Tips For Writing A College Student Resume
Before you start writing, make sure you know how to write a resume in a way that best emphasizes your strengths.
The hardest resume youll write in your life will likely be your first. Whether youre entering the workforce or writing a grad school resume to continue your career in academia, writing a convincing resume without work experience is tough, especially now with the lasting economic impact of COVID-19.
Luckily, you can still put together an offer-worthy application without professional experience even if youre writing a college freshman resume.
First, here are some related resumes and cover letters to help you in case this page doesnt provide everything you need for your job hunt:
Teach Yourself A New Skill
With so many online resources at your fingertips, there are plenty of options if youre looking to learn something new. Course platforms like Lynda and Coursera offer online classes teaching just about everything.
Maybe youll learn to code over spring break or take up a second language over the summer. Either way, employers are impressed by applicants who are self-starters and eager to learn. Plus, you may be able to utilize these newfound skills in your career.
What To Include On Your College Student Resume
College resumes differ from traditional resumes in that they lean heavily upon coursework, internships, and other college-level achievements to demonstrate a candidates value. Here are some suggestions for what to include on your recent graduate resume. Not all items are necessary, but any additions that can be leveraged to demonstrate your value as a candidate should be.
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What Skills Not To Put On Your Resume
- First of all- dont lie on your resume! A lot of people want to bend the truth a bit and they put skills they dont really have which can lead to embarrassment. Even if you do get the job, by stating you have some skills you really dont have will bring you much stress in the long run.
- Dont mention skills that are not required in the job description .
- Dont put skills in your resume that you are expected to have
Option : List College Location And Details
There are a few different ways to include the fact that you attended college.
You can simply list the college and location:
Macanster CollegeCleveland, OH
You can also provide more detail. Include the years attended, the number of credits completed, and your GPA if it is very strong :
Unionville University, 2015 – 2017Completed 42 credits, GPA 3.8
You can mention the focus of your studies, if it is related to your employment objective, and the number of credits completed in that discipline:
Hannaford College, 2016 – 2018Completed 36 credits, including 16 credits in business.
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Tips For Writing A College Resume
Read below for tips on how to write a strong college resume.
- Use action verbs. Action verbs help show your responsibility. When describing your achievements, use action words. Words like led, researched, and to portray your experiences in an energetic way. Check out a list of action words for useful examples.
- Quantify when possible. Whenever possible, include numbers to show your achievements. For example, you might say that you worked the cash register at a store that managed $10,000 daily, or that you helped 50 – 100 customers daily at your retail job.
Include Deans List Under Your Education Section
You should always list the Deans list in your resume education section, because its part of your educational history. This is also where employers expect to see it.
Place the Deans list next to the GPA on your resume. This line belongs beneath the name, city, and state of your university, as well as your degree title and graduation year.
Heres a template you can use for your own resume:
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List Your Education After Your Summary
Your education section is where youll demonstrate to employers that youre learning skills you can apply on the job. Consider featuring it as one of the first sections on your resume.
Related: How to List Education on a Resume
Even if what youre studying may seem unrelated to the professional world, your commitment to education can demonstrate a will to continually improve and showcase a strong work ethic. Take this opportunity to list relevant coursework youve completed, your GPA and key areas of study. Your education section should include:
- The name of your school
- The location of your school
- The degree you are pursuing
- Your field of study
- Your graduation year
- Your GPA
Any relevant honors or academic recognition, coursework, activities or other achievements obtained during your education
Here are two examples:
Bachelor of Arts in PsychologyBusiness Essentials Certificate, Terry Scholar
University of Virginia May 2019Alpha Phi Omega The largest collegiate fraternity in the US, coed and with a focus on community service.
Pro Tip: If you have not graduated yet, include your anticipated or expected graduation date. Include only the month and year, no need to include the dates you were enrolled.
Example: Expected graduation May 2022
How To Write A Curriculum Vitae
In the United States, a curriculum vitae, or CV, is a type of resume used by professionals in the fields of academia, medicine, teaching, and research. Students most often are asked to submit a CV when they are applying to fellowships, graduate degree programs, or research positions. Countries outside the U.S. often call their resumes CVs, so be sure to understand accurately what it is they are looking for.
