The National Society of Leadership and Success
Building leaders who make a better world

Resume Tips for College Students

By Lauren Stewart, NSLS Contributor on Jan/15/2018

Guest Post

Are you thinking of getting an internship while finishing your degree? Or maybe you’re getting ready to graduate and starting to look for that perfect career launch. Either way, a stunning resume is required to start you off on the right foot.
Creating the perfect resume can be intimidating. Once you get going, you’ll find it much easier to write about your experience professionally and with confidence. Here are some tips to start you off down the path to the right resume for you and your ambitions.
Contact Information
At minimum you want to include 3 pieces of information: your first and last name, telephone number you can be reached at, and a professional email address.
If you are a current student, your .edu address will suffice. It’s very easy to create a new email address on email hosting sites like Gmail. Make sure once it’s out there that you are checking it often and use it to connect with job prospects.
It’s not required to include your address on a resume. It can work to your advantage in some cases though. If you’re applying for a position where your school is located or where you are from include that address to show you live nearby.
Lastly, you can include a URL to your LinkedIn profile. It needs to be up to date if you decide to include it. What would you think if you saw an amazing resume on your desk and an average LinkedIn account that doesn’t boast the same accomplishments?
Objective, Summary, or Forget about it?
Your parents probably had an objective statement on their resume. They might even still have that objective statement. Like many other things in the world, strategies used to apply for jobs evolve, and objective statements are on their way out the door. Even Lily Zhang from The Muse says, “Pretty much everyone agrees that objective statements are out of fashion.”
Space on your resume is prime real estate and shouldn’t be sold to just any information if it’s not going to benefit you the most. Consider not including an objective or summary statement. This can give you another two to three lines of precious space on your resume.
Check out Lily’s article on The Muse to read about the one reason an objective statement may be a good item to include.
Write Achievement Statements
How you describe your work history and experience is guaranteed to go a long way. You’ll want to include how and why a certain responsibility was carried out to give future employers a better idea of what skills you possess that they are looking for to fill their job opening.
Here’s an example for a retail position. Before: Organized clothes displayed in store
After: Managed 30-40 clothing displays in store by organizing merchandise and returning unsold
items in an orderly manner.
See how the second statement paints a stronger picture of what skill is being represented and how it contributed to the store’s success?
Select the right action verb to start your achievement statement. Katharine Hansen, Ph.D. and writer for, says, “Action verbs form the heart of resume experience sections, with most bullet points in these sections ideally kicking off with powerful action verbs.
Use this formula to craft your achievement statements:
Action Verb matched to desired skill + Job Responsibility + How/Why it is important and shows the desired skill = Powerful Achievement Statement
Here’s a great video to help with selecting which skills to put on your resume and how to make them stand out.
Tailor Your Resume
Ever heard that no two jobs are the same? Well, the same is true when it comes to your resume. Using the same resume for multiple job applications will not give you the results you expect. The extra effort taken to tailor your resume will make it stand out from the rest of applicant pool.
Applicant tracking systems are become more and more common, so there is a good chance that your resume is going to be read by one before any person sees it. These systems assess whether you have used certain keywords the employer is looking for and if you meet other requirements they are looking for. The system tells hiring managers who the best candidates are to fill the position, so tailoring your resume gives you a higher chance of making that list.
Use verbs from the job description. This is one time where words are not just words. “Design” and “create” may be synonyms, but there’s a good chance the applicant tracking system is going to pick up the one that is used in the job description. So, if the description reads “design a business plan”, then your achievement statement should begin with that same action verb.
Revise, not rewrite. When you’re changing out action verbs that doesn’t mean rewriting the entire achievement statement. It is perfectly fine to revise only the action verb. However, you may need to write new achievement statements if a job description is calling for different skills from a previous position you’ve applied for.
Save all your achievement statements. As you’re drafting different versions of your resume to meet different skill sets for employers, save all your achievement statements written about your work experience in a master resume. This will give you an arsenal of achievement statements to choose from and revise to make tailoring that much easier in the future.
Here’s a short video from Nicole Williams, a career expert, with some tips on using a company’s website to further tailor your resume and why it’s important.
Now Get Writing!
As you’re drafting your resume, you may want to have another set of eyes to look it over. Visiting a career advisor or any advisor on college campuses is a great option to get additional information and editing assistance. Employers from various industries share what they are looking for on resumes with career centers, so schedule an appointment at yours to take advantage of that knowledge.
If you’re unable to schedule an appointment with a career advisor, consider using other resources online. There are countless resources available at your fingertips.
That resume isn’t going to write itself, so get to it! These tips are guaranteed to get you a great first draft of your resume and the rest is up to you.