More and more college students are joining the workforce each year. More than 43% of full-time undergraduate students were also working professionals in the US alone, according to data from 2017. Whether you want to work to help pay your tuition or to start collecting valuable experience, you’ll need a resume summary that can truly impress.
The one cardinal rule of resume summary writing is to keep them as simple as possible to maximize its limited space. Remember, you can only include so much content. If you master this, the next few steps will be much easier to follow.
Sit back and relax as we’ll teach you how and how not to write a college student resume summary.
Resume Summaries in a Nutshell
Resume summaries are short statements that follow the resume header. Some people interchange this with resume objectives since they seem to look the same. However, they are pretty different.
Resume objectives usually talk about how applicants aspire for particular positions. On the other hand, resume summaries focus on applicants’ knowledge, skills, and experience and see how they fit their target jobs. They’re also shorter and sharper than objectives and quantify details when necessary.
Fresh graduates and general applicants are better off using resume summaries. If you’re worried about the lack of professional experience, don’t worry. It won’t be held against you, especially if you pull the writing part off.
How to Write a Compelling College Student Resume
Step 1: Do your research
Think about your target job post-graduation. Once you’re sure about where you’re headed, do your homework on your aspired position and get as much information as possible.
Thankfully, you can do this by scouring the internet for job positions. Make sure to look for them in legit sites to avoid running into trouble. Compare each posting’s requirements and qualifications and work from there. You’ll be surprised at what you’ll find out.
Step 2: Check if your credentials match
At this point, you’ve already done your homework. Now is the time to see if your credentials fit your desired job. What can you bring to the table? Can they help employers meet their needs and accomplish their goals?
If you’re having trouble in this particular area, don’t be afraid to ask for help. You can reach your peers, teachers, and other relevant parties for performance feedback. This is where you can identify your strengths and weaknesses. Once you’re through with this part, you can put together a list of your best credentials.
Step 3: Integrate what you’re offering to the table
This step may take a bit of time to master. If you can’t get it during your first try, don’t pressure yourself too much. Drafts are drafts for a reason.
When weaving your best credentials into your summary, convincingly write them. You want recruiters to believe that they’ll gain a lot from hiring you. Employers only take an average of six seconds reading resumes. Make every single second count by being brief and descriptive.
Step 4: Know your goals
What is your summary’s endgame? Do you have more than just one goal? If you do, try writing a few drafts that reflect them. You can even insert an essential skills section to make your capabilities look more thorough.
Step 5: Step back and scan
It can be tempting to edit things as you write your summary. However, it’s best to leave the editing after you’ve finished writing everything. Since first impressions last, your summary has to be error-free if you want to make a good one on employers. Check your grammar, spelling, punctuations, tone, and voice before landing on recruiters’ laps.
What You Shouldn’t Do When Writing College Student Resume Summaries
Now, we move on to the other half of this dos and don’ts list. Avoid these common summary writing mistakes to leave little room for error. Trust us—you’ll thank yourself later.
Don’t be passive
Passive voices make one appear unsure, vague, and elusive. A statement like “the student publication had me as the editor-in-chief” doesn’t sound as strong as “Editor-in-chief of the student publication.”
When writing resumes, each section must be in an active voice. It makes you sound more direct and convincing, which, in turn, can convince readers to believe in what you have to say.
Don’t refer to yourself in the first person
Unless you’re writing a letter or a fictional piece, avoid using the first-person point of view on your summary. This drives away any professionalism and engagement you want to establish.
Use power words to assert yourself. Not only do you sound convincing, but professional as well. You can check resume samples online to see which ones fit your summary’s bill.
Generic and false isn’t the way to go
Generic summaries can be misleading. Exaggerations can also spell disaster. The last thing you want to do is falsely lead people on to something you’re not. You don’t want to stain your record, right?
Think of your resume summaries like sales pitches. You don’t have all the time in the world to convince employers to hire you, so make sure yours fits the job they’re looking to fill.
Summaries aren’t objectives
Some people interchangeably use summaries and objectives. However, these two couldn’t be any different. The former emphasizes applicants’ goals, while the latter focuses on the qualifications. Don’t waste anyone’s time by mixing the two up.
You don’t have to include everything
Remember the cardinal rule we mentioned earlier? You shouldn’t fill resumes to the brim with text. This means leaving out irrelevant information and keeping essential details instead. One paragraph is enough to make an introduction.
Don’t make it about you
Instead of saying something “anticipating career advancement in your company,” write how you can benefit your target employee and help reach its goals.
As a college student, the world is your oyster when it comes to creating new opportunities and meeting new people. Finding the right job at this moment can help you build your career in the future, and your resume summary is an important part of that journey. This one paragraph can help you land the job of your dreams, so make sure you apply the tips you’ve learned above.