Tips for Writing a Killer Resume Post-Graduation

Graduating from college is an important milestone in any graduate’s life. It marks your ability to commit to something long-term and accomplish it. Getting your degree is the first step into entering the professional workforce and while it’s exciting, there’s a hurdle you must jump before you can land that first job; writing a resume. Writing resumes is something most recent graduates struggle with, but with the right formatting and content, you can write a killer resume any employer will be drawn to. Here are some tips on how to create such a resume:


  1. Use a reverse-chronological format: As a recently graduated college student, it’s best to use a reverse-chronological format. You most likely won’t have a lot of work experience, so using this format is the most practical way to show your vertical career progression. Listing your education at the top is practical because it’s your greatest qualification. Click here for a step-by-step guide on writing a reverse-chronological resume.


 2. Keep it to one page: You won’t have enough experience to justify having a second page to your resume. Did you know that employers will only look at a resume for 6-10 seconds at max? Therefore you need to make your resume short, sweet, and to the point.


3.  Do not include a reference page on your resume: Since your resume needs to be no more than a page, don’t waste valuable space by adding references.References should be made available upon request. Employers most likely won’t ask for references until the actual face-to-face interview. Bring a separate page with your references when that time comes.


4.  Include a link to your professional profile: Every recent graduate needs to have at least one professional profile established. Most professional employers use social media as a form of researching their candidates, particularly through LinkedIn. Provide a link to your profile with your contact information.


5. List your GPA: If you have a GPA of 3.0 or higher, list it at the top of your education background. Anything below a 3.0 should not be listed, but keep in mind, employers will take notice of this and possibly ask you about it during the interview.


6. Bullet point your work experience accomplishments: Many people make the mistake of listing the tasks and responsibilities they were given when describing their work experience, but employers aren’t interested in this. They’re interested in what you accomplished while you were there. Since employers will only scan over these accomplishments, it’s best to bullet point everything so that it’s easier to digest. Make sure to also use strong action verbs when describing said accomplishments.


7. Leave anything from high school out: Employers aren’t interested in what you’ve accomplished before college. They want current, relevant information that supports your overall career oriented goals.


8. Don’t fluff up your summary/objective: Throwing in words such as “team player” or “proactive” are overused terms employers recognize as pure fluff. Instead explain how you were able to improve any processes.


  1. Avoid using pronouns: When writing your resume, it’s best to avoid talking in first person (“I” or “Me”) or third person (“John worked as”, “He worked as”). The best way to write your resume is in a telegraphic manner.


10. Use relevant keywords: When applying for a job, look for repeating key terms in the job application. If you have any of those skills or had any experience in that process, then incorporate them into your resume.   

How To Write a BAD Resume

Nothing is more enthralling than writing up your first post college resume, right? ….Okay I am only joking about the thrills of the trade.  Let’s change things up a little by me sharing with you how to write a BAD resume in three easy steps.


You seriously want to be done with this horrible task as soon as possible.  Editing takes forever and you may have to find another person for a second opinion.  Human Resources will definitely know you were trying to say “shift” the 30 times you left out the f.

Confused businessman
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Step 2. WRITE A LOT.

No need to be shy- the employer has all day to read over your resume.   You should flood them with useless achievements beginning with your youth t-ball team home run up until the award winning omelet you created this morning. The less relevant the achievements are to the job posting the better.  You want to stand out!

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Step 3. LIE. LIE. LIE.

This company doesn’t know you.  Embellish EVERYTHING! Odds are they are not going to actually cross check all credentials you list.


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*DISCLAIMER: Following any of this advice will almost guarantee you a spot in the “reject” pile for landing interviews. Only follow these steps if you would like to remain unemployed.

The LitMag Dialogues Part 1: How Working at Literary Magazine Draws in a Variety of People

If there is one thing I’ve learned from pursuing a career in writing, it is the fact that words can come from all over.  Everyone has the ability to create something meaningful via his or her own language, background, culture and experience.  I like being surrounded by writers because we each bring something unique to the “universe” that is the written word.  Writing is a method of communication, used formally in medical journals, newspapers, magazines, and of course, literature.

