Are you a college student looking to start your career? If yes, you’ll need a resume. In this article, you will learn step-by-step how to structure your resume, write the different sections, see a few college resume examples, and have a walk-through video to get you up to speed. This article takes into consideration that you more than likely have not had much (if any) professional experience, so we’ll focus on your other attributes. Let’s dive in.
Resume Changes Over The Years
Resumes have drastically changed over the years. In the past, you used to hand deliver or mail your resume to a company that had an opening or a company of interest. Human resources would receive these resumes and read them. Times have changed. Now the majority of resumes are submitted virtually in a PDF or Word format, and sent via email to recruiters and companies. It has become so easy to send a resume that recruiters get flooded with several hundred to thousands of resumes for a single position. This in turn has made it next to impossible for recruiters to carefully review your resume. On average, a resume gets about a 6-second look. If it’s interesting, it will be saved; if not, well, you know the answer.
To make matters worse, or better said, more challenging for you, the candidate, companies are now using technology to scan your resumes. These are called Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) (Learn how to adapt your resume for applicant tracking systems here). When you submit a resume, the ATS works as a gatekeeper and is binary: Yes, it passes, no, it doesn’t. On average, 75% of all resumes submitted to a position will never be seen by a recruiter because they did not pass the ATS. In this article, college resume examples, you will see how to format and write each section, so you resume will have the greatest chances of being viewed by a recruiter and subsequently called in for an interview.
Resume Headings – What To Add
Most resumes in general including college resumes will include a heading with information such as, your email address, phone number, possibly your social media links, and maybe even your Skype name. These are the main things that you should have in your header.
Name: Write out your full name or your preferred name. Sometimes your name may consist of 4 or 5 names, maybe you’ll select only two. It’s a matter of preference. This will be in large font and will be the first thing an interviewer will see on your resume.
Email Address: Watch out here. It might be time to update that old email address you’re using. I remember mine was FreshPrince111@Hotmail.com. had to scrap that one. For your resume, use something professional. You can use your initials and then your last name or a combination like: PChesney@Gmail.com or Philip.Chesney@Yahoo.com. Create a variation that is close to your name. You may need to add a number or two because that email may not be available. It could be Philip.Chesney1985@Gmail.com . You get the point. This does not only apply for our college resume examples, but all resumes in general.
Phone number: Always add your complete phone number. This includes the area code and preferably the country code. If you consider sending your resume for jobs or even internships abroad, make sure to add a +1 before your phone number (if you are from the USA) to let the other person know it is a USA number. The number would look like +1 (518) 346 – 2230.
Address: Most college resume examples you will find have an area for your address. Most people do add this, but some don’t. The reason for not adding it is because some recruiters may not want a candidate from out of town. You may be thinking to yourself, “I am totally willing to relocate.” The thing is, the interviewer may not know this or may have read, “Willing to relocate” on your resume, but still wants to give preference to someone local.
Professionally speaking, it is much better to get your foot in the door and prove that you are a great candidate, instead of being dis-considered because you are not in that region. Your best bet is to Not add it.
Skype ID: Skype has become one of the major tools used for video conference interviews. It is a good idea to add your Skype ID in the top section of your resume. It just makes things easier for the recruiter to contact you. Also, if you are applying to a job that uses an ATS and it is requesting a Skype ID, it should automatically fill it in. Just remember though, try to use your name as the Skype ID and not something that might be perceived as unprofessional.
College Resume Examples – Summary/Objective
A summary or professional objective on a resume for college students is to convey what you want to do, what you are looking for, or even to highlight your top accomplishments. This section is totally optional but can make a nice addition to your resume if you use it correctly.
Also, remember in the first section where we talked about Applicant Tracking Systems? The summary/ professional objective can help create more relevance in your resume.
Let’s say that you mentioned that you are a college student skilled in ABC, etc. If later on in your resume you demonstrate your knowledge of ABC (at a former job you held or at a volunteer position, or even at school), the ATS understands this to be more relevant. Also, if this is a skill that the job description requires, you will rank higher because it has been mentioned in a few different areas on your resume and in different ways. Therefore, a summary/objective can actually be helpful. If you write one, write a great one.
Let’s take a look at two college resume examples of a Summary/Objective starting with a bad one, then followed by an improved one.
Bad example: A determined college student looking for a great career.
This was not very inspiring and very bland – too general.
Good example: Passionate marketing and business student looking to put knowledge into practice and start a career in the marketing field.
Much better and it tells more about you and what you are looking for.
This is one of the key sections as a college student and one that you must showcase your awesomeness. In many cases, you have not had much professional experience, so you need to put the spotlight on your profile with your educational achievements.
Start by adding the name of the school where you studied/ are studying, degree focus/major, start date and end date/ presumed end date, followed by awards, certifications, your GPA if it was high, and any special projects you took part in.
