How To Write A College Student Resume (With Examples)

By Heidi Cope and Experts - Oct. 31, 2021

You are likely reading this article because you are in college and have to write a new resume for internship and entry-level job applications. You have looked at examples online, but most resume examples show resumes from people with years of experience. You don’t have years of professional work experience — you’re still taking classes. What do you do?

Writing a resume as a current college student can seem daunting, but there are a lot of opportunities to make your resume stand out because of your student status.

As a college student, you have many unique opportunities to experience and showcase on a resume. You have the chance to volunteer, study abroad, take specialized classes, and complete internships.

You may have worked on interesting projects, had impressive leadership experiences, or published research articles. If any of these experiences apply to you, keep them in mind. They will come in handy.

When crafting a resume as a college student, here are the key takeaways to remember:

  • Emphasize your education and honors/awards received in college.

  • Take advantage of the many opportunities college gives to you and use those to spice up your resume.

  • Make your resume job/internship application-specific.

  • Include extracurriculars, volunteer experiences, certifications, and publications, if you have any.

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What Is a College Student Resume?

A college student resume is a document that summarizes your time spent in college. You probably had to write a brief resume for your college applications. Writing a resume as a college student is similar to that, except with a more professional edge.

When hiring managers look at a college student’s resume, they know what you are spending most of your time doing: studying. Having years of full-time work isn’t expected, but they will be wondering how you have applied yourself in college both inside and outside of the classroom.

As mentioned above, college is full of opportunities to have enriching experiences. Take advantage of them — they will greatly help you not only by filling out those blank spots on your resume, but also by giving you something to stand out from the rest of the competition.

Hiring managers and recruiters will be looking for signs of maturity, self-motivation, and work ethic. Keep these elements in mind as you decide how best to sell yourself based on your college experiences.

How to Write a College Student Resume

A college student’s resume isn’t all that different for a current student as opposed to a recent graduate. Your top claim to fame is your educational experience and the extracurricular activities you were involved with.

Let’s break down the sections of your resume, step-by-step:

  1. Resume header. Your resume header should include your contact information. Open with your first and last name, which should be a slightly larger size or otherwise emphasized above all else. Include your location ([City, State] is fine), phone number, and professional email address. If you have a LinkedIn or an online portfolio, feel free to include a link to those here as well.

    Important tip: Never put your contact information into an actual header on your word processing software. Some applicant tracking systems (robots that parse resumes to weed out unqualified candidates) can’t read the information in a header.

    If the ATS can’t find your contact information, your resume will be thrown out before it even reaches a human reader.

  2. Resume objective statement. We normally steer job-seekers away from resume objectives toward resume summary statements.

    However, it’s perfectly appropriate for a college student to use a resume objective instead. Be sure to keep it short (1-3 sentences), include keywords from the job description, and state your relevant skills and career goals.

    That being said, if you have substantial or impressive work/internship experience under your belt that truly makes you perfect for the position, opt for a resume summary statement that emphasizes your qualifications and expresses your value to the employer.

  3. Education. Depending on how valuable you find your education section as compared to your experience section, you can swap the order around. We put education third based on the assumption that it’s your most valuable asset at the moment.

    Your education section should always include the following information:

    The rest of the information is optional, but more is usually better (especially if the rest of your resume is light):

    • GPA (if it’s over 3.5)

    • Minor (if relevant)

    • Academic honors (Latin titles, Dean’s List, Honors Programs, etc.)

    • Merit scholarships

    • Publications and/or research

  4. If you really want to beef up your education section, you can also include more details about relevant coursework. This can be a great way to incorporate keywords from the job description and showcase that you have solid foundational knowledge.

  5. Experience. Once you’ve progressed in your career, this will be a history dedicated to your work history, but for now, keep the heading more open-ended by calling it something like “Relevant Experience.” The reason why this heading works is because it allows you to put down a whole host of experiences in just one section. Items you can put here include:

    • Work experience (summer jobs, part-time work, etc.)

    • Internships

    • Volunteer work

    • Freelancing experience

    • Relevant coursework (if you didn’t include it in your education section already)

    • Study abroad

    • Club membership/leadership positions

    In general, you should keep things in reverse-chronological order (the most recent stuff first). Always be sure to quantify your accomplishments whenever possible. Make it easy for a reader to see what value you added to each experience you were a part of.

  6. Extracurriculars. If you’re a part of one or many extracurricular activities, it might be worth including a separate section detailing your involvement with each. Be sure to highlight the key skills you picked up from each experience to show how it relates to the job you’re applying for.

  7. Skills. You’ve certainly acquired some skills during your time in college. Try to give a healthy mix of hard skills and soft skills. Hard skills are those you must be taught, and be tested or measured in some way. Soft skills refer to the intangible, interpersonal qualities that make you great to work with.

    Where you can, add a bit of detail to flesh out each skill more fully. For example, if you put down “HTML” as a skill, give a brief description like “wrote webpages during a 3-month internship with XYZ Inc.”

    Also, try to make sure that each soft skill you list comes with a correlating piece of data in your experience section. For instance, if you write that you have excellent communication skills, there better be some proof of those skills in action elsewhere on your resume.

  8. Hobbies and interests. If you’re still not at a full page, you can consider adding relevant hobbies and interests. Even something seemingly irrelevant, like a love of working on miniature models, can paint a picture of a candidate who regularly hones her attention to detail in her free time.

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Current College Student Resume Example

Now that we have discussed the nuts and bolts of a college student resume, let’s look at an example of how it’s done.

Remember, every resume should be job-specific. So if you don’t have the same background as the person depicted in this resume, keep searching for some examples and make sure to have the resume mirror your own experiences.

