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College Student Resume Examples and FAQs

Tristin Zeman

Copywriter, Human Resources Manager, Marketing Specialist


College students have a unique opportunity when it comes to drafting compelling professional resumes. Whether you are still in the process of completing your degree or you have recently graduated, these are the tips and tricks you need to know to create a college student resume.

Formatting a college graduate resume

Choosing the right template can make formatting a resume for college students easier. Whether you’re still completing your undergraduate degree or you’re in a post-grad program, your resume will likely have a lot more educational information than professional work experience. Therefore, it is a wise idea to choose a template that is designed to showcase education.

Must-have components of recent college grad resumes

College student resume writing tips- must have components to make your resume shine.

Contact information

The first piece of information that should be on your resume is your name. The second most important piece of information is how to contact you. There is no guarantee that your resume won’t be in a printed version. So, you shouldn’t assume the hiring manager has your contact information. Don’t rely on the hope that whoever is reviewing your resume also has your email address. Instead, make it easy to contact you by clearly listing your

  • Phone number
  • Email Address
  • Relevant social media (ex: LinkedIn)
  • Relevant website links

Objective or personal statement

Adding an objective or personal statement to your new graduate resume is a great way to help prospective employers get a better sense of who you are and what goals you have. This should be a small summary of why you are interested in this particular company. It could also be role based on professional goals outside of simply landing a job. It’s important to be specific, but also vague in your object.

Too-vague bad example: “My objective is to get a job.”

This doesn’t tell the recruiter or hiring manager anything. It is just wasting space.

Too-specific bad example: “My objective is to be hired at ShellmanCurryRoss as a Business Support Analyst Level II at their Danbury, CT location.”

This also doesn’t tell the person looking at your resume anything. It screams that you read the job posting and tried to customize your resume. 

Good example: “My objective is to use my analytical skills to inspire innovation that leads to advances in sustainable technology.”

The response should be in line with the company/position you are applying for. However, keep in mind not to rip it directly from the job posting. 

Educational experience

A recent college graduate resume will probably have more educational information than work experience. In terms of choosing a format, there are many templates to choose from. You can choose to find a template specifically with the education information listed above job experience. You could look at other college grad resume examples to see examples from your peers.

As you look at recent graduate resume examples, the education section of your resume can include a lot more information. It doesn’t have to be only which school you attended and the year you graduated. This can include information about any coursework, projects, areas of study, or extracurricular activities you participate in.

Job history

No one expects a college student resume to have an extensive job history. So, if you have done any paid or volunteer work, this is the section to let it shine. Once you’ve built up more professional experience, the jobs you list on your resumes and templates will likely change. For now, including job history shows that you’re a hard worker with time management skills. 

Skills section

A tip all should be aware of is including a skills section. Depending on the field or profession you are trying to obtain, this can be written in many ways. It may be a simple, bulleted list or it could be an eye-catching, graphic element. This is a great way to fill out a one-page resume when creating a resume for college graduates with no experience. 

Best practices: formatting a resume for recent college graduate or current student

  1. Keep it concise

Current student and recent graduate resumes should not be more than one page. If you are applying for a fellowship, grant, scholarship, or another academic program, you may be requested to submit a CV instead of a resume. 

  1. Use a template

Unless you are a graphic design major, it’s a good idea to use a recent college graduate resume template. This can help you to create a resume that stands out from other applicants and organizes your information. Even if you have a strong idea of the design you want or how the information in your resume should be phrased, checking out other college graduate resume templates can help to give you a fresh perspective. 

  1. Consider your industry

The industry of your future career plays a big role in how your resume is formatted. Students and grads looking to enter into artistic fields like photography, graphic design, marketing, or visual arts will likely get more interviews and callbacks if they have a creative resume. Students in traditional industries like science, math, or law may be better served by choosing traditional-looking resumes. 

College student resume examples & FAQs

College student resume examples and templates can be easily found online for free. Sites like Resume.io and Canva are great for people who want to have a set format that they can simply drop information into. In general, the more creative your field of study or major, the more creative and “fun” your resume can and should be. 

Resources and college student resume examples

Cover letters, internship resumes, and more

4 Proven resume templates for college students 

Traditional resume examples by college major

College student resume FAQs

How should I handle internships on my resume?

In general, it’s up to you whether an internship is listed under the education or experience section of your resume. If you have had multiple internships, it may be a wise idea to create an “internships” section to highlight your unique experiences. 

How do I list my coursework on my resume? 

Listing your relevant coursework is a great way to show prospective employers that you have experience in a certain field or area, even if you have not done it in a professional capacity before. The way you list your coursework will depend on the format of your resume. You can choose bullet point lists or include a list of relevant coursework as a summary in the education section. To get a better idea of how to list coursework on your resume, check out CV examples where listing coursework is more common. 

