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A college student’s guide to resumes

The most important skill to learn...

Sarah Xu

January 02, 2024



In the competitive job market today, having a well-crafted resume is essential for any college student aspiring to secure a job or internship. Your resume serves as your first impression to potential employers, and a strong one can significantly enhance your chances of landing your dream job. This guide, breaking down the basics between resume structure, writing tips, and resume design, will help you create a compelling resume that stands out, all while keeping it concise and to the point.

If you’re looking for easy-to-use templates (all you need to do is fill in the blanks!), head to homefromcollege.com/resume-editor/create for FOUR templates and trackable resumes!

Resume Structure

A resume typically consists of the following sections:

1️⃣ Contact Information: At the top of your resume, include your name, phone number, email address, and the link to a digital portfolio or website, if available. DO NOT add your address!

2️⃣ Objective or Summary (Optional): A brief one or two-line statement summarizing your career goals. If you include this section, make it specific and tailored to the job you're applying for.

3️⃣ Education: List your academic information, including the name of your college or university, your major, expected graduation date, and your GPA if it's impressive. Include any relevant coursework, honors, or awards.

4️⃣ Work Experience: Detail your work history in reverse chronological order (most recent to least recent). For each position, include the job title, the company's name, dates of employment, and a brief description of your responsibilities and accomplishments. Use action verbs and focus on achievements and skills relevant to the job you're targeting.

5️⃣ Skills: List your key skills, including technical skills, languages, certifications, and any other abilities relevant to the position you're seeking.

6️⃣ Extracurricular Activities (Optional): Highlight clubs, organizations, or volunteer work that demonstrate leadership, teamwork, or skills relevant to your target job.

Resume Writing Tips

Here are some essential tips to keep in mind while writing your resume:

1️⃣ Be Concise: Use succinct language and avoid unnecessary adjectives. Focus on providing clear, impactful information.

2️⃣ Customize Each Resume: Tailor your resume for each job application. Highlight the experiences and skills that align with the specific position based on the job description!

3️⃣ Quantify Achievements: Whenever possible, use quantifiable data to highlight your achievements rather than adjective based descriptions.

4️⃣ Use Action Verbs: Begin each bullet point under your work experience with a strong action verb, such as "managed," "designed," or "analyzed."

5️⃣ Proofread: Check your resume for spelling and grammatical errors. Attention to detail is crucial.

6️⃣ Be Honest: Always be truthful on your resume. Exaggerating or providing false information can lead to negative consequences.

Resume Design

Here are some design tips to keep in mind:

1️⃣ Choose a clear and readable font like Arial, Calibri, or Times New Roman. Use 11-12 point font

2️⃣ As a college student, it is best to keep your resume content to one page only! 

3️⃣ Use bullet points to break up text and make your resume more scannable. Use them for listing your responsibilities and achievements.

4️⃣ Ensure your resume has adequate white space to make it easy on the eyes. Don't overcrowd it with text.

5️⃣ Keep your design simple with a clean, straightforward format is often the most effective. Don't use excessive colors, graphics, or elaborate designs.

6️⃣ Save in PDF format when sending your resume electronically, save it as a PDF to maintain formatting consistency across different devices. It is best to title your resume with your name in it!

Creating a winning resume as a college student doesn't have to be overwhelming. Home From College offers the Resume Studio as a tool for students to build their resume with ease, and ensure that you get valuable information and feedback, such as tracking the views and time spent on your resume! With regular updates and continuous improvement to your resume, you'll be well-prepared to make a strong impression on potential employers and take the first step toward your desired career.