As a student, CVs are typically two pages and will include more scholarly content, such as research experiences, laboratory skills, and publications. Apply the same resume formatting guidelines to your CV.
Sample CV section headings may include, but are not limited to
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Tips For Returning Or Adult Students:
As a returning or adult student, you have the unique experience of having been away from school for a number of years. While the tips for all résumés listed above apply to you, you want to take extra care constructing your résumé. First, if an activity, job, experience, or award is over 10 years old, leave it out. Fill your résumé with relevant and current activities. If youve had the same job for a number of years and are worried about filling up a page, there are some steps you can take:
- Go into detail about the jobs that you do choose to include. Instead of just one bullet point describing your responsibilities, list two or three.
- If youve held different positions with the same company, separate them. This sample résumé lists two separate positions with the same employer and goes into detail about how the responsibilities differ between the two.
- Add information about career development or job training that youve completed. This can either go into your education section or as a bullet point beneath a position detailing informal training that youve received while on the job.
Page last updated: 05/2019
A Good Resume Is A Consistent Resume
Consistency is important for creating an impressive resume. This means all similar items on the page need to be aligned and formatted the same way. For example, if you decide to write your dates out in long-form and italicized, they need to be long-form and in italics every place there is a date on your resume. If you decide to put your school name in bold, every school name needs to be in bold.
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The Most Effective Skills To Put On Your Resume
It is said that it takes 3 seconds to make a first impression so that the other person can form their opinion about you. The same 3-second rule can be applied to your resume when it lands in the hands of a person who decides whether you are the right candidate for their company. So, it goes without saying that you have got to make it appealing since we all judge books by their covers. Well teach you what are the most efferctive skills to put on your resume, and maybe the ones you didnt even know you had?
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You Attended Or Graduated From A Prestigious University
The more prestigious the university, the more seriously you should consider putting Deans list on your resume.
This applies if you attend one of the Ivy League universities , or any of the colleges and universities widely recognized as the best in the United States. Knowing that you made the Deans list at such a competitive institution will impress employers even more, and help the name of your university stand out.
Even if you only made the Deans list once or twice, consider adding it to your resume if you attended a prestigious university like any of the above.
Ditch The Objective Section
Including an objective on your resume is a dated tradition that still lingers about, especially among entry-level candidates. While having a clear idea of what youre looking for in a position is important to your job search, career objectives put the emphasis on your needs rather than the companys. They dont say much about how you can contribute, and as we noted above, the purpose of your resume is to illustrate the value you can bring to an organization.
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Recent College Graduate Job Application Tips
Now that you know what to include on your resume, its time to learn how to write it effectively.
Here are three expert tips for assembling the perfect job application as a recent college graduate:
1. Highlight your experience as a student
As a new graduate, your college education is your biggest asset entering the job market.
Employers understand that earning a degree requires a variety of marketable skills. However, its your responsibility to demonstrate what those skills are and why theyre valuable.
To do this, include a detailed education section. Mention your GPA on your resume , honors or awards, and your major/s and minor/s. Also, include any study abroad programs you completed as a separate entry in your education section
Additionally, you should highlight extracurriculars or relevant coursework on your resume as entries in your experience section. These experiences help fill in the gaps on your resume if you lack formal work experience, and demonstrate the valuable professional skills youve picked up through your academic career.
2. Emphasize your soft skills
Soft skills, such as communication, team management, or interpersonal skills, are always in high demand from employers. For many entry level positions, hiring managers consider them to be even more valuable than hard skills, because soft skills are notoriously difficult to teach.
3. Write a convincing cover letter
Here is an example of a college student resume, based on the tips above:
AWARDS & ACHIEVEMENTS
Focus On Depth And Length Of Commitment
When deciding which activities and accomplishments make the cut, keep in mind that colleges would much rather see you excited about one or two key experiences than sporadic involvement in 20 clubs. If having an after-school job limited your ability to participate in clubs or sports, make sure your resume plays up your work responsibilities, training, and on-the-job skills.
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Styling Tips For Your Resume
- Go with a traditional font. A serif font like Times New Roman looks professional, and is a traditional choice.
