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College Resume: Experience and Design Tips

A lot of students assume that they don’t need to bother with a resume in college. It’s not like you have any “real world” experience, right? So why bother with a college resume? I’m here to tell you exactly why you should bother with that resume in college! Working on your professional resume in college will help you figure out your strengths and weaknesses, and it might even help you get the job of your dreams! No fancy experience necessary, I’m going to give you some ways to transform your totally-blah college resume into a golden ticket!

Why do I need a college resume?

Alright, so why even bother with a resume in college? It’s not like you’re applying for a real job, right? WRONG. You can use your college resume to apply for:

  • Part time jobs
  • Internships
  • Freelance gigs

Crafting a resume will give you an idea of your strength’s and weaknesses. You might not realize how little experience you have until you get it all out on paper. Your college resume is a great way to keep track of your accomplishments and experience.

Wait, I legit have no experience.

Don’t you try to tell me that you have absolutely no experience you little liar! If you’re in college, you have experience! Are you a club leader? Do you write for your school’s newspaper? These are all fabulous things to list on your college resume! Do you work on campus or have you had a summer job? Write that stuff down! Being in college is hard. Any additional activities you participate in shows your initiative and work ethic. That being said, there is a fine line between what is acceptable to list on a resume, and what just takes up space.

Good:

  • Recent work experience
  • The few hours a week you spend tutoring on campus
  • Club leadership roles
  • Any events you helped coordinate on campus
  • If you have served as a teacher’s assistant
  • Internship experience
  • Recent volunteer work
  • Study abroad trips
  • Academic accomplishments

Unnecessary 

  • That time you volunteered for a summer camp in 9th grade
  • The club you showed up to once
  • The summer job you had for two months when you were 16

Keep in mind your major and your career goals when crafting your resume. Remember that employers are looking for hard working, committed young people. They understand that going to college is a full-time commitment, and it isn’t always possible to gain extensive hands-on experience. However, they will be impressed by the efforts you’ve made to grow your skills. For example, I’m an English major with a passion for writing. In my free time, I do freelance writing work to get some extra cash and build a portfolio. Don’t be afraid to be creative to gain valuable experience! If you’re interested in learning more about earning money online through freelance work, check out this post!

What should I include in my college resume?

There’s a standard list of basic things you can include in a resume. At the very least, it should have your contact information, education history, work experience, and references. If you want your college resume to offer a well-rounded view of your personality and skills, you can consider adding the following:

  • Profile: a 100-200 word overview of yourself in 3rd person. This shouldn’t focus on your obsession with Grey’s Anatomy or Chuck Bass. Keep it strictly related to your career goals and experience. Here’s an example of my profile as a freelance writer:

    Samantha is a freelance writer finishing her BA in St. Augustine, Florida. Samantha has a lifelong passion for blogging and writing. She hopes to inspire young women to reach their full potential through college success. Samantha combines her love of storytelling with social media marketing in order to create impactful web articles.

  • Achievements – A brief list of your awards and achievements. These should be relevant to your academic and career goals. Winning the science fair in elementary school doesn’t offer much if you’re applying for social media jobs. However, making the Deans List or winning a local writing contest look great in this section.
  • Technical skills – If you have technical experience with a challenging program or certification, be sure to list those bad boys! For example, as a writer, I would include my word per minute count and my familiarity with WordPress.
  • Interests – Sometimes it’s nice to give a few (brief) tidbits about yourself as a person. Sometimes it can be hard to picture a real person from a resume, so these can offer a reprieve. Be sure not to include anything too crazy, unless you think it will help your application. On my resume, I list traveling, reading, and marketing as my interests.

But resumes are boring.

When you think of resumes, you likely picture a sad black and white list. I challenge you to think outside of the resume box! Employers must spend hours staring at the same bland resumes, offer them something new and exciting! You don’t need any fancy programs or experience, just some basic Microsoft Word skills. A few textboxes and borders can go a long way! I’ve created some easy to edit resume designs on my Etsy shop! Use the code PIZZA to get 30% off your template! 

If traditional paper resumes just aren’t cool enough for you, consider creating a virtual resume! Don’t underestimate the growing power of LinkedIn or a personal blog! If you’re interested in setting up your own blog, I’ve got an easy to follow tutorial here. I hope this post inspires you to reconsider your college resume! It doesn’t have to be boring, and you don’t need years of professional experience to land a killer job right after college! As a college student, you have so much more to stress about than your resume! I bet you have much more experience than you think, you’ve just got to put it to use!

Have you updated your resume recently? Do you prefer virtual or physical resumes? 

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  • These are such helpful tips! I was just updating my resume last week. I love how you included what NOT to put on your resume as well! Great post 🙂

    • Thanks for your kind words! I think it’s easy to feel like you need to include your entire life story on your resume, but sometimes that can take away from the quality!

  • Kellie Jayne

    This post made me feel so much better about my resume! I worked hard to sort out what to include and what not to include and I just landed an internship that I’m so excited about! Thanks for the great post!