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Writing a Resume in College

Writing a Resume in College

Writ­ten by: John Lemp

The Impor­tance of the Resume: Col­lege Edition

Writ­ing a resume in col­lege can seem like a mon­u­men­tal moun­tain to climb, espe­cially if it’s your first one. Where do you even start? 

Or, am I even qual­i­fied to start writ­ing a resume? You bet! Even with lit­tle to no job expe­ri­ence, we’ll help you fill in the blanks.

So let’s dis­cuss: how to write a resume as a col­lege stu­dent…  there are sev­eral ways in which employ­ers use resumes in the recruit­ing and hir­ing process, and if you don’t have a resume already, you will absolutely need one for that next job appli­ca­tion.  So let’s get started.

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First of all, employ­ers use resumes at var­i­ous points in the hir­ing process.  The pri­mary rea­son employ­ers require resumes in the appli­ca­tion is to deter­mine whether to inter­view you, based on a poten­tial “fit” between your inter­ests and skills and the employer’s needs.  Another rea­son employ­ers like to have your resume on file is to start a con­ver­sa­tion or develop inter­view ques­tions about your expe­ri­ences and abil­i­ties.  It is com­mon prac­tice to bring an addi­tional hard copy of your resume to your inter­view to give to the per­son inter­view­ing you.  How­ever, dur­ing an inter­view, you should not be look­ing at your resume.

[SPOILER ALERT] — I cre­ated a resume tem­plate for your ref­er­ence — you can down­load it from the link below!

There are sev­eral goals you should have when writ­ing your first resume, or alter­ing and per­fect­ing your cur­rent one:

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  • It is nec­es­sary that you tar­get your resume in order to demon­strate that you under­stand the nec­es­sary qual­i­fi­ca­tions for the job at hand, in addi­tion to prov­ing you are famil­iar with the industry-specific lan­guage and com­pany profile.
  • Another goal (a must actu­ally!) of a resume is to illus­trate that you have skills that are trans­fer­able to the job you are seek­ing per the employer’s needs. 
  • You should also include results-oriented state­ments that show you have met and/or exceeded expec­ta­tions — include quan­tifi­able and qual­i­ta­tive results!  For exam­ple, the line “Com­piled firm-wide total com­pen­sa­tion state­ment for the company’s 250 employ­ees while ana­lyz­ing rel­e­vant com­pen­sa­tion and ben­e­fits data” includes both qual­i­ta­tive and quan­tifi­able results of your past employ­ment expe­ri­ence that strongly high­lights your research and analy­sis skills.
  • Finally, make sure that you include enough detail to enable the employer / reader to eval­u­ate your con­tri­bu­tions, instead of sim­ply con­duct­ing a review of your past job tasks and responsibilities.

Now, there are a vari­ety of for­mats for resumes, notably func­tional, chrono­log­i­cal, and com­bi­na­tion (a mix of func­tional and chrono­log­i­cal). 

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The func­tional for­mat is typ­i­cally less com­mon for col­lege stu­dents, but serves to com­bine accom­plish­ments and func­tions from all jobs and activ­i­ties into cat­e­gories that will meet the employer’s needs — for exam­ple, com­mu­ni­ca­tion, lead­er­ship, research, team­work, etc.

I will be dis­cussing the chrono­log­i­cal resume, which is more com­mon among col­lege stu­dents and is the most fre­quently used resume style in gen­eral.  Resume con­tent is orga­nized by dates, which gives the employer a clear por­trayal of career growth and devel­op­ment.  The chrono­log­i­cal resume for­mat allows an indi­vid­ual to describe their respon­si­bil­i­ties and achieve­ments, empha­size edu­ca­tion, employ­ers, and job titles.  NOTE: In the chrono­log­i­cal resume for­mat, present infor­ma­tion within sec­tions (Ex. Edu­ca­tion, Pro­fes­sional Expe­ri­ence, Cam­pus Expe­ri­ence, etc.) in reverse chrono­log­i­cal order (most recent expe­ri­ences first).

The tem­plate that was promised is of the chrono­log­i­cal variety.

A few “Can’t Miss” items:

  1. In the Edu­ca­tion sec­tion, include your GPA rounded to two dec­i­mal places (if it is above a 3.0).  Some­time along the recruit­ment process, it is likely that an employer will request your tran­script, so be honest.
  2. Use the same font through­out the resume.  You can alter font sizes, cap­i­tal­ize names of employ­ers, bold posi­tion titles, etc., but just use the same font throughout.
  3. Divide the resume into five sec­tions:
    1. Name and Con­tact Infor­ma­tion (at the top of the page — centered
    2. Edu­ca­tion
    3. Pro­fes­sional Experience
    4. Cam­pus Experience
    5. Skills and Interests
  4. Include spo­ken and writ­ten lan­guages in the “Skills and Inter­ests” section.
  5. Finally, it should go with­out say­ing, be entirely truth­ful on your resume.  Employ­ers will be able to tell if you are fal­si­fy­ing your activ­i­ties, past employ­ment, etc. dur­ing the inter­view process if you are hes­i­tant and unable to elab­o­rate upon your experiences.

Well, that pretty much sums up the impor­tance of the resume in the recruit­ment and hir­ing process.

[AS PROMISED] - Leg­endary Col­le­gian — Resume Template

The next arti­cle in the series will be about pro­fes­sional net­work­ing through social media (LinkedIn).



Do you have any tips we missed? How about any ques­tions for us? We want to hear about it. Please keep us updated on your efforts in the com­ments below!

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