College students can write their own resume to jump start their career path. Writing an effective and influential resume is an important task since the purpose of a resume is to be invited for a job interview.
Some people opt to hire a professional resume writer, but if you know a few important rules, you can write it yourself. Here are some resume tips for college students.
The importance of an effective resume
Many job seekers don’t realize that human resources professionals wading through hundreds of resumes take only seconds to decide whom they want to invite in for an interview. Your resume needs to stand out with appropriate experience for the job and include plenty of active verbs that reflect your go-getter attitude.
The folks online at Career Playbook explain in “Write Your Own Resume”: “Your resume should be a results-oriented, concise document that summarizes your accomplishments for a particular position. To be effective, it must target a specific job and grab the reader’s attention with strong selling points on why your skills and background ‘fit’ the position you are seeking. Its main task is to secure an interview, not a job. Resumes must perform their function quickly to escape the circular file.”
Career Playbook specifies the purpose of your resume. In one or two pages, you need to convince the employer that:
- You can do the job.
- You have a positive work attitude.
- You are interested in doing the work.
- You are a good fit within the company’s culture and environment.
Writing your accomplishment statement
The accomplishment statement helps you highlight the jobs or work you’ve done in the past and apply its relevance to the new job you want. Be very specific with facts, figures and dollar amounts (if applicable). Explain: What steps did you take to improve the company or solve a problem? How did you benefit your employer? “When you are ready to write your accomplishment statements, make sure you stand out! …Select and highlight those skills which are most relevant to the type of jobs and employers that interest you most,” advised Simmons College in “Write a Resume.”
What if I don’t have work experience?
Resumes usually highlight the experience you’ve had during your career, but what if you have had only one job or no job because you are still a student? How do you make yourself stand out and prove that you can do good work? Ashley Faus suggests in “4 Things You Didn’t Know You Could Put on Your Resume,” posted on The Muse January 30, 2012, that you can include non-professional work that shows your accomplishments, character, personality, dedication, leadership and management skills. This includes:
- Professionally relevant hobbies: “If you’re looking for a position doing graphic design, photography is a great skill to have. Or if you’re looking for a finance job, managing your own stock portfolio is definitely a relevant item. … While starring in a play doesn’t translate directly from unpaid to paid work, it does show confidence, creativity, and lack of stage fright—all important skills if you’re applying for positions like marketing, sales, corporate training, or teaching,” said Faus.
- Volunteer work you’ve done for a charity, church, children’s or senior’s group.
- Non-professional experiences, such as study abroad, side jobs, pro-bono work, foreign language skills, tutoring.
- Interests and activities that reveal how your personality will match with the culture of the company you want to work for. Include activities with non-profits, athletics or sports, community work, group or club affiliations, etc. that directly relate to the company.
Other tips for writing a resume
- Cater each resume to each job. Don’t use the same form resume for every job.
- Since many companies use computer programs to read resumes and look for key words, put as many exact words that are in the job ad into your resume. If the job is looking for a “senior sales coordinator,” say that you are perfect for the job of “senior sales coordinator.”
- Use an easy-to-read font, such as Times New Roman or Ariel. Don’t use a fancy script.
- Proofread. Then proofread it again. Then have a friend proofread it.
What are some parts of your resume you are having difficulty writing?