Most students attend college to land employment in their selected field, yet employers want experience from their candidates beforehand. If you’re similar to many students and have little to no work experience for a resume (or want to disregard that irrelevant restaurant job) keep reading! Listed below are five FAST ways to turn a blank word-processing document into an excellent college resume.
Volunteering is a great way to help build a resume. This not only adds specific organizations to your resume that can align with your major, but expresses values such as service learning, community building and time management. Also, most volunteering opportunities are without pay, showing a clear value of work and commitment even when money is not involved. Employers look for this type of commitment in their candidates.
If your college has student-run organizations, check them out and get involved! Student organizations are normally easy to get into with a nice payout of experience. Because of the many demands and roles required by student orgs, leadership, secretarial and budgeting experiences are just a few skills you can acquire and add to a resume. Involvement in student orgs also shows experience working in groups, another key skill employers look for.
Awards and achievements can make you stand out from the competition. These range from academic awards such as Dean’s List certificates to service awards in sports and leadership. The type of award or achievement can easily place you as a top candidate if it’s relevant to your perspective employment. Also, make sure to keep up on your studies, because some employers request college transcripts during the interviewing process!
Instead of waiting to securing work, how about making it yourself? Within the many majors available to college students are opportunities to create your own program or event that can be added to a resume. This not only illustrates initiative toward your major, but innovation depending on what you choose to create. This gives you the option to select, hone and master any skills you want. Want to add supervisory skills to your resume? Assemble and manage volunteers for your event. How about time management? Design a detailed schedule or itinerary. What about public speaking? Practice and perfect yourself as the keynote speaker. The possibilities and combinations are endless.
Internships differ from volunteering because of the specialized training involved. An internship allows students to work with or without pay for a set amount of time in an area related to their major. (Yes, that was a mouthful, but a necessary definition!) This is the perfect way build the skillset your major demands. Networking and being engaged in your community is essential for landing an internship, and could even lead to permanent job placement depending on the quality of your work.
Having previous employment is always good for a resume if it supports your major. List them from the most recent in short, detailed sentences. The five options listed above are also great portfolio builders, allowing you to show and tell your work experiences. An updated portfolio is also great to have on hand because employers often request samples of work for specialized careers. Lastly, make sure to have good social network maintenance if you own one; in can often be a resume in itself. The information, photos and videos on these legal-by-employers-to-view sites could be the final deciding factor between two equally-qualified candidates.
Mario Adkins is a senior at Grand Valley State University (GVSU). When not drawing or playing his favorite video games, he can be found on campus facilitating programs and events as both a resident assistant and vice president of membership for GVSU’s OΔK Circle–a national leadership honor society. Follow him on Twitter @zerolocked.