The college experience is about more than just coursework. It’s about getting involved. Millersville offers students many different ways to get involved: philanthropy events, the arts, sports, Greek life, clubs, and more.
But when it comes to putting those great experiences, and the things they taught you on a resume, it can get tricky. Students can often find themselves staring at a blank screen when it comes to putting pen to paper and explaining how your college experiences prepared you for a job.
Part time jobs and school activities can seem completely irrelevant to getting a job, but when writing a resume, especially for those just starting out, no experience can be considered too small.
It takes effort to make a resume fit personal styles and still be professional.
“I feel like my resume reflects my skills and abilities well. It’s a good outline of what I’ve been involved in and what I’ve accomplished,” says MU undergrad Marshall Martin.
At its heart, a resume is a marketing document, meant to make you stand out from all the other applicants. A resume is not a place for personal stats or a place to list every summer you went to soccer camp. Ideally, a resume has a specific, but still short, goal. Katharine Brooks, author of “You Majored in What? Mapping Your Path from Chaos to Career,” says that students should only include a career goal if they are crystal clear on the goal.
“If you are vague about your goals, you will do more harm than good,” says Brooks, who also says if applying for a specific job, tailor the goal to that particular position.
For students updating an existing resume, start by compiling a list of the positions you’ve held since you last wrote your resume. If you’re writing your resume for the first time, think about every position you’ve held, including volunteer work and temporary jobs.
Brooks encourages students to take a fresh, expansive look at every job (even those that could be considered menial). Even retail or customer service positions show potential employers problem solving skills, mastering company policy, and the knowledge of when to let a supervisor handle a situation.
Make a list of all the responsibilities you handled at jobs or while volunteering, no matter how small. You restocked shelves or swept the floors? Put it on your list. It probably won’t make its way to the final draft of your resume, but thinking about small tasks you handled might help jog your memory about more important tasks you handled.
A typical student resume puts education at the top. Make sure to include your school, your major, the degree you expect to earn and the year you will graduate. In addition, any academic honors such as dean’s list should go here. Some resume coaches advise students add their GPA if it is 3.0 or higher, while others suggest only putting a GPA if it is extremely high (3.8 or higher).
Ask yourself if your course load could be considered work. As any student knows, being in school is a full-time job. Depending on space, consider adding a list of courses that are relevant to the position you are applying for.
Some things to remember when polishing a resume:
• No paragraphs: The opposite of what students are usually told. Your resume should highlight your skills, abilities, and relevant experiences, but don’t write a novel. Use bullet points or arrows, anything but a solid block of text.
• Make job titles easy to find: Make sure a potential employer can easily figure out what your position was at pervious jobs. Bold them if that makes it easier.
• Nothing personal: A link to your Facebook or Twitter is unnecessary and unprofessional. Employers don’t care about how many ‘likes’ you have on Facebook. Don’t include age, weight, birthday, marital status, children, etc.
• Identify your strengths: No need to brag, but think about the things that help you excel at work or school. Those skills will likely help you in the job market as well.
• Proofread: No matter how perfect you think it is, have someone else read over it. Don’t trust spellcheck to catch all your mistakes. Your roommate, your mom, your aunt, or your best friend should look over it. MU Career Services offers free resume critiques to students.
Having a resume that stands out from others could be the key to getting your dream job. Make sure to have a resume that emphasizes your strengths and the things that you would bring to a job.