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!
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!
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!
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.
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!
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.
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!
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!
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?