How To Write a Resume for Students in 6 Steps (Plus Tips)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated 11 November 2022

Published 20 July 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

A well-written and distinctive student resume can catch the attention of hiring managers and help you land your first job. Throughout your education journey, you gain information and certifications that can help you navigate into the working world. A student resume may entail a summary of these experiences, as well as explain how they can help you in your future job. In this article, we provide a thorough description of 6 steps to create a resume for students, as well as some tips to keep in mind while you draft your resume.

Related: How to Write a Resume If You Are a Fresh Graduate

How do you write a resume for students?

Here are some guidelines divided into sections on how to best write a resume for students:

1. Contact information

This component includes all of your essential personal information to allow prospective employers to contact you for an interview. In this section, you can include your:

  • First and last name

  • Address

  • Phone number

  • Email address

  • Personal blog (optional)

Although including URLs for personal blogs or websites is not necessary, doing so may impress prospective employers. Be mindful to only include personal websites that are professional and relevant.

2. Education

Considering that you have spent a few years striving to obtain your degree, you can showcase and emphasise your academic performance by positioning the education portion towards the top of your student resume. Each item has to include the degree or qualification name, the institution name and the year completed. You may also mention your majors, minors and courses if they're relevant to the position you're applying for. If you've earned an MBA or doctorate, you may want to include a summary of your thesis.

Ensure that you make a list of all honours, scholarships, awards and other academic achievements. Enter this information separately for each qualification, or add a subheading at the end of the section that outlines all of your accomplishments. This way, you can highlight your earned skills that are valuable to many prospective employers.

3. Work experience

This component has to include your entire work history, regardless of whether it's directly related to the position you're applying for. Almost every professional experience can provide you with practical information that can help you as a candidate, whether it's the value of cooperation, the necessity of strong communication skills or how to deal with conflict.

You can still create a resume without formal work experience. Aside from formal work experience, there are many other experiences you can include in this section. Note that each item has to include your work title, the organisation or institution, dates and a few bulleted lists detailing your tasks and accomplishments. You can include your experience in:

  • Internships

  • Part-time work

  • Community service

  • Freelancing work

  • Leadership positions

  • Student organisations

  • Exchange programmes

Related: How To Apply For a Job in 8 Steps (With Job Application Tips)

4. Key skills

List any technical and soft skills that may be relevant to the position you're applying for, in the key skills component. Hard or technical skills include the expertise and knowledge required to perform specific work-related tasks. On the other hand, soft skills include abilities such as teamwork, communication skills and a strong work ethic. Examine the job you want carefully and curate these skills with those opportunities in mind. If the ability to multitask and manage a project appears in the job description, you may ensure that such abilities are emphasised in your skills section.

In this component, you may include languages that you can speak, write and comprehend, as well as your level of proficiency. Employers are increasingly prioritising multilingual applicants, so having multiple language abilities would be an added advantage. It's critical that you describe your abilities in depth. Instead of just stating “Japanese,” you can say that you spent a year as an exchange student in Japan and are proficient in the language for both writing and speaking.

Read more: Hard Skills vs. Soft Skills: Definitions and Examples

5. Activities and associations

In your experience as a student, you may have earned a lot of useful skills and experience through extracurricular activities. For example, sports may have taught you the essence of collaboration, or your membership in the student body may have honed your public speaking and negotiation skills. Either way, be sure to include any leadership positions you've had along with your duties, responsibilities and achievements. This is important given that prospective employers look for applicants with outstanding leadership traits.

Related: How To List Your Extracurricular Activities For Resume

6. Hobbies and interests

If your resume is too brief, consider including this part. However, you may omit this section in instances where the information isn't directly related to the position you're applying for. If feasible, connect the hobbies and interests you list here with the company's values and culture to indicate that you're a good fit for the role. For instance, if you're looking for a career as a copy editor, you may emphasise how creative writing has inspired and granted you a passion and appreciation for words.

Read more: How to List Interests and Hobbies on Your Resume

What type of resume is best for a college student?

Among the three most prevalent resume types, a combination resume best fits a college student. Outlined below is a brief explanation of each type:

Chronological

A chronological format typically works best with applicant tracking systems (ATS). But this approach is typically not the greatest choice for students with minimal job experience. This style provides a thorough job history, which may highlight a lack of experience.

Functional

The functional approach highlights skills and knowledge while downplaying the chronological job experience. It grants students the opportunity to highlight their on-campus experience and the transferable skills they gained in their academic journey. However, in this format, students frequently present skills without context, making the information difficult to understand. Functional resumes may not work well with ATS as well.

Combination

This format incorporates aspects of a chronological and functional resume and is an excellent choice for students. A combined resume reaps the benefits of both formats and enables you to highlight your most desirable credentials, skills and talents while also recording your professional history. Similar to a functional resume format, a combination format emphasises your abilities and achievements first. It's then followed by your work experience, which is the focus of a chronological resume format.

Read more: CV Templates: How To Use Different Types for Successful Job Applications

Tips for writing a student resume

Here are a few more things to keep in mind when creating your student resume:

Promote your work ethic

You may impress a potential employer by showcasing your work ethic in your resume, on top of your talents and education. You can exhibit your dedication and enthusiasm for your profession. Mention accomplishments such as perfect school or work attendance, making the dean's list, getting leadership positions, being active in extracurricular activities and obtaining a high GPA. You can also provide instances where you've done more to excel at a task.

Related: How To Demonstrate a Strong Work Ethic to Your Employer

Use action words

Resume action words are strong verbs that move phrases along by effectively expressing your abilities and expertise. You can improve the readability of your resume and liven up the wording to retain the interest of hiring managers. Use fresh, positive and active language such as “advocated,” “investigated,” “transformed” and “expedited” when outlining your activities and experiences. This way, your resume may appear more vibrant and dynamic. Additionally, employing action words can help you provide additional insight into your accomplishments.

Read more: 139 Action Verbs to Make Your Resume Stand Out

Keep it concise and brief

You can keep your resume clear, focused and concise. While you may include all pertinent information, make your resume succinct so that hiring managers can concentrate on the most relevant aspects. Avoid using filler words and phrases in your description.

Proofread your resume

While spelling and grammar checkers are very handy, these programmes may not capture all errors. Before you send over your resume, you can show it to a trusted adviser, lecturer, industry professional, friend or relative to review it and provide feedback. An error-free resume demonstrates your attention to detail and effort, increasing your chances of getting an interview.

Related: Interview Questions for Students (With Sample Answers)

Format it properly

Make sure your resume is clean and easy to read. Select a business font such as Times New Roman, Arial or Calibri, leave a one-inch margin on all four sides of the page and position your text to the left. Section headings can be typed in a bigger font and either bolded or underlined. Once you have finished writing and editing the document, export it as a PDF to guarantee it retains its original format and style.

Related: How To Format Your Resume

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