The last thing a hiring manager wants is to see the same resume copied and pasted offline, yet again. Make it unique. Use this example to help guide your writing your own resume.

With that in mind, check out this current college student resume example:

Prateek Student

102 University Blvd.
University, CA 33409
(555) 555- 5555
teek@student.edu

CAREER OBJECTIVE
Dedicated outdoor education student with extensive teaching experience seeking hands-on internship opportunities.

PRE-PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE

The Pool Pros, University, California
Lifeguard Senior Manager and Educator (June 2015-May 2018

  • Managed over 100 lifeguards at three public pool locations.
  • Completed 20 training classes for lifeguard certification and recertification each season.
  • Organized and implemented water conservation and education classes for 50 students per season.

Outdoor Leadership Liaison and Leader, (August 2017- May 2018)

  • Organized outdoor excursions for 200+ university students.
  • Led training workshops for outdoor skills monthly to 20 students per workshop.
  • Kept communications between outdoor nonprofit leaders and university officials to ensure the safety of university students while on excursions.

National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS), Lander, Wyoming
Wilderness Medicine and Rescue Semester Team Leader, (August 2018- May 2019)

  • Led 15 students on two semester-long wilderness immersion school expeditions.
  • Trained students in wilderness safety, leave no trace principles and each student completed Wilderness EMT certifications.

EDUCATION CERTIFICATIONS
California State University, University, California
Bachelor in Outdoor Education and a minor in emergency medical response
GPA: 3.90
Graduated May 2018
Received NOLS scholarships for a semester abroad in India.
Dean’s List all semesters.

Emergency Medical Technician (EMT), California Licensure
Wilderness EMT certificate expiration date May 2020
EMT certification expiration date May 2020
BLS Healthcare responder expiration date August 2021

Certified Lifeguard, California Licensure
YMCA certification expiration date August 2021

Final Thoughts

Writing a resume as a current college student is exciting because of the flexibility you have in crafting it. Every college student will have a unique resume and that’s a great thing because it helps you stand out from each other.

When writing a resume as a current college student, keep in mind that the best way to make your resume stand out is by taking advantage of the many opportunities being in college gives you.

Try new things: take on a new project or volunteer opportunity. It not only will help your resume but will also give you great pre-professional experience that will help you decide which career path you should take.

Then again, there’s one more thing you can do.

Make a new resume and get more interviews.

Plus, a great resume will give you an advantage over other candidates. You can write it in our resume builder here. Here’s what it may look like:

College Student Resume FAQ

  1. What should be on a college resume?

    A college resume should include education history, relevant jobs, extracurricular activities, leadership experience, and any skills relevant to the job.

    Since college students may not have much work experience, it’s important to emphasize your education history and any relevant jobs that may have armed you with skills for the job you’re applying for.

    You can also demonstrate your abilities by including volunteer work, internships, or extracurricular activities.

  2. How do you write a resume for a college application?

    The five things you need to write a resume for a college application are your relevant contact information, detailed education history, and test scores, experiences, awards/honors, and any additional skills you’d like to share.

    These are the different sections required for a resume for a college application. Most sections are self-explanatory, but your experiences section might be a little tricky for some.

    In this section, you have the opportunity to differentiate yourself because you’ll want to articulate more than your responsibilities. Focus on your accomplishments and provide numbers for context and scale.

  3. Do you need a resume for college?

    No, you don’t need a resume for college, unless a school specifically requests one. The items typically requested on a college resume are typically things that are asked on your college application.

    However, resumes can be used to streamline this information and can be advantageous for those with extensive leadership achievements in and outside of the classroom.

    A resume can also be used to tell a story, rather than just a list on an application, and can allow applicants to expand on experiences not mentioned in other places.

  4. How can a college student make a resume for a first job?

    A college student should include contact information, a resume summary, education, experience, skills, and any additional achievements on their resume for a first job. The candidate should have the relevant experience to draw on for an entry-level job by including all of this information.

    Many managers hiring for entry-level jobs understand that college students may not have extensive work experience and will be looking for certain keywords throughout the resume that highlights education, experience, and skills.

    Education can include your degree or any special training, experience may include work, volunteer, or internship experience, and skills may include anything that highlights a good fit for the open position.

  5. How long should a college student’s resume be?

    A college student’s resume should be one page. Resumes should be this length so that employers and hiring managers can review them quickly. Typically those looking to hire a candidate only have a few minutes to review a resume, so you should make sure it’s relevant and succinct, with all of your impressive information listed early.

    Once you gain more experience, your resume may become longer but is typically only recommended for those applicants with over ten years of experience in the workforce.

  6. How do you write a resume for college with no experience?

    When writing a resume for college with no experience, be sure to emphasize your education instead. Your education and experiences in school will be key in helping you craft an effective resume for college. Be sure to include relevant internships, any soft or hard skills you possess, and projects you may be proud of.

    You may also want to include hobbies, interests, certifications, languages spoken, or any additional achievements you may have received, whether they were in or outside of an academic environment.

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Author

Heidi Cope

Heidi Cope is a former writer for the Zippia Career Advice blog. Her writing focused primarily on Zippia's suite of rankings and general career advice. After leaving Zippia, Heidi joined The Mighty as a writer and editor, among other positions. She received her BS from UNC Charlotte in German Studies.

Expert

Don Pippin, MHRM, CPRW, CDCS

Don Pippin is an executive and HR leader for Fortune 50 and 500 companies and startups. In 2008, Don launched area|Talent with a focus on helping clients identify their brand. As a Certified Professional Resume Writer, Certified Digital Career Strategist, and Certified Personal Branding Strategist, Don guides clients through career transitions.

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