How to Write a College Student Resume
By Indeed Editorial Team
Updated May 17, 2022 | Published May 6, 2020
Updated May 17, 2022
Published May 6, 2020
Related: First Resume Tips: How to Make a Resume with No Work Experience
In this video, we share first resume tips based on the latest resume writing best practices and provide resume examples to help you brainstorm ideas.
A well-written and memorable college student resume will make you noticeable to employers and may help you earn a job. During your time in college, you likely developed knowledge and qualifications that will aid your transition into the professional world. A student resume should give an overview of these experiences and explain how they will benefit you in your upcoming career. In this article, we provide you with a detailed outline of how to write a college resume, followed by an example and some guidelines to keep in mind while you draft the document.
What is a college student resume?
A college student resume is a summary of your studies and academic qualifications. Although as a student you may have little professional experience, there are many other activities and skills that you can present in your student resume. These could include summer camps, part-time jobs, volunteering positions, sports, cultural activities or whatever relevant past experiences you may have.
Keep in mind that prospective employers are aware that you are embarking on a career for the first time, so they do not expect a long list of work experience. However, they will want to gauge your maturity, motivation, ambition and work ethic, so make sure to highlight how college has helped you develop these qualities.
Name and contact information
Summary or objective
a. Company name
b. Dates of tenure
c. Description of role and achievement
Optional (Awards & Achievements, Hobbies & Interests)
How to write a student resume
Here are the key sections you should include when constructing your college student resume:
Activities and associations
Hobbies and interests
1. Contact information
This section should provide all your basic personal details so that prospective employers know how to contact you for an interview. Although you do not need to add URLs for personal blogs or websites, doing so may impress prospective employers. However, take care to only list personal sites that are professional and appropriate. Include your:
First and last name
As you have spent the last few years working hard at earning your college degree, you should highlight your academic achievements by placing the education section near the top of your student resume. Each entry should contain the name of the degree or qualification, the institution and the year completed. You can also include your majors, minors and coursework if they pertain to the job you are applying for. If you have completed a master’s or a doctorate, you may also wish to include a sentence that provides a summary of your research.
Also, ensure that you list all accolades, scholarships and other academic successes. Either enter this information separately with each qualification, or create a subheading at the end of the section where you list all your achievements.
3. Work experience
This section should list your whole work history, regardless of whether it relates directly to the job you are applying for. Nearly all professional experience will develop practical knowledge to aid you as an applicant, whether it is the value of teamwork, the importance of good communication skills or how to handle conflict. Apart from formal work experience, there are many other experiences you can include in this section, such as:
Charity or volunteer work
Each entry should contain the job title, the company or institution, dates and a few bullet points outlining your duties and achievements.
4. Key skills
In this section, list any technical and soft skills that may be relevant to the job you are applying for. Soft skills include strengths like working with a team, communication skills and a good work ethic. You should also add languages you can speak, write or understand in this section, as companies are increasingly favoring multi-lingual candidates. It is important that you are detailed in your description of skills. For example, instead of just listing “French,” you could state that you were an exchange student in France for one year and are fluent in the language.
Read more: Hard Skills vs. Soft Skills
5. Activities and associations
As a college student, you may have gained a lot of valuable skills and experience through extracurricular activities. For instance, sports may have taught you the importance of teamwork, or you may have developed your public speaking skills as a member of the debate team. If you held any leadership positions, include this information as well, as prospective employers take note of candidates with leadership qualities.
6. Hobbies and interests
Consider adding this section if your resume is short. However, you may omit it if the information is not necessarily relevant to the job you are applying for. If possible, align the content in this section with the culture of the company to demonstrate that you are a suitable candidate for the position. For example, if you are applying for a copyediting position, you could mention how creative writing has given you an appreciation for words.
Student resume example
Use this example to guide you when writing your own student resume:
4693 Bastion Drive
Philadelphia, PA 19103
University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA
MA in English Literature, 2019
Thesis topic: “The Tyranny of Knowledge: The Transnational Detective in Abe Don’s ‘Trees'”
Babette Bennett Full Scholarship, 2018
Duke University, Durham, NC
BA in English Literature, 2016
Dean’s List 2016, 2017
Mellon Foundation Full Scholarship, 2015
New Age Magazine, Boston, MA
Junior Editor Internship, April-August 2018
Helped writers with their research
Fact-checked and proofread articles
Shadowed the managing editor
Catch of the Day, Philadelphia, PA
Waitress, February 2015-August 2019
Provided excellent customer service in a fast-paced environment
Developed communication skills by relaying orders from customers to the kitchen
Proficiency in Microsoft Office Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlooks
QuickBooks, 1 year professional experience
Spanish Conversational Proficiency
Activities and associations
Silver medalist, Two Oceans Marathon, 2014, 2015, 2019
Active member, Debate Society of the University of Pennsylvania, 2018
Runner-up, Elle Short-Story Competition, 2017
Section leader and member, Boston Youth Choir, 2015-2017
Hobbies and interests
Avid multi-player gamer, especially multi-player gaming
Passionate outdoorswoman, especially about hiking, fishing and camping
Lead guitarist in The Fireflies band
Volunteer at several local retirement homes
Tips for writing a student resume
Here are a few extra tips to consider when writing your college student resume:
Promote your work ethic
In addition to detailing your skills and education, you can impress a potential employer by noting your work ethic in your resume. Mention achievements like perfect school attendance, making the dean’s list, leadership positions, extracurricular activities, a high GPA and any duties that superiors may have entrusted you with.
Use action words
Use positive, active language like “led,” “organized,” “tutored” and “trained” when describing your activities and experiences. This approach can help your resume look more dynamic.
Keep it concise
While you should include all necessary information, keep your resume concise so employers can focus on the most important details.
Proofread your resume
An error-free resume will show that you put time and care into your work. After proofreading it yourself, consider asking a friend or colleague to review it and provide feedback.
Format it properly
Format your resume so that it’s neat and easy to read. Choose a business font like Times Roman or Calibri, set a margin of one inch on all four sides of the page and align your text to the left. Type section headers in a larger font, and either bold or underline them. Once you have completed the document, save it as a PDF to ensure that it keeps your original format and layout.
Related: Resume Tips: How To Write a Resume That Stands Out
Abbey provides tips on how to quickly communicate why you are uniquely qualified for the position based on your skills and experiences. This video is from Indeed Live, a weekly livestream with resources and information on job searches during COVID-19.
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