5 Tips for a Great Student Resume

One of the things you’re sure to find yourself doing in college is applying for jobs and/or internships. The experience you gain from jobs and internships in college will be invaluable to you as you enter the “real world” and begin your career. The application process usually begins with  the resume, which is a summary of a person’s work experience and qualifications. As someone who has had the privilege of applying for different internships, I have acquired some important tips on how to write  a great resume over the years.

1) Keep it short and sweet. Employers typically spend less than a minute looking at resumes, so it’s important to limit your content amount. Resumes shouldn’t be more than a page long, unless the application specifies that a longer version is preferred. If you find yourself with a resume that is pages and pages long, you need to edit it. You can have a resume that showcases your experience without having it be too long. Think to yourself, quality over quantity.

2) Formatting is crucial. It is important to format your resume in the best way possible in order to maximize your use of the limited amount of space you have, and to make it easy to read. Use headers and spaces to separate the different sections of your resume, bold font for the titles/subtitles, and bullet points to provide more detail. The formatting should complement the content, not take away from it so make sure that it doesn’t become a distraction by keeping it simple.

3) Show, not tell. This is probably the best advice I have received when it comes to resume-writing. It’s easy to throw a sentence in, such as “I am organized and responsible” in your resume, but you need to back it up with proof. Forgo a “skills” section in your resume and instead let your skills shine through in your experience section. In order to do so, be as specific as possible. For example, if you led an important group project, delineate the specific tasks you did that ultimately constituted as “leading”. Did you set the project timeline/agenda or delegate tasks or serve as a primary contact? These are things that a leader does, and you should put them down in your resume.

4) Use action words. Your resume is all about the things you have accomplished, and it’s important that your word choice reflects that. Break out your dictionary and thesaurus if you need to in order to find the action word that most accurately depicts what you did. Being precise and specific in your word choice will also keep your resume from getting to lengthy by getting straight to the point.

5) Tailor your resume to the position. There is no such thing as a generic resume. Each resume you send out will be a little different, because the content you include should be the most relevant to the position you’re applying for. Even if you have a plethora of work experience, you don’t need to include every little thing you have done. For example, if you’re applying for a biology lab research internship position, you don’t need to include the two years you spent babysitting your neighbors’ kids. Employers will be able to tell if they are looking at something generic right away, and tailoring your resume shows that you are dedicated and take application seriously.

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Pamela Nonga

Pamela Nonga

Pamela Nonga is a second year at the University of California Davis double majoring in Political Science and Communications. When she’s not theorizing about the greater meaning behind her day-to-day experiences on her blog, you can find her on a run, enjoying a blend of the outdoors and her favorite tunes. Pamela loves to read, write, and travel, and hopes to work in the fields of Journalism and Media as a career.
Pamela Nonga

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