College Student Resume Example
It can seem daunting to write a resume while you are still in college, since you likely don’t have a lot of (or any) work experience to rely on. However, you can absolutely write a professional, compelling resume that showcases your academic achievements, skills, internships, volunteer experience, extracurricular activities, and any work experience that you have. This article will cover how to write a college student resume and which sections to include, plus it will provide a sample resume.
How To Write a College Student Resume
As a college student, you will likely need to rely on your academic achievements and skills rather than your work experience in order to impress potential employers.
In general, employers who are hiring for entry level positions know that candidates will not have years of experience. Instead, they’ll be looking for your education details, your soft skills, and indications that you can learn new hard skills.
As a college student, you have likely had at least some opportunities to identify and hone your soft skills, which are also often called interpersonal skills. These skills are not industry-specific, and they are difficult to define, measure, and teach. Soft skills can include things like leadership, communication, empathy, charisma, persuasiveness, friendliness, and so forth.
Hard skills, on the other hand, are job-specific skills that are easier to teach, assess, and define. Examples include coding ability, photo editing skills, accounting, experience being a barista, or knowing how to create a slide deck.
Soft skills are often more valued by employers, since it’s much easier to teach someone how to make a slide deck than it is to teach them how to be a good leader. Plus, soft skills can be used across many different industries. So, be sure to highlight your soft skills on your resume.
Another key thing to keep in mind as you write your resume is to be sure to tailor it to each position that you apply for. Although it might seem easier and faster to simply use a generic resume for every job application, your chances of actually scoring an interview will be much higher if you take the time to tailor your resume. Tailoring becomes easy when you use a ready-made resume template.
To do this, always mention the company and the role that you are applying for by name on your resume. Additionally, read the job description carefully and identify keywords that describe exactly what the employer is looking for in a candidate. Then, use as many of these keywords as possible in your resume - so long as they actually apply to you. It’s never a good idea to lie on your resume, as the consequences can be dire.
Tailoring your resume to each job application will show the hiring manager that you’ve taken the time to read the job posting carefully and that you are taking the job application process seriously. It will also help your resume pass automated applicant tracking system (ATS) scans, which increases your chances of getting an interview.
Sections To Include
When writing your college student resume, be sure to include these sections:
Name and Contact Information
Start with your full name at the top of your resume. This should be the biggest text on the page. Then, list your contact information, including your phone number and a professional email address. You can also include your address or your general location if you wish to do so.
Los Angeles, CA
Resume Summary or Objective
Next, include a resume summary or objective as your introductory paragraph. Unless you have worked throughout high school and college and are applying for a role in the same industry, you will likely be better off with a resume objective. If you do have significant work experience, a resume summary may fit your needs better.
Either way, in your introduction, mention the company and the role you are applying to by name, and include a short description of yourself and your career goals. For example:
BA student in English at UCLA, seeking to leverage strong writing and research skills and knowledge of contemporary literature to join the Random House Publishing team as an Editorial Assistant. President’s Honor Roll recipient every semester, have earned multiple merit-based scholarships, and have experience studying abroad.
Your education details should come next. Include the name and location of your college, and add your expected graduation date and the degree you are working towards. You can also add your GPA (if it’s above a 3.5), awards and honors, relevant coursework, your thesis, or any other pertinent details.
You do not need to include your high school information, although you can if you desire and if you have space left over after adding all of your other important information.
Bachelor of Arts, English, UCLA, Los Angeles, CA
Expected Graduation Date: May 2022
- GPA: 3.9
- President’s Honor Roll every semester
- Studied abroad in London, Fall 2020
- Won 3 merit-based scholarships
Next, list any professional experience that you have, including paid or unpaid internships, volunteer work, or informal jobs like nannying or neighborhood lawn care. If you are applying for your first job, view our tips on writing a resume with no experience.
May 2020 - August 2020 Editorial Intern, Bookworm Publishing, Los Angeles, CA
- Shadowed experienced editor to learn the entire editing process
- Marked up real book chapters for review by mentor
- Assisted with proofreading and basic formatting
Even if your previous work experience isn’t necessarily relevant to the position that you are applying for, you can still highlight transferable soft skills, hard skills that may be useful, and your familiarity with the professional workplace.
As outlined above, be sure to include both your hard and soft skills on your resume. Pick skills to highlight that are relevant to the job, backed up by your education and experience sections, and that are truly your strengths. For example:
Writing - Excellent
Editing - Excellent
Proofreading - Excellent
Written and Verbal Communication - Excellent
Collaboration - Very Good
Creativity - Very Good
Optional Resume Sections
Finally, you can include optional resume sections if you have space left over. These might include things like extracurricular activities, achievements and awards, languages, hobbies and interests, certifications, and so forth.
August 2019 - Present Editor of Student Newspaper, UCLA Weekly, Los Angeles, CA
- Edit and format the weekly student newspaper
- Contribute articles on occasion
- Assign and collect all articles from staff writers
August 2020 - Present Intramural Water Polo Team Captain, UCLA, Los Angeles, CA
- Organize and hold annual team tryouts
- Plan practice schedule and games
- Perform other duties as assigned by coach
English - Native Speaker
Spanish - Conversational
Italian - Basic
College Student Resume Layout Tips
There are three commonly used resume formats: reverse chronological, functional, and combination. However, the reverse chronological format is the most popular and will generally be the most effective for college students. It highlights your education, experience, and skills with the most recent entry first, working backwards in time from there.
Keep your resume to one page, only adding optional resume sections if you have space left over. But, don’t leave tons of white space on your resume either - be sure to add enough relevant information to fill the page.
Avoid big blocks of text by using headings, subheadings, and bullet points. Potential employers will likely only spend about 7 seconds scanning your resume, so you want the text to be easy to read quickly.
Finally, use a professional resume font like Times New Roman, Arial, Helvetica, or something similar. Your body text should be 10 to 12 point font and your headings should be slightly larger at 14 to 16 points. Feel free to add pops of color, but keep your resume color scheme professional and easy to read - no red text on a black background or anything garish.
As a college student, it can seem like you don’t have much to write on a resume. However, you can absolutely showcase your academic prowess, soft skills, and experience to convince employers that you are qualified and eager to learn and help their company. Be sure to include all of your relevant details and format your resume professionally.