The most stressful part about my internship hunt was surprisingly not the career fair or the interview. Funnily enough, it was crafting my college resume that gave me the most aggravation. As a fall semester sophomore, I was desperately searching for things to pad my resume with and scrambling to get it to a state of perfection.
10 drafts and 20 emails later (much to my mom’s annoyance, probably), I was finally happy with my college resume. I sent it in to the internship I was applying to, and I was pretty content with the way everything turned out. I thought that the stress was worth it at the time – but now I’m singing a different song!
Yes, a good college resume is important to the application process. BUT, contrary to popular belief, creating one doesn’t have to be stressful. There are definitely tips I could have used to make the whole ordeal easier, and I’m here to share them with you!
Avoid packing everything onto your college resume.
I thought that employers liked to see involved students, so I listed everything on my resume. Everything! If I attended even just one meeting of a club, it went into my Leadership & Activities section. This was mistake #1 for me.
I realized this mistake during my first interview when my boss-to-be asked, “Are you sure you have time to commit to this position? You look like you’re involved with so many things on campus.” Cringe. Thankfully, I recovered from that question pretty quickly & was able to convince him that I was dedicated to the role. Still, that was a lesson to me that I shouldn’t try to pad my resume with everything under the sun.
When drafting your resume, only include what you want to talk about during your interview. Don’t feel comfortable talking about it? Hit that “delete” key – you’ll thank yourself for it later!
Highlight your accomplishments!
I don’t know about you guys, but I hate bragging, and that is what I struggled to get over when writing my college resume. The whole point of a resume is to show your potential employer that you are a good candidate for the job. How can you do that if you yourself don’t think your resume is exciting?
If you did a really cool project in one of your classes, create a section for it! Do you know an obscure coding language or program? Highlight your knowledge in a Technical Skills section. If your boss was particularly proud of you for completing a certain task, include that in your experience section.
Don’t be shy – you’ve worked so hard to get to where you are, and you deserve to stand out. Get out of your head and own your accomplishments!
On that note, a recruiter typically spends about six seconds looking at resumes. That’s great to know, right? All of your hard work just for six seconds of someone’s time!!
Still, six seconds are better than one second, and it is your job to make that time worthwhile for your recruiter. So…what do you do? Be specific! I got this advice from my last employer, and I think it made a world of a difference in the quality of my resume as a whole.
It’s easy to talk about “conducting thorough research on science topics” – no offense, but elementary school kids conduct thorough research on topics for their science fairs every year.
Instead, include specifics: did you sift through 100 articles? Complete wet lab tests? Design your own protocols? Improve the productivity of your experiments by 30%?
Which example is more appealing? The top or the bottom?
After writing your initial draft, evaluate your resume and see if you can make it as specific as possible – that’s the kind of stuff that will make your recruiter do a double take, and the good kind of double take.
Utilize Your Resources!
Remember, you are not alone in this resume process. Ask your mom, your old boss, your professor, or your career services department for advice. They are likely more closely linked to recruiters than you are, and they can provide a great perspective on your resume.
Also, don’t be afraid to look to the internet for help – I know I scoured Pinterest for days while creating my resume! Here are some of the best articles on resumes by my favorite college bloggers that I think will be of great use to you on your great resume journey:
- A Wanderer’s Adventures – How to Write a Killer Resume (even if you don’t have any experience!)
- Traveling Through Tulips – How to Write a Stellar Resume in College
- Samanthability – Eye-Catching Free Resumes for College Students and Grads
- The Swirl – A College Girl’s Guide: Writing a Resume
- Coming Up Roses – How to Perfect Your Resume
Finally, college resumes are always a work in progress.
The minute I thought I created the perfect resume, I realized that I needed to change it again to reflect my new leadership and internship roles. You can imagine my frustration!
That’s when it clicked – my college resume will never ever be perfect. I am only a junior, and since my freshman year I’ve joined (and dropped) clubs, experienced different jobs, and improved my GPA. Sure, I had to change my resume, but all for good reasons – reasons I am still proud of!
It’s important to keep in mind that you are constantly evolving as a person and a student during college. Your resume should be a living document and reflect that growth as necessary. Professionals suggest updating your resume regularly, and I can’t say I disagree. If your resume looks the same as it did your freshman year, you’re probably doing something wrong.
Well there you have it folks – everything I think any college #girlboss needs to craft a resume to score that dream internship. Resume-writing can either be really stressful or really exciting, and I hope I was able to shift your mindset to the latter. If you ever need another eye to review your resume, hit me up! I’d love to see what you come up with.
Thanks for reading the second post in my internship series!! I am really excited about this one – please let me know if there is anything you’d like to see in particular from this series. I would love to hear your suggestions!
Was writing your first resume stressful for you? What are your tips for resume writing?