Coming into college, feeling scared? Don’t know how to impress your placement cell or stand out amongst your friends? Don’t you know a meticulous way of enumerating all your achievements for companies to shortlist you? Here’s an article for you. The following article will explain various ways in which YOU can make a comprehensive resume as a college fresher.
What is a fresher resume?
A fresher resume is a document required for college placement cells while finding appropriate job opportunities for college graduates (freshers). It is usually coupled with the cover letter, which is submitted to the organization while applying. A fresher resume encompasses details about the fresher, which allow the organization to make an informed decision regarding the candidate’s consideration for any post. This includes the students’ past accomplishments, academic and co-curricular history, employment record, and the candidate’s skill set. Usually, a fresher resume communicates more about the values and skills of the fresher than their employment history (due to the brief period for which they have worked). Thus, it’s extremely important for freshers to format their resumes in a manner that is well understood and appropriate to their individual skill set.
Cover Letters for Fresher Students – Why is it Important?
A cover letter is a one-page document that a job applicant is required to submit with their resume. The sole purpose of a cover letter is to introduce yourself to the employer/employing agency. A candidate is expected to briefly introduce themselves while communicating details about their professional background in 250 – 500 words. Freshers often feel that writing a cover letter can be intimidating. However, a typical cover letter is often easy to design.
Resume cover letter format for freshers
- Address/contact details
- The hiring manager/department information
- Introduction – Should be personalised. Should ideally talk about “what makes you stand out.” An ideal introduction should be both impactful and compact in construction.
- Body of the cover letter – Should discuss your achievements as a fresher, both academically and professionally. An ideal body would pay equal attention to both employment history and academic achievements.
- An impactful closing paragraph. Should talk about the fresher’s vision for the future.
What is a good resume format for freshers?
Understanding the right format for structuring your resume is extremely important, especially as a fresher. Typical freshers prefer choosing to write either a chronological fresher resume or a functional fresher resume. However, with numerous behemoths preferring students with holistic academic development, students have recently also shown an inclination towards choosing a combination/hybrid model. Such resumes include features of both the chronological resume and the functional resume to provide a comprehensive understanding of the student’s skills and aptitudes.
Chronological Resume – Format, Samples, Tips.
A resume is a document produced to provide details about a person’s background, aptitudes, skills, and values. A chronological resume is one of the various types of writing a resume. A chronological fresher resume would ideally present the variegated past accomplishments of the chosen candidate. It would focus on the candidate’s previous work experience and, therefore, would underline the student’s worth based on his past accomplishments and credits. A chronological resume is most important for individuals who have –
- Specialisation in an industry – Individuals who have worked for numerous years in the same industry can use a chronological resume to show their growth in that industry. Such a format would allow them to establish their credibility in that industry effectively.
- A constant stream of work – Individuals with minimal or no gaps between various projects, can use such a resume to show their career timeline in a transient manner.
- An aptitude in a specific career path – A chronological resume allows candidates to present their aptitudes in more detail. They can list their achievements or experiences in that career briefly to show aptitude.
Sample Fresher Format for Job
Chronological Resume – A typical chronological resume has the following format –
Contact /Address Details
A crisp summary of the candidate highlighting his vision for the future or an objective
– Professional history
– Educational history
– Skills and abilities.
a) Professional History – Your professional history includes all present and past working experiences that you have acquired. It includes any work that you may have done as a high school student for a company or as a college student for your professors. A typical fresher resume contains a brief professional history section. This is because of the limited work experience that the student has acquired at this stage of their career. Typical examples of work experiences that one can put include – Internships and school/college projects related to the industry/career you are applying for.
When you’re writing this section of your resume, it’s crucial for the candidate to prioritise experiences based on two criteria – Job you are applying for and the industry you are applying to. A concise chronological fresher resume would typically include details of experiences that link with what you want to do next in your life.
- Educational history – Your educational history includes your prior academic accomplishments and your academic record. This part of your resume should highlight the reasons why an employer should choose you for a specific industry/career. Forex. If you received a scholarship to a specific university (as a fresher), you could talk about the specific accolades you acquired to be eligible for that scholarship. A caveat while structuring your educational history is to pick and feature the “relevant details.” As a fresher, your resume would be completely appropriate if you choose not to include your secondary school details. Thereby, it’s extremely important to feature the right details. Forex. A fresher with a GPA of 3.9 in high school should highlight his high school details before other achievements, as compared to a student with a GPA < 3.5
- Functional Resume – Resume Template, Tips, and Samples
Unlike a conventional chronological one, a functional resume places the spotlight on the candidates’ skills and traits rather than their prior academic or professional record. A functional resume focuses on featuring the candidate’s future potential to the employer rather than showing their past accomplishments. Like any other resume, the caveat to a functional resume is presenting the most relevant details. A typical fresher resume would include academic/work/co-curricular experiences that enlighten a specific hard skill amongst many soft skills.
