How To Build Your Best Resume

Some of us enter college with a specific career path in mind, and others have no idea what we want to do.


Attending a university gives students many opportunities to tailor her classes and extracurricular activities to gain experience and eventually land her dream job. The first step to getting the job is putting together an amazing resume to get your foot in the door. 


What’s the best way to build your resume?


For freshmen, constructing a resume based on what you did in high school is more-or-less the way to go.


Academic Counselor at Del Mar College, Emily Stottlemyer, said that upon entering college, freshmen should aim to get involved in registered student organizations as soon as possible.


“I always tell my kids that even if they don’t have a lot they did in high school, they have all of the resources to catch up and get involved in college,” Stottlemyer said. “As for putting together any sort of resume, it’s good to include the most current information. So if you’re a junior at whatever university, you shouldn’t really have your resume full of things you did in high school.”


At most Big Ten schools, such as the University of Illinois, registered organizations host open-house-type days that aim to get more students involved. Every fall at Illinois, hundreds of clubs and organizations gather for “Quad-Day."

Freshman Amelia Wagner said Quad Day gave her a lot of hope for what she could get involved in on campus and how those experiences could shape her professionally. 


“I’m in (the Division of General Studies) right now, but I want to go into Speech and Hearing Sciences,” Wagner said. “Applying to a completely different college meant that I needed to get involved with things that mattered to my major. If I want to go into a science field, I shouldn't’t be wasting my time with (clubs) that don’t help with that.”

No matter what major you are, being involved outside of class is prudent.


Animal Science sophomore, Taylor Kunath, said she knows graduate programs and employers also look for well-rounded applicants. Showing diversity on your resume is another key to success.


“I want to be a vet, but I’m not only involved in things related to animals,” Kunath said. “On top of everything, I have some leadership roles in other clubs besides being in a sorority. I think businesses and schools want to see how well-rounded you can be.”


Although participating in a variety of activities and achievements is essential to building a good resume, it’s also important to get good grades. Some majors place a greater emphasis on this than others. 

“One of the things people have a hard time balancing is doing ‘this,’ and ‘that,’ but not having enough time to study,” Stottlemyer said. “If you’re organized, everything will fall into place.”