As a college student, applying for jobs and internships can seem very intimidating. Students often ask themselves, as a full-time student with not much work experience, what can I include on my resume to make me stand out to employers? Well, here are some tips on how to make your resume shine and what to add that you might not have considered.
Keep reading to find out how to amp up your resume.
1. Visit your school’s career center
Before you even start your resume, visit your school’s career center, said Patricia A. Van Haste, a career coach and career-transitioning specialist at her company, Van Haste Associates. Now some of you may not have even known your school had a career center, but hey, that’s okay.
Now is the prime time to start looking for internships, and your school’s career center most likely has trained professionals who know what employers are looking for on your resumes. “Every college student beginning freshman year should make an appointment with the career center. Don’t wait until junior or senior year,” Van Haste said. She added starting early is important because the career center knows what kind of jobs are out there and how to apply for them once you are ready.
2. State an objective
When beginning your resume, one of the first items to include should be the goal of your application. What accomplishments do you have that connect you to the employer’s requirements? “You should treat your resume like a sales presentation,” said resume writer Barbara LaBier, owner of resumecrafters.com, which offers tips on resume writing and career strategies.
“There should be an objective on your resume so employers can see from the beginning what there is in your background that would make you a good candidate for that job description.” LaBier added that people often think putting an objective limits them, but jobs applicants should tailor their resumes to fit the job description of the specific organization.
3. List your accomplishments
A golden rule when creating your resume: Don’t be shy! This is the one time it’s acceptable to brag about yourself and the amazing qualities you have. While applicants should never lie or over embellish anything, many of you have probably participated in activities or won awards that you want employers to know about.
“If you do have a past internship, mention if you supervised people and how many people it was,” LaBier said. “At this point, a college student may not have a lot of experience so it’s definitely important to focus on any leadership skills or accomplishments they’ve had that relate to the job they’re applying for.”
Job Search and Social Media Coach Miriam Salpeter, the founder of Keppie Careers and author of Social Networking for Career Success, added, “Relating your skills to the employer’s needs is key. Include information most relevant to the job and leave out details and jargon your target employer won’t understand or doesn’t need to know.”
4. Mention relatable coursework or projects
As full-time students, many of you don’t have time for internships requiring a weekly 15+ hours (usually with no pay) so it’s important to include any schoolwork you’ve done that may relate to the professional field your interested in. “Look at coursework or projects you’ve done that show your hands-on skills that could be useful skills for the workplace. Look at the job position you’re applying for and the skills required and see where you have actually practiced those skills. Perhaps research projects or presentations that prove you have those skills under your belt,” Van Haste said.
She added that when describing the projects and the skills you’ve acquired, make sure to use action verbs and quantify as much as possible. “How many times have you used the skills? How many projects have you done? What were the topics?”
5. Create an online resume
As social media becomes more prevalent in job industries, an increasing amount of employers look at applicants’ online presence. “A strong social media presence helps you control what people find when they Google you,” Salpeter said. She specifically mentioned the importance of having a social resume, or personal website. “When you own ‘yourname.com’, you manage your online real estate. You decide what to include. It’s like having the key to your online home,” she added.
A personal website could include a copy of your traditional resume, a targeted bio describing what about you makes you relevant and what qualifications you have in addition to links to projects you’ve done or articles you’ve written. This is especially useful for print or broadcast majors. This lets them refer employers to one website that includes all their published work. Salpeter stressed the importance of having an online identity no matter what industry or field you plan to pursue.
Welcome to Rejected Resumes
Written by Rosella Eleanor LaFevre, sophomore, Temple University
Are you worried your resume might cost you that coveted internship? College Magazine to the rescue! We’re talking to resume experts so you can get to sleep at night.
Keep reading for some tips that apply to every resume.
1. List your most relevant experience first.
Your most relevant experience might be serving as an associate editor on Wooden Teeth literary magazine. Don’t list it at the end of the activities section. Boost that up to the top so everyone can see it.
2. List relevant experience and customer service or retail jobs separately.
If your work experience only includes two jobs in the food industry, but you have plenty of filed under activities, switch up the order. Add a section for Relevant Experience separate from your other work, clubs and activities.
3. The description of each work experience should be in third person.
If your resume has third-person descriptions of duties performed in each position in bulleted list form, you’re totally right. The more experiences you have, of course, the more you’ll need to conserve space, so these descriptions can also be written in paragraph form.
4. List your GPA if it’s a 3.0 or higher.
You worked hard for that GPA. If it’s something worth showing off, include it on your resume. Leaving college, employes will want to know how much work you put into it.
5. List workshops, summer programs and study abroad experiences as Education.
Unless you’re applying for a job in international relations, your study abroad experience doesn’t count as relevant experience.
6. Under Skills, don’t list attributes that any employer would expect, like “works well with others” or “proficient typist.”
If you don’t possess basic skills like note-taking and proficiency with online email programs, you’re in deep trouble. Instead, list important or unique skills like “AP Style” and “copyediting” for those applying for a position as an editor, or languages you speak other than English.
7. If you’ve been published, list those publications on your resume
Devote an entire section to publications alone. List the titles of the works and the name of the magazines where they appeared.
*Updated November 10, 2011 by Rosella Eleanor LaFevre to include “Welcome to Rejected Resumes.”