- Style consistently. All of your headings should match, all of your sections should look consistent. If you underline one heading, underline them all. If you use bullets in one section, use them in all.
- Keep it to one page. Your drafted resume can be as long as you’d like if it helps you keep track of your experiences. However, when you’re ready to submit your resume to a college, it should be just one page.
- Don’t touch the margins! Whitespace is your friend. If you’re looking for more space, resist the urge to adjust margins, and try adjust the content of your resume instead.
- Save as a PDF. Save your resume as a PDF and title it: “Your Name_Resume.pdf”
Consider Adding Additional Sections
Adding additional non-work-related sections after the skills section on your college resume can help you stand out from other applicants with similar educational backgrounds and skill sets.
Here are some examples of sections you could add to the end of your resume:
An activities section is ideal for students or recent grads who have limited to no prior work experience. Listing relevant activities gives you the chance to show where and how you developed certain skills outside your education. Just make sure your activities reflect the type of work youll be doing in the position youre applying for.
Youll want to list any academic-related honors and awards youve received in your education section. If youve earned any honors outside your college experience that are relevant to the job, you can create a separate section that briefly explains the significance of each award.
If youve received any training and/or certifications that prove you have specific skills or knowledge relevant to the position, put these in a separate section.
Those applying for a job that requires experience with specific software, digital tools, or web languages should include a digital proficiency section at the end of their resume to prove theyre technologically qualified. You could also include this section in place of a standard skills section if digital proficiencies are more relevant to the role.
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Aide To Professor / College Tutor
Kept records and graded coursework for college students.
- Operated office machines and tools during the production of coursework.
- Led group and individual tutoring sessions for college level material.
- Assisted in teaching coursework in the classroom setting of 60 students.
- Moderated class discussion, modulated flow of classroom time.
Academic Project Relevant To A Job
Including an academic project in a resume is straightforward. Include where the project took place, what class it was a part of, the title of the project, the date it was completed and a short summary of its purpose.
Example of how to list an academic project in a resume:Coral Springs University, Coral Springs, Florida Intro to Hospitality Course McDonalds Restaurant Analysis Group ProjectWorked within a team of 4 to analyze data on the revenue, size, and customer base of a popular fast-food chain in Florida. Created and presented findings during a course presentation. Was personally responsible for collecting data on McDonalds revenue and creating a PowerPoint presentation.
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How To Write A Resume Header
If you’re still using an old email address from high school, it’s time to create a new professional account. Choose a popular email provider like Gmail or Outlook and keep your address simple by using your full name or a variation of your first and last name.
Your contact information must be up to date so that potential employers won’t have any issue reaching you. Make sure to include your first and last name, phone number, and email address in the header of your resume, and double-check that these are correct.
If location is important or relevant to the company, you may also include your city and state in your header. You can usually skip putting down your full home address.
If you don’t have a lot of work experience but do have a portfolio of relevant work you can show, you should insert links to your personal website and/or online portfolio in your resume header.
You might also consider including a link to to help the hiring manager get a better sense of your professional presence. Steer clear of adding links to any other social media accounts unless the job specifically requires social media skills.
Why Were Resume Objectives Popular
When you’re a college student, it’s likely that you don’t have much professional experience in the field you’re interested in, but a college student resume objective helped to show that you still have the skills needed to perform the job.
Resume objectives were all the rage for decades because they were typically tailored to the skills and requirements of each specific jobusing a standard objective statement for every resume you sent out could look amateurish. Before writing a resume objective, applicants would check out the job description to get clues on what a company was looking for in an employee. The perfect objective targeted the job and the company you wanted to work for. Tailoring an objective would help hiring managers see you as more than just your job history .
Keep this advice about tailoring in mindits definitely still applicable to the personal summaries of todays resumes.
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When To Start Creating A College Resume
Freshman year of high school is the ideal time to start your resume. Adding activities and awards each year will ensure you do not forget important events. Tracking each year allows you to see which categories to give more attention to in order to increase the strength of your resume. Keep in mind longevity in one or two activities carries more weight than surface-level activity in numerous activities. College personnel can see through someone who is simply trying to pad their resume, versus someone who is passionate in a given area.