When a college student has to prepare a resume, it can be difficult because they may not have a lot of work experience. The good news is that your academic, extracurricular, and other experiences can still show an employer that you have the qualifications and know-how to do the job—if you present this information correctly on your resume.
What to Include in Your Resume
Begin with a resume summary statement. A resume summary statement (also known as a resume summary or summary of qualifications) is a list or a few sentences at the top of a resume that highlights your qualifications for a position. It is a great way to quickly show an employer why you are a strong candidate for a position.
Resume summary statements can be useful at any career level, including as a college student.
The summary statement should be located below your name and contact information. In a few sentences (or bullet points), state some of your skills and accomplishments that make you an ideal fit for the job. Try to include keywords from the job listing.
Mention a strong GPA. Along with your school and degree information, include any achievements, such as a high GPA (3.5 or above) and any academic awards (Dean’s List, scholarships, and other honors).
Emphasize your teamwork and leadership skills. Employers are always interested in job candidates who have demonstrated personal initiative in assuming leadership roles and who have proven themselves to be productive team members. Be sure to describe all leadership positions you have held within campus organizations or in academic team projects.
Emphasize all related experience. Even if you do not have much employment history, you can include volunteer experiences and any extracurriculars related to the job. You can put all these experiences in a section titled “Related Experience,” or divide them into different sections.
Tips for Writing an Effective Resume for a College Student
Highlight your education. As a student, you should highlight your academic successes at the beginning of your resume, before the “Experience” description. If you have completed any projects or taken courses related to the job you are applying for, you can include these as well.
Finesse your experience section. Even if you don’t have actual work experience, you should still include an “Experience” section in your resume. In this section, you can describe your college program, internships, or volunteer work you have performed. Instead of using the header “Professional Experience” for this section, use a more general title such as “Research and Analytical Experience,” “Related Experience,” or “Experience Highlights.”
Look at other Resume examples. Look at some resume examples or templates to guide your writing. A resume example can help you decide what kind of content to include, and a template can help you format your resume. However, be sure to tailor a resume example to fit your own experiences and the job you are applying for.
Proofread. Proofread your resume carefully before submitting it. A clean, error-free resume will show that you are professional and that you pay attention to details. Ask a friend or family member, or a college career counselor, to read the resume for you as well.
Related: Best Resume Writing Services
Resume Example With Summary Statement
Below is an example of a resume for a college student that includes a resume summary.
87 Washington Street
Hopedale, NY 10003
- An honors student with a record of academic and extracurricular success
- Extensive leadership experience, particularly within a higher education setting
- Adept at working across departments, with faculty, administrators, and students
- Award-winning written communication skills
XYZ University Hopedale, New York: Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy
Cumulative GPA: 3.93; Honors recipient every semester
(Expected graduation: May 2022)
Georgetown University Study Abroad
University of Trier, Germany
American University Washington, D.C.: Washington Semester in American Politics (Spring 2021)
RESEARCH AND ANALYTICAL EXPERIENCE
U.S. Department of Education, Washington, D.C.
Intern, Spring 2021
Generated concisely written synopses of current legislative action for use by the department, members of Congress, and the general public through the Department of Education website.
- Researched and presented to policymakers several successful school design and construction projects to support the “Administration Schools as Center of Community" proposal.
American University, Washington, D.C.
Research Assistant, Spring 2021
Examined how the increasing dependence of needy students on federal loans instead of grants for higher education has affected college access and enrollment, culminating in a 65-page paper.
- Received “Outstanding Final Paper” award.
Historical Society of Hopedale, New York Research Assistant, Spring 2020
Researched archival materials, wrote text panels, and selected objects for a historical exhibit on Hopedale in the 1930s.
More College Student Resume Samples
Here are more examples of resumes for college students and recent graduates, with downloadable templates, that you can use as a starting point for your own resume:
- College Graduate Resume
- College Senior Resume
- College Student Resume
- College Resume Example and Writing Tips
How to Make Your Resume Stand Out
USE A SUMMARY STATEMENT: Beginning your college student resume with a summary statement allows you to highlight your relevant job skills even if you lack extensive professional experience. It’s a smart way to catch the interest of a hiring manager right off the bat.
SHOWCASE YOUR ACHIEVEMENTS: Don’t hesitate to “toot your own horn” on your resume: describe your GPA (if it’s above 3.5), academic achievements, and contributions to campus and community organizations.
HIGHLIGHT RELATED EXPERIENCE: Participating in extracurricular activities and campus organizations helps to develop teamwork, communications, and leadership skills that are very attractive to employers. Describe how these experiences have provided you with many of the soft skills that will enable you to be a productive employee.