Writing a student resume can be hard if you don’t have experience. But you need experience in order to write your student resume. Right? So, what do you do? The truth is, you probably have lots of great stuff to put on your resume. Stuff like projects from school, participation in sports and clubs, and so much more!
I’m going to walk you through how to write a strong student resume with little or no experience:
Step One: Clarify Your Goals
Why are you writing a resume? For a class project? For a scholarship? To apply for your first part-time job or internship? Your specific goal is going to help you figure out which skills and experience to market on your resume. This is why I always encourage my clients to tailor a different resume to every job or endeavor. Your resume should only be one page in length (two max). Targeting your document each time you send it out will help ensure you don’t include too much information.
Step Two: Gather Your Information
Let’s say you’re applying for your first part-time job as a retail sales associate. This is your very first job. Like, ever. So, what the heck do you put on your resume? I worked in higher education as a career coach for almost ten years. And I got asked this question by students a lot. Each time I helped a student apply for their first job, they were always surprised at how many valuable skills and experience they had to list on their resume!
I’m going to list different items you can put on your resume as a student:
- Honors & awards
- AP courses
- Class projects
- Volunteer experience
- Part-time work
Can you think of anything else students can list on their resume? If you’ve done something you are proud of, then chances are it can go on your resume!
Once you’ve made a list of things you’ve done in school, you want to make a connection between the skills you acquired, and the skills needed for the job or program you’re targeting.
We’ll continue with the hypothetical sales assistant job. Since you’re applying to be a salesperson, let’s brainstorm skillsets that are needed to be a kick-butt sales associate: Customer service, oral and written communication, listening, teamwork, problem-solving, leadership, empathy, creativity, to name just a few. Can you think of any other skills that a good salesperson might have?
Maybe you participate in a theatre club or the school band. I’ll bet you’ve had to learn how to work on a team. You’ve likely had to learn how to communicate with peers from different backgrounds and cultures.
Another trick is to print out the job posting of the position you’re targeting and see exactly what the employer or company is looking for.
Step Three: Pick a resume format
Now that you know which job you’re applying for and you’ve made a list of all your cool accomplishments, it’s time to organize your resume. I suggest using a student resume template. I recommend listing your education at the top of your resume, right under your objective statement or qualifications summary. This is especially important if you don’t have any work experience to list (don’t worry, you’ll get there)!
If you’re a high school student, list your high school experience. If you are a college student you can leave high school off your resume. Underneath your education, you can list any volunteer or internship experience if you have it. If not, you can include a skills section and highlight relevant skills needed for your targeted job. Other categories you can list as a student: Awards & Honors, Clubs & Organizations, and Community Service.
Step Four: Write your resume!
Once you’ve got a general idea of where everything is going to go, the last thing to do is write your resume. This part takes time. I’m not gonna sugar coat it. But I’ll share a free resource with you that walks you through, step by step, how to write each section of your resume: The Ultimate Guide to Writing Your Resume.
Writing your first resume can be overwhelming. Try to take it slow. Don’t do it all at once. Break it up into small steps. And I’ve got some good news for you. Once you’ve written your first resume, it gets easier each time you target a different resume to a new job. Good luck!