How to Write an Effective Resume for Fresh Graduate

Surely you want to use the right resume format that can attract the hiring manager’s attention, make them want to keep your resume, accept your application and finally secure the job for you.

But, how do you start? And, how do you do it? Here are the steps you can follow to write an effective resume:


As briefly mentioned above, there are various resume formats. Here are seven of them:

a. Chronological resume

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This is the most common resume format used by job seekers. Just like the name, the resume is arranged chronologically. The list goes from the most recent to the earliest professional experience of yours. Usually it starts from achievements, certifications, skills, and educational background.

You are recommended to use this format if your professional experience is rather linear. It means your whole work experience is relatively under the same field or industry. You should use this if you have tiny to no gaps between positions as well.

b. Combination resume

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The advantage of this format is that you can emphasize your most prominent skills or achievements. The content is similar to the chronological format, but you can arrange the list from what you consider as your best skills and achievements to attract your potential hiring manager.

Other than your prominent skills or achievements, you can also arrange them based on the most relevant to the least one with the position you are applying for. If you think this format is for you, you should use this format.

This format is for you if you’re going through a career change, have employment gaps, or someone with a diverse range of skills and experiences. If you’re a candidate in such a situation, this format will help your potential hiring manager to read your resume better.

c. Resume with profile or summary

Profile in a resume is the space to summarize your skills, experiences, and goals that are related to the job you are applying for. Adding a profile can be helpful for both because it is a way to advertise your resume to your potential recruiter.

There are several tips to write the proper profile. First, keep it concise and limit it between one and four sentences. Second, emphasize your best or prominent skills and accomplishments that can interest your potential recruiter. Last, keep their interest with your best future plans statement for the company.

Here is an example of profile or summary in a resume for a fresh graduate:

d. Nontraditional resume

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It is possible to use the nontraditional route for your resume. It’s not always have to be strictly black on white. The nontraditional format means you can get creative with your resume and make it look like whatever you wish. If you want it to represent your personality, do it.

There are some common nontraditional resumes you can use as reference. If you download your LinkedIn profile into PDF, it will instantly become your resume. If you need the hard copy version, you can just print it. Then you can use it to apply for a job.

Most of the nontraditional resume examples are in digital form. That’s why it’s also possible to prepare your resume in video format. The content will be you introducing yourself, work experience, skills, and showcase what’s stated in the requirements. This video resume is suitable for people who work as visual artists. Your website or blog can also be your resume. If you are a writer, this resume format may suit you.

Portfolio is also considered as a nontraditional resume that can represent your skills and experience at best.

You can style nontraditional resumes however you like. People who use this format usually are working in creative fields. So if you’re one of those people, showcase your creativity through your resume.

Here’s an example of a nontraditional resume. This job seeker used Spotify layout as the reference for her resume. And she’s applying for a job at Spotify.

e. Functional resume

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This resume format focuses on professional skill tests as opposed to work experience. It can be identified with highlighting how you applied your skills in the previous job. This format gives advantages to fresh graduates with no work experience, people who switch careers, and people who have gaps between jobs. Unless you’re in that situation, better use another resume format.

f. Infographic resume



This format is using the combination of text and graphic. If resume commonly uses text to explain the contents, infographics use the combination of text, graphic, color, design, icon, formatting, layout, and font. However, you need to be careful. Whether you’re a pro in design or still new, keep your resume simple and easy to understand. Make sure your potential recruiter can read and understand your resume.

Infographic resumes are rarely used. If you actually have the knowledge to make it, you may know what to do. However, if you need an infographic resume but you’re not confident with your skills to do it, you can always hire a designer. The wise way to use this format is if the hiring manager requests you to do it so.

g. Targeted resume

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This resume is intended for a specific job vacancy. So if you plan to send resumes to several vacancies, you will have to prepare several resumes as well. In this format, the content is customized to meet the requirements. By doing so, it can give you a better chance of getting hired.

The way to do this format is write only necessary information and relevant keywords. Detail your skills to impress the potential hiring manager. Write it appropriately and in accordance with the job you are applying for. The right keywords that you use will help a lot in reaching the potential hiring manager’s attention. 

After deciding which resume format is suitable for the position you are applying for, you can gather your information and materials to complete the requirements. By doing that first, you can start writing your resume at ease. You don’t have to go back and forth finding the documents, information, or the materials because you have prepared them.

The purpose of learning resume format is to make the resume writing process more effective. After knowing what to write, all you have to do is start writing. Another purpose of resume format is to guide and give you an idea how a resume should look to impress the recruiter.

