College Students' Guide to Writing a Resume
With Little Or No Experience
You've served your time in college,
putting all your efforts into school and only have
a few internships or weekend jobs under your belt.
As you approach all the pomp and circumstance of graduation,
you panic, realizing that you don't have much to put
down on a resume. What should you do?
Believe it or not, you do have enough
to develop a resume. You will want to start this critical
document by directly emphasizing your objective such
as "A career in the field of Human Resources." This
is especially important if you are targeting a specific
Next, you will want to "show off"
your degree to your prospective employer. If this
is your first job out of school, your education section
is an essential element and will be a decisive factor
in the hiring selection process. Include your G.P.A.
if it is worth bragging about.
The axis of your resume is the Work
Experience section. Naturally, if you went straight
from high school to college, you will have less work
experience than others who went directly into the
workforce. All hope is not lost. You may have to dig
deep to draw out experience. Remember, it is the way
that you present the information and the quality that
counts, not the quantity that you present.
One strategy you can use is to stress
your relevant skills and personality. For example,
if you were a Peer Minister for your university, write
how you developed relationships with the students
in the resident halls. Is there a crisis you helped
to solve while in that role? One student talked another
out of committing suicide by using negotiation skills.
The manner in which you show these accomplishments
on your resume can present you as an efficient problem-solver.
How about that position performing
clerical work in one of the college administrative
offices? Did you use customer service skills that
could benefit your prospective employer? If you worked
with the soccer team, did you help to promote the
groups' events by creating fliers etc.? What promotion
techniques did you use? This would be relevant if
you are applying for a marketing position.
Do not count out your summer work,
internships, and volunteer experience at church or
charities. Use a work sheet to take inventory of the
skills you used in all these capacities. Even though
unpaid, it is the experience that counts! You may
be surprised to uncover the skills you have acquired
mowing the lawn and working (entrepreneur/self-starter)
or at fast-food restaurants (multitasking). Do not
down-play your experience because you do not have
a fancy title. The heart of your rÃ©sumÃ© is the skills
you have acquired that can be transferred to subsequent
You should not make light of your
outstanding academic background. Your ability to do
well in school with a variety of courses show you
can be a fast learner for the organization. Highlight
your successes in the academic courses that relate
to the job requirements you are applying for. Did
you make the Deans List every year? Were you the commencement
speaker? Make sure you mention these achievements
as selling points on your resume.
Include an Honors section where you
list any awards, memberships in honorary societies,
and special awards. An Activities section should show
your activity in various organizations or clubs during
your time in college. Did you hold a leadership role?
Including these roles show your prospective employment
your involvement and dedication to these groups.
Show your enthusiasm in your cover
letter. Usually, employers like the can do attitude
that young people bring. While you want to sell yourself
and appear confident, you don't want to exude arrogance.
Emphasize your willingness to learn and go the extra
Everyone deserves a chance to be
hired. Think of the resume as a marketing tool and
you as the product. Sell, Sell, Sell your skills.
If you market well enough, someone will make the purchase.
You may not start where you want to be but you don't
have to stay where you started. Remain confident and
upbeat. If you do not get a response from your resume,
try and try and try again.
Master Resume-writer and Resume Strategist
Claudia A. Samuels Newton is the President and CEO
of Rewarding Resume Services (http://www.rewardingresumes.com).
Claudia has a Masters of Management in Human Resource
Management degree and a Bachelors of Science degree
in Business Administration. With over 20 years of
industry experience, she has served hundreds of satisfied
clients. Her speaking engagements include being a
featured guest on WLTX TV in Columbia, SC and serving
as a resume-writing consultant for higher education
institutions in her community. Samuels-Newton provides
online instruction in Communications as an Adjunct
Faculty member for the University of Phoenix Online.
She also serves in a management role at BlueChoice
HealthPlan, a subsidiary of BlueCross BlueShield of
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