How to create a great student resume with these 3 tips!

Photo by xb3

Yesterday I had the privilege of working with a young man who had a special goal for his resume. He wants a role in college leadership. His mother is a friend and she knew I wrote resumes so she asked if I could help. She was thinking it would take an hour. I knew better. A student’s resume is just as challenging to create as someone who has been in the industry for years.

I have never focused my career marketing business on one particular type of client or niche because I love the challenge of working with a college student one day and a top executive the next. I have a particular love for working with young people so when I do get to help a student package themselves for the future, I usually make sure I find time in my schedule.

Let’s talk about what you could put into a student resume:

Step 1: The profile — Resumes should begin with, not a boring batch of fluff but substance that creates the direction and target of the resume:

Goal-driven, learning-oriented English teacher, multi-skilled in linguistics, journalism, communication, and an array of, online and in-depth library researching strategies. Analytical and organized, with the ability to conduct comprehensive research to find little-known facts or evaluate findings to come to clear conclusions. Strong presentation skills, demonstrated through multiple group and individual presentations as well as the confidence to conduct random interviews with research subjects.

Step 2: Capture some Selected Accomplishments and Success stories from work, college, and other experience:

  • Selected as Uthrotar, Rotary International Cincinnati Noon Club Chosen by academic advisor for month-long student membership in Rotary as a Uthrotar.
  • As a leader of a student initiative, worked to overturn the College’s Psychology Department’s denial of tenure for a popular professor, resulting in granting of tenure to the professor.
  • Challenge Assigned to complete CAPSTONE Project in collaboration with local business, Affinity Credit Union (ACU): high teller turnover problem and low employee retention. Action: Analyzed and developed solutions including increased scheduling flexibility, more competitive wages, additional personal days, and improved staff communication. Created PowerPoint presentation to share with ACU management. Results: ACU has implemented changes to scheduling, increased wages, increased personal days, created weekly and monthly management e-mail communication tool, and added more frequent employee evaluations.

Step 3: Add in an Academic Showcase to highlight your accomplishments in college:

European Environmental Studies Germany: Focused on natural forest regeneration. Explored Lotharphad area destroyed by windstorms and discovered use of native species caused area forests to regenerate naturally. Analyzed ecological district of Germany in Freiburg, noted use of solar and wind energy and strict environmental regulations. Observed browsing damage to forests caused by wild boars and red deer. Researched hydroelectric power plants and methods used to provide alternative migration routes for salmon (such as fish ladders).

I hope this helps you see that a student resume doesn’t have to be a boring 1 page document. It can be as vibrant as any top-performing executive!


  1. Ed Han on April 20, 2011 at 9:32 am

    You know, that’s a pretty darned good CAR that lot of more experienced professionals would like to have, Julie!

    It always frustrates me when I hear recent grads say that they haven’t done anything yet. They think that because they haven’t dealt with a multi-million dollar budget yet, they haven’t done anything worth mentioning. While I set great store by humility, it’s so counterproductive in this!

    • Julie Walraven on April 20, 2011 at 10:09 am

      Thanks, Ed! See why I love working with young people. No one is allowed to say I haven’t done anything. I probe and ask until I get answers. Yesterday’s resume grew in value with every question I asked. Tomorrow I have the privilege of talking to an AmeriCorps group and letting them know what can go into a resume. Some are students, some are retired, and some are in the middle but in any case, it will be fun to see their perspective.

  2. David Steinberg on April 20, 2011 at 8:20 pm

    Your article is timely, as I was just completing a resume (yes, a resume!) for my 16 year old son for a part time job at Wegman’s Supermarket that he is being interviewed tomorrow at 3 PM. His accomplishments at school (honor roll, etc.) are highlighted as well as other after school activities and his awards. I am also prepping him how to answer the questions he may be asked. Just because his is 16 doesn’t mean that he should not go prepared. It is good experience for him and he has a leg up on other kids his age.

  3. David Steinberg on April 30, 2011 at 10:30 am

    Just a follow up note. My son got hired by Wegmans Supermarket partly because he was prepared with an up to date resume with his accomplishments, a letter of recommendation from his clergyman, and a copy of a letter from school congradulating him on his making Honor Roll. My wife and I prompted him on typical questions that are asked at interviews. He told us that without that help he would have been unable to answer the questions they asked. His second interview was also good and we rehearsed that as well. The moral of the story is go in prepared for the interview as you only have one chance to make a first impression. It doesn’t matter if it is the first job or the next job.

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Julie Walraven, Design Resumes

Julie Walraven

Professional Resume Writer

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