Since the resume format you chose is the guide or reference for your resume, you still have to elaborate your resume and eventually make it yours. Other than strictly following the guide, you have to make your own color and emphasize your own qualities. Remember you need to write an effective resume that emphasizes your qualities and make it fit enough to make the recruiter agree to hire you.

Below is everything you need to include in your personal and contact information:

  • Name
  • Phone number
  • Location/Domicile (city, state, zip code)
  • Email address
  • LinkedIn profile URL

You can also include the link for your portfolio. This applies if you are applying for creative positions that require portfolios.

The resume summary or objective should include a statement about your career goals. This section is beneficial for fresh graduates who’s still lacking in work experience. By stating your career goal, you have shown that you’re hopeful and willing to learn. This quality or your confidence can impress the potential recruiter.

Describe your work experience and skills that are relevant to your position. Make sure to make it concise, powerful, and attract the hiring manager to read your resume more and. Then finally continue to the next step, which is the interview.

There are three tips to follow if you want to make your resume summary impressive. First, include the keywords from the job ad. Including the keyword can attract the reader or the hiring manager in this case to look straight at the keyword then make them want to read the whole sentence. That eventually, it can lead them to read the whole resume.

Second, seriously keep it short, under ten words, and make it a one-line description. Powerful short sentences matter a lot to grab the reader’s attention. Last, your resume summary should be in larger font so that will be the first thing the reader read. The combination of powerful words and bigger font should enhance the chance of the hiring manager to read it fully.

Sure, writing your resume can be draining as there are too many things to do. As soon as you're finally dwelling with this section, you may start feeling weary. However, don’t. Do not be lazy when it comes to explaining your work experience because this is one of the most important sections in your resume.

As for how to write it effectively, list your work experience from the recent to earliest experience. Then add subheading to include information such as company, job location, job title, start and end dates. If possible, include specific and measurable results to gain the hiring manager’s trust. Last, emphasize or deemphasize roles and skills in the job as needed.

Use keywords to list your skills. The recruiters tend to skim the resume to search for certain keywords that they want to see. Many hiring managers also use Applicant Tracking System (ATS). So it’s better to make this list by using keywords because it’s readable for ATS. Thus making your resume easily sorted for the next step.

The way to list which skills to include is by looking at the job ad description. For example, if they stated that they’re looking for a candidate whose detail-oriented, you should list ‘detail-oriented’ in your list. So does with other skills that you want to list.

Regarding education, here’s everything you can include or if you have:

  • Limited work experience such as recent college or high school graduates
  • Transferred to a new industry
  • Relevant coursework
  • Grade point average
  • Participation in clubs or organizations
  • Leadership position
  • Awards, achievements, or certifications

When it comes to listing coursework, awards, achievements, or certifications, you better include from the most relevant with your job to least. You may list your interests as well as long as it’s relevant with your job or if you think the potential recruiter will take account of your interests for the position you apply for.

Proofread your resume for spelling, grammar, and punctuation. Third-party opinion can help you in reviewing whether your resume is good enough or still lacking. To do this, you can ask someone you can trust and you recognize their ability in reviewing your resume.

By knowing about ATS, it will make it easier to know what to do. You need to make your resume ATS friendly because many recruiters use this system. If you use the keyword well, the system recognizes your resume well and that resulted in sorting your resume as the right fit. 

If you want to know more, what are ATS friendly keywords? Here’s top 50 of them:

  1. Design
  2. Operations
  3. Technical
  4. Training
  5. Sales
  6. Marketing
  7. Reporting
  8. Compliance
  9. Strategy
  10. Research
  11. Analytical
  12. Engineering
  13. Policies
  14. Budget
  15. Finance
  16. Project management
  17. Health
  18. Customer service
  19. Documentation
  20. Content
  21. Presentation
  22. Brand
  23. Presentation
  24. Safety
  25. Certification
  26. Accounting
  27. Regulations
  28. Metrics
  29. Legal
  30. Engagement
  31. Database
  32. Analytics
  33. Distribution
  34. Coaching
  35. Testing
  36. Vendors
  37. Consulting
  38. Writing
  39. Contracts
  40. Inventory
  41. Retail
  42. Healthcare
  43. Regulatory
  44. Scheduling
  45. Construction
  46. Logistics
  47. Mobile
  48. C (programming language)
  49. Correspondence
  50. Controls

Finally, an effective resume can be achieved if you know which resume format you should follow because it will save your time and energy. Writing your resume can be such an overwhelming task because there’s a lot to do and prepare. Hopefully this article will guide you well to write your own resume. Good luck!

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