Do I need a resume or CV?

If you are are applying to graduate programs, you may benefit from having both a resume and a CV. While a resume is typically used by employers in the public and private sectors, a CV is used primarily in academia. In Europe, these terms are used interchangeably. In the United States, these do represent different documents, so it’s a good idea to review whether you should submit a resume or a CV on a case-by-case basis. 

Recent college graduate resume examples & FAQs

Recent graduate resume samples are very similar to current college student resumes with the addition of a few key pieces of information. One of the biggest resume taboos a recent college grad can make is to forget to update education information to show they have graduated. This can be especially damaging in a field where completion of a program or course is a hiring requirement.

Recent graduate resume template & examples

Breaking down what makes a perfect recent college grad resume

Continuing your education? Resume templates for grad school, law school, and more

College graduate resume FAQs

What’s the difference between college student vs college graduate resumes?

The main difference is just a small change in the education section of your resume. After you graduate, it’s important to change any “degree in progress” language to showcase the fact that you graduated. If you graduated with academic honors or distinctions or if you had a notable GPA, this should also be featured on your college graduate resume. 

What’s the difference between recent college grad resumes and a post graduate resume? 

A post-graduate resume will likely have much higher-level educational information and deeper experience in academic programs. A postgraduate is a person who has completed undergrad and has also earned a Master’s, Ph.D., or Doctoral degree. This generally requires two to six additional years of school on top of a bachelor’s degree. For both a recent college grad and a post graduate resume, education is likely to be the main focus until the applicant has built up enough relevant work experience in their field. 

What should I do if I have no work experience as a recent college grad?

Creating a resume without any prior work experience may seem daunting, but all it takes is a little creative thinking and research. First, start by finding a sample resume for recent college graduate with no experience that you like. You can then use this as your design template. This template should prioritize information about your education. It will help you start with a layout that won’t overwhelm or discourage you right off the bat. Fill in your template with information about your coursework, field of study, internships, projects, and other relevant experience you have gained throughout your education. 

College graduate resume with experience & FAQs

If it’s been a few years since you have graduated college or completed your post-grad education, you may be ready for a brand new resume. While a typical resume refresh comes with just adding new experience and polishing up your word choice to meet new industry keywords, most people can benefit from creating an entirely new resume a few years after they graduate.

For people who have found careers in line with their college field of study, your recent graduate resume can likely be a helpful resource to pull information from. If you are like nearly 40% of Americans who hold a job unrelated to their college degree, you may be starting from scratch. If you are a years past your college graduation, the most important thing is to create a resume that reflects who you are now.

Sample resume: college graduate & beyond 

Resume examples by job title

Sir Richard Branson’s one-page resume

Mistakes to avoid on college graduate resume

Post college graduate resume FAQs

When is the right time to switch from an education resume template to an experienced-based resume?

In general, your resume during and after college should focus on your education over experience. This is because you are likely to have accomplished more in your academic career than professional career. As you begin to develop more work experience, your educational background can take a backseat to the things that you have achieved in your career. 

Keep in mind this is not strictly a numbers game. Even if you worked several jobs throughout college, you may technically have a lot of experience that could be showcased on an experience-focused resume, but that isn’t always the best choice. 

Example: Kendra, a college grad with an Accounting degree getting her resume ready to start her career. Kendra worked multiple jobs throughout college to help lower her student loans. She has graduated with a few years of work experience in retail and hospitality. When Kendra writes down her education and work experience to begin to format her resume, it looks like she has about as much education and work experience. So, which kind of resume should Kendra use? 

If she’s applying to a retail or hospitality position, she could use an experience-based resume. If she’s looking to attain an accounting position, she would want to use an education-based resume. 

When trying to decide if it’s time to switch from an education resume to an experience-based resume the key is to use whichever makes the most sense given your personal history and the job you are applying for. 

When should I update my post-college graduate resume?

Depending on the professional path you choose, you may go long stretches between resume revamps. In this case, you can borrow much of the same information from your college graduate resume or latest resume copy. Then, simply add in your recent experience. This will be the fastest and easiest way to make a new resume when you want to apply for a similar or same profession at another company. A total resume redo is a great way to start job hunting when you’ve been in the same line of work and are making a significant change to a new field or industry. 

Conclusion

Creating a resume is a great way for college students and recent college graduates to showcase their skills to prospective employers. On one hand, a college student resume should focus almost entirely on coursework and collegiate experiences. On the other hand, a recent college graduate resume should highlight both education and experience.

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