A recent study from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York found that 44% of college grads work in jobs that don’t require a college degree, most of which pay under $44k per year. So how do you set yourself apart and ensure you’re among the 56% making use of their education?
Follow these eight indispensable resume writing tips for students.
Before beginning to write your resume, brainstorm a list of your experiences and achievements. This could include anything noteworthy from your academic, volunteer, athletic, and work history. After coming up with a list, think about which experiences have defined you or helped you learn relevant skills, and make sure you communicate this when writing your resume.
2. Tailor your resume to your goals.
The best resumes are designed with a specific job or career goal in mind. Pick out the experiences and accomplishments from your list that are most in line with your goals, and include them on your resume in a way that highlights their relevancy.
3. Move your education to the top.
Later in your career, you’ll want to highlight your job experience first, but right now, your degree is likely the most valuable asset you have to offer, so let it shine! Give it top billing, and include details on your academic successes, such as a strong GPA or special classes and projects you undertook.
4. Include specifics.
Instead of just listing your experiences, add specific successes or achievements you accomplished in each role. For example, if you headed a volunteer project, report on the results of your work. How much was raised? How many people attended? How were costs reduced from previous years?
5. Highlight your strengths as a leader.
If you can present yourself as a leader, you’ll have an advantage over other student applicants. Think about times where you were a leader at school, work, and other activities—even if you weren’t formally in a leadership role. Maybe you initiated a special project or took newbies under your wing.
6. Focus on keywords in the job ad.
Look at what the employer is requesting for this specific position. Go through each item individually and ensure you address it to the best of your ability in your resume. For example, if they’re looking for a team player, have you included evidence to support that you match that qualification? This could include anything from working on a group project in school to participating in a sports league.
7. Don’t exceed one page.
If you’re already over, go back and look for areas that can be written more concisely or cut entirely. Recruiters spend an average of six seconds reviewing a resume, so you want them to easily hone in on your most impressive qualifications. For most students, this means keeping your resume short. The exception to this rule is if you have an extensive amount of relevant internships and work experience.
8. Revise, revise, revise.
When you finish up your initial draft, you’re far from finished with writing your resume. Check it many times over for errors and for elements you can improve or replace with stronger examples. Ask a professional to review your resume for mistakes and to provide honest feedback and suggestions on how to make it even better.
We also advise students to seek guidance from a job coach when crafting their resumes, as a job coach can provide seasoned, impartial insights that parents and teachers can’t. To talk with an expert job coach about how you can strengthen your resume and navigate the job hunt like a pro, click the button below.