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Knowing how to build a student resume is the key to landing your first job. Learn the basics Knowing how to build a student resume is the key to landing your first job. Learn the basics

Knowing how to write an effective resume is a crucial skill to have in today’s job market. Unfortunately, most schools and universities don’t offer students a complete guide as to how to write a resume for that first job.

Without practical advice and real-life examples of student resumes, writing a resume can prove especially challenging for someone with little to no experience, or who is still in school.

But a student with no professional work experience still has strengths that should be highlighted in a resume format. A resume builder can also help take some of the anxiety out of writing a student resume, but there are still several things to keep in mind.

How to write a student resume

When it comes to students creating a resume for the first time, there are 3 principal aspects that should be kept in mind


    While the work experience segment is the most important section for other jobseekers, the education section has the greatest importance in a student resume. A potential employer will look at the education section first, so it’s important to keep in mind that this section should be the one with the most relevant content.

    Second, because of an absence of relevant work experience to illustrate their achievements, students should feel free to speak openly about their academic and extracurricular accomplishments when building a resume. This may include an impressive grade point average (GPA), leadership opportunities, etc.

    While references shouldn’t be included when sending a resume, it’s recommended that high school students have at least some idea as to who may serve as a great reference. This can be a coach, teachers, or community leaders, for example.

Student Resume Format

While there are many ways to format a resume, a student resume requires a bit more planning. As with other resumes, the right resume format is key.

Because a student has very limited professional experience (or none whatsoever), a student resume layout should primarily emphasize education to complement any obvious lack of relevant work experience.

Moreover, if a candidate references a high GPA, relevant coursework, honors/awards, and extracurricular activities in the education section, it will go a long way toward showing a potential employer that even without any experience, a candidate has relevant, transferrable skills that can be useful at any job.

High School Student Resume

Most people will try writing their first resume in high school. Learning how to make a resume for a high school student poses its own set of challenges around content, but can be made easier keeping some tips in mind.

Rather than dedicate a section to work experience, a high school student can include a “Major Achievements” area instead. Here a student can detail whatever they consider to be a major achievement: holding a student job, volunteer work, or leadership positions in student clubs or on athletic teams.

The idea of the Major Achievements section in a high school resume is to show a potential employer that though a high school student may not have relevant work experience at this early stage in their career, they still have other skills that will transfer to the workplace.

Applicants should not be modest in this section. Because high school students don’t have any work experience to highlight what they can do, they have to demonstrate that the skills learned in school can transfer to any job.

Basically, anything that gives “bragging rights” should appear on a student resume. And the combination of a stellar education section with a well-written list of major accomplishments is sure to make a positive impression.

College Student Resume

College students preparing their first resume can also feel stumped when it comes to writing a resume. Since few universities actively teach their students how to write a first job resume, it can be hard to get started.

The education section on college student resume should be in greater detail than on a high school student’s resume, including coursework, grade point average and inclusion on the dean’s list, if applicable.

College students can include summer jobs, internships, fraternities or sororities, study abroad, and other relevant experiences. Any special skills learned in college that relate to computers, technology, etc. should also be listed.

Rather than a “Major Achievements” section, a college student should instead include a “Major Projects” section. It’s the perfect place to elaborate on projects and/or research that has been carried out during a job applicant’s studies.

As with other resumes, this entry-level resume focuses more on transferrable skills and not the experience that a candidate does not have.

Student Resume Templates

There are many ways to put together a student resume, but there’s no need to start from scratch every time. While a student may opt for professional resume templates in the future, there are plenty of resume samples that emphasize education and provide space for a Major Achievements or Major Project section.

Resume builders can also lend a helping hand by allowing a user to view their resume in real time as it’s being built. A jobseeker can also sort through a library of resume templates and choose the best one based on their background and education.

Writing a student resume certainly has its limitations, especially when compared to a professional resume. But an impressive education section coupled with a supplementary Major Achievements or Major Projects section can go a long way toward improving a student’s chances of landing a great job.