Bachelor’s in international Relations 2014 – 2018
University of Albany
If you notice in the example above, you presented your course, the dates you studied at the particular school, along with your accomplishments. That is a great start. Always look for things you have done, led, organized, or participated in that could make a nice addition to this section. Obviously, you are not going to fill the page with all the things you have done /are doing at college, but you should label the most relevant and impactful ones! Think about it this way, if you had 10 great things but could only pick for of them to showcase to someone, which ones would you pick and why?
In some cases, if you do have 10 great things to pick from in your educational experience, try your best to relate these skills to the job you are applying for. Recruiters look for job fit.
The work experience section on a resume for our college resume examples is not going to have as much weight as some of the other sections as you will probably not have had much work experience (we mentioned this before). Regardless of the amount of work experience you have or lack thereof, make sure to include informal jobs. Informal jobs have certain transferable skills and can elicit your skills to the recruiter.
Informal example: suppose you worked doing lawncare for a few clients. You could mention how you always aimed to give great customer service and impress the client with your quality of work, work ethic, discipline etc. You might add something like how you were able to impress your clients and get them to recommend you to other neighbors or friends. Or maybe even your client has given you additional work. Highlight these aspects.
Formal example: you may have worked at McDonalds, a pizzeria, on campus, or even at a retail store. Mention the things you did (Job role and tasks) but put special emphasis on your accomplishments. What did you do that made a difference? How did you add value? It is best to quantify this if possible. Honestly, interviewers really look for what you have achieved and how that success will translate into future success in the new role. After all, you’re being interviewed to help solve a problem, challenge, or gap that the company currently has. How do your skills and experience translate into the solution for the company? Always keep this in mind!
As mentioned above, you should try to quantify your experience. Let’s look at some ways to do this. Review these questions and see how they apply to what you have done so far.
- Were you able to improve your departments ranking in comparison to others?
- Did any of your actions/ideas help make the company more money? How/Why?
- Did any of your ideas/actions help the company grow?
- Did you have any ideas or ways to cut costs and save the department or company money?
- Did you meet your goals? Did you go above and beyond?
- Did you find ways to increase job efficiency or improve company processes?
Whenever possible, use real numbers in your work experience. Show how you brought the company results.
Skills To Add In College Resumes
The skills section on a resume for college students is a place to show your knowledge in specific areas. These skills should also mirror the job description. Remember how we talked about the ATS in the beginning, the more your skills and CV match the description, the higher likelihood it will get a Yes and then be viewed by a human being.
For skills section of a college resume, focus on things like language fluency, computer skills, software knowledge, and other technical skills you have. Next to each item you list, mention your knowledge level/proficiency of it. For instance, if you put down Spanish, add a hyphen and then e.g. fluent or proficient etc. Let’s look at a few more to make it stick.
Remember, for each resume you submit, it is best to tweak it to fit the job description. If you have the desired skills, tweak them to better match it. This will increase your chances of getting your foot in the door for an interview.
Don’t forget the volunteer experience section on your resume. If you have participated in volunteer projects, mention them. Taking on specific roles while volunteering can demonstrate your skills, dedication, and help convey why you are the right person for the job. Additionally, volunteer experience can be a great icebreaker as the interviewer might be interested in your experience, want to learn more, or may even be part of the organization. Hey, you never know. It is a great conversation starter nonetheless.
A good rule of thumb is to always include info that is relevant to the job you’re applying for. Let’s take bullet point number 3 for example. This bullet point conveys teamwork, and when you join a company, you will be expected to work well as a team.
The extras section is totally optional. If you choose to add it, you could add things like, hobbies, interests, publications, projects you have worked on, community activities, etc. Don’t just add these Extras for the sake of adding extras. Add things that will make a difference and help put spotlight on your profile. If a project you worked on helped hone some of your skills in a specific area, and it is relevant to the job, definitely include it. Be ready to talk about it as well.
College Resume General Tips
- College resume format: Your resume should be 1-2 pages long. No sending a 7-page resume! No one reads these.
- Write your resume in a reverse chronological order. It should always be current or most recent position first and then go backwards.
- Use PDF or Word format. More importantly, when you submit your resume on a site, check to see what file types they accept. Often a company’s ATS can only read a certain type of file.
- Always customize your resume. Match your resume to the job description. Just don’t BS though. Make sure you do have those skills when you do this.
- No need for references on the resume. In many cases, the company will request references in a specific field on the application or will ask for them afterward. You can then furnish them.
- Be careful with formatting. Do not use borders or tables as the ATS cannot read these. Go for bullet points as they can help organize the information and can be read by the ATS.
- Link your skills, attributes, and education to the position you are interviewing for. How are you the solution to their challenge?
Putting It All TogetherName-Resume
As you are going through college, you are going to need a resume. Don’t worry if you do not have much experience. Highlight your academic, volunteer experiences, skills, and other interests of yours. Show who you are and why you are the right person for the job. Although these are some of the major college resume examples, there are more tips out there. This article does cover all the bases you’ll need to get prepped. If you’re looking for tips on how to create a high-school resume, check out this article and video.
For more articles on job search and interview tips, check out the CareerPrep blog and for how-to videos on interview tips, check out the EnglishInterviews and CareerPrep Youtube channels.
I wish you success on your career journey!