Writing a Winning College Student Resume

Whether you are a College Student looking for a job to pay tuition fees or are looking for your first position after college, you need to write a first-rate college student resume to give yourself the best chance of getting the job. Now, you might say: “Why all the fuss about a college student resume? I’m not even applying for a senior position!”

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Before you think your resume is just a boring document, figures from guide2research.com show that a significant proportion of American students work during their off-study hours to afford tuition with 43% of full-time students and 81% of part-time students working.

That’s a lot of students looking for a job! And those figures do not include the number of college students applying for internships or if you are a recent college graduate. So your resume really needs to stand out from the rest. 

How about we get down to business and write that college student resume to get you the interview you want?

We will show you a step-by-step guide for writing your college resume and an equally impressive cover letter to dazzle hiring managers. 

Or, if you find yourself in cramming mode, you can try our resume builder for a resume template to save time.

A Peek at the Best College Jobs

These are a list of some of the best-paid jobs on the job market for college students, along with the average hourly pay for each job college student resume.

  • Tutor $24.11
  • Interpreter/Translator $18 – 29
  • Babysitter $15.27
  • Research Assistant $15.27
  • Gym Receptionist $12.40
  • Library Monitor $12.23
  • Pet Care $11.53
  • Lifeguard $11.39
  • Retail Sales Associate $11.38
  • Restaurant Host or Server $11.06
  • Barista $10.88

Have you decided on which job to apply for? 

You have so many choices available, but it all begins with a well-crafted college student resume and cover letter. 

Example of a College Student Resume 

The college student resume example below introduces you to your ticket to getting professional experience. 

Dana Johnson
120 Fullerton Drive
Los Angeles, CA 90024
(123) 456-1234
[email protected]

Career Objective
Marketing student seeking to acquire internship experience as Marketing Assistant with A-1 Enterprises to leverage creativity and relevant studies. People-oriented, a fast learner, with a solid determination to succeed. Expected to complete an Associate of Arts in Marketing in June 2021.

Education

Associate of Arts in Marketing
Los Angeles City College
Los Angeles, CA 
GPA: 3.6
Expected graduation: June 2021

Awards, Honors Received

Dean’s List: Fall 2019, Spring 2020
Best Promotional Campaign Proposal for LACC’s Health and Wellness Center

Extra-curricular Activities
Member: Associated Student Government,  Fall and Spring 2019
President, [email protected], Fall and Spring 2019

Skills
Proficiency in the French language
Microsoft Office Suite
Time Management
Organizational Skills
Verbal and Written Communication Skills
Leadership Skills

Relevant Work Experience

Marketing Assistant
High-Speed Computer Services
Summer 2019
Responsibilities:

  • Assisted Marketing Specialist in the design of an online survey regarding the company’s services
  • Organized and analyzed data taken from the online survey, highlighting the company’s strengths and identifying areas for improvement
  • Recommended a marketing strategy to broaden the target market’s awareness of the company and the services it provides; The strategy resulted in a market share increase of 3% and a sales increase of 9%. 

Restaurant Server
Dad’s Diner
May 2018 to April 2019
Responsibilities:

  • A two-time awardee of Best in Customer Service 
  • Attended to an average of 60 guests per night 
  • Coordinated with order-takers and kitchen workers to ensure correctness and completeness of food and drinks ordered by customers
  • Acknowledged and resolved customer complaints and escalated unresolved issues to Shift Supervisor
  • Responded to customer-related emergencies, e.g., a customer getting sick

How to Make a College Student Resume

When you are writing your first resume, the process can be daunting.

A common concern is how to make your resume get the hiring manager’s attention when you have no work experience to show for. 

But there’s no need to worry. 

Experience or no experience, you can still impress employers. 

Keep in mind the following tips as we go through each step of writing your resume.

  • Write and organize your resume based on job relevance. 
  • Highlight your education, skills, and achievements. 
  • Use a college resume design that is visually appealing yet functional and professional. 
  • Tailor your resume based on the job description and the profile of the company you intend to join. 
  • Make your resume applicant tracking system friendly. 
college student resumeAround 75% of resumes do not reach hiring managers because they get rejected by an applicant tracking system.

The Layout of the College Student Resume

If you still remember your English lessons as a high school student, they will come in handy because you will need to be apply your best and most concise vocabulary when crafting your resume.

Do not believe the fallacy that hiring managers are attracted to long resumes. Since we are talking about resumes, hiring managers might think you are fooling them with your credentials if you submit a 2-page resume.

Fit your resume into a single page. 

