Resume Building and Networking for College Students

Friday, July 05, 2024
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Thinking about the next steps after college can be daunting, but there are steps you can take before graduation to make the transition easier, especially for finding a job. Building a solid resume and honing your networking skills can significantly enhance your career prospects, but you may have never done those things before. The good news is that NSHSS can help – here are our essential student resume tips and strategies for effective college networking.

Crafting Your Resume

Even if you don’t have a lot of job experience yet, you can craft a resume that showcases all you’ve learned and why you may be a good fit for future job prospects. Your school may offer resume services in their career center that can be helpful, but here are some of our best student resume tips:

  • Start Early: Begin crafting your resume early in your college career, so that you can update it with new experiences and skills as you gain them. Don’t wait until graduation is near to try and remember everything you’ve accomplished.

  • Include Your Experience: Tailor your resume to highlight experiences relevant to the job you’re applying for. Include internships, part-time jobs, volunteer work, and relevant coursework. This may mean having multiple versions of your resume for different applications.

  • Use Action Verbs: Describe your experiences using strong action verbs. Instead of writing “responsible for,” use verbs like “managed,” “developed,” or “coordinated.” This makes your resume more dynamic and impactful.

  • Quantify Your Achievements: Whenever possible, quantify your achievements. For example, instead of saying “increased sales,” say “increased sales by 20%.”

  •  Keep It Concise: Your resume should be clear and concise, typically one page long. Avoid using unnecessary jargon or lengthy descriptions. Focus on the most relevant and impressive aspects of your experience.

  • Use a Professional Format: Choose a clean, professional resume format, with consistent fonts, bullet points, and headings. A well-organized resume is easier to read and leaves a positive impression.

  • Include Keywords: Many companies use applicant tracking systems (ATS) to screen resumes. Ensure your resume includes relevant keywords from the job description to increase the chances of your resume passing the initial screening process.

  • Proofread: Typos and grammatical errors can make a negative impression. Carefully proofread your resume and consider asking a friend or mentor to review it as well.

Making the Most of College Networking

College networking is a critical component of career development. For college students, networking can open doors to internships, job opportunities, and valuable industry connections. There are several ways you can find networking opportunities while you’re still in school.

Find Career Fairs and Networking Events

Career fairs and networking events are good ways to meet potential employers and industry professionals. Often, schools will have these events for graduating seniors, or you may find some local ones and ones that are specific to your industry to attend on your own.

Prepare by researching companies and practicing introducing yourself, your background, and your goals. Bring copies of your resume and be ready to engage in meaningful conversations.

Leverage Social Media

Platforms like LinkedIn are great ways to build a professional network. Create a compelling LinkedIn profile to connect with classmates, professors, and industry professionals and join relevant groups. Just like any social media, regularly updating your own feed will help you show up in other people’s feeds.

Join Student Organizations

Participating in student organizations related to your field of study can provide valuable career networking for students. Attend meetings and take on leadership roles to build relationships with peers and professionals that can benefit you in the long term.

Try Informational Interviews

Informational interviews are a great way to learn about a particular industry or role. You can reach out to professionals in your field of interest and request a brief meeting to discuss their career path and gain insights. This is especially helpful in college when you may not know your exact career goals yet.

Connect with Professors and Alumni

Being at school means you have access to a lot of resources that you may not after graduation. Attend office hours, engage in class discussions, and seek advice from your professors to keep up genuine relationships with them. Many colleges also have alumni networks that can provide mentorship and job leads; they may even offer mentorship programs that connect students with experienced professionals to provide guidance, share insights, and introduce you to their network.

The Importance of Resume Building and Networking

NSHSS Resume

A strong resume and effective networking can be a huge factor in getting your first job out of school – but college networking is about so much more than just your employment.

For many students, it is a way to boost confidence before entering the unknown. The chance to practice your “elevator pitch” and interact with professionals can be invaluable. Paired with a strong resume, this experience can give you a positive mindset when walking into interviews.

Over time, these activities and the opportunities they bring can contribute to your professional growth.  A professional network serves as a support system throughout your career, which can have long-term benefits. Whether you need advice, mentorship, or job leads, your network can provide the necessary support and guidance to help you start on the right path.

Setting the Foundation for Your Career

Building a strong resume and effectively networking are crucial steps in launching a successful career, and college is the perfect time to start. Remember, networking is not just about what others can do for you, but also about how you can contribute to and support your professional community. Start early, be proactive, and stay committed to building a robust professional network that will benefit you for years to come.