Resume writing is an essential skill everyone needs because we all need to apply for a job at some point in our lives. Resumes are also important for scholarships, internships, grad school, study abroad, etc. As a college student, you must keep your resume updated with relevant details and experiences so as to not forget important information and take advantage of every professional opportunity available to you.
However, it is important to recognize that resume writing can be a daunting experience especially for people at the beginning of their professional careers, but it doesn’t have to be! While the resume may appear intimidating and scary, it is a friend rather than a foe. The resume enables you to efficiently market your professional passions and skills to a future employer. Use your resume to hype yourself up professionally, leveraging strong action verbs and relevant experiences/skills to show your future employer how amazing you are!
What is a resume?
The word resume comes from the French word résumé meaning to summarize. The resume is usually a one-page document that allows you to summarize your education, experiences, and skills, advisably tailored to a specific job or internship position. While a college resume should absolutely be one page long, for some students, it is useful to keep a “master resume” where you put everything you’ve done and been involved in. That way, when you have to create a resume specific to a job you can pick and choose from the Master resume to get the perfect one page. Often the Master resume is several pages, but that is ok becuase you are the only one using it. It is a memory bank of your accomplishemnts.
Resumes especially by college students are typically written in a reverse chronological format (listing most recent experiences first) and includes four main sections: Education, Relevant Experience, Co-curricular Activities, and Skills.
The education section essentially allows you to outline any relevant details relating to your education, (i.e., the name of your university, your majors/minors, GPA, relevant coursework, etc.). You should also highlight any relevant academic achievements or awards for example making the dean’s list! If you have studied abroad this is a good place to put that information too. Leave out information about your high school especially if it’s after your first year of college. If you are a transfer student, you can list your previous university in this section as well.
The relevant experience section is exactly as it sounds. This section allows you to highlight professional experiences that are relevant to the job position you are applying for. The work experience you outline in this section can be a paid job position, leadership positions, and any volunteering or internship experience.
The Co-curricular Activities section is your opportunity to highlight any leadership positions you have or responsibilities you shoulder in your respective clubs or organizations you’re a member of outside your academic work. This section shows that you are not only engaged with schoolwork but an active member of your community!
The Skills section allows you to highlight any technical or industry-specific skills you may have. For example, proficiency in excel, social media management, programming, data analysis, proficiency in one or many languages are all examples of skills you should flaunt if you have them!
It might be difficult in the beginning, but you do not have to do it alone!
Additionally, check out this packet of sample resumes and this resume guide by SBS. Remember to keep exercising those resume writing muscles and let your resume be your biggest professional hype man!