Resume Tips for College Students and Recent Graduates
Use Downtime This Summer to Revamp Your Resume
In addition to pursuing activities that interest you and catching up on some reading lists, the summer can be an excellent time to revamp your resume. A solid resume can help students land internships and future jobs and also serve as a useful resource when reviewing what kinds of learning and professional opportunities you wish to pursue next.
When it comes to resumes, no two are alike and there are a bunch of different ways that current students and recent grads and highlight their goals and experiences. Keep reading to learn more about what to include (and what to avoid) so that your resume stands out for all of the right reasons.
Come Back to Key Ideas
Like any good essay, your resume should have a central theme or idea that you refer back to throughout the document, just in a format that is different from your standard paper. Before writing your resume, think about the learning experiences that have shaped you, what kind of experiences you are looking for in the future, and what you are most passionate about. Every point on your resume should relate back to these key ideas in some way and highlight your commitment to interests and passions. When you describe a job, internship, or educational experience, emphasize the takeaways and deliverables that are most relevant to who you are and your professional goals.
Soft skills, or qualitative capabilities that help you thrive in a professional or educational environment, are extremely valuable. Take a moment to reflect on the personality traits and thinking patterns that help set you up for success such as being a problem solver, working creatively, and collaborating effectively. Once you brainstorm a handful of these skills, incorporate actionable words throughout your resume that relate back to these competencies. Simple verbs like “devised”, “created”, or “developed” can help drive home the types of soft skills you can bring to the table.
Keep it Relevant
Longer isn’t always better for resumes and in fact, a super lengthy document can actually work against you. Strive to create a resume that is concise, cohesive, and focuses on the learning experiences and opportunities that are most relevant to you. That means that high school students should leave off middle school achievements, college students should emphasize university opportunities, and recent grads may want to focus on internships and upper level course work. While it can be tempting to add extra items or bullets to create a longer document, sticking to what matters can help you come out ahead.
Take Proofreading to the Next Level
When it comes to resumes, there is no such thing as too much copyediting. You want to present the best version of yourself in this document, so take every precaution possible to avoid careless mistakes. Read through your document several times, use spellcheck, and maybe ask a peer or advisor to review it as well.
Look for Feedback
Once you have a solid resume draft that you feel confident about, consider reaching out to a parent, older sibling, or teacher or mentor to ask for some feedback. Discuss what you want readers to take away from your resume and the skills and competencies you wish to value. Having another set of eyes can help you see your work in a new light and ensure that the final draft of your resume presents all of the qualities that matter most to you.
Whether you’re looking for an internship, a job, or preparing to apply to college, a solid resume is a valuable tool. If you are currently in the midst of the college application process and looking for additional advice on how to stand out, our team of expert counselors can help you find your voice.