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In case you haven’t noticed, unemployment among recent college graduates is at record levels.  In an April dispatch referenced in The Atlantic, the Associated Press reported that more than half of America’s recent college graduates are either unemployed or working in a job that doesn’t require a bachelor’s degree.

Given the typical college students lack of work experience, the resume writing process can be an extremely difficult one.  There are do’s and don’ts and a host of so-called resume “doctors” to guide you for a fee.

However, most issues regarding resumes can be resolved by using common sense. Although I will admit, after looking at thousands of resumes over the years, quite a few people are suffering from a profound state of poverty in that department.

One area where common sense should easily apply but rarely does: recent college graduates and their confusion about whether to list part-time and summer jobs as work experience.

The answer is YES, especially if it involves real work.  Jobs as waiters, retail sales representatives, receptionist, bellman, janitor, camp counselor – anything that will show a potential boss that you know what it means to put in a good day’s work, be responsible and earn a paycheck.  It doesn’t matter where you earned your degree – Harvard, Columbia, Stanford, Texas Southern, or Ferris State  — not including this bit of important information is shortsighted.

Why?  Employer’s want to know if you understand the real world in this new economy — what it means to work, to be responsible, and to take on tough assignments that require sacrificing leisure pursuits.

The Baltimore Sun reported in May that the unemployment report for recent college graduates under the age of 25 is 9.4 percent versus 8.2 percent for everyone else. That doesn’t count the people who have given up looking altogether.

Having real job experience is a resume asset.  Do not hide it.  It may mean the difference between finding a real job with an independent lifestyle or having to introduce your roommates as Mom and Dad.

© 2012 John Gregory Self