3 answers

How do you build your resume in college?

Asked Anna, Ohio

Building a resume is important in college. What kind of activities are employers looking for? #resume-building

3 answers

John’s Answer


Hi Alicia,

The most important part of resume building is finding the kind of things that ignite a passion in you and contribute towards the kind of career that you want. Worst thing you can do is see it as a tick box exercise, that said it is valuable to try as many things as you can while you have the space and time to do so - and to uncover any hidden passions you might not know about. Getting involved in clubs and societies is the most obvious one as is any sports or team games. Employers generally want to see that you can work well and contribute in a team setting as very few jobs today work as an island. Organizational skills are also desirable along with time management - if you can juggle volunteer activities with school work and keep your grades up this demonstrates that. If you have a clearer idea of what type of career or sector you want to work in its never too early to think about potential internship opportunities, or where these are not available have a look at the type of skills these jobs look for and see what activities you can participate in that show you capable.

Probably top of the list for resume building, but also largely invisible, is the skill of networking. Never be afraid of speaking to as many people as possible and showing an interest in what they are doing, how you can participate or solve their problems. This includes your group of friends as well as community leaders, employers etc. Increasingly the best jobs are ones which are not necessarily advertised but handed out through existing networks where you have proven your ability or shown an interest.

Good luck with your studies and resume building but most of all enjoy this time of your life.

Kellee’s Answer

Updated Los Angeles, California

Hi Alicia,

What a great question! It's never too early to think about building your college resume. Let me add to the tips already presented. Think of your build around one word: LEADERSHIP! Employers want to see more than just activity, they want to see that you've stretched yourself into leadership roles. It's better to have a few activities with solid leadership demonstration, versus a laundry list of activities where you remained an individual contributor. Academics and tech skills may get you to the interview, but demonstrating leadership increases your chances of getting the offer significantly. This article from 2015 can give you an idea:

http://college.usatoday.com/2015/07/22/hiring-recent-college-graduates/. I has to work while in college to cover costs, but when I graduated, I was able to get on great projects with my employers due to pursuing leadership roles quickly once I was hired.

As others have stated, seek activities that speak to your passions and interests. Managing your time is very important so that your academics do not suffer.

Kellee recommends the following next steps:

  • Check to see if the colleges to which you have interest have clubs/organizations that speak to your passion(s)
  • Prioritize the activities you think you want to do, and come up with a list of about 6 options. Make your top 3 your focus, and maybe add others if your school/life balance permits.
  • Consider an organization that interests you but you've never tried. Who knows? this may be the one where your light shines the brightest.
  • As you get involved, make sure you check in with yourself periodically to assess if you're still having fun. No need to stay in an activities that drain your spirit. Being a leader can be challenging, but should never feel like a burden.

Rachel’s Answer


You will need to focus on stress and time management. In order to manage stress you have to manage your time wisely. <span style="background-color: transparent;">You have to set a routine for yourself and stick to it for the most part. Once you get into the groove of a routine it will be much easier for you to manage your time and have enough time for everything you need to do (including relaxing). Make yourself to-do lists on a weekly basis, use Google calendar or a planner to keep track of events, deadlines, and due dates. In addition to setting a routine and sticking to it, plan out relaxing activities into your day. Or set aside a time, after everything is done for the day, that you can have "me" time. I have also personally found it essential to not only find time for myself but also make use of that time in a way that is best for me and my holistic wellness. I have found the HeadSpace app to be an essential tool in helping me relax and generally feel more relaxed throughout the day, Guided meditation, even if you have a busy schedule, will make you feel more at ease and relaxed throughout the day as a whole (not just when you have the time to relax and focus on that "me" time).</span>

<span style="background-color: transparent;">Set a routine.Use Google Calendar.Set aside Me TimeWrite weekly to-do lists and use a planner.Find a peaceful and restful activity that will help you feel relaxed.</span>