Resumes & Cover Letters

7 Steps for Creating a Resume as a Student

August 25, 2020

A good resume provides a summary of your professional experience that highlights your best qualities related to the position you are applying for. Whether you're seeking a professional opportunity after graduation, applying for an internship or looking for a job while you complete your studies, creating a university or college student resume is the best way to share your skills and experience with employers.

In this article, we will review seven steps for writing a resume as a university or college student and share a sample resume you can use as a template when creating your own.

How to write a student resume

Employers generally look at a large number of applications for each job opportunity, spending only a short amount of time looking at each resume. The easier your resume is to scan, the better you can hold someone's attention and encourage them to seriously consider your application. Follow these steps to write your student resume:

1. Decide on a format for your student resume

Resumes should fit onto one page and have clear headers that alert the reader to the most important information. Most recruiters and hiring managers will focus their attention on the following resume sections:

  • Name and contact information
  • Education and achievements
  • Employment history
  • Relevant skills and experiences

The best resume formats are well organized with only the most relevant information and should make efficient use of blank space to avoid clutter. To achieve an easy-to-read resume, choose a simple layout that allows you to showcase the qualifications that are most relevant to the job posting. If your resume has a large amount of blank space, consider including additional sections that could be helpful for employers like relevant awards and achievements or professional interests.

When crafting your university student resume, tailor the content to the requirements of the position and highlight strengths and aspects of your education employers will find most valuable. By highlighting your best attributes and showcasing your accomplishments, you can leave a lasting impression as a strong candidate.

2. Include resume contact information

The first thing potential employers should see on your resume is a header at the top of your resume that includes your name, contact information and a link to your professional profile or website, if you have one. In this section, you should include:

  • First and last name
  • City and province
  • Current phone number
  • Current and professional email address

Your name should be the largest heading on the page, with your contact details in a smaller font directly underneath it. Here's an example of what your contact information section might look like:

April Jackson
512 Wide Avenue • Toronto, Ontario
april.jackson@email.com • 555-102-1512 • aprilsmith.portfolio.net

3. Write an objective or summary statement

This statement, also called a career objective, resume summary or objective statement, is usually composed of one to two sentences that sum up your short-term professional goals and why you're seeking employment. Your objective statement should be brief and focus specifically on your current career-related experience as well as your developed skills. Keep this section under 50 words.

Here's an example of an objective statement:

“Recent graduate of a well-ranked literature program with extensive high-level coursework and experience in editing and proofreading for academic and business writing. Skilled at applying multiple style guides (APA, MLA, AP, Chicago) and seeking a position that involves regular use of these skills.”

This example is under 50 words, provides only essential details about the applicant and showcases the candidate's relevant skills and potential value to the company.

4. Include an education section

Your education section is where you'll demonstrate to employers that you're learning skills you can apply on the job. Consider featuring it as one of the first sections on your resume.

Even if what you're studying may seem unrelated to the professional world, your commitment to education can demonstrate a will to continually improve and showcase a strong work ethic. Take this opportunity to list relevant coursework you've completed, your academic grade average and key areas of study. Your education section should include:

  • The name and location of your school
  • The degree you are pursuing (if applicable)
  • Your field(s) of study
  • Graduation year (if applicable)
  • Your academic grade average (Note: You may not want to include this if it's not above 80%)
  • Any relevant honours or academic recognition, coursework, activities or other achievements obtained during your education

Here are several examples:

University of Toronto, 2011–2015

  • Bachelor of Arts in Psychology
  • 3.7 GPA
  • Dean's list in 2014, 2015

Ryerson University (September 2016– 2018)

  • Master of Arts in Communication and Culture
  • 3.6 GPA
  • Thesis: The rise of social media and its impact on the business world

Member of DECA Ontario: Prepares emerging leaders and entrepreneurs to be University and career ready

5. Add in work experiences

You don't have to limit your experience section to paid jobs. If you're new to the job market and don't have many professional roles to share, include volunteer positions, internships and extracurricular activities These experiences can show you have the required skills to succeed in the position you're applying for. For example, including your role as captain of a sports team demonstrates leadership abilities, while your experience as chair of a student club exhibits organizational skills.

If you do have paid job experience or relevant internships, list those first with the name of the company, its location and the year(s) you interned. Then provide 2–3 bullet points highlighting your achievements with action verbs during your time in those positions. Include any measurable successes you had with numbers where possible. For example, your experience section might look something like this:

Appleton Editing Services | May – Aug. 2018
Press Release Editing Intern

  • Spearheaded a team to edit incoming press releases with short turnaround times
  • Developed processes for AP style guide approach to deliverables
  • Coordinated with team to implement editing guidelines, which reduced time to publish by 20%

6. List relevant skills

When an employer reviews your resume, they're looking to understand why you'd make a valuable addition to their team. Listing your skills is a way to quickly communicate your ability to succeed in the role. Include a combination of hard skills (i.e., skills you learned through education and experience like software programs or foreign languages) and soft skills (i.e., personality traits and skills you can apply to any job like problem-solving and time management).

If you're having trouble identifying skills to include, ask yourself the following questions:

  • What accomplishments and successes have you achieved? What traits, skills or abilities helped you do it?
  • What skills do your friends, family or classmates think you have?
  • Are there particular traits or skills professionals in the field you're applying to often have? Do you also possess those?

Here's an example of what a computer scientist may list on their resume under the skills section:

  • Programming languages include Java, JavaScript, PHP, C++, Python, CSS, HTML, SQL, R
  • *Additional skills: Highly organized, problem solver, great with time management*

7. Proofread your resume

Proofread your resume before uploading it online and sending it to your potential employer in order to correct any typos or awkward phrasing. Read your resume aloud multiple times to make sure that each section flows well.

Student resume example

Here is an example of a university student's resume, based on the steps above:

Horatio Hiller 100 University Street, Toronto, ON, M1A 3B1
917-555-1234
hhiller@university.ca

OBJECTIVE

I am a creative and highly motivated student seeking a part-time internship where I can share my knowledge of digital advertising to help your organization improve profitability and grow my industry experience.

EDUCATION

Ontario University of Art and Design
Major: Advertising
Expected Graduation Date: May 2022
Academic Grade Average: 87%
Relevant coursework: Media Planning, Psychology in Advertising, Communication Law
Clubs: Ad Club, Student Newspaper, Students for Environmental Action (SEA)

EXPERIENCE

*Grey Media Agency | Toronto, Ontario
Digital Advertising Intern, May 2018 – August 2018*

  • Served as lead advertising intern as part of a summer-long apprenticeship program
  • Assisted in building, launching and managing Google AdWords campaigns for leading clients
  • Successfully grew client ad spend return-on-investment more than 30% quarter over quarter

*Student Newspaper | Vancouver, British Columbia
Advertising Sales Representative, August 2017 – Present*

  • Act as primary point of contact for a subset of publication advertisers
  • Scout new advertiser opportunities and build relationships with local businesses
  • Helped newspaper increase annual ad sales nearly 20% from 2017 to 2018

SKILLS & ABILITIES

  • Team leadership
  • Verbal and written communication
  • Time management
  • Problem-solving
  • Adobe Creative Suite
  • Google AdWords Certified
  • Fluency in English and French

AWARDS & ACHIEVEMENTS

Elected Ad Club chair for 2017–2018 school year
Awarded 2017 Best Student Advertising Campaign in the retail category
Maintained Dean's List status Fall 2016 through Spring 2018

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