Putting together a resume is hard for anyone at any stage of life. But for students this can be an even greater challenge, especially if you’ve got limited experience and qualifications.
For college students looking to get a job during or at the end of their study, there are a range of tips to help your application stand out from the crowd.
LayoutWhile beauty can be in the eye of the beholder, your use of size 16 Comic Sans font is not the way to catch the recruiter’s eye. Keep your resume clean and simple, utilising headings for different sections, line breaks, space between sections and the full page width.
You want your resume to be easy to read, so don’t cram as much information in as you can. Resumes should be built in web-friendly fonts such as Arial, Helvetica, Cambria, Times New Roman or Verdana – choose one font and use it throughout. Aim for a font size that’s legible on screen and use a larger font for headings.
You resume will be easier to read if you include short paragraphs and bullet points. Feel free to use tables if you feel it’s a better way to display your skills.
LengthWhat’s the right length for a resume? The answer depends on your experience and the position you’re applying for. Generally, students should keep their resumes to a two-page maximum. Remember, your resume is just an overview of your skills and experiences so there’s no need to include every detail.
Who’s the reader?Are you going for a casual job at your local diner? Or are you applying for work experience with a top law firm? Your target reader will determine the type of voice and information you have in your resume.
If you’re applying for a retail or sales job, highlight your customer service experience and communication skills. If you’re applying for a job that aligns with your studies, make sure you highlight your academic achievements and any applicable skills you might have.
Read the job ad thoroughly, making note of any criteria you will need to address. If the job calls for strong leadership skills then make sure you demonstrate your leadership qualities, whether that be through extracurricular activities or team sports.
Show your potentialAs a student, you probably don’t have a range of career achievements under your belt. Nevertheless, you still need to show recruiters what you’ve accomplished in other areas of your life.
If your GPA is impressive, then include it as an achievement under your studies. Perhaps you were promoted in your first year at your casual job. Maybe you’ve been able to juggle your studies with volunteer work. Perhaps you were a leader at your school or were a member of student council. Include things such as your involvement in extracurricular activities on campus, any charity or volunteer work, hobbies or interests, and any other activities where you’ve demonstrated your strong sense of responsibility and willingness to go above and beyond.
No silly mistakesSpelling and grammar mistakes are a sure-fire way to get your resume thrown in the trash. Have someone proofread your resume – someone with a good grasp of the English language. Make sure all your information is correct, including dates, addresses and names – and never, ever lie about what you’ve done. Remember, recruiters will probably verify your information.
About the Author
Andrea Riddell is the Online Marketing Manager at Career FAQs, a website dedicated to online courses and career resources.