It can be overlooked at times, but reading other people’s writing is the best way to expand your own horizon of knowledge.  If you think about it, nothing is completely objective.  There is always a tone present, lightly detected or not, that can reveal an author’s true feelings about his or her subject.

I never considered how many sources and types of people that various writings could come from—until I was surrounded by writers on a regular basis.  It started when I took my first creative writing workshops away at school, attended a summer writer’s institute, and began interning at a literary magazine in my hometown.  I didn’t understand how much variety there was in literary works because I had been constricted to what I read as a child and what I was assigned later in high school.

Working at the literary magazine has solidified this realization.  As an intern I am partly responsible for reading and voting on submissions from various writers all over the country and abroad.  I have read pieces written by college students, published authors, MFAs, and professionals who never studied writing but love it all the same.  Then I have read work from people who are a mixture of these categories.  It’s amazing to see how one method of communication, widespread as it is, takes its own form within just one person’s imagination.

Then there’s the other side:  us, the receivers—the interns, the editors, the outside readers who volunteer their input, and everyone else who helps out.  There is a variety even within our small group.  We have different educations, have attended different schools, are from towns from all over, and have experienced vastly different lives.  Yet we all get along, and I feel that a large part of this is due to our passion for words.  (Of course, we’re all a fun-loving group anyway, but the writing aspect is still quite important!)

I think the most valuable thing I can take away from what I have experienced, being surrounded by writers and readers, is that variety is a very good thing.  Without it you can miss out on so many perspectives that have the ability to alter your own lifestyle and values.  Without it would be like living in a secluded society of your own, where you can only learn from people just like you.  I value the new people I have been exposed to since I started college because it has helped me grow as a person, a student, and a writer.  Working at the magazine just marks the beginning of that growth—seeing as I have quite a few more years ahead of me.

The same goes for being away at school.  Dip your toes into the water that keeps changing temperature; don’t stick to what you’re comfortable with.  Take it from me, it’s worth it.




How To Go From A “Good” To A “Great” Paper

Ask any one of my buddies.  When I have to write a paper, I want to literally shoot myself in the face & end it all.  I’m dramatic and whiny but I always get it done, correctly and on time.  I can’t make the process any more enjoyable but hopefully these tips can take your paper to the next level.

#1 Don’t worry about filling up pages.  This is the number one way to get a C or lower on a paper.  It leads to rambling repeated ideas rephrased and a lack of coherent structure. Instead, try to find more facts to back up your thesis statement or main points. Include graphs, charts, figures or anything else that will reinforce the message you are trying to get across.  Nobody can argue with the facts; words are wind.

#2 A great way to avoid #1, determine the scope of your paper.   Scope means the size of the question you want to answer.

I’ll give you an example of a prompt I received in an ethics and public policy paper.

“Which is more important: maximizing happiness or minimizing rights violations?”  The reading for the paper was 200 pages and the scope of the original question is HUGE.  A doctoral thesis could be written on that question alone and I only have 3-5 pages to work with.  So I change the question.  Instead of addressing everything, I answer ‘maximizing happiness is more important that minimizing rights violation when conditions A, B and C exist.  Boom, thesis and scope knocked out in one fell swoop.

Which naturally leads to step…

#3 unpack your ideas.  Focus on two or three points for a paper of 3-5 pages and then thoroughly argue them.  How do you achieve this?  Think of every objection you can think of to the point you are trying to make and address those weaknesses and objections.  Addressing counter arguments makes your thesis stronger, not weaker and it builds up to that page limit constructively while leaving the writer with only a few points to address well. That is, in a nutshell, what unpacking is.

One last word of advice, it is such a rookie mistake we have all been guilty of at one point or another, and it will bite you in the butt every time.  The thesaurus is not a data mine for you to intellectualize your paper with more eloquence. The thesaurus is to tease out nuances for an idea you are trying to express (ex. I don’t just want to beat my opponent, I want to hammer him).  Use with caution!

Good luck, I hope this helps!  Questions are welcome in the comments section.



I’m reading Campbell Biology: Concepts and Connections