I work with a lot of students and many feel as though they don’t have enough information or valuable information to put on their resumes. I promise, this isn’t true! In fact, if you don’t have work experience, you can still write a great resume based on your education and projects!
Headings for Students Resumes
The first realization students should come to is that there is no set way to write a resume. You do not have to have the same headings as everyone else! For students with no work experience, you do not have to have a “Work Experience” section on your resume. Perhaps you have volunteer experience. Title a section “Volunteer Experience” instead.
Additionally, many students have projects they have worked on during their education that are valuable and relevant to employers! I often suggest that students have a heading on their resume titled “Relevant Projects” or, say you are an engineering student, you can have a heading called “Engineering Projects.”
Consider these headings options for student resumes:
- Relevant Projects
- Work Experience
- Volunteer Experience
- Activities & Community Involvement
Including School Projects on Your Resume
If you choose to include school projects on your resume, and I hope you do, the next step is deciding what information to include.
First, you will want to make a list of relevant projects (both in-class and extra-curricular projects) that would be relevant and valuable to the position for which you are applying. The goal is to have three to five of your best and most relevant projects showcased in this section of your resume.
Next, take a close look at the position description. What skills, outcomes, and job duties compare and relate to the projects you have listed? It is important that the content on your resume relate to the job description. This will ensure your resume speaks to the needs of the employer. Additionally, it will help your resume pass an automated resume screening software should the company use one.
Finally, you want to make sure the information you include about each project provides tangible outcomes and illustrates the scope of the project. Employers want to know the outcomes of your work, and you can describe the outcomes of your project to help meet this need. Also, it is important that an employer know the scope of the project. How long and in-depth was each project you are listing? Provide information that helps them answer this question.
Example of Including School Projects on Your Resume
Now that you have a better idea of what to include in a projects section on your resume, let’s look at an example.
COMPUTER SCIENCE & CODING PROJECTS
- Swift Coding – Built and designed iPhone sports app allowing users to update sport scores, team standings, and player stats
- Python Bot Project – Developed, tested, debugged, and improved bots to complete automated tasks on Twitter and in Crypto markets
- Java App Project – collaborated with peers to architect an algorithm sorting application
In the example above, the student is now bringing education and training to life for a potential employer by illustrating how coursework has been used in practical, relevant projects. Had the student only listed education and coursework, employers would have much less perspective on what the student can produce (outcomes) and the scope of his coursework (how in-depth the content was).
Writing a Strong Student Resume
As you write your resume, remember to choose your headings based on the information that best highlights your education, skills, experience, and, very importantly, the needs of the employer. If you write a generic resume with the standard education, work experience, and general skills section, you might be missing a big opportunity to speak directly to the needs of employers and provide them with tangible evidence of your abilities!
Loren Kelly is a seasoned Career Coach for Students and a College Instructor. She is passionate about helping students prepare for a career while they are obtaining their education. If you need help determining a fulfilling career path or marketing yourself to employers through your resume, cover letter, or LinkedIn, be sure to take advantage of a free, 30-minute consultation with Loren!