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.
- 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.
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.
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:
- Times New Roman
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.
The Structure of the College Student Resume
Follow the outline below to create your college resume.
- Header or contact information
- Career Objective
- Relevant Skills
- Awards, Honors, Certifications
- Relevant jobs or relevant experience
- 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.
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
- 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
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: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
Example of a Good Header for a College Student Resume
Your resume header may look something like this.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
This one is an example of how NOT to write your resume objective.
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.
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.
Quantify your achievements to create more zing.
Example of a Relevant Experience Section for an Undergraduate Student Seeking Internship
Example of Relevant Experience Section for a College Graduate Resume
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.
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.
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:
- Technical Skills, depending on the position applied for
- Computer Skills
- Business Writing
- Project Management
- Communication Skills
- 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.
What Skills For a College Undergraduate?
Using the above job description as reference, a college undergraduate must have the following skills:
- Proficiency in online media channels
- Selling Skills
- MS Word, MS Excel
- Computer Skills
- Database management
- 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.
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:
Sample tagline for a senior Student who already has some work experience
Here is how it may appear for a college graduate.
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.
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.
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.