Landing a job as a high school student or college undergraduate is a challenging endeavor. But even the most ambitious journeys begin with a first step. In this case, that step would be making a student resume.
Now, you probably have a general idea of what a regular resume should look like and how it should feature your most prominent skills and achievements. As a student, however, you likely don’t have an extensive work history to include in your resume. But the good news is—that doesn’t mean you can’t create a captivating document to impress hiring managers!
In this article, we present the key elements to consider when building a student resume and help you refine it to perfection!
Wait no more—let’s dive in!
The main focus of a student resume should be on education and work experience alternatives.
Use a reverse-chronological order when listing your degrees, achievements, and other applicable content.
Proper formatting will ensure your resume looks clean and professional.
When creating a resume, chronologically include sections such as “Header,” “Education,” “Work experience” and “Skills.”
To grab the hiring manager’s attention and make an exceptional application, submit a cover letter with your resume.
Which Sections to Include in a Student Resume
Whether you’re creating a resume for a student or someone with decades of work experience, basic principles remain the same. Your document needs to feature only the relevant information, which must be properly organized into sections and neatly displayed.
When organizing information inside sections, you should use the reverse-chronological resume format. It’s a proven student resume format that brings the best results by highlighting your latest and most impressive accomplishments first.
To make those skills and achievements more prominent and readable, choose a suitable font and size and use bullet points and proper spacing. That way, you’ll create a clean and professional student resume, which is crucial for grabbing the hiring managers’ attention and passing a potential ATS scan.
Now, let’s see what the fundamental sections of a student's resume are:
Student Resume Mandatory Sections
Header. This section should include your name, title, and contact details, as well as a resume summary or objective.
Education. Education is going to be the focal point of your student resume. Include your degrees here, along with the institutions that issued them and the years attended. Also, you can list your most prominent and relevant academic achievements by using bullet points to create an even bigger impact.
Work experience. If you have any relevant work experience, it’s a welcome addition to your resume.
Skills. A good combination of hard and soft skills is invaluable in portraying you as a qualified candidate.
Additional sections. Any additional information that is relevant to the job goes a long way in showing you as a competent applicant.
Student Student Resume Complete Template
To give you a better understanding of what your document should look like, we’ve created a student resume template for you. Feel free to copy and paste it, and then insert your information to create a professional document from scratch!
Student Resume Template
[Full name] [Professional title]
[Email address] [Phone number] [City and state] [Additional contact information: the link to your LinkedIn profile, personal website, social media profiles, etc.]
[Degree/Name of the program] [Institution] [Date of attendance—start and end date (or expected end date)] [Additional information: extracurricular activities, relevant courses, achievements, awards, etc.]
Work Experience (If Applicable)
[Position] [Company] [Start and end date of employment] [A bullet point list containing the crucial responsibilities and achievements within the role]
[Position] [Company] [Location] [Start and end date of an internship] [A bullet point list containing the crucial responsibilities and achievements within the role]
[Your role in the volunteering program] [Company/Organization] [Location] [Start and end date of volunteering] [A short bullet point list containing the crucial achievements and contributions within the role]
[Project name] [Company] [Your role in the project] [Start and end date of a project] [A short bullet point list containing the crucial achievements and contributions within the project]
[A bullet point list containing your most prominent soft and hard skills]
[A bullet point list of languages you speak along with proficiency levels]
Certificates & Courses
[A bullet point list of relevant courses and certifications you’ve achieved]
Awards & Honors
[A bullet point list containing all relevant awards and honors]
Hobbies & Interests
[A bullet point list of hobbies and interests with an optional one-sentence explanation for each]
Listing Personal Information on a Resume
The beginning of your student resume should be a place for an introduction. Use a resume header to state your name, professional title, and contact information.
A resume objective or a resume summary are optional but highly recommended additions to this section. The first one is a common part of a student resume. It summarizes the candidate's best skills and shows their eagerness to learn and grow even if they don’t have any work experience.
If, on the other hand, you have a work history, a resume summary will highlight the most important parts of it to show what you have had a chance to work on.
We’ll examine both a resume summary and a resume objective further in this article. Now, let’s see what a neat and professional resume header with contact information looks like:
Contact Information Section Example
Shauna Patel Digital Marketing Analyst
+309 691 5079 firstname.lastname@example.org Peoria, IL linkedin.com/in/shaunapatel32
When listing your contact information, the most important thing is to proofread and make sure everything is correct. A single typing mistake in your phone number or a wrong letter in your email address might mean that the recruiters won’t be able to contact you.
