Resume Writing 101: How to Craft a Standout Resume as a College Student
Crafting a resume as a college student can be intimidating, but let’s be real, it’s not rocket science. While you may have limited work experience, you can still create a resume that highlights your strengths and accomplishments. Your resume is a key tool for communicating your skills and experience to potential employers, and it’s essential to make a good impression. So don’t stress – just follow these tips and you’ll be good to go.
Use a clear and concise format
As a college student, you probably don’t have a ton of work experience under your belt, so it’s important to keep your resume concise and focused. Aim for a one-page resume that highlights your most relevant experiences and skills. Use bullet points and short, concise sentences to make it easy for the reader to scan and find the information they’re looking for. Trust us, no one wants to read a novel about your college career (yet). Keep it short and sweet.
Include your contact information
At the top of your resume, include your full name, address, phone number and email address. This will make it easy for employers to contact you.
It’s important to use an email address that you check often so that you don’t miss out on any important messages. A professional-looking email address is key. No matter how much you love your pet hamster, using its name as your email address won’t do you any favors. Stick with something simple, like firstname.lastname@example.org
List your education
Your education is one of your biggest assets as a college student. Be sure to include the name and location of your school, your degree and your major. If you have a high GPA or any relevant honors, awards or academic projects, you can also include this information.
Emphasize your relevant experience
When you create your resume, it’s important to highlight your relevant work experience, including internships, part-time jobs and even volunteer positions. While you may not have a lot of work experience, don’t forget to include these important positions to demonstrate the skills and experiences you’ve gained. Showcase specific details about the roles and responsibilities you had, as well as accomplishments that relate to the internship or job description. While you’re at it, give your internships and volunteer roles descriptive names that accurately portray the work you did.
For example, instead of simply listing “Intern” or “Volunteer,” consider using more descriptive titles such as:
- Marketing Intern
- Graphic Design Intern
- Sales Intern
- Social Media Intern
- Event Planning Volunteer
- Community Outreach Volunteer
- Fundraising Volunteer
Use action verbs
When describing your experience, use action verbs to show what you did rather than just listing your responsibilities. Examples of action verbs include “managed,” “led,” “developed,” “increased,” and “achieved.”
Be sure to use the past tense for past positions and the present tense for your current position. For example: “Managed a team of 10 employees” for a past position, and “Manage a team of 10 employees” for your current position.
Use a professional design
Your resume should be easy to read and visually appealing. Use a clean, professional font and avoid adding unnecessary graphics or images. Make sure to include white space/margins on your resume as interviewers often jot down notes on your resume during the interview.
Experiment with different font options and see which one works best for your resume:
- Sans-serif fonts do not have small lines or “feet” at the end of each stroke. These fonts are modern and minimalistic in appearance and are often easier to read on screens. Examples include Arial, Calibri and Helvetica.
- Serif fonts, on the other hand, have small lines or “feet” at the end of each stroke. They are intended to create a visual connection between letters and make the text easier to read. These fonts tend to be more traditional and formal in appearance, and they are often used in print materials. Examples include Times New Roman, Georgia, and Garamond.
Whichever font you decide to use, make sure it’s easy to read and consistent throughout your resume.
Font size is an important factor to consider when creating a resume. A font size of 10-12 points is recommended for the body of the resume, while larger sizes such as 14-16 points are best for headings and subheadings. This size range ensures that your resume is easy to read and is not too cluttered.
Highlight your skills
When applying for a job or internship, it’s key to emphasize any applicable skills or credentials that you possess. After all, employers are not interested in your mad Fortnite skills if you’re applying for a policy analyst role. Showing relevant acumen and qualifications can help you stand out as a potential candidate and prove that you are the perfect fit for the position. So don’t be shy – highlight those skills and let them shine.
There are a few different ways you can highlight your skills on your resume, including:
Creating a separate “Skills” section: This can be a simple list of your skills, grouped by category (such as technical skills, language skills, or soft skills).
- Technical Skills: Proficiency in Adobe Photoshop, HTML, CSS
- Language Skills: Fluent in Spanish, Intermediate French
- Soft Skills: Strong communication skills, team leadership
Incorporating your skills into your work experience: In the descriptions of your past jobs or internships, make sure to highlight any skills or qualifications that are relevant to the position you’re applying for.
Marketing Intern XYZ Company, June-August 2020
- Assisted with the development and implementation of marketing campaigns
- Created promotional materials using Adobe Photoshop and InDesign
- Conducted market research and analyzed data using Excel
Adding a “Key Skills” or “Qualifications” section: This can be a brief summary of your most relevant skills and qualifications, listed in bullet point form.
- Proficiency in Adobe Photoshop and InDesign
- Fluent in Spanish and intermediate French
- Strong communication and teamwork skills
- Experience with market research and data analysis
Proofread your resume carefully
Before submitting your resume, please take the time to proofread it for any spelling or grammar mistakes. This is a great opportunity to ensure that your resume is clear, concise and well-written. It may also be helpful to have someone else review it, such as a friend or family member, to make sure it is accurate and reflects your best qualities. Doing this will make a positive impression on potential employers and help you stand out from other applicants.
With these tips, you can create a standout resume that will help you get noticed by potential employers and take the first step in launching your career.