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6 Tips to Help Students Build Their First Resume

6 Tips to Help Students Build Their First Resume

Your soon-to-be graduating students are looking to build their first resume, and you start getting asked the question: “How can I create a good resume if I don’t have any work experience, yet?”

Students might not have paid work experience, but do they volunteer in their community? Are they involved in any sports? Do they belong to any student organizations? These extracurricular activities might be unpaid, but they’re rich in experiences that will bring value to their resume if described effectively. An effective resume is one that spotlights a student’s background and valuable experiences in a concise and focused way.

To help you prepare your students as they gear up for their next chapter, we’ve assembled resume-building advice and resources for you to share with them.

How to List Education on a Resume

Indeed Career Guide writes that if you have years of extensive work experience, you’ll want that to be one of the first things that hiring managers see when they review your resume. But, if you’re still in school or are a recent graduate, your academic career takes precedence. Depending on the role you’re applying for, you might want to include some relevant courses that you’ve taken or major projects that you’ve completed that speak to your knowledge about the career field you’re hoping to join. And your GPA? If it’s above a 3.4, go ahead and add it to your resume.

Resume Basics: Keep It Short and Sweet

The Job Sauce writes a short resume doesn’t necessarily correlate with a lack of experience. In fact, one-page resumes are often preferred by hiring managers! The goal is to include relevant work experience—whether paid or unpaid—to show the value that you will bring as an employee. Many jobs now use applicant tracking systems (ATS), which are software applications that use an algorithm to screen resumes and narrow down the pool of applicants. A concise resume with relevant keywords will have a better chance of standing out.

How to Make a Great Resume with No [Work] Experience

TopResume writes that extracurricular activities and volunteer work can often provide you with transferrable skills (skills that you can apply in various situations) that would be perfect to include in your resume. A good tip to follow is to create a list of all the organizations, projects, and opportunities you’ve been a part of, along with the skills you’ve gained. Then, narrow down that list based on what’s applicable to the job you’re applying to. Remember that you want to keep your resume short and sweet.  

Best Resume Formats with Examples and Formatting Tips

The Balance Careers writes that the best first impression you can make with a resume is to format it in a neat and organized way that clearly highlights the reason why you’re the best person for the job.

Three Basic Types of Resume Formats:

  • Chronological – This format lists your most recent work and educational history and continues down a timeline in reverse chronological order.

  • Functional – This format highlights your strengths and skills first, followed by your education and work history.

  • Combination – This format is a mix of the chronological and functional formats. With it, you can make a chronological list of your experiences and also include a section dedicated to your different types of skills.

Keep in mind that your resume will likely be prescreened by ATS software, so the simpler the resume format, the better.

185 Powerful Action Verbs That Will Make Your Resume Awesome

The Muse writes that most resume bullet points start off with the same uninspired words. Remember turning in an essay and getting feedback from your English teacher to show it, don’t tell it? The same applies for resumes. Don’t just write that you have leadership skills; show what actions you’ve taken that prove your leadership. Under your experience sections, start your bullets with action verbs, and plan to give each section no more than five or six bullets each. Unlike a five-page English essay, you’re working with a limited amount of space on your resume, so make those bullets count.

27 Proofreading Tips That Will Improve Your Resume

Indeed Career Guide writes that before you submit your resume, proofread it. Walk away and then come back later and proofread it again. Share your resume with a friend and have your friend proofread it another time. Attention to detail is valuable to employers, and you only get one chance to make a good first impression. You don’t want a small typo to take the focus away from the skills and abilities you’re trying to convey.

Want to learn more about workforce readiness? Watch a recording of our recent webinar where we dig into the essential skills that students require today: Essential Social SEL [Social-Emotional Learning] Skills for the Workforce!