For college students with little work history, crafting a resume centered around volunteer work, educational achievements, awards and hobbies will allow them to shine. College students can use their resumes to draw attention to their skills, extracurricular work and aspirations and goals rather than their work history. Creating a solid resume can be tricky, but if you use the best resume format that’s suited to your abilities, you will have a much easier time finding that first entry-level position after graduation.
Functional vs. Chronological Resumes
The two most common formats used in resumes are chronological and functional. Chronological resumes display work history in descending order from most to least recent. Functional resumes, on the other hand, emphasize the applicant’s strengths and abilities while downplaying or skipping work history entirely.
Although chronological format is generally preferred by employers, functional resumes can be useful for college students who don’t have the work history required to fill out a chronological resume. However, since chronological resumes are usually better received than purely functional resumes, it may be best to use the chrono-functional format, which combines the benefits of chronological and functional resumes.
What Sections to Include as a College Student
If you are a college student, then the best resume format for you will almost certainly include an education section at the top, as academic achievements are likely the best thing you can emphasize about yourself at this early stage in your professional life. This section should include your expected graduation date, any awards you have earned and a list of any relevant internships, coursework or extracurricular activities. If you have a strong GPA, it’s not a bad idea to include it in this section as well.
Without a lot of relevant work history, it’s a good idea to follow the education section with one describing any skills or expertise you have that might interest employers. You can create a table for this section and fill it with two- or three-word phrases that describe your skills. Prospective employers will appreciate the easy-to-read structure, and it’s a great way of inserting key words to make your resume highly searchable in employers’ databases.
If you have any non-academic awards or accomplishments, then you can include them in a third section beneath your skills and expertise. However, you should only include this section if you have at least three accomplishments that wouldn’t fit better in the education section.
Finally, you will want to include any work experience you might have. The location of the work experience section will ultimately depend on how much you have and how relevant it is to the jobs for which you are applying. As many college students have little to no relevant work experience immediately after graduation, it is generally a good idea to place this section at the very bottom of the document.
Tips for the best resume format for College Students
For most college students, the best resume format to use is the chrono-functional format. You can use this format to emphasize your skills and accomplishments while also including a short work history section with just your job title, the company’s name and location and the dates of employment. Don’t bother listing any other details there since any awards or skills you picked up in those jobs will be detailed in earlier sections.
While finding the best resume format for you can sometimes seem tricky, it doesn’t have to be. LiveCareer has all the resources and information you need to create the best resume possible.