Resume Writing Tips for College Students

You’ve probably been told that your resume is the most important document in your job search (and it is). But if you want to stand out from the competition, you need more than a great looking resume. In the end, only qualified candidates will get called for an interview.

Creating a great resume can be a challenging task for college students and recent college grads. Let’s face it, unless you’ve worked while going to college (or participated in some amazing internships), most students haven’t reached many significant achievements (in terms of marketable skills). However, when you consider those qualities and skills that are valuable for employers, you begin to understand that there is much more you can write about than what you initially anticipated. Learning how to write a resume an amazing resume is the most important first step you can take to ensure that you convince your potential employers that you have the skills they need.

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Following are some resume writing tips that will help you present your background in a way that will get you more interviews.

  • Make a list of Your Experience: Thoughtful planning will make for a great resume. Take the time to collect all of the content for your resume before you start writing. This includes:
    • A Summary of Your Skills and Objectives – Make a list of all of your skills. This includes computer skills you have and other skill that that you learned while in college or working part time jobs.List as many skills as you can think of, the  list can be adjusted as/if needed when you build your resume.
    • Education – You’ve just graduated (or are about to graduate). You should gather the key facts about your education (especially if you have an advanced degree). You should list the name of the university/college, degree program, years attended and any honors (such as Dean’s List). Other key fact may be appropriate, like GPA, clubs and extracurricular activities, special courses, awards and any other important fact that will help your resume stand out.
    • Work history – Even if you’ve only worked some part time jobs, you will want to list them on your resume. You will also want to make a list of achievements and specific responsibilities. Take a look at: 5 Steps to a Great Resume – Formats.
    • Extracurricular Activities and Hobbies – Employers want to know what you do in your spare time. If you were a member of a school sports team, this helps to show that you can work with others.
  • Highlight Relevant Experiences and Skills: Take a look at your list and highlight the most relevant experiences and skills for the jobs you would like to have. Applicant resumes that focus on specific job requirements are the most successful. If you’re still at college, you leverage your college’s Career Services. This is a valuable opportunity for you to see your future in a certain career and understand what that niche requires.
  • Highlight Your Achievements as a College Student: Include the successes you have achieved while studying. If you have high GPA, make sure to include this information on your resume. Describe the serious academic projects you took part in, such as independent studies or senior theses. This will present you as an active learner with skills in presentation, research, and writing.
  • Focus on Your Leadership Skills: Potential employers will value leadership skills, so make sure to include information about motivating, training, leading, recruiting, and organizing your peers while taking part in a certain co-curricular activity. Not all students can have leadership skills, so you should be proud of such accomplishments and make sure to include them in your resume.
  • Include Community Service and Volunteer Work: If you’ve worked as a volunteer, include this on your resume. While you did not get paid for this work, you gained valuable experience. This type of activity shows that you are a mature person who is willing to give without expecting anything in return.
  • Misspellings and Grammatical Errors: There is nothing that will get your resume discarded more quickly than errors. There is really no excuse these days for sending a resume (or any document for that matter) that has misspellings or grammatical errors. Spell check has been around forever and most word processing programs include a grammar checker. Read your resume several times before sending.  The best piece of advice is to get someone to proofread it for you.
  • What You Do in Your Spare Time: Hiring managers want to know that you have interests outside of your job. Sports, camping, travel, etc. are all great hobbies. Avoid anything that might cause discrimination. Political organizations is a good example and should not be included on your resume.

The right resume can make a great impression on potential employers, but only if you work on it obsessively and perfect it. Take your time to complete it and make sure to follow all above-mentioned steps.

We are always eager to hear from our readers. Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions or suggestions regarding CareerAlley content.

Good luck in your search,

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