The College Freshman’s Guide to Resumes

 

Whether you’re still in high school or in college, looking for jobs can be a stressful thing, especially when you don’t have the experience to start with. It is more than common to be confused about what your resume should look like when you have never had a job before. So, if you’re going through this don’t feel alone or blame yourself! Here are a few tips to help you out:

 

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Know What A Resume Is

 

Before you start stressing, remember that the Internet is your friend. Feel free to look up examples of resumes and even specific ones that are meant for inexperienced job-searchers. The main categories that you should have on your resume are contact info, objective, education, experience (paid or unpaid), skills, and activities/honors.

 

Use Your High School Accomplishments

 

This transitional period is the only time you’ll be able to flaunt your high school successes, so use it! Everything you spent time learning or being involved in counts. Whether you took a specific class or were in a club (especially if you were in a leadership position), include that in your resume. The most important thing to keep in mind, though, is that whatever you include should be relevant to the job you are applying for.

 

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Keep it Simple

 

There are countless resume templates and builders out there for you to use for free. These can be a great help if you don’t know where to start. But always keep in mind that your format should be simple and professional. You can have a few accent colors or complementing fonts, but don’t go too crazy. The last thing you want, when trying to appear professional, is to seem over the top. Along with this, keep your phrasing brief. You don’t have to write essays proving your skills, your accomplishments and experiences should mostly speak for themselves. Use the keywords they are asking for in their ad for hiring, but don’t use cliches like “team player” or “go-getter.”

 

Achievement Statements vs. Doing Statements

 

Once you’ve compiled all of your past accomplishments and experiences, make sure you highlight the important parts of them. A “doing” statement is like saying “I was the editor of my school newspaper.” An achievement statement is saying “I developed my leadership and cooperation skills alongside my staff to create a newspaper that was recognized by the district.” In other words, focus on what you did not what the job was.

 

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Don’t Be Afraid to Get Help

 

If you’re in college, chances are there is a career center near you just waiting to help you out with job searches, resume building, and more. So take advantage of it! Most career centers have a resume and cover letter writing workshopsor staff ready to offer one-on-one advice . Instead of worrying about your resume alone, take a trip to your school’s career center and have it looked at. They usually have websites with resources as well. Either way, getting help is much better than stressing over nothing.

 

Be Prepared for An Interview

 

Despite whether or not you get the job, always assume you will be interviewed on the stuff you put on your resume. You can upsell your well-earned accomplishments, but be ready to defend your skills. Never lie on a resume about an experience or a skill, because it will only hurt you in the long run. If you truly have zero experience, think about joining an organization or volunteering just to get something valid on there. You never want to get caught faking something by a possible employer.

 

No matter what, have hope in yourself that you will get the job you want eventually! No job comes easy, but that’s only motivation to work harder and get more experience under your belt. The world of resumes, cover letters, interviews and more may seem intimidating at first, but you’ll learn and get better as you go along.