When you’re creating your resume, the most important part is customizing it to the job or internship description. However, there are always little things you can do when working on a generic or “grab-bag” resume to help your resume stand out from the rest.
What should I include on my resume if I don’t have a lot of work or internship experience?
It’s not only okay, but normal and common for undergraduate students to include work they’ve done for class on their resume. This can mean highlighting a bit of research you’ve completed or labs you’ve worked on here at Lawrence. Don’t be afraid to experiment with combination resumes if you don’t have a lot of formal work experience — this format can highlight the skills you’ve learned during your time as a student, with less emphasis on prior work/intern experience.
What kinds of skills are good to include?
All kinds, especially the skills listed in the job description! Be sure to include any trainings or certifications you may have received that might be relevant to the position you’re applying for. For example, if you’re applying to a research internship, include your familiarity with data analysis/data management software like Excel, R Studio, SPSS, etc.
How do I make my language look more professional?
Bearing in mind that you do want to reference the job description as much as possible for an application resume — including using the specific language they use as much as possible — there are many ways you can rework the items on your resume to fit a more professional style.
For example, avoid phrases like “Worked with…”, “Duties included…” or “Was responsible for…” All of these phrases sort of tell a hiring manager what you did — but they’re quite passive and not very specific! Using strong action verbs in your resume is key, especially if a recruiter is only spending a few seconds reviewing your resume. Here is a list of strong action verbs that you can utilize on your resume to add some specificity to your past experiences.
Remember, even if you’re not planning on applying to a new position, it’s always a good idea to update your “grab-bag” resume so that it’s ready for you to tweak for your next job application.