When you’re fresh out of college and looking to fill your resume, it’s easy to feel defeated. Any work experience you have may not relate to your career.
So, what’s a student to do?
If you’re building your resume with little work experience, there are some tips to help stand out from the rest (in a good way).
In this post, we’re going to cover the best tips for making your student resume stand out when you don’t have a ton of work experience.
Highlight awards and extracurriculars
If you’ve done anything that’s above average, highlight it on your resume. But of course, you’re going to want to keep it relevant. Hackysack champion of the campus might be impressive to your friends, but it’s not going to land you a job. Instead, focus on academic achievements—bonus points for an achievement that’s relevant to your industry of choice.
The same holds true for extracurricular activities. If you’ve spent your time in college on any extracurricular activities, including team sports or academic clubs, these things can help your resume stand out. Your resume will become more interesting with awards and extracurricular activities highlighted.
Dress-up your experience
If you have work experience to add to your resume, look at the areas where you can relate it to the job you’re seeking. Call out any experience you have that might be useful in a higher-level job. Something like buying experience, management or assistant management, and team leadership can help your resume stand out.
So many students make the mistake of glossing over work experience. Don’t assume potential employers know what you did when you worked at McDonald’s. Call out the responsibilities and accomplishments that you’re most proud of — because it does make a difference.
Whenever possible, use numbers to quantify your work accomplishments. If you implemented a new straw policy, try to quantify how much that policy saved the company. Here’s what it might look like:
- Implemented a new straw distribution policy that ultimately saved the franchise $500 annually.
An executive summary is a common resume section, but it’s not going to serve you well as a student. You’re going to want to keep an appropriate resume format, but try to maintain your authenticity. Don’t try to be something you’re not. Instead, focus on your personal strengths.
If you don’t actually have something to add in any given section and it starts feeling like “fluff,” drop it.
Don’t worry about the resume feeling light. It’s better to have your strong information stand out than to muddy the waters with fluff.
When you’re assembling your resume, there are certain formats that are common. And this is a great place to start. But if you use a resume template and the first section is your weakest, it’s okay to revise and reorganize. Start with your strengths.
The important part is that you keep the sections organized in a way that employers are used to seeing. So try not to get creative with how you list your job experience. Just be sure your strengths stand out.
Okay, so what if you haven’t done anything that would be interesting to potential employers? It’s not too late. You can start volunteering at an organization and put it on your resume. Yes, you’ll have to add the date you began, but it’s better to have it there than to have the blank space.
Choose a well-respected organization where you can instantly begin getting hands-on experience.
When you’re building your student resume after college, it’s easy to feel discouraged. But remember that you’re applying for jobs where potential employers are looking for candidates like you. You’re exactly where you need to be. All that’s left is to highlight the skills and experience that can send your resume to the top of the pile.
Go into this thinking that you deserve the job, and write your resume with that in mind. You just have to communicate exactly why you’re the ideal candidate.
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