Resume Help For College Students: Expert Tips


Student services resume

Like many college students, you probably aim for an accomplished career, don’t you? To achieve that, you need to take your first professional employment seriously and get hired by a reputable company. And it’s a well-written resume that can help you with getting your first job. Most students and graduates feel frustrated at the necessity to write their own resume. Employers are looking for relevant experience, but what if all you have to offer is 1-2 part-time jobs? How to write a really strong resume that can present your skills and freshly gained knowledge under the right angle?

Professional resume writers online know how to write a resume if you’ve just graduated from college (or only anticipate graduation). Read the guidance below to finally get that resume written and get it written really well.

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Student services resume guidance: key tips

What differentiates you from the experienced applicants in the job market? In a nutshell, they know how to get the job done, their skills are stronger and they need less training. On the other hand, you have vast theoretical knowledge, strong cognitive abilities and are far more enthusiastic. So, this is what you should focus on when creating your resume.

  1. Choose the appropriate resume length
    All career experts agree that a one page resume is the optimal length for students (for more guidance on choosing the right length for your resume, see here: . And this makes sense, as the lack of experience will unlikely allow you to make it longer.
    Nevertheless, even if you can make your resume long because of numerous summer jobs and community involvement, it isn’t worth doing. If you have a plenty of experience, you’ll need to prioritize what you have to impress the hiring manager, not overwhelm them with tons of irrelevant details.
  2. Stay on combination resume format
    Combination resume is the best alternative for recent graduates. If you are new to resume formats, you can read about each of them here:  
    As a student, you don’t have enough relevant experience to make a decent reverse chronological resume. On the other hand, you haven’t developed a strong set of professional skills either; thus, a functional resume isn’t the best choice either.
    Combination format allows you to show a plenty of jobs you had and present your transferable skills at the same time. This combination will best present you as a promising and motivated employee.
  3. Start with a summary of qualifications
    Although summary of qualifications works best for seasoned professionals, students can benefit from including it as well. Summary typically includes a few of your skills, both hard and soft, accomplishments or areas of knowledge which are 1) the top ones you have to offer and 2)highly relevant for the role. Make it really brief and up to the point – but no longer than 5-6 lines in length.
    Including a career objective can make sense as well, provided that you have a clear career goal in mind. If yours are quite vague (which is okay for students), summary is the better option for you.
  4. Put the primary focus on your education
    Students or recent graduates need to place the Education section right after the summary of qualification or career objective (whichever you prefer to include). This is because the education is the most significant thing you have to offer so far. If you have 3+ years of relevant experience behind you, it is okay to neglect this rule, though.
    How to organize your education section?
    • List the school name, degree name, your major and year of graduation. If you’re still in college, indicate the year of anticipated graduation.
    • Include any honors/achievements, i.e. dean’s list, phi beta cappa or others. If your GPA is high (3.0 or above), include it as well.
    • Consider adding a list of coursework which is relevant for the job you’ll be applying for. Listing all the coursework you had makes little sense and just takes the space off your resume. Nevertheless, listing around 5 courses will show that you’re familiar with the theoretical side of prospective job and serve the keyword purpose. It is also okay to include the coursework outside of your major if it’s relevant for the role.
  5. Create a result-oriented experience section
    Don’t know how to get away from those “Responsible for waiting tables” and “Managed incoming correspondence” that typically are present on student resumes? Our resume help for college students will help you look much better on paper and meet the employers’ attention.
    Before you put your mind to writing the experience section, here’s what you can do:
    • Write down a detailed list of all significant experiences, both relevant and irrelevant for the prospective role. Moreover, these should not include paid employment only; internship, volunteering, community service and extracurricular activities will do as well.
    • Highlight the most relevant experiences from each job or internship. Rewrite them, using the PAR (problem-action-result) formula. For a student/graduate, 4-5 bullet points with strong statements for each role will be enough.
    • Use strong resume action verbs to make your experiences sound more responsible and significant. Words matter; so, try avoiding using standard “managed”, “was responsible for” and “was involved”.
    • Use our service to create a resume free. If you need some inspiration for writing your own resume, our professionally written samples are at your disposal. You can apply the same structure for your resume.
  6. Showcase your soft skills
    As we’ve mentioned above, since you don’t have the experience and skills the experience workers have, you need to focus on your adaptability and eagerness to learn. These are soft skills; and in a modern working environment soft skills start to determine career success. So, whether you have people skills, leadership abilities or any other personality traits valuable at the workplace – be sure your resume reflects that appropriately.
    Here you can also learn which skills matter for career success.
  7. Use the right angle for describing irrelevant jobs
    Have you worked as a waiter/babysitter/cashier but not sure whether this should be included in your resume for a bank teller position? This is the common problem with student resumes. Such kinds of experience may benefit you, but only if you describe it in the right way.
    For instance, the roles most of us may call menial jobs can be outlined in a way to show your dependability, team collaboration and business ethics – traits which are crucial for many jobs. Just look at your resume from the employer’s perspective, and think of how the apparently irrelevant experience can be tailored to their needs.
  8. Take advantage of the unpaid expertise
    You don’t have to focus on paid employment when writing a student resume. Volunteering and community service of any kind counts as experience as well. You can put these experiences under the separate section – or, if the experience section is too short, summarize all of your experience, both paid and unpaid, under the same section. In this case, you can simply name it “Experience”.
  9. Provide samples of your work
    If possible, provide the samples of your previous work to the employer along with your resume – or provide a link to an online website or portfolio. When you lack relevant experience to include in your resume, it’s the samples that can advocate for you.
    The nature of your work doesn’t allow you to provide samples? Then, it’s a good idea to include testimonials or references from people you worked with. You can even quote your professor or former employer in your resume.
  10. Give it a thorough proofread prior to submission
    If you are excited about a job posting you’ve discovered online and can’t wait to apply for it, it’s easy to miss a few grammar errors or typos in your resume or cover. In this case, perfectionism will do you any harm. Probably, you’ll need to rewrite your resume a few times until it looks as good as you want it to look. Editing and proofreading a resume and cover letter again and again should become your routine task as well.
    It’s even better to have another pair of eyes to have a look at it. Your classmate, friend or family member can spot the mistakes you have possibly omitted. It’s even better to refer to best proofreader resume. An editor by trade can not only remove the typical mistakes, but also give a helpful advice on how to improve your resume in general.

