Ways to Improve Your College Resume
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.
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.
While there is no silver bullet when it comes to building up experience and work history, the items listed above are some of the easy ways to improve your college resume. You should look and think outside the box when approaching your resume, especially if you don’t have a lot of experience and are running short on time.
Although longer lengths of time are preferred, it is okay to include brief stints of volunteer, work, or course experience. Employers are keenly aware of the difficulty in managing and juggling school course load and work experience.