Also, make sure that the email address you provide is professional. If you still use a funny email address you made as a joke back in high school, it’s time to create a new one.
Finally, don’t add too much personal information. For example, adding your city of residence as a location is optional and more than enough. Also, avoid including a photo of yourself since it might get your resume discarded due to anti-discriminatory laws in some countries.
In certain cases, there’s additional information you can add to your contact information section. For example, a LinkedIn profile is often used in a professional setting and can grab the recruiter’s attention, so make sure you include the link to it if you have one.
If your social media pages are relevant to the position, you should add them as well. However, don’t overdo it. A photographer showcasing their Instagram page is one thing, but featuring an unrelated Pinterest account is not considered professional.
You can also add a personal website if you have one. Designers, IT experts, and many others often have their own web pages for a polished online presence. Just make sure that the website doesn’t merely repeat what’s already on your resume.
A resume objective is a short but highly impactful paragraph that sits at the top of your resume. It’s usually 1–4 sentences long, and its goal is to emphasize your skills and display your career objective. The goal of this part is to immediately grab the recruiter’s attention and convince them that you’re a valuable candidate right from the start.
Here’s an example of a solid resume objective:
Resume Objective Example
Diligent digital marketing student with a passion for SEO and paid advertising. Developed a strong foundation in digital marketing concepts and tools, including Google Analytics, PPC advertising, and SMM. Eager to apply my skills in a challenging role and grow in a fast-paced environment while contributing to the success of your dynamic organization.
A resume summary follows the same formatting and positioning rules as a resume objective. The difference is that it’s a better option for candidates with extensive work histories. Its goal is to highlight the applicant’s abilities through their professional endeavors and relevant achievements.
Most students don’t have extensive work experience to leverage, so they generally use a resume objective. Still, a resume summary is a powerful tool, too, as long as you have results to show. Here’s an example of a student resume summary:
Resume Summary Example
Results-driven human resources student with more than a year of experience in recruiting, onboarding, and employee engagement. Proven ability to effectively communicate with all levels of staff. Experience using HRIS and ATS systems. Seeking to leverage my skills and experience to successfully fill an HR position in [your company] when I graduate in 2023.
Focus on the Education Section of Your Resume
Work experience is usually the most important thing on a resume, but for students, it’s the education section that adds the most value to the document. Since you probably lack professional history to showcase your abilities, your education will do it instead.
There are several guidelines to keep in mind when creating the education section of your student resume. For starters, use the reverse-chronological resume format. Your latest and most valuable degree must be at the top of the section. That way, recruiters will see it first.
Start this section with your degree, and continue by adding the name of the school or university that issued it, the location of the institution, and the years attended. If you’re still attending the university but expect to graduate soon, set the graduation date as “expected.” And if you’re in the middle of your studies, instead of a graduation date, write "current."
Here’s what an education section for a college student who’s anticipating a graduation date looks like:
Education Section Example
Bachelor of Science in Computer Science University of California (UCLA), Los Angeles, CA 2019–2023 (expected)
Optional Education Information
You can spruce up your education section with optional information as long as it’s relevant. If your GPA is above 3.5, you should mention it because it shows that you are ambitious and work hard.
Similarly, you should list any relevant courses that you have completed during your studies, as well as honors, achievements, awards, and similar. Not only will they add to your proficiency, but they will also show that you like to exceed expectations and go above and beyond to achieve your goals.
If you have a lot of optional information to include, you can use additional sections, which we'll talk about later in this article.
Here’s what a high school student's resume education section with additional information looks like:
Optional Education Section Example
Orange High School Orange, CA 2018–2022
Clubs and societies: Robotics Club, Student Government, Soccer Team
Including extracurricular activities in your resume will show that you are a driven person who takes action. Extracurricular activities can be anything from helping and tutoring others to facilitating get-togethers, organizing art galleries, participating in sports tournaments, and more.
Extracurricular activities are particularly powerful on student resumes with no work experience. They show employers that you’re a capable and efficient person with great potential, which could easily translate to the workplace.
Here’s one way to add extracurricular activities to your resume:
Extracurricular Activities Section Example
Robotics Club Captain January 2020–March 2022
Led a team of 5 to design and build a robot that won 1st in the regional competition.