The difference between a functional fresher resume and a chronological fresher resume is that the former focuses on important skills – such as “team-building” or customer service. The latter focuses on placing the spotlight on academic or work experiences that shape the candidate for the specific post. Moreover, the former also tend to show the candidate’s potential, whereas the latter focuses on showing the candidates’ worth based on their prior experiences.
Such a resume is often beneficial for candidates changing career paths or industries. For example, if a fresher is vying for a job, which is not completely in line with their degree. This is because it pays a dividend for soft and hard skills that are transferable and hence shows why a candidate should be given this opportunity (to switch careers).
Format of a Functional Resume
- Always start with your name
- Brief contact details
- A compact YET impactful summary/overview
- Hard & Skills – could be sorted by order of relevancy or theme
- Relevant professional experiences – Since it’s a functional fresher resume, this section should be brief. Moreover, the candidate should focus on mentioning experiences that link with the skills that are highlighted above
- Academic qualifications & achievements
Tips for writing a good Functional Resume
Impactful summary – A fresher’s overview should be able to provide the student’s vision for their future in a straightforward and concise manner. The summary should be impactful. Make sure you include a line or two about the skills that make you stand out. Forex. Instead of writing “A good communicator,” you could elaborate it as “A team – builder with exemplary oratory skills.” In doing so, the student should understand the needs of the post that the fresher is applying for and should aim to highlight the relevant skills in their summary.
Hard & Soft skills – A fresher with variegated hard and soft skills should prefer a functional format over a chronological format. However, there should be a clear distinction between the hard & soft skills mentioned.
Hard skills link to a particular job and are required to perform a specific task. Soft skills are those that are usually self-taught and are universal in application. Hence, it’s integral for candidates switching careers or industries to not focus too much on their hard skills since they might not be relevant to every industry or job opportunity.
Reread the Job advertisement & Job description – A fresher resume would typically not be overflowing with job experiences since they have just graduated from their universities. Hence, it is usually advised for freshers to follow a functional format. However, a possible way to make your resume noteworthy is through a meticulous understanding of the job advertisement. A job advertisement features two key documents that are extremely important for all applicants – the “Job description” and the “person specification.”
A Job description (JD) is a document that explains the general roles and responsibilities of the post holder. It does not clarify anything about the kind of person that can apply. However, a Person specification is a document that describes the skills, attributes, and personality characteristics that are expected in a candidate applying for a specific job.
Therefore, for a functional fresher resume, it is important to have a comprehensive understanding of the person specification document. One can highlight key sentences and requirements and can make them stand out more in their resumes.
Difference between a Functional Resume and a Chronological Resume
|Point||Functional Resume||Chronological Resume|
|Centre of attention||– A functional resume focuses on highlighting the skillset of the person and hence shows the potential of the candidate.||– Aims to shed light on the candidates’ prior experiences to show their present worth.|
|Layout||– Follows a unique layout and can sometimes be confusing. This is because it clubs experiences based on the skills acquired and not in a conventional way (by time or by industry)||– Follows a more conventional and recognised format. Due to its simplicity, it is often easier to understand as well.|
|Work experience||– Explained in a brief manner. Usually at the end of the resume.||– Is the focus of the entire resume and is therefore on the top.|
|Advantages||– Highlights the candidates’ skills. Shows what sets them apart and hence establishes their credibility as an individual.||– Easily understood and universally accepted.|
|Useful for||– Individuals looking to change careers/industries.||– Potentially all candidates.|
Bridging the two models together – Hybrid Model Resumes for Freshers
What is a Hybrid Resume Model?
Essentially a hybrid or a combination model resume includes features of both chronological resumes and functional resumes. Such a format is highly applicable for freshers due to their scant employment history. Following a hybrid model allows a candidate to pay equal diligence to both their skillset and their experiences.
When to use a hybrid model resume?
Writing a hybrid model resume as a fresher is rare. This is partly because only a specific portion of freshers can afford to emphasise their work experiences and skill set. Using a hybrid model is only suitable if –
- You are going through a change in your career or industry. Although this isn’t applicable for freshers, candidates vying for a career that is not strongly connected to their diploma could also use a functional resume model or a hybrid model.
- Have some gaps in your employment history. For example, you want to highlight an internship and summer school program you attended in your first year, but you have no consequent internship to mention. You can then use a hybrid model and conceal this gap by highlighting the skills you managed to acquire during this time frame.
