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.
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:
- 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).
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- Divide the resume into five sections:
- Name and Contact Information (at the top of the page — centered
- Professional Experience
- Campus Experience
- Skills and Interests
- Include spoken and written languages in the “Skills and Interests” section.
- 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!