For many college students, writing their first professional resume before entering the job market feels like a catch-22. How can you get hired for that first position if you don’t have years of experience on a resume?
Employers know that young applicants will have little in terms of professional experience, but that doesn’t mean you can’t land that first dream job. Follow these tips to craft a competent student resume that will catch the eye of any potential employer.
Focus on Education
Student resumes should prominently feature education near the top of the resume. If you have a stellar GPA or were part of honors organizations like Phi Beta Kappa be sure to include this information if relevant. Did you receive any honors or awards during college? Include them!
Paint a Picture
Extracurricular activities, volunteer work, clubs, and leadership positions all create a fuller picture of who you are and what you can bring to the table. Don’t include every club you’ve ever joined, but showcase your strengths with any positive positions or accomplishments that make you a more enticing candidate.
Highlight All Positions
Part-time jobs and internships should absolutely be included on your resume. Maintaining any position, whether a research intern at a new agency or a cashier at the local electronics store, can showcase your skill set and attributes as a dependable employee.
Think Like An Employer
Compose your resume as if you were the hiring manager – what information would you want included to impress you? Keep descriptions short but include action verbs and skills that will prove beneficial in field you want to enter.
Do Your Research
Every word matters on a resume. To help you craft the best resume, read several job descriptions and posts for positions you would like. What would the employer consider an asset? What are the standard requirements for positions you want? Don’t write a resume without the context of what’s important today in the industry.
When reading job listings make a short list of the keywords that pop up frequently like requirements and skills. Include these keywords throughout your resume so a hiring manager can immediately connect your resume to the position. Be specific in your descriptions and include keywords organically only when it makes sense.
Look at as many student resumes as possible and see what you like best. This will help you with formatting and other decisions like font style and size. In addition, be critical of resumes you read: what could they improve? What information is unnecessary? Ask friends for resumes if they have them, and read several examples online.
Edit and Proofread
Any spelling or grammar errors will sabotage your efforts to land a job. Edit your resume regularly and someone you trust proofread it.
Current students can take advantage of the Career Services Office at Kendall College. Our professionals will help you create the strongest possible resume with helpful tips and actionable advice.