Beefing Up (Not Fluffing Up) Your “Blank Slate” Resume

One of the biggest challenges many of our new grad clients face is putting together their first “grown up” resume. Many fear they are grasping at straws, while others focus on trying to fill in blanks instead of shining light on what has actually been accomplished.

Here are some tips for overcoming the challenge of putting together an entry-level resume.

You have a degree – How did you get it?

You spent the last four years focused on school and getting your degree – own it! The whole point of college is to get some necessary training for the real world. What major projects are you proud of? Think of these projects as work experience. Focus on the challenges you had to overcome, types of groups you had to work with and what made you stand out from the rest of the class.

Creative-types that are trying to build portfolios can use their work from school as well. Bonus – this is your chance to update your final product with the feedback you may have received (future employers don’t need to know you originally used Comic Sans on that flyer).

Showcase what you did outside of the classroom.

Just because you weren’t paid for it, doesn’t mean it wasn’t valuable or a worthy experience. Volunteerism and student organizations show that you spend your time supporting causes you care about and can humanize you to employers.  It also highlights your work ethic (you actively chose to work for free in your spare time).

Include your babysitting, pizza delivery, retail and basketball coaching experience… in moderation.

Working and going to school is no easy feat. Showcasing that you were able to lock down your degree while also folding shirts at Gap can highlight your work ethic. However, don’t waste precious space with irrelevant details about these jobs. Stick to putting these jobs in a Job History section at the bottom.

Avoid soft skills and obvious technical skills

Anyone can say they are team oriented with a great work ethic. Employers want to see how you have demonstrated these skills. Including soft skills can hurt your resume because it is considered fluff. Focus your skills section on industry specific talents you can showcase in your experience section.

When it comes to the technical skills you have mastered, focus on specific software, programs and proficiencies that are unique to your industry. And please… whatever you do, DO NOT list general programs that most third graders have mastered (it is assumed that you know how to operate email, open a Word Document and create a PowerPoint).

Remember – you have a long career ahead of you, but you have also lived a lot of life to get here, to the present. Don’t let a lack of previous paychecks hold you back from going for it!


Looking to give your college senior that edge as they prepare to graduate? Julia Holian and Associates will be holding a One Day Career Launch Prep Course for College Seniors  on Tuesday, January 8, 2019 in Walnut Creek, California. For more information and to register click the button below.

[ut_button color=”blue” target=”_self” link=”″ size=”small” title=”Career Launch Prep Course” ]Register Here[/ut_button]

For more information contact Liz Helton at


Liz Helton is a Personal Branding Expert and Resume Writer. She helps entry to senior level professionals step into the next phase of their career with confidence by helping uncover their unique stories, and providing the tools to develop a clear understanding of their skills, experience, talents and goals. Learn more about Liz at

Julia Holian & Associates provides strategy and coaching for career-focused professionals looking to have the career they always wanted. The San Francisco Bay Area-based company was founded in 2016 by Julia Holian, a Gallup-Certified Strengths Coach with more than 20 years of experience in professional development. Julia Holian & Associates guides clients in any industry and recent college grads, with job search strategy and career transition, resume and LinkedIn development, interview preparation, and professional strengths coaching. For more information, please visit:

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