Tips for College Students to Write Effective Resumes

Posted January 06, 2015 by
Writing a curriculum vitae

Writing a curriculum vitae. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

Writing an appealing resume can be a tough ask for college students, who quickly realize that it involves a lot more than what they initially anticipate. If you know how to write your resume effectively, you will be able to tell prospective employers that you possess the right skills for a particular job. There are some important tips that you can follow to ensure that you present your background in an attention grabbing manner to recruiters.

Make a list of your experiences at the onset

Your resume should be written in a professional manner but at the same time it should showcase your personality as well. It is the most challenging aspect of writing a resume because just about anyone can note down their experiences but not many can present them in a way that will make the employer believe that he or she has found the right person for the job. It’s a good idea to start with small steps like making a list of all the experiences you have been through so far. Your achievements in different fields like academics, internships, jobs, athletics, community service, and school activities can be put down on paper first. Then focus on the experiences that motivated you and helped you learn the most.

What employers look for

Employers are looking for candidates who add value to their organization and bring positive results. When you review your previous experiences make sure you highlight your accomplishments and small successes in every role. Think about how you made that class, organization, club just a bit better with your experience. Make a note of any processes that you initiated or changed for the better.

Unrelated jobs should be expressed correctly

You have to remember that your part time or summer jobs might not be related to your career goals. These irrelevant details might only dilute your resume. Instead focus on letting your future employer know that you will be dedicated and committed to the job, even if you have experience only in a different industry to go by.

Put it all together

You have to understand that your job application is a lot more than just creating your resume. Resume references and a cover letter are equally important and should be an integral part of your application. These crucial ingredients will give out the right impression to recruiters and make your application stand out from the crowd.

Your focus should be on accomplishments, not duties

Job hunters often just emphasize on their day to day duties, which is not wrong but doesn’t tell the employer much about you. On the other hand you are better off keeping your focus on the projects you have undertaken, improvements you have made and any factual numbers that you can offer them. It’s never easy to make a list of your accomplishments but you need to, because you are going to be judged based on them and your experience, especially against other candidates applying for the same job.

Pay attention to tense and verbiage

Active verbs and language have their merits when writing a resume. Unless you are presently working on a project, write things down in past tense. Use words like collaborated rather than worked on. Stay away from verbs that end in “ing” because they tend to be passive.

Avoid being fancy

Your resume should be appealing to the eye, which means it should have a simple format with the right font and size. According to experts, new college students ought to likewise keep their resumes to a single page. However those applying for jobs in more creative fields like advertising, media and marketing can take certain liberties while presenting themselves in their resumes.


Only if they fit, should you add things like community skills and affiliations, at the end of your resume. If you are applying for a job with a non-profit organization, only then does it make sense to talk about the community service you have done or social work you have participated in. Only if your resume lacks content, should you think about adding sections for hobbies and interests. You should also write down skills that you have truly mastered and stay honest when you are mentioning them. Unless you are a sophomore or a freshman, you should keep out your high school related information out of the resume.


Good resumes are a standard for job applications, which means they can be found just about anywhere. A badly formatted resume with glaring errors can seriously hurt you as far as your job hunt is concerned. If you can’t present yourself well on a piece of paper, no employer will be willing to give you the time of the day. Hence besides focusing on the basics of the resume, you have to pay attention to the content, which can help you get an interview for the job you want.

Author Bio:

I am Ramya Raju, a resume writing expert and career expert who also specializes in creating, writing and developing content, career websites and content for newsletters. I’m a sociable person, with a great love and interest for photography.



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