email address and telephone number. In some cases, the employer may require you to include your nationality, photo and home address. This section should be bold and clear so that the recruiter can quickly find your name and personal details if they need to reach you for more information or follow up.

3. Write a catchy professional summary

The professional summary or statement summarises your ambitions, qualifications, experiences and skills. It describes your achievements so far and what you intend to bring to the role if the employer hires you. While the executive summary is limited to two or three sentences, use it to showcase the qualities that best qualifies you. If you took a specialist course related to the role, mention it here.

4. Outline job-specific educational achievements

Besides the name of your educational institutions and dates attended, the education section can also include details of your major, relevant coursework, awards, activities, publications and grades. You don't have to list everything you did in the university. Include job-relevant academic achievements that will make you a more desirable candidate for hiring managers.

5. Highlight job-specific experience

In the work experience section, you can include any past activities related to the duties and responsibilities employers expect you to perform if hired. Internships, apprenticeships, volunteer work experience can be mentioned here. You can also include any part-time work and extracurricular activities relevant to the role. When writing your experience, list responsibilities and achievements as bullet points. Start each bullet with a power verb and where possible, include numbers to quantify your results.

6. Mention skills relevant to the position

It is also important to include your skills on your resume. The best way to do this is to study the job ad for the specific skills and competencies the employer is looking for in the ideal candidate. After identifying and listing the skills required for the role, you also want to show how those credentials helped you deliver in the past.

7. Include additional sections that will boost your candidacy

You can also include language skills, hobbies and interests, certifications and other details that strengthen your job application. Make sure to only include additional sections if it will increase your chances of getting the role.

Example of a recent graduate resume

Here is an example of a fresh graduate resume:

Joshua Wang

+55-5555-5555

joshuawang@email.com

Personal statement

Highly motivated recent graduate of Marketing with a GPA of 4.5 from the National University of Singapore. Experienced in retail sales, POS payment systems, strong in basic accounting practices and fluent in Mandarin and English. Seeking to join ABM Industries as a sales representative to help achieve revenue targets, boost customer satisfaction and improve market access.

Education

National University of Singapore | 2015-2019

Bachelor of Science in Marketing

  • Minor in retail services
  • GPA: 4.5

Relevant coursework

  • Consumer behaviour
  • Retail and store management
  • Basic accounting
  • Introduction to electronic payment systems

Achievements

  • Dean's list
  • Best graduating student in the college of business administration

Extracurricular activities

  • Secretary, Marketing Student Association
  • Treasurer, Campus Music Club

Experience

Banyan Hainanese Chicken

Part-time restaurant manager

2018-Present

  • Supervised restaurant staff to ensure guest orders are processed correctly and swiftly
  • Oversaw POS terminals and processed patrons' payments and takeaway orders
  • Welcomed guests into the restaurant, introduced and recommended new menu items for sampling
  • Marketed new products, special events, discounts and seasonal promotions to guests
  • Settled guest disputes quickly and ensured diners always have a great experience

TiaTia's Fashion House

Sales representative

2017-2018

  • Showed customers new inventory, made recommendations and demonstrated combinations of products to help buyers make an informed choice
  • Performed customer service functions to gain and maintain client trust
  • Sold up to S$40,000 worth of merchandise in five different months, resulting in three letters of commendation from the manager
  • Performed inventory management functions to ensure that goods are always in stock
  • Balanced accounts at the end of every sales shift

Skills

  • Sales: Mention sales skills relevant to the role. For example, you can highlight an experience in a previous role where your knowledge of sales helped to boost revenue.
  • Customer relations: Highlight customer relations skills such as verbal and written communication, empathy, active listening skills and persuasion.
  • Conflict resolution: Demonstrate how your conflict resolution skills can help improve customer satisfaction and employee relations.
  • Accounting: You can talk about your knowledge of bookkeeping, proficiency in accounting software relevant to the organisation and experience in a role that involves handling cash.
  • Inventory management: If the job requires knowledge of inventory management, you can mention your experience with spreadsheet software and related tools required for the role.
  • MS Office: Mention how you can apply your knowledge of this software to the position. You can describe how you used the application for record keeping and project management.

Language

  • Fluent in Mandarin Chinese and English

Tips for writing a winning resume

Here are tips to help you create powerful resumes that will impress hiring managers:

  • Understand the job. Read and understand the job description to identify the key skills and competencies the employer desires in the ideal candidate. On your resume, highlight the qualities and experience they are looking for.
  • Follow the chronological resume format. This will allow recruiters to see your most important achievements when they look at the document.
  • Use section headers to highlight the most important parts of your resume. Section headers also make it easier to navigate your document.
  • Choose professionally acceptable fonts like Georgia and Helvetica and other sans serif fonts. Also, set your font size to 10-12 points for regular text and 4-point larger for section headers. Maintain 1-inch margins throughout for regular length resumes. Shorter documents can have larger margins to reduce white space.
  • Proofread the document before submitting it. You can use online tools to check for grammar and typing errors.
  • Keep it short and professional. Include only relevant information to increase your chances of getting employed. It also improves your resume's readability.