How To Make Your Student Resume Stand Out Against the Masses

How To Make Your Student Resume Stand Out Against the Masses

Generation Y, also known as the Millennial Generation, Generation Next, Net Generation, Millennials and Echo Boomers. With birth dates ranging between the late 1980’s to the early 2000s, this generation is coming of age and entering the workplace in droves. In most parts of the world, Generation Ys are increasingly familiar with advanced communication, media and digital technology. Gen Ys are also known for their liberal and market oriented approach to politics and economics and are more likely to have graduated from post-secondary school than their parents.

So, what does this mean for new graduates entering the workforce for the first time with a student resume? Well for starters, competition is fierce and employers expect more from you. It’s not enough to just have a degree and expect a swell job right away. Graduates need to work harder to stand out. Unfortunately, many college student resume styles are stuck in the mindset of: “I’m smart, pretty and fun. Why wouldn’t I get that job? I’ll get the next one. I would be perfect for this!” However, no matter how perfect you think you are, someone else may have you beat.

Here are a few student resume writing tips to start standing out against the masses of 20somethings:

1. Internships- The very word conjures images of drones in suits scurrying around, refilling coffee, handing out mail and sharpening pencils. But, you have to start somewhere and for many, internships can be the beginning of a career and at the very least can give you practical experience in your field and a few professional references on your otherwise education heavy student resume. Some internships are actually quite beneficial and will have you completing actual work in no time. Start by researching the top ten ideal companies you would want to work for. If they are not currently hiring, check and see if they hire interns. Many companies will hire interns for the summer, when regular employees are checking out for vacations and they’ll actually pay a decent wage. Other internships could range from paying zilch to a small honorarium. If you can afford to hang in there for the standard 3-6 months, it might actually pay off and at the very least, will look great on your not so student resume anymore.

2. Diversify- Most Gen Ys looking to enter the professional workplace have a degree or diploma of some sort, can speak English, communicate clearly, look professional and have social networking skills. If you want to stand out, you must diversify and add to your skill set. Can you speak another language? Employers are always looking for people who can speak two languages or more. Many jobs in Canada actually require employees to know French as well as English. Consider taking the summer off after school and taking language classes. Travel to France, Spain, Italy or any country whose language you’d like to learn if you can afford it. Then not only can you call yourself a cognizant global citizen but you can also add a language to your student resume.

If not a language, do you have any other talents or hobbies that set you apart from the pack? If you’ve played professional sports for years, that can translate into concrete skills on your resume, particularly teamwork, competitiveness, time management and dedication/commitment.

3. Education- If all else fails, head back to school. It’s what everyone else seems to be doing. Those who have been laid off, employees in their 20s, 30s and 40s, those who started working right away and want to continue their education- many people are heading back to school and enrollment at colleges and universities is definitely higher than ever during a recession. Consider becoming more specialized in your field. If you already have a degree or a diploma, take an additional course or workshop to add to your skills and re-vamp your resume. Consider a Masters. If you’re a Gen Y and can’t quite land the job you want in this economic situation, make sure you are fully prepared for the better times ahead by taking your schooling to the next level and hopefully you’ll stand a chance of standing out amongst the masses of Gen Ys grappling for a spot in the professional workforce.

Once you’re certain you have all the right skills to land your dream job, make sure your student resume represents that. A sloppy student resume writing style will cancel out all your hard work and effort.

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Comments (10)

  • Karen Shane, CPRW Reply

    Think of your hobbies, what you enjoy most during your leisure time, like making greeting cards. What transferable skills do you have? I’m sure you have customer service and communications – the ability to speak clearly and promptly address the questions from your customers.

    January 28, 2010 at 4:13 pm
  • uberVU - social comments Reply

    Social comments and analytics for this post…

    This post was mentioned on Facebook by ResumeTarget.com: Generation Ys: How To Make Your Student Resume Stand Out Against the Masses http://tinyurl.com/yho5g6s

    January 28, 2010 at 9:51 pm
  • Ronit Reply

    Be short and to the point on your resume, none likes to read unrelated information. While in school try to join clubs and network with instructors in the field of your interest

    January 28, 2010 at 9:44 pm
  • Atan B Reply

    I wish I had someone giving me useful tips when I needed them. I have several family members that are just now finishing their studies. I will certainly forward them this valuable link. Thanks, Resume Target I’m looking forward to your next post.

    January 29, 2010 at 9:40 am
  • Carl Reply

    Your articles are very informative and helpful and should definitely improve a person’s chances of landing a job. These are trying times and any advantage that can be gained might make the difference that gets you the job you want.

    January 29, 2010 at 10:25 am
  • Robb Myers Reply

    I recruit technology and sales people for IBM. You really need to differentiate yourself from the many others that will be applying for the same job. HR folks don’t have a lot of time to read resumes and their initial screen usually involves looking for keywords that have been identified by the hiring team (SOA, eclipse, etc).

    What you should do to give yourself a better opporutnity of making the first cut is to put together a technology profile and that is the first thing on your resume.

    Programming languages: C, C++, JAVA
    Development Plateforms: eclipse, unix,nt

    When you are describing what you did during your coop or internship experience make sure you keep in mind that you are telling your story to the hiring manager. Knowing your audience will help you deliver the right message. Give them a bit of meat to chew on, don’t just say things like – I worked on developing a new application for finance. Thjat means nothing – WHAT DID YOU DO? That’s what a hiring manager wants to now and they don’t want to have to spend 20 minutes on the phone with you to figure it out.

    Your resume is a work in progress, from now until you retire (oh so many years in the future :). Remember to keep updating it regularly and keep it relevant.

    Cheers!

    January 29, 2010 at 4:04 pm
  • Amos Tayts Reply

    Great feedback from everyone. Karla brings up and excellent point on the the basics of acting professional in a junior role, even as an intern your business savvy will always be remembered. The professional impression you make today will matter tomorrow – or even years down the road when you might cross paths with someone you met as an intern. These little but important attributes will help you stand out and be top of mind and in turn, you will learn to position yourself as someone who is highly adept and a pleasure to work with.

    January 29, 2010 at 12:11 pm
  • Ely Kleiman Reply

    When submitting a resume always attach a cover letter selling yourself. The cover letter is what may make your resume stand out from the rest.

    If you have the chance to be part of an intership program then do so. The experience you can get is invaluable and will undoubtedly make you stand out from other candidates when applying for a job. Ask as many questions as possible during your internship as this will show your interest in the field and may even make your current employer offer you a permanent job at the end of the internship, or at the very least provide you with an exemplary letter of reference which will once again make your resume stand out against the others.

    January 29, 2010 at 2:21 pm
  • Jax Harada Reply

    Great article. Much obliged.

    April 12, 2012 at 9:23 pm
  • andrea Reply

    How about retitling the article to: Things to do before applying for a job to enhance your resume. Learn a language, travel, internships are things you might do while still in your studies.

    May 2, 2013 at 2:20 pm

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