- You are a senior-level candidate with numerous experiences and skill sets. For freshers, this could imply that you have acclimated to a range of different employment opportunities while also working on a diverse skill set. Using a hybrid model would be highly beneficial for such candidates, showing the candidates’ attempt to develop holistically.
Format of a Hybrid or a Combination Model Resume
Structuring a hybrid/combination model resume for freshers is extremely important. A typical hybrid resume would have the following details –
– Accurate contact information and residential details
– A brief yet impactful overview of the candidate
– Relevant work experiences and academic achievements
– A comprehensive section highlighting “specific” skills that are in line with the target job.
– Soft skills and education history.
Tips for Writing a Hybrid Model Resume For Freshers
Using a hybrid model as a fresher is extremely difficult but can also be highly rewarding. Freshers using such models set themselves apart from the crowd. However, the following prongs should be kept in mind to construct an impactful hybrid resume –
- Grab the reader’s attention with a concise yet balanced resume summary – Like a chronological resume format, the overview section of a hybrid model is significant. Freshers should explain their learnings from their job experiences in this section while also communicating how their skillset sets them apart from other candidates.
- Make sure you write your contact information in the correct order – A higher level resume tends to follow the following format for adding contact information –
Last name, first name
Phone number – Don’t forget to add your country code if applying to a multinational company.
Email address. – Ideally email@example.com
Location – Mention your pin code as well.
Title – Fresher/student/manager etc.
Resume Samples for Freshers
Chronological Resume Format for Freshers
The chronological resume format is the most accepted and widely used resume format. It has certain perks in the sense that it makes it easier for the recruiters to spot useful information from your resume that suits their requirements. Also, any resume with this kind of format can easily pass the recruiter’s Application Tracking Software or the ATS.
Here, you list your work experience with your most recent one listed first and then followed by the previous ones. For freshers, they can easily start with a mention of their last summer internship or training, if any.
Functional sample resume format for freshers
As discussed, a Functional Resume format may easily be the best resume format for freshers. This is because it can fit any type of experience you have. Freshers can arrange their resumes and mention their skill sets in a series of sections that are specific to this format. You can create a section for each type of skill instead of one for each job.
What is an ideal length for a resume?
Ideally, for a fresher, a resume should not exceed one page. However, if you feel like you have a lot of relevant experiences and achievements, you can extend the length of your resume to 1.5 pages. Choosing an appropriate length for your resume is extremely important. Your resume should not elaborate extensively on details that are not required in the job description. However, it’s worth noting that various MNCs usually host a range of different interview rounds to understand the candidate. Hence, submitting elaborate resumes that speak a lot about your skills and traits might be redundant for such companies.
Should a fresher include his high school GPA on his resume?
The simple answer would be yes. Since a fresher is a recent graduate, their academic achievements are their most significant assets, and hence a fresher needs to mention their GPA. However, it’s also not advisable to overshow a GPA that is not highly extravagant. This is because some employers often reject a resume solely based on the academic grades mentioned. Hence, it is extremely important to understand the amount of space to be given to your GPA on your resume. A rule of thumb could highlight a GPA over 3.0 and subtly mention a GPA < 3.0.
What is an ATS, and what should I keep in mind before applying for an ATS?
An applicant tracking system (ATS) is a system used by 90% of fortune 500 companies. This software allows MNCs to track, scrutinise and organise candidate profiles for hiring and interview purposes. While most companies use these systems to store and track relevant profiles, some companies also filter out resumes based on their ATS systems. Freshers usually submit their resumes on these ATS systems. They are then filtered based on coding software that communicates the needs of the organisation with the candidates and tracks their responses. Therefore as a fresher, making an ATS-friendly resume is extremely important. An ATS-friendly fresher resume would typically include a universal font (Times new roman), conventional labels (work experience, education, skillset, etc.), and an internationally accepted format for communicating work history (position title, employer, period of employment). Moreover, freshers applying through an ATS should also refrain from including headers & footers, unnecessary tables and infographics, and flashy colours.
Should I include volunteer experience on my resume?
Yes!!. As a fresher, any working experience is considered credible in the eyes of an employer. Moreover, companies with an active corporate social responsibility often favour candidates who show compassion towards working for the betterment of their community. Thereby as a fresher, volunteering experience is an essential part of your resume. As it involves various hands-on tasks, it often leads to the development of several integral skills that should feature on your resume. It is also acceptable to mention volunteering experience under your working history section. Employers do not look at whether or not a fresher is currently being paid, as long as the candidate is acquiring relevant working experience.