You have spent the past four years (or more depending on your area of study) preparing yourself for a career in the real world. Finally, it is time to put yourself out there and apply for the jobs that you were working towards during all of those late night study sessions, lengthy lectures and exhaustive exams. Though you may feel prepared to enter the workforce, as you are sitting down to perfect your first post grad resume, a lack of work experience may lead to feelings of inadequacy and panic.

Before you start giving into that panicky feeling of inadequacy, remember that employers and recruiters are acutely aware that it is unlikely for a recent college graduate to have a wealth of work experience. As a result, their focus will be on what you gained throughout your college experience. While crafting your resume, you may be surprised at how impressive you can make yourself sound despite a lack of work experience by showing progression, direction and dedication through the extras that rounded out your college experience.

Here are a few of those extras that can, and should, make their way onto your first post grad resume.


When you walk across that stage this spring, will you be adorned in cords representing either a summa or magna cum laude cumulative grade point average? If you earned those cords, you will want to make sure that they are highlighted on your resume. Of course, once you have more work experience, you will want to drop the GPA in favor of job experience; however, these achievements are one way to demonstrate your dedication and capability until you have more work experience to include on your resume.


Regardless of where you attended college, chances are that there was a plethora of extra-curricular opportunities available to you. In lieu of work experience, include activities and experiences you chose to dedicate your time and energy to (outside of your studies of course). Whether you were the captain of the dance team, held a position on student government or were a member of an academic or social fraternity, your extra-curriculars will provide potential employers with a picture of how well you are able to manage your time, what your interests are, and how you chose to develop various skills outside of the classroom.


Although any jobs that you held during college may seem trivial, they might be worth a mention on your resume. In addition to demonstrating your work ethic and time management skills, there may be transferable skills that you gained through those seemingly unrelated employment experiences. While you are adding work history to your resume, don’t forget that internships (paid or not) should be included. Internships will likely align with your area of study and provide the reader with details to further the narrative of who you are as a candidate.


As if studies, extra-curriculars, jobs and internships weren’t enough, a potential employer will want to know if you participated in any volunteer programs while in school. Detailing these experiences will give them a glimpse into who you are and what is meaningful to you. It could also influence their hiring decision based on how well they think you will fit in with the culture of the company.  

Don’t let a lack of work experience become discouraging as you construct your resume. Remember that a lack of work experience does not mean that you lack all experience and skills. Use all of these extras to show future employers why you are the right candidate for the job!