The Evolution of an Undergraduate Student Resume

I thought I would take some time to reflect on my career path this fall Sunday, and more importantly, countless mistakes I had made with my resume.
This morning I found a file of old resumes as I was cleaning my hard drive. In fact, I was able to locate one from each year of college.

Let’s profile the progression of an undergraduate student resume to help you benchmark your current resume. Use this analysis of past resumes to identify best practices, learn when to seek help, and what mistakes to avoid.

Freshmen year

A lack of professional experience coupled with insufficient knowledge of resume mechanics will make it difficult to position yourself as a competitive candidate, especially for those who are seeking their first internship.

Freshmen don’t have time to worry about effective resume preparation, let alone educate themselves on tedious resume details. I was not an exception. Rather then grouping sections by experience, I chose to organize sections by competencies and use examples from various self-directed projects and organizations to support the claim. This approach resulted in some weird resume/cover letter hybrid

Student Resume

Freshman Year

Resume Elements include

• Objective

• Skills summary

• Skills and Experience

• Computer Skills

• Education and Training

Luckily, as an undergraduate, you’ll have many university-provided resources at your disposal. I suggest reaching out to your university’s career advising center…but heed my warning, those guys are busy; really, really busy. If I remember correctly, they suggested I highlight anytime I learned or used a technical skill.

Sophomore Year

While freshman year should be spent integrating yourself into student organizations, exploring academic opportunities and developing technical skills (I suggest you take advantage of free university-provided software training classes. These courses will help develop a foundational technical understanding and can be included on your resume). Sophomore year is a time where the ambitious gain an advantage by applying to competitive internships or research positions. A proper resume is paramount to landing such a position…

Fall semester of my sophomore year I started an e-commerce business and was faced with a dilemma…how does this new experience fit into my existing resume? The answer: It didn’t. The resume of freshmen year had to go.

This iteration of my resume focused on proper formatting mechanics (poorly) more so than the content.

Student Resume

Sophomore Year

Resume Elements include:

• Objective shortened

• Education highlighted

• Defined experience sections which were organized by themes of freshmen achievements

• Introduced bullet points

• Skills section in list form to increased ATS readability

• Font & typeface selection

If you’ve developed great experience but have little knowledge of formatting,  take a look at the Rezi Resume Template. Let our knowledge of resume mechanics take care of the dirty work while your experience does the talking.

Junior Year

Career fairs, mock interviews, networking…junior year should be your busiest yet. Hopefully by now, you are well emerged in student organizations and maybe your persistent dedication has landed you a leadership position (that’s the goal anyway).

Your chosen career path should be more clearly defined. Now that you’re past the halfway point, you should really think about want you want to do post-graduation. The summer following your junior year will be the launching pad of your career. Aim to use this period to excel in a position related to your vocational goals.

Keep in mind these positions are even more competitive. Your resume must be on point, master the tedious mechanics if you want to see results. Luckily, my roommate was a resume reviewer for the university business school. Here is the resume we created together.

Student Resume

Junior Year

Resume Elements include:

• Objective deleted

• Education highlighted

• Defined experience sections organized by accomplishments

• Introduced well thought out and actionable bullet points

• Skills section in list form to increased ATS readability

• Font & typeface selection

In this iteration I focused on quantifying accomplishments and making sure my experience descriptors contained critical elements. I also made a major shift in the format. This is the resume was used to land my first “competitive” internship

If you are behind in your resume at this point check out the Rezi Complete Resume. It’s a safe bet.

 Senior Year

Senior year was essentially building on the experience I developed during the previous years and tailoring my resume to reflect this. It was around this time that I first heard about Applicant Tracking Systems, or ATS. The first version was used to land my second “competitive” internship. The second semester version of this resume is my first attempt at optimizing it to pass ATS.  Let’s take a look:

Student Resume

First Semester Senior Year

This is the final resume:

Student Resume

Second Semester Senior Year

Your resume may take a similar path of continued improvement but we suggest you skip right to the punch. Take advantage of years of development and check out the Rezi Template. It’s an optimized resume template that it’s an easy and effective way to make sure your experience is properly formatted and ready to pass Applicant Tracking Systems.

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Views from the IG

  • Remember that if you have limited professional experience, you can include other sections on your resume. Be creative and see how you can fill the page with a combination of internships, projects, volunteering, coursework, and education. Just don't reduce the font to 9 and make the recruiter need to pull out a microscope! Usually a font size of 11-12 will give the best results. 
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  • Tailoring your resume is crucial to your success. Would you rather send 35 generic resumes and get 2 interviews, or send 10 resumes best suited for you and end up with 4 interviews? We have mentioned in past posts how a hiring manager with many resumes to look over might not spend more than several seconds scanning yours. Along with job titles, they are also checking to see if you have the skills necessary for the job. Go through the job description and highlight any job related skills (hard and soft) that it asks for. Then make sure to include those keywords on your resume! Of course only if they apply to you. Making the effort to tailor your resume to each job you apply for will pay off. Don't forget to do the same thing for your cover letter! 
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  • A follow-up to yesterday's post. Remember to list achievements as much as possible rather than just describing your job duties. Let's take a look at a possible bullet on a resume: "responsible for assisting with marketing strategies."🚫❌ That is boring and uninsightful. How can we make it better? By getting specific. 🔥"Created marketing plan with the help of google analytics for an annual fundraiser that made $10,000 in the first 3 days of the campaign."🔥Much better! 💪
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  • An effective resume should focus on accomplishments rather than duties and responsibilities. If you only copy paste the job descriptions from your previous positions then there is nothing that sets you apart from the competition. Potential employers want to know you were a go-getter in past roles who MADE things happen and didn't just passively occupy a seat in the office. Use hard numbers and meaningful metrics to show how you solved problems, enhanced revenue, grew the business or met challenges. You are a superstar, so let them know it! 🌠✨⭐
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  • 😯Worried because you think the only thing you have to list on your resume is your first job washing dishes for your local restaurant? Well great news! ☺There is so much more you can include on your resume than just work experience. Perhaps you majored in French, but took a course in copywriting which is relevant to your desired job. Expand your education section by including that course. Maybe you helped organize an art exhibition or other event? Fantastic, you've got organizational skills.✔ Be creative with your resume and see how you can fill the page with a combination of internships, projects, volunteering, coursework, and education. 💡
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  • Rezi resume tip #2💪💪
No one needs to know about the embarassing things that happened to you in high school. Leave all that drama in the past where it belongs! Resumes should only include your university education, which can be used to highlight any job-relevant courses you took. In most cases GPA will not be necessary to add, however if yours is stellar then feel free to include it. 😃
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  • 🔥Resume tip #1🔥💯 Research from @workopolis shows that recruiters spend an average of fewer than 11 seconds looking at your resume before possibly rejecting your application. 11 seconds! When is the last time you did anything in 11 seconds, other than opening the kitchen cupboard to grab a new bag of Doritos? Don't make it easy for employers to toss you in the no pile by making the information that is important to them easy to find. Ensure a nicely formatted document with work history, education, and skills sections plainly marked. Make sure there are no typos and list all your start and end dates as well as job titles. 👌💥
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  • Stay tuned for our top resume tips! We will be sharing #1 with you tomorrow. 😎🔜☝☝ @tonyrobbins recently posted about research showing 80% of people give up on their New Year resolutions by the 2nd week of February. This is not going to be you. You have a goal this year to get that dream job and you are going to do more than just talk about it! What resources, strategies, and tools are you going to use to crush your goal? Start by turning your dusty old resume into a winner by implementing our top resume tips that we will be sharing with you starting tomorrow! Ride the 🌊🌊 of success with Rezi!
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