The Whys and Hows of College Student Resume Writing

There are over 20 million college students in the US. Developing a college student resume for many of them certainly doesn't seem like a big necessity. At least for those who don't plan their future career. Although usually there is no pressing need for an average student to get a job, having a well-written college resume can still one day become a game changer! As the time for summer jobs and internships comes flying, it is better to be prepared for new opportunities (because they often come when you expect them the least). Whether it is a freshman college resume or a graduate resume that you need, it is a good time to think about how to make it right. 

Note: It is important to say that by a college student resume we mean an application document written by/on behalf of a college student. This is not a college graduate resume nor it is a document meant to help you apply to college.

Why Do You Need a College Student Resume?

Many students don’t bother about writing a college resume. Most of them don’t expect any job opportunities (let along being intentional about finding them). While it is absolutely normal to be fully concentrated on the study, it is still a good idea to have your resume ready to go anytime! Besides, there are a couple of good reasons why you may want to have one when in college anyway.

Reason #1: Internships. Taking into account the level of competition in the jobs market, it is extremely important for students to get some internship experience. Those graduates with relevant internship experiences on a resume will likely have an advantage over other graduate candidates struggling to get the same job. The thing is that in order to get an internship, you will need to have a compelling resume.

Reason #2: Summer and Seasonal Jobs. While some parents expect their kids to take a vacation after an academic routine, there are many of those who actually encourage teenagers to work during the summer break. Summer jobs not only teach students some financial principles and general responsibility but also improve their chances of getting a full-time job later on. But just like with internships, many employers require a resume before offering summer jobs for college students. 

Reason #3: Part-Time Jobs. By far not all students can afford to do only their studies. There are many college students who try to balance their family, study, and work.  The reason is simple – they need to pay for their studies and support themselves. The interesting thing is that those students who do work part-time have better grades. Now guess what you need to get a part-time job? 

Reason #4: Remote/Full-time Jobs. Some college students take it a step further and hold full-time jobs. They are usually remote positions as it allows them work schedule flexibility they need to study and work at the same time. But once again, employers don’t hire remote employees based on random logic. There is a process and submitting a resume is always an important part of it. 

College Student Resume Q&A

When it comes to writing a college resume, most students are frustrated because they don’t know what to include in the document. It is easy when you have 5 years of work experience and have some accomplishments to show off. But what do you do if you are a common student with no real professional experience? Below you will find some answers to most common questions related to college resume writing.

  • What do you include in a college resume? 

If you have never had any type of job, you can still develop a compelling resume. Brainstorm all of your past experiences, including volunteering, campus positions, awards, projects, academic experiences, etc. If you have little to no work history, you should focus on your education. Place the educational credentials section at the beginning of your main marketing document and incorporate some details. 

  • What’s the best format for a college resume?

Use reverse-chronological order when listing your academic and extra-curricular activities. It doesn’t really matter if you are writing a college freshman resume or a graduate one. We believe it is better to start from a concise summary followed by the educational credentials section. Depending on your past experiences, you then can list your volunteering activities, accomplishments, and skills.

  • If education is to be my main resume section, what can I include?

Since you are still in college, you can include your high school diploma. But once you graduate, make sure to leave it off. If you choose to keep it, it should be at the end of the section anyway if you follow a reverse-chronological order. Try to focus on your current educational journey: list your expected graduation date, GPA, relevant coursework, awards, extracurricular activities, projects, publications, etc. 

  • What do I add on the experience section?

If you never had any real work experiences, you can still list your volunteer works (where, how long, what did you do?) as well as any freelancing you did (if any). If you have any internship experiences, don’t hesitate to add them too. Make sure you list your responsibilities and achievements under each and every experience you had. Part-time and summer jobs for college students will obviously be a great fit for this resume section too.

  • What kind of skills should I put on my college resume?

Both hard skills (those you learn) and soft skills (those you develop as you mature in life) are important. Whether you know how to use Photoshop or you are an excellent communicator, make sure you add it to the list. The best way to do it is to add those skills that are relevant to the job/internship/program you are applying to. This way you will show that you are a good match.

  • Any other things I could add to my college student resume? 

There are plenty of other things you may want to add to your resume. Language skills, certifications, completed training courses, and professional portfolio can all be a great addition to your resume. But before you make any decision about integrating them into your main marketing document, you must be sure they will help you position yourself as a strong candidate with relevant knowledge and skills. 

Sample College Student Resume

One Asian proverb claims that it is better to see something once than to hear about it a thousand times. Resume writing is no exception. We have created a sample college student resume so that you could see how it is done. Regardless of whether you are writing a college freshman resume or a graduate resume, the sample below is a good template you can use to create your own marketing document. 

College Resume


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