10 must-have items for every student to include on their resume

10 must-have items for every student to include on their resume was originally published on College Recruiter.

As a student or fresh graduate, you may lack work experience. On the other hand, you also have ways to make up for it.

How? By describing your academic and personal projects — they showcase the real accomplishments and the real work that you’ve achieved so far.

In the end, even school is a kind of experience, isn’t it?

Here are a few things that will improve your student resume:

1. Extracurricular activities

Most schools offer a variety of clubs, organizations, and societies that students can join. And even though some students don’t realize it, these are in many ways similar to regular jobs.

Whether you were a member of a debating society, programming club, or student’s magazine, all of these probably taught you new skills and gave you valuable experience that can be translated to your new job.

For instance, if you’re applying for a copywriting job, employers will be glad to hear that you wrote a number of articles for your student newspaper.

2. Internships

Paid or unpaid, it doesn’t matter. Internships are the best weapon you have if you want to beat the dreaded “experience required” requirement. After all, internships mark the beginning of your professional experience.

That’s why you should also present them on your resume as regular work experience. When talking about your internships, not only list your duties but also mention some specific achievements and the things you’ve learned.

3. Academic awards and honors

Dean’s list, scholarships, graduating with distinction, being elected a class representative — all of these can help you stand out from your peers.

You can either mention them in your Education section or create a separate section called Awards & Achievements if you were unusually successful.

4. Academic and personal projects

Yes, it’s absolutely fine to put a class project or personal project on your resume as long as it’s relevant for the job you’re seeking. In the end, it shows your organizational or teamwork skills, and your industry knowledge!

For instance, as a postgraduate student in Software Engineering you might have developed an app with your classmates. Or maybe you’ve started coding projects in your spare time. No HR manager will be left unimpressed after seeing them on your resume.

You can list relevant projects as a subsection of your Education section. If you have more of them, consider creating a separate section called Projects. Add name, duration, technology used and a short description (4 to 5 lines) of what you did and what skills you used or acquired.

5. GPA

Companies often expect to see your GPA. In fact, 67% of companies said they screened candidates by their GPA. What’s more, the GPA gives you yet another way to highlight your outstanding performance.

However, you should only list your GPA if it’s 3.5 or higher. If your overall GPA is lower than that, mention your major GPA instead. And if you’re not happy with your GPA, leave it out and draw their attention to other details (unless your potential employer specifically requests you to include it).

6. Relevant coursework

You might ask: “Why should I include such things as my coursework?” Short answer — it can help you show that you possess knowledge related to the job you’re applying for.

For example, if you’re a Mass Media Communication student aiming for a graphic designer position, you can include related coursework such as Publication Design, Digital Storytelling, Advanced Typography, and so on. You can even create a subsection in your Education section and name it “Related coursework”.

7. Studying abroad

According to the QS Global Employer Survey Report, 6 out of 10 employers around the world give extra credit for an international student experience. No wonder. It implicates a whole array of useful skills, such as your command of foreign language, cultural knowledge, adaptability, and much more.

If you have such experience, include it in the Education section of your resume. Mention the name of your host school, location, dates and any other relevant things like extracurricular activities or relevant coursework.

8. Final thesis

Your final thesis demonstrates that you have extensive knowledge of the subject area. What’s more, it can be a great conversation starter at your job interviews, especially if it’s somehow related to the job you’re applying for.

If you’re happy with your thesis, go ahead and put its title together with a brief outline under the respective degree in the Education section.

9. Volunteer work

Voluntary jobs indicate that building healthy relationships with your community and environment is your priority. Also that you’re motivated to make an effort even when you’re not paid for it. And employers love to see such motivation.

Whether it’s helping the poor in your neighbourhood, humanitarian work, or helping during COVID, make sure to mention it. You can either include it in your Work Experience section or create a separate section called Volunteering.

10. Informal work experience

Not including something in your resume just because you don’t think it’s relevant or noteworthy? A common mistake!

If you don’t have any relevant work experience yet, you can include any informal work like working in a cafeteria, fast food, warehouse, or shop. First, such experience isn’t as useless as many students think. Second, Lady Gaga also started as a waitress (which is as valid as arguments get) .

The trick is to make your previous jobs sound more relevant. How?

Highlight what these jobs taught you and how you can use those skills in your next job. For instance, if you previously worked in a café, you probably have reasonably good communication and customer service skills which are needed in many jobs

— Nikoleta Žišková is a resident writer at Kickresume, a professional resume builder trusted by 1M+ job seekers. Her mission is to help people kick-start their careers.  www.blog.kickresume.com

By Nikoleta Žišková - College Recruiter
College Recruiter
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