Placed 2nd out of 15 teams in a statewide robotics tournament.
Demonstrated expertise in coding, circuitry, leadership, and problem-solving.
Take note of how the applicant used robotics-related extracurricular activities to show their leadership and technical skills. They also used exact numbers and percentages to measure results, which made every success stand out and be more memorable.
How To Add Work Experience to Your Student Resume
Plenty of students who are making their first resume have no work experience, but that’s nothing to stress about. We’ve already established a couple of ways to offset its absence, and there are more tips further down in the article.
Still, if you have work experience to put on your student resume, it will be rather valuable. You don’t need to have years of professional experience, but as long as it’s relevant to the position you’re applying for, recruiters would love to see it.
When including work history, the basic principles are the same for both a regular and a student resume.
Start by stating your professional title, then add the company you worked for and the dates of your employment. After listing the essential information, use bullet points to showcase the responsibilities you had at your job, as well as the accomplishments and results you’re proud of.
By showing precisely what you did, you give hiring managers deeper insight into your abilities and efficiency. To further increase the effectiveness of this part, use numbers to quantify your achievements and add some action verbs and power words to make them stand out.
Here’s an example of a professionally written work experience section on a student resume:
Work Experience Section Example
Junior Marketing Assistant Solvio Albany, NY January 2022–November 2022
Assisted with the development and implementation of a new social media strategy, resulting in a 30% increase in engagement.
Collaborated with the design and copywriting team to launch an email outreach campaign that resulted in an above-average 32% reply rate.
Analyzed and identified new customer segments under the senior marketing specialist’s supervision to increase sales by 15%.
What Else You Can Include Instead of Work Experience?
If you don’t have a professional history to showcase, there are several other work-related activities that could be perfect to mention on your resume. These include:
Optional Work Experience Information
Internships—both paid and unpaid—are the next best thing after work experience. They are almost on the same level since they display how you handle yourself in a professional environment.
By including internships in your resume, you get to highlight your skills just like with work experience. It shows that you're not an absolute beginner and that you've been in the industry for some time already.
Even when it comes to formatting this section, the rules are pretty much the same as with your work history. The internship section should include the following:
Mandatory Internship Information
Internship title and role
Company name and location
A bullet list highlighting your responsibilities and obtained achievements and results.
Here’s a real-life example of an internship section on a student resume:
Internship Section Example
Civil Engineering Intern Pillar Group Grand Forks, ND October 2022–Current
Assisting senior engineers in the design and planning of 6 infrastructure projects.
Conducted 11 site visits and inspections to assess project progress.
Utilized AutoCAD to draft 30+ technical drawings and plans for various projects.
Volunteering experience is similar to extracurricular activities in that it shows you as an active and driven candidate who always strives to do more. It is an impactful section to include in a resume, even when the activities aren’t related to your professional career. For this reason, you should add this section to your resume regardless of the nature of your volunteer work.
Emphasize this section properly, and recruiters will see you as an enthusiastic and devoted applicant, who is worth the company’s time and resources. To do that, name the organization you volunteered at, state your role, add the location and time, and list your responsibilities. And if you have any relevant achievements to highlight, even better!
Here’s what that would look like on a student's resume:
Volunteer Experience Section Example
Student Volunteer Coordinator Pomona College Student Volunteers February 2022–Current
Recruited and trained 20+ volunteers for various programs and events.
Coordinating volunteer schedules and assignments to ensure adequate coverage of all events.
Maintaining accurate records of volunteer hours and activities to be used in the recognition and appreciation programs.
Projects are comparable to freelance work, except they are one-offs. Since projects are unique, each brings new sets of challenges and obstacles to overcome. So, they are a great way to show that you are talented, flexible, and adaptable, which are all great traits and soft skills to have.
Projects for a resume can be anything from creating new software solutions during your college years to research done on your graduation thesis. If you have plenty of projects to showcase, focus on the most impressive ones and create a portfolio to show the rest.
When including them in your resume, list the following information:
Mandatory Projects Information
Company (if applicable)
Responsibilities and accomplishments
Here’s what that looks like on a resume:
Projects Section Example
Undergraduate ABC Company Website Redesign Co-Lead, Web Developer 2019–2022
Led a website redesign for a local business (ABC Company) as part of a web development coursework.
