College Student Resume:
Format Tips and Outline

A college student resume should be structured differently compared to that of a working professional's. Many students applying for jobs have no experience, so other areas should be emphasized. Below are many tips aimed specifically to help you improve your college resume as well as an outline PDF to help you get started.

Student Resume Tips

Convert to PDF

Microsoft Word is the most popular, and probably the easiest word processor you can use to build up a resume. However, many employers now require you to send your resume digitally. While a Microsoft Word document looks fine printed on paper, it does not look professional opened up on a computer.

Once you've got your resume just right, convert the Word document to a PDF. A good first impression might get you an interview over someone with a sloppy resume. There are quite a few free converters on the Web - I usually use this free PDF converter.

Omit the Objective

I've talked with employers, career services advisers, and employment agencies - all of which have recommended leaving out the objective portion of a resume. As it turns out, many employers don't really read the objective. To add to that, the objective can be difficult to write when targeting a particular employer. There is just too much room for error and little benefit to adding an objective to your college student resume anyway.

Target Length

It's natural to want to point out every achievement you've ever conquered throughout life, but there needs to be a limit on how much content you put into your resume. Shoot for exactly 1 full page which should include the header and the body - do not include your references and/or cover letter on this page. If you feel that your resume content comes up short, space out the lines a bit more or increase the font size.

No Experience

If the target length is 1 full page, filling that space up might be difficult if you have no references whatsoever. Really take a stretch at whom you have "worked" for any period of time. Have you done any work for family members (household chores do not count), neighbors, or friends? How about any volunteer work cleaning, mowing lawns, anything at all?

If you still can't think of any work experience, really emphasize school projects, coursework, and transferable skills. Are there any projects you are particularly proud of? Anything that relates to the job functions to which you are applying for?

Nothing Cute

Abnormal resumes, while they may be entertaining, are usually seen as unprofessional by employers. Resist urges to add smiley faces, stickers, or hand written notes at the bottom of your resume to get some added attention.

Aside from the big no-no's listed above, try to keep your font size between 11 and 15, with either Times New Roman or Arial as the font type. Colored or graphical presentation will likely send your resume to the recycle bin.


Duh? Don't send your resume out without reading it three times over. The reasons should be obvious - you do not want any spelling or grammatical errors. Pay attention to any repeated vocabulary as well. For example, if you used the word 'excellent' 5 times on one page, you will want replace 4 of them with something similar, but different. If you're having trouble thinking of the right wording, check out 100 Great Resume Words.

If you don't trust your editing skills, have an English instructor or tutor look it over. Your school's career services department will likely give you some ideas as well.

College Student Resume Outline


Success After College  |  Top of College Student Resumes

Tax season is here...
Are you ready to file?

college math help