Make sure you leave enough space to make your design appear uncluttered. Make sure that you leave a margin of one inch on all sides.

Choose from any of the following easy-to-read fonts:

  • Arial
  • Calibri
  • Cambria
  • Georgia
  • Helvetica
  • Times New Roman
college student resumeFont size should be 10 or 11 pts, except for the section headings, which should be from 12 to 16 pts.

Your name should be the most visible information on your resume, at 18 to 24 pts.

Your name and section headings should be bold. 

Put each section in a box or use a line or paragraph break to separate them.

You may use colors to highlight sections but use them sparingly. Avoid bright colors.

Be consistent. Use the same font type, font size, and line spacing across your college student resumes and cover letters. If you use Arial 18 pts for your heading, the same should be applied in all headings. If you italicize dates in your Education section, all dates in the other sections must be italicized. 

It is important that your resume looks professionally formatted. If you want a hassle-free way to create your resume, check out our ready-made templates that will save you some time.

college student resume Prioritize your college resume’s legibility over style. According to career experts, hiring managers tend to skip resumes that are not easy on the eyes. 

The Structure of the College Student Resume

Follow the outline below to create your college resume.

  1. Header or contact information
  2. Career Objective
  3. Education
  4. Relevant Skills
  5. Awards, Honors, Certifications
  6. Relevant jobs or relevant experience
  7. Additional Headings, when applicable

With no sufficient work experience to back you up, this structure de-emphasizes your work history and focuses the hiring manager’s attention on your educational background and what you have accomplished as a college student. 

Present your Education and Relevant Experience in reverse chronological order, which means you begin with the most recent.

college student resumeUse a Word or PDF document when saving your resume on your computer and applying online. These file formats are more compatible with applicant tracking systems.

Start With the Header of the College Student Resume

Your header should have the following information at least:

  • Your Name 

You may omit your middle name. However, when you are more known by your middle name than your first name, you may choose to omit the first name instead. 

If you think that you will have several namesakes if you affix either of your first or middle name only to your last name, then you would do better using both. 

For example, if your full name is Joseph Anthony Fuller Smith you may just write any of the following:

Joseph Anthony Smith

Joseph Smith

Anthony Smith

  •  Mobile Number

 This contact number would be enough. You do not need to include your landline number. You wouldn’t want to risk having the hiring manager get in touch with you through a landline when you are not there to take their call, would you? 

  • E-mail address
college student resume  Do not use unprofessional addresses such as [email protected] or [email protected]

Use only your given names in your email address. If you do not have a professional address for email yet, you’d better create one before you write your resume.

For example: [email protected]

You may use optional information, only when relevant to the job you are applying for. What are these bits of optional information?

  • Mailing Address

Check the requirements from the job posting. If, for whatever reason, the employer prefers residents of a specific location, then you need to include your mailing address. 

  • Social Media Handles

Your LinkedIn profile is a good addition to your header, while the rest will depend on their relevance to the job. 

You may add Twitter if you are using it for professional stuff; otherwise, don’t include it.

Instagram, Pinterest, or Tumblr are okay to add if you are eyeing either a creative or technical position. 

  • Personal Websites or Blogs

If your personal website has your portfolio, add it to your header so you can showcase your skills.

college student resume Clear your social media accounts of any unprofessional content. Around a third of employers have changed their mind about hiring a candidate after viewing their social media account. Make sure you check your social media accounts and consider how your posts could be perceived by a potential employer. That rant you made a few months ago because you were late for your lesson might make you look aggressive. Or that photo from your night out might make you look unprofessional.  Consider deleting photos or making your accounts private and make a professional social media account.

Example of a Good Header for a College Student Resume

Your resume header may look something like this.

ADAM MONROE
Business Administration Student

 (123) 456 7890      
[email protected]
LinkedIn.com/in/MonroeAdam

Apart from the applicant’s name being highly visible, the inclusion of “Business Administration” gives the hiring manager a tiny hint of what to expect from Adam.

Example of a Bad Header for a College Student Resume

Take a look at this one.

STEPHEN MITCHELL – Marketing Student 

[email protected]   (123) 456 7098      LinkedIn.com/in/Smitchell

What is wrong with this header?

Despite the applicant’s name in all caps, it is not visible enough. It did not help that the term “Marketing Student” was placed in the same line as Stephen’s name.

The layout of the essential information is good, but the email address lacks professionalism. 

Is a Photo Required in the College Student Resume?

You do not need to add a photo to your resume college student resume .

