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Resumes & Cover Letters

7 College Resume Tips (With Examples)

May 29, 2020

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Whether you’re seeking a professional opportunity after graduation, applying for an internship or looking for a job while you complete your studies, creating a college student resume is the best way to share your skills and experience with employers.

Let’s look at seven steps to follow when drafting your own college resume.

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Choose a resume format

Potential employers will spend a short amount of time looking at your resume. The easier your resume is to scan, the better you can hold their attention. Most recruiters and hiring managers will focus their attention on the following resume sections:

  • Name and contact information
  • Education and achievements
  • Employment history
  • Relevant skills and experiences

The best resume formats are well organized with only the most relevant information and should make efficient use of blank space to avoid clutter.

Resume Format

To achieve an easy-to-read resume, choose a simple layout that allows you to showcase the qualifications that are most relevant to the job posting. To eliminate blank spaces, consider including additional sections that could be helpful for employers like relevant skills, awards and achievements, or professional interests.

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Resume contact information

The first thing potential employers should see is a section at the top of your resume with your name, contact information and a link to your professional profile or website, if you have one. In this section, you should include:

  • First and last name
  • City and state
  • Current phone number
  • Current and professional email address

Preferably, your initial contact information should fill just one line of the page, just under your name at the top. Your name should be the largest heading on the page. Here’s an example of what your contact information section might look like:

April Jackson
512 Wide Avenue • Chicago, Illinois
april.jackson@email.com • 555-102-1512 • aprilsmith.portfolio.net

Related: Should You Put Your Address On Your Resume

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Objective or summary statement

This statement, also called a career objective, resume summary or objective statement, is usually composed of one to two sentences that sum up your short-term professional goals and why you’re seeking employment. Your objective statement should be brief and focus specifically on your current career-related experience as well as your developed skills. Keep this section under 50 words. Here’s an example of an objective statement:

“Recent graduate of a well-ranked literature program with extensive high-level coursework and experience in editing and proofreading for academic and business writing. Skilled at applying multiple style guides (APA, MLA, AP, Chicago) and seeking a position that involves regular use of these skills.”

This example is under 50 words, provides only essential details about the applicant and showcases the candidate’s relevant skills and potential value to the company.

Related: Resume Objective Examples

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Include an education section

Your education section is where you’ll demonstrate to employers that you’re learning skills you can apply on the job. Consider featuring it as one of the first sections on your resume.

Related: How to List Education on a Resume

Even if what you’re studying may seem unrelated to the professional world, your commitment to education can demonstrate a will to continually improve and showcase a strong work ethic. Take this opportunity to list relevant coursework you’ve completed, your GPA (if it’s 3.5 or above) and key areas of study. Your education section should include:

  • The name of your school
  • The location of your school
  • The degree you are pursuing (if applicable)
  • Your field(s) of study
  • You graduation year (if applicable)
  • Your GPA (Note: You may not want to include this if it’s not above 3.5 or above.)
  • Any relevant honors or academic recognition, coursework, activities or other achievements obtained during your education

Here are two examples:

University of Hawaii, 2011–2016
Bachelor of Arts in Psychology
Business Essentials Certificate, Terry Scholar

University of Virginia (August 2016–May 2018)
Alpha Phi Omega • The largest collegiate fraternity in the US, coed and with a focus on community service.

Related: How to Include Coursework on a Student Resume

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Add in work experiences

You don’t have to limit your experience section to paid jobs. If you’re new to the job market and don’t have many professional roles to share, include volunteer positions, internships and extracurricular activities These experiences can show you have the required skills to succeed in the position you’re applying for. For example, including your role as captain of a sports team demonstrates leadership abilities, while your experience as chair of a student club exhibits organizational skills.

Functional Resume

If you do have paid job experience or relevant internships, list those first with the name of the company, its location and the year(s) you interned. Then provide 2-3 bullet points highlighting your achievements with action verbs during your time in those positions. Include any measurable successes you had with numbers where possible. For example, your experience section might look something like this:

Appleton Editing Services | May – Aug. 2018
Press Release Editing Intern

  • Spearheaded a team to edit incoming press releases with short turnaround times
  • Developed processes for AP style guide approach to deliverables
  • Coordinated with team to implement editing guidelines which reduced time to publish by 20%

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List relevant skills

When an employer reviews your resume, they’re looking to understand why you’d make a valuable addition to their team. Listing your skills is a way to quickly communicate your ability to succeed in the role. Include a combination of hard skills (i.e., skills you learned through education and experience like software programs or foreign languages) and soft skills (i.e., personality traits and skills you can apply to any job like problem-solving and time management).

If you’re having trouble identifying skills to include, ask yourself the following questions:

  • What accomplishments and successes have you achieved? What traits, skills or abilities helped you do it?
  • What skills do your friends, family or classmates think you have?
  • Are there particular traits or skills professionals in the field you’re applying to often have? Do you also possess those?

Related: Best Skills to Include on a Resume

Here’s an example of what a computer scientist may list on their resume under their skills section:

PROGRAMMING LANGUAGES

  • Java
  • JavaScript
  • PHP
  • C++
  • Python
  • CSS
  • HTML
  • SQL
  • R

ADDITIONAL SKILLS

  • Highly organized
  • Problem solver
  • Excellent time management

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Proofread your resume

Proofread your resume before uploading it online and sending it to your potential employer. And then reread it again. If you’re unsure how to effectively proofread, you can find tips and details in 27 Proofreading Tips to Improve Your Resume.

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College student resume example

Here is an example of a college student’s resume, based on the steps above:

Horatio Hiller
100 University Street, College Town, NY 12345
917-555-1234
. hhiller@email.edu

OBJECTIVE
I am a creative and highly motivated student seeking a part-time internship where I can lend my knowledge of digital advertising to help your organization improve profitability and grow my industry experience.

EDUCATION
New York University
Major: Advertising
Expected Graduation Date: May 2022
GPA: 3.8
Relevant Coursework: Media Planning, Psychology in Advertising, Communication Law
Clubs: Ad Club, Student Newspaper, Students for Environmental Action (SEA)

EXPERIENCE
Grey Media Agency | New York, New York
Digital Advertising Intern, May 2018 – August 2018

  • Served as lead advertising intern as part of a summer-long apprenticeship program
  • Assisted in building, launching and managing Google AdWords campaigns for leading clients
  • Successfully grew client ad spend return-on-investment more than 30% quarter over quarter

Student Newspaper | New York, New York
Advertising Sales Representative, August 2017 – Present

  • Act as the primary point of contact for a subset of publication advertisers
  • Scout new advertiser opportunities and build relationships with local businesses
  • Helped newspaper increase annual ad sales nearly 20% from 2017 to 2018

SKILLS & ABILITIES

  • Team leadership
  • Verbal and written communication
  • Time management
  • Problem-solving
  • Adobe Creative Suite
  • Google AdWords Certified
  • Fluency in English and French

AWARDS & ACHIEVEMENTS

  • Elected Ad Club chair for 2017/2018 school year
  • Awarded 2017 Best Student Advertising Campaign in the retail category
  • Maintained Dean’s List status Fall 2016 through Spring 2018

When crafting your college student resume, tailor the content to the requirements of the position and highlight the strengths and aspects of your education employers will find most valuable. By highlighting your best attributes and showcasing your accomplishments, you can leave a lasting impression as a strong candidate.

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