Having an eye-catching college student resume is essential, whether you’re looking for part-time work, hoping to land an internship, or just preparing one ahead of time.
The current job market has become increasingly competitive over the years. In turn, undergraduates are also figuring out ways to stand out against professional competition.
In this article, Scholarships for Africans will discuss tips and examples on how to make your college student resume do the hard selling for you.
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What is a Resume?
A resume is a formal document that introduces you to future employers. Furthermore, it summarizes your skills, work experience, and educational background to see if you’re a fit for the company and the position to be filled.
Resume vs. CV
Oftentimes, people use resumes and CVs interchangeably. Before delving deeper into optimizing your resume, you must first be able to distinguish it from a CV. There are three major differences between the two documents, namely: the length, purpose, and layout.
A resume is tailored to a specific position you will be applying for, and will therefore only be one to two pages at most. It does not have to cover your entire career since its purpose is to make you stand out at a glance.
On the other hand, a Curriculum Vitae or CV is an in-depth document containing high-level details about your achievements, accomplishments, awards, and honors. It is a chronological overview of an individual’s full working career.
5 Tips for Building Your College Student Resume
As you work towards earning a degree, a college student resume will help you showcase accomplishments and highlight skills from all relevant experiences. Remember to take note of the following resume tips and examples:
Develop a personal brand
You will be given one to two pages to sell yourself to potential employers. How do you make them see you’re the best person for the job? That’s where branding comes in.
Your personal brand is how others see you. Keep in mind that your resume is not just a history of what you’ve done— it must also relay your potential. As such, focus on highlighting the right skills, and how you could be of value to the company.
Work on your technological literacy
They say that the future is digital. In today’s job market, you are already expected to know how to operate basic Microsoft applications such as Word, PowerPoint, and Excel. With the rise of work-from-home setups, project management websites and automation tools are also being adopted by companies.
Try going the extra mile and creating accounts for sites such as Asana, Trello, and Slack for project management. You can also explore applications and tools like HootSuite, Airtable, Planoly, etc.
Employers value students and applicants who know how to adapt to technology and can make use of tools to update their systems, bring in sales, or attract customers.
Speaking of digital, some companies now filter job applications and resumes electronically. As such, systems are more likely to choose a candidate whose resume is sprinkled with words and phrases relevant to the position’s requirements.
Optimize your resume by pulling out words from the company’s job description and including them in your resume details, skills, and experience, if possible.
Mention extracurriculars and leadership experiences
Listing your extracurricular activities showcases your well-roundedness and can also provide insight into your interests and skills. Leadership experiences, on the other hand, emphasize your ability to take on additional responsibility if need be.
Use action verbs and quantified responsibilities
Employers want you to show them your work, not just merely to recount. The best way to let it fit within one to two pages would be to demonstrate how you fulfilled your role through actions and by following it up with measured results.
Place description bullet points under your job titles and related work experiences. Then, start each sentence with strong action verbs such as “implemented”, “created”, “leveraged”, etc.
Additionally, you should try to quantify your impact as much as possible. Make use of data, percentages, and rates, This shows employers concrete ways in which you can make their business better.
With a well-written resume, you may open the door to broader possibilities. Keep in mind that these resume tips and examples can only offer you a boost in presence and chance. At the end of the day, what matters most is that you live up to your potential. Take the time to learn new skills, gain experiences, and explore. After all, the true path to success is not written on paper.
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Scholarships for Africans is a premier scholarship information blog committed to bringing more opportunities for Africans globally. They are part of the African Scholar Initiative, powered by Scholarship Hippo.