Hiring managers are not supposed to decide based on your appearance unless you are applying for positions where looks are critical, e.g, model, actor, so why include a photo if it’s not needed? Around 4 out of 5 employers won’t consider your application if you include a photo. 

It will use up space in your resume that could be used for more vital content such as skills, achievements, and relevant experience. 

Also, an applicant tracking system may not be designed to handle photos and end up distorting how you look.

If you feel strongly about showing your photo to the hiring manager, add your LinkedIn URL in the header, so the hiring manager can see your profile pic from there. 

You might also want to review the job posting to see if the employer requires a photo with your resume. 

college student resumeIf you must add a photo, use one that has been taken recently. 

Choose a photo that projects you as a professional with a positive attitude. 

Choosing Your College Student Resume Title

The resume title is not compulsory, but putting one shows hiring managers that you put a lot of thought on your resume. 

Your resume title is a brief, memorable, and persuasive statement that will make the hiring manager look further into your resume. 

You may not have the work experience to impress hiring managers, but you can always leverage your skills. 

college student resumeUse keywords from the job description. 

If you have a single-column resume, it should be placed after the contact information. 

For a two-column resume, place your resume title at the right column, next to your contact information. 

For example, if a smartphone distributor advertised for a Marketing Assistant who preferably speaks Spanish, and willing to be trained, an applicant’s resume title may be written in this manner college student resume

SPANISH-SPEAKING MARKETING GRADUATE WITH A PASSION FOR LEARNING

How to Write a College Student Resume Objective 

So, your resume title made an impact on the hiring manager. The next thing they will look at will be your career objective.

A career objective may be in bullet points or in paragraph form, consisting of two to three statements that highlight your strong personality trait, the benefit your education provides, the position and the company you are applying for and your added value to the company. 

college student resume Do not let the career objective be just about you. Instead, express how the company will benefit when they hire you. 
Here is an example of an impressive resume objective. college student resume
CORRECT
A self-driven Computer Science graduate with a 3.5 GPA, seeking a Technical Support position at Biz Technology, Inc to leverage strong logical ability and customer-orientation to help Biz Technology, Inc. maintain its status as a leading software developer.

This one is an example of how NOT to write your resume objective. college student resume

INCORRECT
Seeking a Technical Support position at Biz Technology, Inc. to learn more about software development and apply the theories and concepts learned. Looking to gain valuable experience so I can earn more money.
The objective statement is obviously for the benefit of the applicant, and not the employer. 

The Work Experience Section in the College Student Resume

This is a tricky part of resume-writing because of your lack of work experience. 

But hey, all the experienced employees out there started where you are now, right? 

Hiring managers are aware that you do not have the experience that other applicants have. They should have seen that in your resume title. Still, they would be interested to know if you have enough muscles to do the job. 

So don’t let your lack of professional experience stop you from submitting an awesome resume. 

college student resume Do not discount the value of the experiences you acquired from your relevant internships, volunteer work, and even your participation in both academic and non-academic activities.

Owing to your lack of work experience, you may replace this to “Relevant Experience” or simply “Experience.”

How to Describe Your Relevant Experiences on Your College Student Resume

If you have several relevant experiences acquired from various sources, you might want to categorize them. For instance, you might want to create a category for internships, another for volunteer work, and another for extra-curricular activities.

Whether you categorize them or not, you need to start with the most recent or current experience.

For each experience, mention your job title or position, the company where you got the experience and its location, and the month and year covered.

Below those details, write a maximum of four bullet statements of your most relevant responsibilities and achievements.

Begin your responsibilities with a strong action verb.

college student resume Avoid verbs such as “Tasked to…” or “Assigned to…” These are just fluffs that reduce the impact of your responsibility.

Quantify your achievements to create more zing. 

Example of a Relevant Experience Section for an Undergraduate Student Seeking Internship

Sales and Marketing Assistant
Road Runner Auto Dealer
San Francisco, CA
Summer 2019
  • Created and maintained a leads database using MS Excel
  • Updated sales database daily
  • Sourced potential fleet customers through various media channels, acquiring three new fleet accounts
  • Co-designed brochures and other marketing collaterals with the Marketing Assistant

Volunteer
Community Feeding Center
August – December 2018

  • Purchased ingredients based on the weekly menu provided by the Kitchen Supervisor
  • Negotiated price discounts with suppliers, resulting in an average weekly savings of $100
  • Apportioned dishes to ensure all beneficiaries get their share
  • Supervised the center’s housekeeping

