Many students mistakenly delay starting their resumes because they believe that they don’t have “real” or so-called “professional” experience. This can be a costly oversight, as many organizations and businesses (including offices at UMBC) hire students who do not have a lot of paid work experience, but do have useful skills. They are willing to provide students with opportunities to work or volunteer with them, but often require a resume in the recruiting process.
What to List on Your Resume When you are Just Starting Out
Career Services staff can help you present the relevant and marketable skills you may have already gained through part-time, summer, and volunteer positions (including those in high school). Students are often surprised that camp counseling positions, fast food jobs, and participation in athletics and community service have produced “transferable” skills which employers’ value.
Think “outside the box” when you develop your resume! Ask yourself questions like these:
Have you held leadership positions in a scout troop, musical group, or community service organization?
Have you developed expertise through avid pursuit of a hobby (e.g., photography)?
Have you developed skills working in a family business (paid or unpaid)?
Were you editor of your high school newspaper?
Have you helped build something?
Do you have CPR certification? Lifeguard training?
Have you traveled outside the U.S. or do you have multicultural experience?
Have you tutored other students?
Have you built a web page that is more than bare bones?
Do you have a stock portfolio you have been managing for several years?
What computer software do you know how to use?
Even if these skills do not seem directly relevant to the position you are applying for (on campus, internship, etc.), they can add to the picture of you as someone who is energetic, enterprising, willing to learn, and multi-talented. Especially when you are in you first several years of college, you will need to dig deep to find material to round out your resume.
Where to Use that Resume
Many excellent on-campus and off-campus jobs for students are available right this very moment through UMBCworks. But you need a resume to participate! Internships also require resumes, thus getting yours started, edited, proof-read and into the hands of recruiters and hiring managers should be motivating you to get started now!
The Shriver Center at UMBC can help connect you to great internship opportunities and you may find others on your own. Ideally, you should be actively seeking and securing internships (opportunities to apply what you have learned in the classroom in real world settings) for your junior and senior years. Did you know that the most competitive summer internships require application nearly a year in advance? Delaying the development of your resume now may take you out of the running for some career-related opportunities.
In a Nutshell
Start your resume now and it will grow with you as you gain new skills and experience. Having a resume helps you be confident now and demonstrates your readiness to pursue competitive jobs and/or advanced education upon graduation. Having a resume that you are excited about and proud to share with others requires you to take ownership and take action.
Samples of Great Resumes
Check out the on line resume workshop on the Career Services Center website here.
Examples of resumes are available on Career Path. Just click on a major and then click on the “sample resume” link in the blue box on the right. Samples are available for most majors.
Additional sample resumes are available in the Career Development Guide, beginning on page 10.
For more information and support for your resume development, contact: