Not sure what a cover should look like? Confused by all the contrasting guidelines? Here’s an article that will straighten out all your queries once and for all.
You’re about to write a college student resume.
Whether you’re looking for a college internship in your field or a part-time job to help pay tuition, you’re ready to balance work and school.
To get your college job, you’ll need a college resume that’s damn compelling and dressed to the nines.
But don’t worry.
This college student resume guide will show you:
- College student resume examples better than 9 out of 10 other resumes.
- How to write a college freshman resume that gets more interviews.
- Tips on how to put skills and achievements on a resume for college students.
- How to describe your experience to get any jobs for students you want.
Here’s our sample of a perfect college resume template:
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Sample College Student Resume—See more templates and create your resume here.
We have resume guides no matter which level of education you’ve accomplished:
- Recent College Graduate Resume Guide
- High School Student Resume Guide
- Scholarship Resume Guide
- Resume for College Applications Guide
- Internship Resume for College Students Guide
- Undergrad Resume Guide
- First Resume with No Work Experience
- Student Resume Guide
- College Freshman Resume
What’s the Best Format for a College Student Resume?
Remember double spacing and 12pt fonts from English Composition I?
Formatting rules apply here, too.
Hiring managers do a 6-second glance, on average, the first time around. If you don’t pass that preliminary scan, your college student resume gets a big ole “F.”
Go with the reverse-chronological format.
Using reverse-chron locks it down and keeps it straight, whether it’s a college freshman resume or a college senior resume. Hiring managers in every industry know and understand this layout.
Here’s how to format an undergraduate resume template:
- Start your college student resume with an attention-grabbing summary or objective.
- Cover your current academic accomplishments in detail, with honors and coursework.
- Document work history you have, if any, along with quantifiable achievements.
- List college resume skills relevant to the position by studying the job description.
- Add extra sections to stand out, such as languages, volunteer work, and hobbies.
Keep in mind—
Since you’re a university student, your work experience is less relevant or nonexistent. If you add employment history, put it below your more-impressive education section.
Writing a resume for college student with no experience?
Skip the work history section—but beef up the other areas to make up for it.
Also, remember to format your contact info section right:
- On a single-column resume, your contact deets go at the very top, above the summary or objective. On a two-column resume, though, it will go beside the heading statement.
- Use a professional email address—meaning no more “firstname.lastname@example.org.”
- Be careful with social media URLs. An optimized LinkedIn profile is always ideal, but again, relevance is key, like a Pinterest link if you’re a designer.
- Skip unnecessary personal information, such as your date of birth, citizenship, marriage status, or political leanings.
- The address on your resume is only important for local jobs. Check the job description first to see if they only want candidates from a certain city or region.
Pro Tip: As you’re writing your college student resume, save it as a PDF. The PDF format allows hiring managers to read it as you intended, no matter which device or browser they open it up on.
Not convinced using the reverse-chronological format is right for your resume for college students? There are other options. See our guide: Best Resume Format: What Resume Model to Choose? [+ Resume Format Examples]
College Student Resume Objective or Summary?
Have you ever nodded off during a lecture?
Don’t let it happen here.
Your college resume introduction is the first thing they’ll see, so captivate them from the get-go like they’re on Ritalin.
Add some vitae to your curriculum with one of two choices: the resume summary or the resume objective.
Got a bit of work experience already?
Use the resume summary.
This brief paragraph gives key skills, experience, and a numbered achievement to bolster your candidacy.
Here’s an example college student resume summary:
College Student Resume Examples: Resume Summary
|Personable and dependable finance sophomore at SUNY with 1 year part-time experience in an accountancy internship. Top customer satisfaction score (98%) and instrumental in bringing in over 500 new clients because of campus outreach efforts.|
|Data-driven, results-loving finance student with experience assisting clients with banking, managing assets, deposits and withdrawals, counting money, auditing books, and cross-selling bank products. Has great customer service skills and passion for growth and knowledge.|
What do you think of these two college resume examples?
That wrong example puts the douche in fiduciary—
It’s just one cliché after another. Also, it lists your past responsibilities, but they’ve no idea how well you fulfilled those duties.
It’s as undesirable as an exam day hangover.
That right one tho—
It gives a brief intro into your work experience and skills, and it offers up several wins with numbers to prove your know-how.
But, what if you have a resume for college student with no experience?
Use a resume objective.
The objective informs the prospective company about your career goals. A quick glance at your education, skills, and a quantifiable achievement strengthens your statement.
Here are two resume objective for college student examples:
Resume Examples for College Students: Resume Objective
|Current undergraduate sophomore in business finance with dozens of classroom hours in finance management and banking related courses. Seeking to leverage top investment strategy sandbox rates (250%+ returns) and Chartered Investment Counselor (CIC) certification to grow with Astoria Investments as the new financial consultant.|
|To obtain a challenging finance job or accounting position where I can develop myself and my accounting skills and become a high-level professional.|
See the differences in these resume examples for college students?
That wrong example somehow manages to take two lines while saying absolutely nothing at all.
The right one, however, aces Resume Objective 101—
You talked up relevant coursework, included numbers with your accomplishments, and gave your career goals. Also, you included the company’s name to keep it exclusive.
Pro Tip: Don’t write your objective or summary first. Sure, it goes at the top, but save it for the end to use the rest of the college resume to inform what you’ll say here.
Want more advice on writing a career summary or career objective on resumes for college students? Check out our guides: Professional Resume Summary Examples [20+ Resume Summary Statement Examples] and General Resume Objective Examples [20+Examples of Great Career Objectives]
When making a resume in our builder, drag & drop bullet points, skills, and auto-fill the boring stuff. Spell check? Check. Start building your resume here.
When you’re done, Zety’s resume builder will score your resume and tell you exactly how to make it better.
Is Your Education Section Underperforming? It Might Be
Would you listen to an English professor who constantly made grammatical errors?
It’s similar here.
The hiring manager will pass you by if you hand in a college resume with a poorly written education section.
Whether it’s a college sophomore resume or a college junior resume, listing your education correctly is crucial to get right.
Sample College Student Resumes—Education Section
Add your in-progress degree like this:
Majoring in Finance (Bachelor of Science)
SUNY College of Technology at Canton, Canton, NY
Expected Graduation: 2021
Relevant Coursework: Macroeconomics, Accounting, Statistics, Financial Management, Banking, Investing, and Real Estate
Then, add your high school info below that:
Brooklyn Technical High School, Brooklyn, NY
Add high school because you are still in university; once you get your degree, leave it off.
List coursework relevant to the job and industry you are pursuing. Add any honors, awards, publications, minors, and extracurriculars, if appropriate.
Don’t list the range of dates in each school.
Likewise, leave your GPA off—
If your GPA is anything short of a 4.0, it’ll only do more harm than good.
Finally, your academic section is probably more impressive than your work history section at this stage of your life, so put it on top below your resume heading statement.
Pro Tip: Instead of adding a date (“expected graduation: 2022”), using credits or hours may be more suitable for your situation (“Completed 50 credits toward BS in Science”).
Got something other than these common educational scenarios? Check this guide out: Education Resume Section: How to List High School & College Education
How to Describe Experience on a College Student Resume
The NCES says employment rates for bachelor’s holders were higher in 2000 than in 2017.
There were 50% more bachelor’s students during that time.
With more of you competing for employment and fewer jobs to go around, it’s an uphill battle.
So, if you have relevant experience, like an internship, write a work history section sure to put you at the head of the class.
Here’s a sample college student resume for internship:
Internship Resume Sample for College Students—Experience
Finance & Accounting Intern
Key Qualifications & Responsibilities
Financial Accountant Intern
Like a frat party without a keg, the second one is missing something crucial.
Don’t just list your past responsibilities. Include key achievements with numbers (like in the heading statement) to prove your skills.
What if you haven’t yet had any relevant work at all?
Still add that work experience. However, when making bullet points of your responsibilities and achievements, choose only the points most pertinent to the job.
Here’s a sample resume for a college student with less-relevant job history:
Sample Resume College Student—Work History
Key Qualifications & Responsibilities
Even though you were just a clothing store manager, in this example, you talked up the achievements and job responsibilities you had which are most relevant to your finance specialty.
Had several short-term online jobs?
Add the most notable ones, only.
If you have volunteer work you’d like to add, we’ll talk about that in a moment.
Pro Tip: Stop using weak and tired words, like “responsible for” such and such. Employers hate this and won’t call you in for an interview. Instead, choose action verbs and powerful words, like “cultivated,” “implemented,” or “spearheaded.”
How to Put Skills on a Resume for College Students
You’ve got some mad, bad, undergrad skills.
But, guess what?
So do all your college student competitors.
Show them you’re the summa cum laude candidate while the others are subpar by listing the best skills to include on a resume.
Which skills, though?
Begin with a basic skills list, and include both hard skills and soft skills. Hard skills are those you learn (e.g., Adobe Photoshop), while soft skills are those you develop throughout life (e.g., creative thinking skills).
Here are the most popular college resume skills:
Most Common Skills for College Student Resumes
- Technical Skills
- Verbal & Nonverbal Communication Skills
- Leadership Skills
- Decision-Making Abilities
- Marketing Skills
- Creative Thinking Skills
- Computer Skills
- Professional Writing Skills
- Project Management Abilities
- Active Listening Skills
- Problem Solving Skills
- Time Management Skills
- Logical & Analytical Skills
- Critical Thinking Skills
However, here’s the thing—
Don’t just add these basic skills and call it a day.
Instead, go to the job ad and use that as open-book test notes.
Here’s a sample financial analyst job description:
- Assist in development and analysis of the annual budget and quarterly reforecasts. 
- Participate in monthly, quarterly and annual closing and audit process.
- Partner closely with accounting team to assure recurring journal entries have been booked. 
- Provide financial analysis on operational metrics to help drive strategic decisions and drive organizational initiatives, working closely with senior corporate executives and system general managers.
- Support business development team with financial modeling in response to system RFPs. 
The job description is a cheat sheet you’re allowed—encouraged!—to use:
Resume Samples for College Student—Skills Section
How about these two college resume examples?
The wrong skills repel them like a research paper without citations.
If you tailor your resume, though, it works just right.
Finally, play nice with the ATS.
The applicant tracking system is a software program which allows larger companies, recruiters, and hiring agencies to manage the barrage of resumes they take in each day.
HR staff scan each resume into the program. Then, they ask it to find resumes which have specific resume keywords. In return, they get a score back based on each applicant’s match to the job description.
To ensure the ATS understands it, follow the wording in the job ad.
Want more tips for writing the skills section for college student resumes? See our guide: 99 Key Skills for a Resume (All Types of Professional Skills with Examples Included!).
How to Add Other Sections for an Effective College Resume
From your clothing to your car to your friendly smile, making yourself unique is easy to do in person on the university campus.
On a resume, it’s a different story.
Those last few sections were part of the core curriculum, meaning every college student included them on their resumes.
Stand out by adding a few electives—extra college resume sections.
Here are great choices for additional sections on an undergrad resume:
Resumes Samples for College Students: Extra Sections
Many employers give more weight to certificates than degrees, particularly in specialized fields. Include relevant certifications, such as the Chartered Market Technician (CMT) for finance or the ServSafe Food Handler Certification for food service professions.
Volunteer experience always looks great on a resume, especially if you have no other work experience. Add only relevant volunteer employment history, though.
Proficiency in another language stands out like a beacon on a resume for a college student. Follow a standardized proficiency scale to ensure employers understand your knowledge.
Adding interests and hobbies on a college resume demonstrates soft skills like leadership and teamwork when simply listing them won’t do. It’s a great place to show rather than tell.
Add your portfolio URL to the resume contact information section, which we’ll go over next. A portfolio is an awesome way to give concrete examples of your work—and bonus real estate as an addendum to your college resume.
Pro Tip: There are other additional sections to add to a college student resume template, such as licenses, publications, lectures, awards, etc. Choose the ones which help get you to the college student job interview.
How About College Student Cover Letters?
Sending a college resume without a college cover letter is like drinking a Red Bull before bedtime—
Not a bright idea.
Here’s are several tips to ace the undergrad cover letter:
- Start with a compelling introduction, like you did in your resume heading.
- Explain why you are the best candidate they could possibly hire.
- Prove to them how competent you are with some numbered accomplishments.
- Show them you want to be part of their team with enthusiasm.
- Close it with a powerful ending statement and strong call-to-action.
Pro Tip: Before you send your college student resume and cover letter off, use Grammarly to check it for typos and errors. Then, ask a friend or family member to proofread your resume draft to make sure it reads well.
Plus, a great cover letter that matches your resume will give you an advantage over other candidates. You can write it in our cover letter builder here. Here's what it may look like:
Need more? Read our College Student Cover Letter Example & Guide
That wasn’t so bad right? A great college student resume template is easy as a bird course.
Want a recap of our best resume tips for college students?
Let’s sum up—
Here are some tips for how to write a college resume:
- Use reverse-chronological format. All employers are familiar with this resume format and will find it easy to read.
- Start with a captivating objective or summary. A good college student resume summary or career objective is compelling and sums up your resume nicely.
- Write a great resume education section. Your academic achievements are key on an college resume. Add relevant coursework, Latin honors, publications, etc.
- Document previous job history. Don’t just list your job responsibilities. Prove you were great at them with key wins and accomplishments.
- List relevant skills. Include both hard skills and soft skills with resume keywords from the job ad.
- Add extra resume sections. Stand out from the other college student applicants by adding volunteer work, certifications, hobbies, interests, and languages.
- Attach a college cover letter. Always include a cover letter for college student jobs.
- Proofread and edit. Check for typographical and timeline errors, and then ask a friend to see how it reads.
Now THIS is a college resume that takes the other candidates to school!
Got any questions on how to write a college resume? Need more professional resume tips for college students? Get at us in the comments below, and thanks for reading!