9 Resume Boosters for College Students

We’ve talked in the past about how important a resumé is for college students, and how to write a killer one, even if you think you have no experience (reminder: you DO have experience!!). Resumes are your first contact with your future employer and can determine whether or not you get an interview. It’s important to make sure you convey a strong first impression on paper, so the employer wants to see more and get to know you. But what do you put on your resume, especially when you’re a college student with next to no experience? These 9 resume boosters will help you make a strong first impression and get the interview!

Don't know what to put on your resume? Click through to find out what 9 resume boosters can help any college student!

Awards & scholarships

You have received an award for your excellent grades? You made it to the Dean’s list? You received a scholarship for a paper you have submitted? Add it to your resume! Awards and scholarship show dedication and hard work, two qualities that any employer wants in an employee. They are especially important if you received an award that is within your field of study. They show how great you are, so don’t you dare hide them somewhere in your closet!

Related: The Ultimate Guide to Getting A’s in College

Study abroad experience

Did you study abroad for a semester or more? Make sure to add that to your resume too! Studying abroad shows open-mindedness and independence. Traveling is always something to put forward. It means you are not afraid of challenges and of taking risks, you know how to handle things on your own, and you are open to other cultures and people! All of those qualities are highly sought after, especially once you finish college. It’s something that can make you stand out from other candidates, as not everyone has the same opportunity. Some universities abroad are extremely selective, so if you made it in, it’s even more impressive!

Voluntary experience

You thought you had no experience? Think again! Just because it isn’t paid experience doesn’t mean it’s not valid. You can learn a lot from voluntary work, so if you have done it in the past, make sure to add that to your resume!  I had a hard time at first crafting my own because I didn’t realize that I could still shine even if I didn’t have as much experience as other people. But employers aren’t necessarily looking for experience. They are looking for skills. If you show that you do have those skills, you have just as much a chance at landing the job or the internship as the next person! And volunteer work is just as good as a paid position. It shows you are willing to help others and open-mindedness.

Your blog

Do you have a blog? Then that’s a HUGE resume booster! If you are majoring in something regarding the Web, that’s an even bigger bonus. As a communications major, my blog is definitely what made me stand out from the crowd when I interviewed for internships. You gain so many skills from blogging, and that’s definitely something you should be putting forward! Even if your blog has nothing to do with your major, there are still ways you can present it as a plus! Blogging shows time management and organization skills, creativity, and a lot of hard work. Those are all essential skills, no matter what the job you’re applying to is!

Extracurriculars

Just like blogging, extracurriculars can be a major resume booster. They’re a proof of time management and organization skills, allow you to get hands-on experience in the field you want to work in, connect with different people, improve your social skills, and it can really show your valuable work ethic. All of those are assets in the workplace. Extracurriculars that are directly linked to your field of study are even more important because they can become valuable experience that you will need once you get out of college.

Internships

Whether they’re paid or not, internships are a SUPER important thing to add to your resume! Since they are hands-on experience directly in your field, they are even more valuable than your work experience in retail (or any other part-time job that you get as a teenager/college student, really)! Internships are a great opportunity to make connections and to learn what it is really like in the field. They make you learn further than you do while sitting in a class and studying! They can become an asset and can be the deal-breaker when it comes to getting the position you’re after.

Language & computer skills

Remember when I said that skills were what employers were really after? Well, you’re probably asking, what type of skills should you put on your resume? Language and computer skills are a great place to start. If you know more than one language, make sure to show if off on your resume! I work in a country that is bilingual. Both French and English are essential to be able to accomplish my tasks correctly. So showcasing that I know both languages definitely boosts my resume! If you know another language than your mother tongue, even if it’s just on a conversational level, add it to your resume! If your company is international, it might help you stand out from the crowd!

Related: How to Learn a Foreign Language

However, NEVER lie about knowing another language! You wouldn’t believe the amount of times the interviewer suddenly switched from French to English when I was doing internship interviews! Your employer will find out sooner or later if you lied, and that is never a good thing!

While computer skills might seem basic in our era, they can be a real resume booster is certain fields! (Such as communications/marketing, engineering, etc.) Not everyone knows how Photoshop and other tools work. So if you know certain software or Web tools (email marketing,  social media skills, etc.), add that to your resume!

Leadership roles

If you assume any leadership role on campus, make sure to include them in your resume! It doesn’t matter that the position isn’t paid, leadership is a quality that employers look for a lot! It shows that they won’t need to accompany you every step of the way and that you can carry on a project on your own. Depending on the position you’re applying for, that can be a huge asset!

Personal projects

Started your own Etsy store? Created your own website? If you have done a personal project in the past or if you’re currently working on one, write it in your resume! I wrote a travel book in high school (that never got published, but nonetheless), so of course I included that in my resume. It shows a lot of skills related to my major (communications with a minor in writing) and also shows that I can carry on a project from beginning to end! Personal projects also allow the interviewer to get to know you better, so don’t be surprised if they bring it up during the interview!

What makes you stand out from the crowd? What could you include in your resume that you’ve never thought about before? What do you always make sure to include in your resume?

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  • I guess I would say that skills come from experience, but it doesn’t necessarily have to be paid work experience.

    An alarming amount of my interviews have been about specific skills, though. A lot of job advice talks about “transferable skills” and suggests that employers are willing to train you in the specifics of the job. Some are, but some definitely are not. When they say they want you to have three years of experience in a position exactly like they one they’re hiring for, they mean it. They want you to walk in day 1 and be able to do the job. Many of my interviews have been a bizarre series of questions amounting to “Can you use this specific software?” or “Have you used Excel to do this specific thing?” or “Did you do this exact task at your last internship?” it’s been tough trying to sell people on transferable skills or the idea that I can learn a new skill quickly and I won’t have a problem adapting to the exact email service they use or whatever.

    • I agree with you. Some positions really require you to have experience. But it’s not always the case! Especially not when it comes to internships. A lot of employers, when hiring college graduates, know college students don’t necessary have three years of experience in their field. But they still want them to have certain skills. That’s where unpaid experience can be a real asset! Some employers don’t really understand the transferable skills thing, but most of the time, it’s because they don’t understand what being able to adapt is. Just because I didn’t use this exact email service doesn’t mean I won’t be able to figure it out!

      But I totally understand your point of view. I guess what I’m really trying to make people understand here is, don’t hesitate to apply for a job you want just because you don’t have the required experience in your field! I encourage you to apply to those jobs. The worst that could happen is that you don’t get an interview. Sometimes, you just have to have a little bit of faith in yourself and hope for the best!

  • Up until recently, I never thought to add my blog. Running a blog comes with so many skills all meshed into one, graphic design, PR, social media skills, etc. When I saw this on your list I was like “yess!” Great tips, girl.
    Sunny | astoldbysunny.com

    • Yes, exactly! And depending on what your major is, that can be such an asset (and that counts as experience!)!

  • I haven’t thought of adding studying abroad to a resume. It makes so much sense why employers would like it.

    http://goldclutter.com

    • It’s not work experience, but it definitely shows some skills! Have you ever studied abroad?

      • Not yet. I’d love to study abroad someday.

        • Me too! I actually applied to study abroad in London next semester. Now I’m waiting for an answer. 🙂

  • I’ve been so uncertain about putting my blog onto my resume but since it’s something I’ve been doing consistently for over a year now, I think I should just bite the bullet and add it! Awesome tips!

    Alysha | bookishandbright.com

    • You definitely should! And it’s even more important if you’ve been doing it consistently!