As you begin to near the end of your college career, you may be thinking about which jobs, industries, or careers you would like to apply to. And although you may have taken specific courses and classes to help you identify that industry, you may still need additional experience to help you flesh out your resume. If you’re nearing the end of your college career and have application deadlines looming, we have 8 easy ways to improve your college resume.
Ideally, you should be working towards building experiences, relationships, and networks throughout your college career. However, it’s never too late to start and to add some additional experience. Although it is a bit more difficult, it can definitely be done and will help you to provide additional work experience on your resume.
Lastly, you should still take advantage of all the services and offerings provided by your college or university. This includes creating and building upon your networks, reaching out to your colleges career services center, and formulating relationships with alumni in your preferred industry.
Resume Tips for Students
Resume tips for college and high school students are pretty straightforward. You should focus on what you’re good at. Don’t lie about your abilities or skills. You’ll learn those on the job.
Working on your resume can be a daunting task for just about anyone. But let’s face it, it’s even more of a challenge for college and high school students. Many of them don’t have relevant work experience to supplement their education.
Rather than be dismayed by your lack of relevant experience, you should take this as an opportunity to showcase your abilities. Show how you will be resourceful. List out any skills on your resume which are valuable to the workplace. You may not have a ton of experience, these resume tips for college and high school students will help you stand out and land that first job offer.
Get a Certification in Your Field
If you’re looking for an easy way to improve your college resume, look no further than taking and successfully completing a certification. Many certifications can be completed in less than a month’s time and will reflect highly on your resume. There are a plethora of certifications for nearly any field, industry, or career choice.
Certifications are one of the best resume additions as they show basic and complex understanding and aptitude in a particular field or subject. By taking and receiving a certification from an accredited site or organization, you can show potential employers your seriousness and comprehension in the field. Likewise, you will have an opportunity to network with individuals in the same industry, which can open doors and opportunities for you.
With the proliferation of the internet, the barriers to finding, enrolling, and completing a certification have been reduced. There are a number of online sites which allow you to enroll and complete a certification, including ones by Harvard University, UC Berkeley, and Stanford. Over at Digital Defynd, they have a list of the 20 best free online certifications and courses for 2020.
Sign-Up for Volunteer Opportunities
One of the best, and easiest, ways to add additional experiences to your resume is to volunteer with a local organization, non-profit, or hospital. These organizations are constantly in need of qualified, capable, and willing volunteers to assist them with a slew of tasks. While you may perceive volunteering as unnecessary, or unhelpful, to your future career, it can be a great initiation into your field of choice.
Large organizations, non-profits, and hospitals are in constant need of volunteers. These volunteers are tasked with a plethora of responsibilities, ranging from administrative, to marketing, to customer service. This experience can be invaluable on your resume and will help you to begin your career.
Lastly, volunteering with local organizations and non-profits can help you with your networking efforts. Many large employers provide volunteer time off days to their employees. Chances are, if you volunteer for some time, you may just bump into someone who can help you with the start of your career.
Speak to Your Professors
One of the greatest benefits in being in college, is the sheer number of individuals who are hardworking, dedicated, and looking to pursue their dreams. Professors are some of the brightest, most respected individuals in their fields and are always looking for new ways to propel and accelerate their ideas.
If you have a good relationship with any of your professors, you should look to see if there is any area or space where you would be able to help them. Whether they are completing an experimental trial or running focus groups, you can help to manage, lead, and organize it for them. Not only will you be “in the trenches”, but you will gain valuable experience that you can put on your resume.
Join a Club or Fraternity
While this may not sound like sound advice for easy ways to improve your college resume, it definitely can be. School clubs, groups, and fraternities are great places to build relationships and get organizational and leadership skills. Now, you’ll want to join a club or organization you are passionate about. But, once you’ve entered, you can begin to work towards organizing events, leading outreach, and developing marketing opportunities.
Working on outreach, organization, and marketing are all actionable skills which employers are looking for. If you can complete these tasks, you should state so on your resume. However, be sure to be descriptive on what you accomplished.
