College Graduate Resume Made Easy with Examples and Tips

college graduate resume example
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For a recent college graduate, resumes are extremely important. Upon finishing your degree, you’ve already possessed some great advantages that would boost your competitiveness, such as:

  • In-depth knowledge on a subject matter
  • High marketability
  • Better access to job opportunities

Of course, the main challenge for a fresh college graduate is often the lack of relevant job experience within the field. But, a well-written resume for new college graduates can effectively solve this problem and distinguish you from other fresh candidates.

In this article, we will be looking at how to craft a killer college graduate resume.

What Is the Best Resume Format for College Graduates?

3 resume formats for college graduates

1. Chronological resume format

This resume format showcases your previous work experience in reverse chronological order, starting from the latest jobs on the top to the older ones at the bottom. 


  • Easy to understand.
  • Very visible and searchable in ATS (Applicant Tracking System).
  • Suitable for any career.


  • It doesn’t hide possible gap years between different positions.
  • It is not a suitable resume format  for recent college graduates with no experience.

2. Functional resume format

The functional resume format stresses your skills instead of your experience.


  • It hides possible gap years.
  • It highlights your specialization.


  • Your relevant experience can be overlooked.
  • Less accessible in ATS.

3. Combination resume format

As the name suggests, the combination resume format presents a combination of your skills and your previous roles.


  • It highlights strong skills and relevant experience.
  • It is ideal for those who are changing their career paths.


  • Lengthy and sometimes redundant.
  • Not easily read in ATS.

As mentioned before, the chronological resume format is not the most suitable format for fresh college graduate resumes despite being regarded as one of the most practical ones. Instead, we recommend opting for the functional resume format for college graduates simply because of its utility and how it stresses your skills.

Best format for a college graduate resume 

There are two main formats for college graduates to send out their resumes: PDF and Word.

1. PDF

Unless the job application specifies otherwise, you should always have your college graduate resume template in PDF format.


  • It's the most efficient method for maintaining your well-designed layout.
  • The PDF format allows the recruiter to view your resume on various devices.


  • Hard for ATS to read PDF files.

2. Word 

Word format is rarely required Hence it’s not recommended that a college graduate send out the resume in this format unless it’s specified.


  • It’s easier for a recent college graduate to navigate and edit the resume with Word.


  • It appears less professional.
  • The layout can be messed up.

How to prepare a fresh college graduate resume

✅ Advice 1: Use a skill-based resume format.

The skill-based resume format (the functional resume format) is by far the most fitting resume format for new college graduates. 

✅ Advice 2: Write a career objective for your college graduate resume.

A career objective statement summarizes your prospects for the position and what you would like to achieve in your career. The statement should not exceed 2 sentences.

✅ Advice 3:  Highlight your educational qualifications on your college graduate resume.

Education and qualifications on the resume are the best shots for you if you are a fresh college graduate with little experience. Make sure to highlight them.

What to Include in a College Graduate Resume

With all the basics in mind, we are going to move on to the 8 key sections in a college graduate resume.

1. Resume Header (Personal Information)

A resume header contains all the important personal information, such as your name, your title, your location, your social media, and last but not least, your contact information. 

Example of a resume header & profile:

Jonathan Lee

[email protected]
+41 414797121

2. Resume Title

A resume title or a resume headline sums you up in a couple of sentences as a recent college graduate.. It includes who you are and what you have achieved. An eye-catching resume headline for recent college graduates should be similar to the example below:

Example of resume title for a collage graduate: 

Recent geology graduate with cartography experience and great communication skills.

3. Resume Summary for College Graduates

A resume summary highlights your background, experience, and qualifications. It is more suitable for both freshers with no work experience or experienced job seekers.

Example of a resume summary for a collage graduate: 

Geology graduate student with 1 year of experience in researching the volcanic activities around Kamchatka. Previously organized, assisted, and partook in 5 excursions to Russia to further our team’s study.

4. Resume Objective for College Graduates

A resume objective states your career prospects in 1 to 2 sentences. 

Example of a college graduate resume objective:

Goal-oriented geology graduate who is eager to find a position in at the National Institute of Geology to apply research and analytical skills and in-depth knowledge in geology.

5. Resume Skills for a College Graduate

There are 2 different types of skills to put on your college graduate resume, hard skills (technical skills) and soft skills (practical skills).

Both are of great importance since skills can make up for the lack of work experience on your college graduate resume.

Hard skills, or technical skills, refer to your ability to perform a task, and they can be easily measurable. Indicate your proficiency in them on your college graduate resume, so the recruiter can easily understand your value.

Hard skills for a college graduate resume:

  • Foreign languages
  • Holding a degree
  • Knowing SEO
  • Public speaking
  • Research ability

Further reading:  Language Skills & Proficiency Levels on Resume/CV

Soft skills, sometimes called interpersonal skills or social skills, on the resume are essential for you as a college graduate. They show you are capable of working efficiently with others and adding value to the company. They are skills you can acquire from various activities and courses in college before you graduate.

