What New Grads Need to Know When Making a First Resume

I run a recruitment agency across New York, DC and London. I’ve several years experience recruiting people from entry level, up to a senior level. Especially within the cyber security industry.

1. Ideally, what’s the first impression a new grad’s resume should make a on prospective employer? What should stand out right
away?

Tell me what you want to do. It’s likely that any experience you have is generic so tell me what career you are pursuing and why you are passionate about it. E.g. I want a career in sales because I am target driven and motivated by success.

 

2. What are the most important elements to include on a
new grad resume, aside from personal information and what you
got your degree in? For example, what about things like:
internships, volunteer experience, work experience, foreign
languages, special skills like coding or copywriting, study
abroad experience, etc.?

As many skills or experiences as possible. But crucially, explain what skills this gave you and how that relates to the role you are applying for. E.g I worked at a summer camp and this gave me great organisation skills and experience in communicating with parents and children.

 

3. Is there anything that shouldn’t be included on a resume that might give the wrong impression? Or
are there outdated things you wouldn’t want to include, like an
objective statement?

Anything that doesn’t relate to what you want to do. So saying you want to use your degree when applying for a totally different role for example, will really put employers off. Any supplementary information that isn’t relevant to the role can also be left off. Having a driving licence is a good example of this.

 

4. How can new grads play up their real-life experiences/skills when they have little professional
experience? What should they emphasize the most?

Talk about project work from school and emphasise the skills you gained from this. I worked in a research team and this demonstrated that I am collaborative and able to work well under pressure. It’s all about making it relevant.

 

5. What other things should be included on a new grad’s resume to catch an
employer’s eye?

Anything that shows you are passionate or committed. If you have had a hobby for a number of years, highlight that. It shows you are able to stick at something. If you have travelled or experienced other cultures, that can show you are good at working with diverse teams. If you’ve really researched this career path, tell them. Objective statements or personal summaries carry less weight as you gain more experience and are of no use if they have generic words. But this can really be your opportunity to tell someone why you are the best person for the job, if used well.