For example, if you organized a fundraising event, don’t just state, “organized a fundraising event for the ABC Organization.” Rather, be detailed and specific, as-such:
Chief Fundraising Expert – ABC Organization
- Organized annual fall semester event, in which over 250 students, faculty, and staff attended
- Liaised with local businesses to provide catering, décor, and financial contributions
- Formulated fundraising plan, which successfully brought in over $17,500 for a local non-profit
Find the Entrepreneurs
Nearly every school has a group of students with the “next big idea”. And while there’s no guarantee that they will succeed or not, they are usually working on some pretty cutting-edge stuff. While it may be difficult to approach them, you can definitely try and offer your services for free.
These groups are usually looking for additional help and resources. While they may not be able to pay you, you will have an opportunity to work on new, interesting ideas and concepts. You’ll also have the opportunity to wear multiple hats, allowing you to gain experience in marketing, advertising, technology, and engineering.
Even if the idea fizzles out and doesn’t succeed, you can list the company and experience you gained on your resume. You will be able to discuss what specific work you completed and will have experience in a start-up company.
Start Your Own Company
While this may seem like an outrageous idea, it’s one that can be done relatively cheaply and implemented quickly. While you may not have the funds to start a brick-and-mortar business, you can think outside the box and look to provide services to your fellow college students.
Some ideas to consider include, tutoring services, homework help, or a home cleaning business. This experience will help teach you how to start, run, and manage a small business. This type of experience is actively sought after in the corporate world and one that will look great on your resume.
Start a Blog, YouTube Channel, or Social Media Page
Many employers are looking to get a better understanding of the online ecosystem. In addition to blogging and video production, there are Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, and TikTok to contend with. These employers are looking for younger, more internet fluent individuals to help them manage their online profiles and presence.
By starting a blog, YouTube channel, or social media profile, you can show those employers that you have direct, actionable experience in that field. As the internet continues to proliferate across the world, more and more companies will need experts in that field.
Remove Outdated Information
While we’ve focused on areas where you can include additional experiences, you should also remember to clean up and keep your resume focused. You should look to remove any information, experience, or work history which is no longer relevant or necessary.
As a general rule of thumb, if the experience does not directly add to your career goals, then it should be removed. Likewise, any experiences, courses, or work history from high school should also be removed. This is one of the easy ways to improve your college resume, as it only takes a short while to clean up your resume and can substantially help your chances at landing an interview.
Focus on Education
At this stage in your life, your education is the single most important focus. It is where you spend the majority of your time and where you are gaining life experience. But, don’t shy away from your education.
You should include it front-and-center of your resume and focus on your academic accomplishments. You should not shy away from listing your GPA if it is over a 3.0. If not, then you can list some courses which may be relevant to the position you are applying for.
List Out Any Courses Taken
Experience can come in one of two forms. The first, from professional working experience. The second from education. Your educational experience is that which you gained via classes and courses you’ve taken.
When applying for a position, be sure to list out any relevant classes you’ve taken which may relate to the position. You should provide brief descriptions of the class, as well-as your final grade, so long as it was a B or higher.
Companies are hiring for the future. As they look towards younger applicants, they want to hire people who can bring in fresh ideas and have shown leadership experience. You may think experience as president of the mock trial team is irrelevant. However, it shows your ability to manage and lead a group of people.
This experience is paramount in future success and should be listed on your resume. However, don’t just put this experience on your resume and call it a day. Fully list out all accomplishments directly related to it and how you successfully ran the group.
Many companies are placing emphasis on community leadership and volunteering. Be sure to be vocal on your experience assisting the less fortunate or volunteering with a local non-profit. The experience gives you real world, face to face, interactions. It makes you more in-touch with the people in your community and fosters relationships.
Going with the theme of companies hiring for the future, you should state in your resume that you are eager, willing, and hungry to learn.
Many companies want new, creative thinkers to join their team. By stating the fact, from the get-go, that you are eager for an opportunity and wish to succeed, a company may just take a chance on you. Don’t think that your lack of professional experience is the end of the road.
Everyone had to start from somewhere and your education is a focal point of your future success.
Be sure to be honest and upfront, tying in your educational experience with your willingness to work hard and succeed.