celebrating graduation the the post-college resume and job search

Résumé Tips for Recent College Graduates

college graduation ceremony

A lot of résumé advice is targeted to people with years of experience in their professions. But, if you’ve recently been enrolled in college, chances are you have résumé questions that are specific to your first post-college job search.
You may be wondering whether to include your GPA, if you’re supposed to list your high school diploma, and what to say about the part-time jobs you’ve had over the last few years.

So let’s explore some résumé-writing rules that apply specifically to recent grads. First we’ll look at what to delete from your résumé. Then we’ll cover what to add, elaborate, or emphasize.

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Writing Better Sentences

I started to call this post “The Perfect Sentence.” Then I realized perfection is not the goal for most writers. Most of us simply need to get our ideas across without too much confusion. We need to tell our colleagues where next Tuesday’s meeting will be held. We need to explain the data in a report about third-quarter profits. We need to tell our kid’s teacher that we can chaperon the field trip. We need sufficient sentences, not perfect ones.

Perhaps, taking my cue from a popular children’s book, I could have called this post “The Workable, Adequate, Good-Enough, Quite Okay Sentence.” I find that title entertaining, and some of my readers would recognize the allusion. However, some readers wouldn’t recognize it, and search engines don’t parse humor or allusion very well. So I opted for a more straightforward title, which is appropriate for a post about making each sentence communicate as clearly as possible.

The sentence is our basic unit for expressing ideas, and the structure of our sentences can alter how people understand those ideas. So, whether you’re composing a brief email message or an in-depth feasibility study,  it’s worthwhile to think about how readers derive meaning from sentences. Today I have two writing tips to help with that.

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Résumé CPR: Consistency, Precision, Readability

black alarm clock - modified

Sometimes I work with job-seekers who are preparing weeks or months in advance for an upcoming job search. A college senior anticipating graduation. A young professional who wants to leverage his recent work accomplishments to land a better job. A seasoned professional who doesn’t see herself staying with her current company much longer.

I’ve also worked with individuals who have been suddenly laid off and individuals who have heard about a great opportunity barely 24 hours before the job posting closes. In these situations, we scramble to update and revise résumés as best we can with limited time.

We add recent work history. We make sure contact information is up-to-date. But what else can you do under a tight deadline? What small but important revisions could help you land a new job?

There are three aspects of your résumé you should double-check every time you update it: consistency, precision, and readability. Think of it as résumé CPR. Continue reading


Welcome to my blog, which is for anyone interested in communicating more effectively in writing. In this space, we’ll discuss drafting, revising, and knowing when a document is ready to be sent out into the world. We’ll discuss how to tailor writing to a specific audience such as the employer to whom you send your résumé. Occasionally we’ll veer away from writing and revising to examine a related topic such as job interviewing.

Some posts will focus on business and professional writing. Other posts will focus on widely applicable writing and revising strategies. These are some of the topics I’m planning to cover in upcoming posts:

  • Knowing how many pages your résumé should be
  • Revising your résumé on a tight deadline
  • Writing effective cover letters
  • Composing professional emails
  • Knowing which grammar rules always matter and which rules you can (and should)sometimes ignore
  • Responding to questions at a job interview
  • And much more

To write the blog, I’ll draw on my experiences as a writer, editor, educator, and interviewer. You can read a little bit about me here or view my résumé here. This blog is published on my professional web site, ashleysalter.com, where I peddle my services as a freelancer. If you’re interested in hiring me, you can see a partial list of services I provide or contact me about a specific project. Meanwhile, if you want to write and revise your own documents, the blog is here to help.

I’ll be sharing my knowledge and my experiences; you may have different experiences and different insights. Feel free to respond with comments and suggestions. Feel free to disagree with me (or with each other). We’re all here to learn, and gracefully articulated differences of opinion facilitate learning. But please keep your contributions relevant and courteous. I look forward to exchanging ideas, but I will remove any comments that are offensive, disrespectful, or irrelevant.

If you have any comments or concerns that are not directly responding to a particular post, you can e-mail me at ashley@ashleysalter.com

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