Example of Relevant Experience Section for a College Graduate Resume

Training Assistant Intern
ABC Energy Source
Los Angeles, CA
January – May 2019
  • Managed training room assignments based on the monthly training calendar
  • Performed icebreakers and energizers for junior staff training programs
  • Designed powerpoint presentations used in various soft skills training programs
  • Updated the training database

Administrative Assistant Intern
Metro Universal Bank 
Los Angeles, CA
August – December 2018

  • Managed the reservation and upkeep of 7 meeting rooms
  • Coordinated travel arrangements of 2 executives and 14 staff of the Loans Department
  • Monitored inventory of office supplies and sundries and requested purchase for replenishment
  • Generated routine reports for the Loans Department

How to Write the Education Section in Your College Student Resume

The lack of work experience makes the Education section crucial in writing your resume. 

Highlight your academic achievements to demonstrate qualities that will make you a perfect fit for the job, along with your graduation date.

The certifications you got from the various training programs you attended are worth mentioning in your resume. 

Should you start with education or work experience for a College Student Resume?

The rule is to emphasize whichever is more likely to create a positive impression on the hiring manager. Since there is no work experience to spark the interest of the hiring manager, it is best to start with your education. 

How to properly list your education in a College Student Resume

Indicate your degree program, including your minor degree when applicable. 

State the school you attended or are attending. 

Write down the year you graduated, or the expected month and year of your graduation.

Include your GPA only when it is close to 4.0. 

List down your relevant coursework. If they are not relevant, do not bother with them. 

Make an inventory of training certifications you acquired in college. 

Add relevant projects that you have done; if these were done with the team, mention your role in the team. 

Mention your high school education only when you do not have any form of college education.

college student resume  Do not attempt to crowd your Education section with information to impress the owner. Focus only on what is relevant.

Example of the Education Section of a College Student Resume

Here is an example of how a college graduate applying for a production team leader position in a manufacturing company should write the Education Section in their resume.

Bachelor of Science in Industrial Engineering
University of California-Berkeley
Berkeley, CA
2020
Relevant Coursework
  • Systems Analysis and Design
  • Production Management
  • Operations Research
  • Quality Control

Academic Achievement

  • Led the team awarded as having the Best Layout Proposal for a Paint Manufacturing Company, 2019

Certification

  • Google Project Management, 2020 

College Student Resume Example

Skills to Put in a College Student Resume

Make an inventory of your hard and soft skills.

Hard skills are those which are learned and usually specific to a field of study, which is why they are sometimes referred to as technical skills. 

On the other hand, soft skills are those you develop regardless of your field of study, e.g., Time Management.

What are the main skills sought for in a College Student Resume?

The most common skills that hiring managers would look for in a college student or a fresher are as follows:

Hard Skills

  • Technical Skills, depending on the position applied for
  • Computer Skills
  • Business Writing
  • Project Management

Soft Skills

  • Communication Skills
  • Leadership
  • Creative Thinking
  • Listening Skills
  • Time Management
  • Critical Thinking

Although we have identified these basic skills, it does not mean that you will just list them down. 

You must tailor your resume, which means we need to read the job description thoroughly to understand their requirements and list down only those skills relevant to the job.

Here is an example of a job description of a Sales Associate for a software developer.

  • Generates leads through various channels
  • Identifies customer needs and recommends appropriate product or service
  • Books appointments of Account Executives with potential clients
  • Performs after-sales call with clients to monitor customer satisfaction and upsell/cross-sell
  • Maintains database of leads generated through telemarketing
  • Generates routine sales reports

What Skills For a College Undergraduate?

Using the above job description as reference, a college undergraduate must have the following skills:

Hard Skills

  • Proficiency in online media channels
  • Selling Skills
  • MS Word, MS Excel
  • Computer Skills
  • Database management

Soft Skills

  • Customer Orientation
  • Telephone Etiquette
  • Organizing Skills
  • Probing Skills
  • Active Listening Skills 

The skills listed are the ones a hiring manager would most likely look for in a job applicant’s resume. 

However, if you are an undergrad, you must compare the must-have skills with those you already have. All you need to do is write down the skills that appear in both lists and your Skills section is good to go. 

Here is the proper way of writing your skills. college student resume

Skills
  • Proficient in database management.
  • Knowledgeable on upselling and cross-selling
  • Proven probing skills

What Skills For a College Graduate?

Should there be a difference between the skills 

listed by an undergrad and the one listed by a college graduate?

As far as the skill requirements are concerned, there won’t be any difference. But when it comes to what they list down in their resume, yes, it is always possible that there will be differences. The skills list you write down in your resume will depend on what skills you already have. 