Most common mistakes in a college resume

Most college students try to present maximum information about their talents, projects, hobbies and forget about essential little things. Here are some popular moments preventing young men from getting a dream job.

✔ No graduation date

At least, you have to mention the expected graduation date. The hiring manager needs this information to understand how much time you can devote to work.

✔ Non-relevant work history

Actually, potential employers are not interested in non-relevant job experience. So do not blindly follow cover letter examples with long lists of previous job positions. The main thing is to write only suitable information.

✔ A universal resume for all job positions

Attention is the new gold. To win it, adapt your resume to every position. Retail job, position in the IT sphere, a creative job, — they all have different approaches to candidates evaluation. Hence, emphasize skills needed precisely for your variant.

Secrets of the successful college student resume

The main aim of the applicant is to convince the recruiter that he/she is the perfect candidate. Here are some examples.

An awesome skills section

List how relevant skills will help you cope with future professional duties. One can tell about both hard skills and soft ones.

Impressive academic achievements

Mention your relevant coursework and explain that due to gained knowledge you will become a valuable employee. For instance, describe that your research paper on Academic History has practical solutions and calculations that will interest the research and development institute.

Make friends with an applicant tracking system

Begin with a job description, it usually concludes keywords related to the position. Write the job title correctly, and your file will be noticed by the ATS algorithms and job alerts systems.

What if you lack professional experience?

If it is your first experience of looking for a full-time job, these tips will come in handy. Here are some ideas on what to highlight in your resume.

Prioritize education:

  • relevant internships,
  • academic recognition awards,
  • online certification programs.

Stress your talents and skills:

  • time management,
  • written communication skills,
  • problem-solving experience.

Tell about hobbies and extra activities:

  • your sports team,
  • your own writing and publications,
  • volunteer work,
  • relevant honors.

Please, do not forget about the rule of relevant information.

What makes a strong college resume: helpful tips from experts

A well-thought-out resume is a powerful instrument for those who want to join the professional world of business. Recent grad students need to present their capacity in the best light, especially when it deals with highly paid jobs.

  • Concise resume summary highlighting strengths of the recent college graduate.
  • Focus on the expectations of the potential employer.
  • Adequate resume format and design (enough white space, clear structure).
  • A persuasive tone highlighting the desire of the recent graduate to occupy the particular position.

Actually, there are no magic formulas or templates helping job seekers impress hiring managers. All you need is to analyze your specific skills, college experience, other accomplishments and find those that will interest your future employer.

Start your career with the job you really want!

Writing a student resume is always a challenge. Since you are new to writing your own resume and marketing yourself at the labor market, this task can seem petrifying. If you have a clear career goal and cannot allow a poor resume putting you down, it’s a sensible decision to find resume maker online.

In our website, you can get your resume written professionally – all you’ll need to do is to fill out a brief questionnaire. We will match you to a writer with years of resume expertise who will work with you until you are happy with the finalized product. Moreover, it’s quite affordable – we have special discounts for students and recent graduates.

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