Achieved a 45% increase in website traffic within the first 5 months of launching a redesigned website.
Increased organic traffic by 15% utilizing SEO strategies.
Skills You Should Add to Your Resume
There are two types of skills to put on a resume:
2 Types of Skills
Hard skills are technical, highly specialized, and industry-specific. They enable you to do the job, so recruiters pay attention to this collection of skills first.
Soft skills are personal, universal, and transferable between different positions and lines of work. They make you more efficient, organized, productive, better at interpersonal relations, and more.
When highlighting your most prominent skills, it’s crucial to stay relevant to the position you’re applying for. High proficiency in bartending, for example, doesn’t translate that well if you’re applying for a job in the IT industry.
Another neat trick to use is to mention some of your skills throughout your resume. Your resume objective or summary, education section, or work experience are all great places where you can mention a skill or two.
Finally, when listing your skills, make sure hard and soft skills are separate, as their purpose is different.
Soft skills enhance your productivity, help you manage your time better, get along with your coworkers, and more. These skills are universal and are an essential part of any resume. Some of them are:
Soft Skills Examples
On the other hand, there are professions where particular soft skills are invaluable. For customer service jobs, for example, the following skills are pretty much mandatory:
Soft Skills for Customer Service Jobs
For every line of work and every position, there’s a specific set of hard skills that are a must-have. Unlike soft skills, which you can keep using, refining, and transferring from one job to another, hard skills are often industry- or even position-specific. That’s why you want to make sure you include the most relevant hard skills on your resume.
Designers, for example, can showcase some of the following hard skills:
Hard Skills for Designers
Marketing experts, on the other hand, might list something like this:
Hard Skills for Marketing
Facebook Paid Ads
Email marketing and automation
Other Sections Students Can Add to Their Resume
An upside to making a resume for students with no experience is that you might have more room for other sections. These will allow you to show creativity, emphasize your skills further, and make your resume memorable.
There are plenty of bonus sections to include in your resume. Here are the most common ones:
Student Resume Optional Sections
Languages. Proficiency in foreign languages is an increasingly wanted skill on a resume. International markets are much more accessible today, giving candidates with language skills an edge. For positions like Sales Representative or International Customer Support Agent, language skills are not optional—they are mandatory.
Certificates & courses. Any courses you attended and the certificates you obtained are compelling features to include in your resume. Not only will they supplement your formal education, but their presence implies that you don’t settle for the bare minimum. They indirectly portray you as an ambitious and resourceful candidate.
Awards & honors. This part lets you show recruiters any additional accomplishments you have that didn’t fit in any previous section. Did you excel in a particular area of your studies? Or maybe you went to a competition and won an award? List them on your resume and grab recruiters’ attention.
Society memberships. Memberships in certain communities indicate your interest in specific areas. They also show your priorities and commitments but also portray you as an active and enthusiastic candidate.
Hobbies & interests. This part is highly optional, but it can elevate your resume as long as you have enough room for it. By listing your hobbies and interests—even if they are completely unrelated to the job—you show passion and personality and that you’re more than just your resume.
Should You Add a Cover Letter to Your Resume?
Writing a captivating cover letter is the final step in making an outstanding job application. Cover letters are optional, which is why many candidates don’t bother writing them—and that gives an edge to those who do.
Submitting a cover letter with your resume shows that you were willing to go the extra mile when applying for the position. Its goal is to spark the interest of a hiring manager and get them to read your resume.
A cover letter should be specifically written for the job position you’re interested in. Also, it’s not meant to replace your resume but to supplement it. As such, it’s a brief and concise one-page document that should be 3-6 paragraphs long.
In 250 to 400 words, you want to introduce yourself, tell the reader about your education, and demonstrate how you’re a perfect fit for the job.
If it’s your first time writing a cover letter, here’s a standard format that works most of the time:
Cover Letter Format
Header (your name and contact information)
Opening section, where you should express your interest in the position
Middle section, which should focus on your education
Closing section, where you highlight why you’d be a perfect fit for the job
Student Resume Example
You are now well-equipped to create an eye-catching and professional student resume. The article tells you everything you need to know to start from scratch and write a captivating document.
Whether you’re a high schooler looking for a part-time job or a student who’s about to graduate, make sure to go through these rules and guidelines as much as you need to and follow the instructions all the way through. You’ll end up with a top-notch student resume, and that job will be yours before you know it!