7 Ways to Boost Your Resume While You’re Still in College
Published: May 05, 2014
There are a lot of ways to do all the things you have to do (and love to do) in college, while also polishing up that resume that has been gathering dust over the past 4-6 years.
However, we’re not talking about the stuff everyone knows about – internships, student leadership and getting good grades.
We’re talking about some very little-known ways to make your resume stand out from the crowd once your last class is finally in the bag:
1) Start a unique, off-campus project:
By participating in unique projects that relate to your major, you can show future employers that you have a creative mind, an interest in trend-setting and the motivation to get things done.
For example, if you are a marketing major, you might offer to set up or manage the social media website for a local radio station. Or, if you are a business major, you might hook up with a few friends and start a Beer-Pong tournament business where you sell team t-shirts and collect entrance fees. These outside projects show future employers that you are not all academic, and they allow you to connect with people who might be able to further your career after graduation.
2) Rewrite your resume for action:
With only an hour of investment, you can turn a boring resume into one that is super-charged.
Instead of treating your resume like an information dump, think of it more like a life list:
- What have you done?
- What actions did you have to take at previous jobs?
- What skills do you know how to do that will set you apart from the crowd?
Instead of saying, “I worked at Bob’s Burger Joint,” focus on what you did:
“At Bob’s Burger Joint, I managed customer complaints, organized team meetings, maintained the safety of serving areas and balanced daily financial accounts.”
Basically, you dealt with cranky customers, cleaned the store and worked with money, but all those action words make you sound great, don’t they?
3) Go to the cool parties:
Although I probably don’t need to tell you this, post-graduation employment is much less about what you know than about who you know. Even the most educated person in your college is going to need some good references to make their resume shine. So, go places where you’ll find the leaders of your particular field. If that means being a busboy or cigarette girl at the annual hospital Casino Night so that you can get a reference to enroll in your nursing program, make it happen!
You can’t get references and referrals from people who don’t know you.
4) Choose high-interest and unique classes:
A great way to become more attractive to future employers is by choosing courses now that will set you apart later. For example, if you are a biology student with an interest in going into medicine after college, consider a specialty course like Medical Ethics or Genetics.
These classes are interesting, fun and give future employers the impression that you are serious about making the most of your education experiences. In addition, unique specialization courses can make you incredibly attractive to employers if you choose ones that target new technologies, ideologies or practices.
For example, if you are a computer science major, taking courses in Computer Forensics or E-Discovery may open career opportunities just by virtue of their novelty in the field.
5) Start a blog:
When you eventually take your degree and resume to a potential employer, you will probably be doing it via an online job application, video conference or phone call. A great way to make yourself look even more attractive in these virtual job interviews is to already have an established online presence that makes you an authority in your field.
- If you’re a designer, start a fashion blog with tips, articles and interviews with new design artists.
- If you’re a programmer, start a blog about key language problems across platforms.
It will blow your future employer away when you can add a web URL to your resume with examples of your work and a list of followers that prove you have something valuable to contribute.
6) Associate with the associations:
Every field of study has at least one major association that is led by key players in the industry. These are usually professors, researchers or professionals that are producing cutting-edge publications, research and ideas about the future of their area of expertise. You should know them.
So, a great way to boost your resume is by getting involved in these professional associations. And, if they require you to be a current working professional, find out ways to volunteer with them. This will look great on your resume and also connect you with the groundbreakers of your potential career field.
7. Use Classwork to Apply for Awards, Scholarships and Grants
If you were to submit one article, essay or idea each week for publication or award, by the time you graduated from college, the odds are good that you will have won or published at least one.
Think about it: You’re already writing research papers, editing essays and producing projects every week in your daily classes. Why not do double duty, and just submit those same items for peer-reviewed journals, online magazines or even competitions? For example, if you are a graphic design student, there are hundreds of awards that you can submit your school projects to. It only takes about an hour a week to submit, and you have a good chance of getting something that will really make your resume shine.
Author: Steve Aedy is a freelance writer and content manager at freshessays.com. He’s passionate about writing for students and about students. Steve is great in giving helpful advice about education, career, college life and writing.