Whether it's an internship, summer job, or that first "real" profession, college students all face the same challenge. It's important to write a resume that highlights the knowledge gained in school, while not drawing attention to a lack of work experience.
In many ways, college students are faced with the same problems discussed in our article: Finding a Summer Job. Fortunately, what students lack in experience, they make up for with fresh ideas. They have state-of-the-art knowledge, and a new perspective. That's a valuable mindset, and the best companies know the importance of feeding their talent pool.
Resume Formats for Students
There are three resume formats in use today. In the sections below is a brief description of their structure, as well as their pros and cons when used by college students with little, or no, experience:
Unless the student has a lot of great work experience they can write about, it's important to steer clear of the chronological resume format. This is a resume a student's mom or dad might help them put together because it helped them get their job. Unless someone's been working for years, it's not a good choice for college students, because the emphasis is on where they've worked in the past.
Students that are lucky enough to have done some relevant internship work might want to see how it looks on paper with a combination resume format. This is the best choice for seasoned workers with many skills they can write about. Regrettably, this format emphasizes work history; something many college students often lack.
Finally, it's time to talk about the best choice for most college students: the functional resume format. This style highlights a student's skills and achievements, without drawing attention to the fact they may not have a lot of work experience. That's a great combination for college students.
To sum things up, if the former student has some relevant experience, the combination style may be the best choice. Students with little, or no applicable experience, would be better served using the functional format.
While the above descriptions provide links to more detailed information, examples can help illustrate the approach. Before getting to that example, here are a couple of warnings.
Be prepared for rejection. Unless an individual is extremely lucky, former students will likely be rejected a lot before they find the right job. Don't be afraid of rejection, and don't take it personally; it's a business decision. Continue to work on job interviewing techniques.
Stay in touch with the school's career center. The professionals working there get paid to help college graduates find jobs. Finally, a very high percentage of jobs go to people known through personal networks. Friends or relatives can oftentimes provide a competitive edge; don't be afraid to tap them on the shoulder and ask for their help.
Download and Resources
The following is a link to a downloadable Word document in the functional format: Resume for College Students. This example also uses a resume template the user can customize with their information. It also contains several examples of features a student should include in their document.
Former students might also want to take a look at the many resume writing resources offered on this website. These articles contain many more tips that can help job seekers to put together a great resume; one that gets results.
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