Soft skills for a college graduate resume:

  • Verbal communication
  • Organization
  • Flexibility
  • Patience
  • Problem-solving
  • Ability to take criticism
  • Time management

6. Work Experience

Relevant experience from your previous positions should be placed in reverse chronological order. You should state the name of the organizations where you worked or volunteered, followed by the location and employment dates. 

Work experience example in a college graduate resume:

National Institute of Geology (NIG), New York
Research Assistant, 2011 - 2015

  • Conducted research in geology.
  • Collected and analyzed data for 25+ case studies.

6. Education

This is the section for you to shine. Education in a recent college graduate’s resume is the key to winning hiring managers’ hearts.

Include these 5 crucial things on your college graduate resume:

  • Your degree
  • Your major(s) and/or minor(s)
  • The year of graduation
  • Name and location of the school
  • Honors & awards you have received

You can also include your GPA if it is above 3.7 (out of 4.0) or any other relevant academic achievements that can demonstrate your soft skills.

Education example in a college graduate resume:

BSc in Earth Science
University of Alberta (Alberta, Canada)
07. 2011 to 06. 2015

GPA: 4.0

8. Additional Information 

Include any certifications, personal projects, special accolades, personal interests, or hobbies that can help your career.

Example of volunteer experience in a college graduate resume:

Volunteer interpreter at the Student Council at the University of Alberta, 2012-2014.

5 Tips to Write a Good College Graduate Resume

👍 1: Tailor the resume to the role.

Tailoring your college graduate resume means polishing your resume so that it fits the job description. Read the requirements carefully and understand what the HRs are looking for among the candidates.

👍 2: Make your college graduate resume concise.

A hiring manager will spend a mere 2 minutes on each resume. Therefore, it’s important that your college graduate resume is concise, easy to read, and packed with relevant information.

👍 3: Refer to college graduate resume templates and examples online.

Consult samples, examples, or even free templates of college graduate resumes online for reference.

👍 4: Keep the formatting consistent.

The college graduate resume that you’re writing should be formatted and styled professionally, with section headings, bulleted content, and dates and locations.

Each page should have regular margins at the top, bottom, and sides, as well as a legible typeface. Calibri, Cambria, and Helvetica are the best fonts to use, with a font size of no larger than 12 and no smaller than 10.

👍 5: Include hard skills and soft skills on your college graduate resume.

The above-mentioned hard skills and soft skills for college graduates complement each other very well. It is ideal to mix these two kinds of skills to leave a more professional impression.

Successful College Graduate Resume Templates

Should I use a template for my college graduate resume?

Yes. For freshers who aren’t familiar with how resumes are written, it’s important to use resume templates. It’s nonetheless important to modify the template a bit so that it’s distinguishable from others’ work.

Pros: Easy to follow, easy to write.

Cons: Lacking uniqueness.

What is the best resume template for a college graduate?

We’ve delved into different resume templates, or resume formats, earlier in this article. One question remains: which template is considered the best for a college graduate resume?

It really depends because, for a college graduate with little experience, the functional resume template is recommended. For a more experienced candidate, we recommend the chronological resume template. 

The chronological template is by far the most versatile one for any position because the way it lists your relevant roles and skills is better than other types of resume templates.

Where can I get a free resume template?

There is a wide range of free resume templates for college graduates at your disposal. Check out the following websites for more information:

  • Cake
  • MS Word/Google Docs (There are a lot of pre-made templates available in MS Word and Google Docs.)

Cake provides the right college graduate resume templates & formats for you to showcase your skills and experiences. Sign up to create and download the best college graduate resume Now for free!

College Graduate Resume Sample

Jonathan Lee

New York City, NY
[email protected]
+41 414797121

Professional Summary

Goal-oriented graduate with a Bachelor’s degree in geology. Previously worked as an intern at the National Institute of Geology and as a museum docent at the geological museum in Alberta and applied analytic and research skills in 10 different projects. Demonstrated in-depth knowledge of the GIS system.


BA in Geology
University of Alberta (Alberta, Canada)
06. 2011 to 07. 2015

  • GPA: 4.0
  • Worked as a teaching assistant for 2 years (2013-2015) and tutored 20+ freshmen.


  • Communication skills
  • Good work ethics
  • Excellent research skills
  • Analytical skills
  • Patience
  • SEO
  • GIS System
  • Fluent in English, French, Russian, and Ukrainian
  • CGG Digital
  • Python


Geological Museum, Alberta, Canada
Museum Docent
2016 - 2017

  • Assisted in the development of programs for students.
  • Led groups of students on 10+ research projects.

National Institute of Geology, New York, US
2014 - 2015

  • Analyzed and modeled cartography using GIS.
  • Assessed and monitored geological activities according to their statistics.

--- Originally written by Yu-Jen Shih ---

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