Write an eye-catching resume as a university student
Writing a resume while still attending university can feel immensely difficult, as you may not have an extensive work history to showcase just yet. However, with a few quick tricks, you can optimize your resume as a university student to be compelling and eye-catching in no time.
In this comprehensive guide, we will unveil essential tips for crafting an impactful resume while you're still a university student. Keep reading to learn all about:
- Choosing the correct resume format for your experience level
- Writing a resume summary that showcases your best attributes
- Including a variety of technical and interpersonal skills on your resume
- Describing your relevant work experience with concise details
- Listing your educational credentials accurately on a resume
- Including relevant extra sections in your university student resume
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1. Choose the correct resume format for your university student resume
Resume formats vary in purpose depending on how much work experience a person has. For current university students, it is often preferable to choose a format that prioritizes academic experience over work experience, as they are more likely to have a greater amount of this type of experience.
In general, there are 3 main types of resume format for an applicant to choose between:
- Reverse-Chronological: The reverse-chronological resume focuses almost entirely on work experience, listing your most recent job first and working backward from there. Although this format is the standard expected by most employers, it is not always the most ideal for current students without an extensive work history.
- Functional: The functional resume format shifts the focus of the document away from work experience and onto education, skills, and unpaid experience. This is often the best choice for students, as it provides the most opportunity to showcase academic experience and achievements.
- Hybrid: The hybrid resume is a combination of the above two formats, spreading out the focus of the document more evenly between all sections rather than having one main focal point. This format works well for current students who have a mix of both academic and professional experience.
Choose your preferred template and make your resume shine.
2. Write a university student resume summary that showcases your best attributes
A resume summary is a brief statement at the beginning of a resume that introduces you to the reader.
Including a well-written summary on your resume that details your best professional or academic attributes is a great way to not only catch an employer’s attention but also make your resume more memorable overall.
To help illustrate how to write an effective resume summary, check out the following weak example, followed by a correction and explanation:
Incorrect university student resume summary example
Current University Student studying computer science. Experienced in coding and programming, with a portfolio of development projects available upon request. Recipient of the University’s Academic Excellence Award for 3 consecutive years.
Why is this Incorrect?
In this example, the applicant covers key details about their academic career but fails to provide the necessary context to make this information compelling to readers. To improve this summary, they should use more engaging language and exact facts.
Corrected university student resume summary
Senior University Student with a major in Computer Science. Specialized in software development and programming, with 10+ mobile app projects completed between 2021 to 2022. Three-time recipient (2020-2022) of the Academic Excellence Award given by the university’s Computer Science Department.
Why is this Correct?
This corrected example provides more specific information, such as the amount and type of programming projects the applicant has worked on and the department that gives out the award they earned. As a result, the summary reads more coherently and is more attention-grabbing.
3. Include a variety of technical and interpersonal skills on your university student resume
Skills are an essential part of any resume – they help to show employers more of your talents that may have been overlooked in the other sections of your resume. Plus, the skills you choose to include can be used throughout various sections of your resume as well.
The key to including skills on your resume is to choose an array of both technical and interpersonal skills.
Technical skills — also called hard skills — are learned abilities gained through education and training. These are highly quantifiable and measurable skills, such as knowing how to code or speaking a foreign language.
Interpersonal skills — also called soft skills — can be both inherent and learned. These abilities deal with how well you interact with and understand the people and world around you.
Here are 10 technical and 10 interpersonal skills that look great on a University Student’s resume:
Effective technical skills for your university student resume
- Productivity software (Microsoft Office 365, Google Workspace, etc.)
- Graphic design
- Programming languages (Python, Java, Ruby, etc.)
- Software development
- Project management
- Data collection & analytics
- Literary analysis
- Social media management
- Bookkeeping & accounting
- Foreign languages
The best interpersonal skills to put on your university student resume
- Verbal & written communication
- Collaboration & teamwork
- Time management
- Critical thinking
4. Describe your relevant work experience with concise details
Depending on which resume format you have decided to use, your work experience section may vary in length and detail. Regardless of what type of resume you opt for, however, the work experience you do include should offer concise details that provide good insight into your transferrable skills and work ethic.
If you lack any formal work experience, you may be able to substitute a work experience for a simplified “Hands-On Experience” section that includes unpaid work such as internships, volunteering, or extracurricular leadership roles.
Here's an example of a work experience entry from a university student’s resume
Duke University, Durham, N.C.
Outdoor Programs Leader
August 2021 to Present
- Trained intensively for 10 weeks, earning First Aid, CPR, and Wilderness First Aid certifications.
- Led monthly weekend backpacking trips with 10 undergraduate participants, supervising daily activities and ensuring the safety of students.
- Maintained the office work schedule and performed morning and nightime inventory checks when on duty.
5. List your university student educational credentials accurately on a resume
When creating an education section for your resume while still attending university, it is crucial to indicate that your degree is ongoing and when you expect to complete it. You should also include previous degrees or diplomas earned as well to give a better overview of your academic history.
Additionally, you can also use your education section to detail any key academic accomplishments, such as membership in an honor society or leadership roles.
Here's an example of a well-crafted education section on a university student’s resume
The University of North Carolina at Asheville, Asheville, N.C.
B.A. in Communications
- In Progress, Expected Graduation: May 2022
- Dean’s List 2020, 2021
Charles D. Owen High School, Black Mountain, N.C.
High School Diploma
- Graduated: 2018, Salutatorian
6. Include relevant extra sections in your university student resume
Adding relevant extra sections to your university student resume is of paramount importance. While your education and academic achievements are crucial, extra sections can provide a more comprehensive picture of your skills, experiences, and interests.
These sections offer an opportunity to showcase your diverse abilities and demonstrate your well-roundedness as a candidate. Including sections such as projects, internships, extracurricular activities, leadership roles, volunteering, and certifications can significantly enhance your resume.
Here's an example of listing research experience on your university student resume
- Undergraduate Research Assistant, Department of Biology, XYZ University
- Collaborated with a team of researchers to investigate the effects of environmental factors on plant growth and development.
- Assisted in experimental design, data collection, and analysis using laboratory techniques and statistical software.
- Presented research findings at departmental seminars and contributed to the development of research publications.
- Developed a strong understanding of research methodologies, critical thinking, and data interpretation.