Write the Ideal Resume Hook for a College Student Resume

The resume hook or tagline is a phrase that has no more than ten words, aimed at getting the hiring manager’s attention. 

Apart from the job title, the hook should have two key elements that are either directly mentioned or alluded to in the job description. 

Example of a College Student tagline for your first job

Using the same sample Sales Associate job description above, a college student may write a tagline as follows: college student resume

College student with strong online presence and tech-savvy

Sample tagline for a senior Student who already has some work experience

Here is how it may appear for a college graduate. college student resume

Business administration graduate with internship exposure to sales and marketing

Additional Headings for Your College Student Resume

New headings may be added to your resume only as applicable. 

Computer Skills and Certifications for Students

Since we want to boost your chances to be interviewed through the Education section, you may want to include your academic achievements and certifications under one sub-section of the Education section. 

Interests to include on a Student Resume

How do you spend your time when you are not in school or at work? List only those that are significant to you – something that you do on a regular basis. 

The interests that you list down will give the hiring manager a glimpse into your personality, which will allow him to assess if you will be a good fit for the job, the company, and the team you will be working with should they hire you. Don’t include your favourite sports team or anything not relevant to the position. 

Languages to include on a Student Resume

Learning another language is not easy, so it is definitely an advantage when you speak a second language. Besides enabling better communication with clients or business partners who are not comfortable with the English language, a second language indicates your sense of determination, hard work, and patience. 

Summary: Key Points for Writing a Perfect College Student Resume 

We have completed the process of writing your resume. Let’s do a recap. 

  • Design an organized, attractive, clutter-free, professional resume. 
  • Write a career objective that conveys your added value to the company you are applying for.
  • Magnify your education section to compensate for your lack of work experience. Highlight your academic achievements. List down relevant coursework. Include relevant training and certifications.
  • Include relevant experiences acquired from temp summer jobs, internships, volunteer work, participation in clubs and organizations, etc. Quantify your achievements. 
  • Document your education and relevant experience in reverse chronological order. 
  • Make an inventory of relevant and specific skills. 
  • Add other items that will make you stand out from the rest – affiliations, hobbies, languages spoken, etc. 
college student resume Always proofread and edit before you submit your resume.

Write a Cover Letter That Goes With Your College Student Resume

A resume, no matter how well-written, will never be enough for hiring managers.

YOu need a potent cover letter to match your resume. 

Remember when you were taught business correspondence in school? The same principles apply in writing your cover letter. 

Start the letter with a bang. Impress the hiring manager in the same way you did with your resume heading.

Then, cite the reasons why you are confident that you are the best fit for the job. Keep them riveted with numbers as you translate your accomplishments into financial numbers. 

End with another bang. Make a call to action to ensure they will not keep you hanging with their decision. 

college student resume Keep the hiring manager’s time in mind, and thank them for their time. 

College Student Resume

Frequently Asked Questions for a College Student

What Should I Put on My Resume as a College Student?

You need to put your academic background in your resume, along with your academic achievements such as your GPA if it exceeds 3.5, honors and awards received. You may also include certifications for training programs that you completed. 

Regardless of the lack of professional work experience, you must include a history of relevant experience because hiring managers expect to see those. It should comprise of your experience acquired from internships, volunteer work, part-time jobs, etc. 

Highlight leadership experiences and extracurricular activities to show your capabilities. 

How Can a College Student With No Experience Make a Resume?

A college student with no work experience can still impress hiring managers through a professional-looking resume that is content-heavy. 

Use the right resume format. Present your academic and work history in reverse chronological order. 

Write a career objective that will show how hiring you can benefit the company. 

Put your education ahead of your relevant experience because your education is what will buy you the ticket to an interview. 

Refer to keywords used in the job listing and use them in your resume. 

Throw in your valuable skills, training, certification, interests, and languages. 

What Does a Good Resume for a College Student Look Like?

A good college student resume is legible – uncluttered, organized with enough white space that does not crowd the content in a single sheet. 

It uses standard business fonts used consistently with the resume headings. 

LInebreaks or simple boxes are used to separate sections. 

What Do You Put on a Resume If You Have Never Had a Job?

Prepare mentally before you write and be sure to personalize your resume.

Your resume should have a powerful career objective, a resume summary of your academic history, and relevant experience obtained from various sources, such as volunteer work.

Include relevant affiliations with organizations and clubs.

For more assistance and a hassle-free way of creating your resume, use our templates.

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