En Route: A Career Blog

Showcasing Academic Experience When You Have No Real World Experience

AUTHOR: Darlene Zambruski
POSTED: June 16, 2009 at 9:18 am

Every job candidate faces the same challenge after graduating college – How do I get a job when all I have is a degree? If you look closer, you’ll understand you have more than a degree – you have group projects, research papers, class assignments, honors, activities, campus jobs, and campus leadership experiences.

Making the Most of What You Do Have

Hiring managers are looking at your resume to understand your background and the type of employee you will be at their company. After all, past performance is the best predictor of future success. This statement is true whether you are referring to past professional or academic performance.

The first step in preparing your post-college resume is to take an inventory of any and all experience you have that falls into the following categories: academic honors (GPA, Dean’s List, awards, recognitions), class projects, leadership experience on project teams, extracurricular activities, campus work experience, publications, papers, and volunteer activities. It is important to highlight any projects that pertain to the industry you are targeting, e.g. business case studies, design projects, research papers, etc.

After determining your areas of experience, you can divide the resume into sections and add bullets to detail your involvement in the activities.

Sample Resume Sections:


Committee, Organization or Group Name, Position Held
* Add information on projects, assignments or work completed


Name of Award, Organization Presenting Award, Date Received


Course Name
* Add bullets with information on the project; focus on your specific role in completing the project

If your collegiate activities, honors and projects are limited, then you can always list the specific courses you completed that relate to your target industry or position. You can also include special projects or assignments within these courses.

The most important thing to remember is that your experiences during college help to demonstrate the contributions you will make to a company or organization. By expanding the details of your collegiate experience, you are communicating your value in your post-college resume.


Darlene Z.

Darlene Zambruski is a resume writing expert and CPRW (Certified Professional Resume Writer) with more than 13 years of industry experience. She has authored 10,000+ resumes in every industry and at every career level.

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