No Internship? No Problem

Resume Tips for College Students

By Liz Seasholtz
05/05/2015
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Building your resume with an array of diverse experiences and skills has become an essential part of the college experience—but those experiences don’t have to be limited to internships. Check out these seven ways to expand your resume and make it that much more impressive.

1. Volunteer

Nonprofits typically can’t afford to pay interns, but they’re always looking for new volunteers. Search municipal and county websites for listings of local organizations, or check out sites like VolunteerMatch and idealist.org. You don’t have to sacrifice your paying job to get involved either: Many smaller organizations offer opportunities for working professionals and other busy people. Whether full- or part-time, joining a worthwhile cause is beneficial to any resume—plus, you’ll undoubtedly obtain worthwhile skills and a memorable life experience.
 
2. Learn a language 

Knowing another language is an impressive qualification that makes any candidate more marketable, particularly in our increasingly global society. Learning languages like Mandarin Chinese, Cantonese, Russian, and Arabic will likely only become more useful in international business or government in the future. Spanish is also valuable in a variety of fields, such as human resources and social work. Consider signing up for classes at a local community college during the summer.

3. Learn useful computer software programs

We all know how integral computers have become—and will continue to be. Familiarizing yourself with relevant computer programs could add great value to your resume, and we’re not just talkin’ Microsoft Word. An art major, for example, could make himself a more attractive candidate by gaining a working knowledge of Adobe CS3, Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, Dreamweaver, or Flash/Flash Action Script. (Even a solid knowledge of Microsoft Excel could push one applicant ahead of another.) But remember: You should be able to demonstrate the skills listed on your resume Day One, so skimming The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Adobe Photoshop won’t cut it.

4. Start your own business

Even if it’s just Betsy’s Babysitting Service or Larry’s Lawn Care, starting a grassroots business shows entrepreneurial drive, organizational skills, and a go-getter attitude that appeals to employers—especially if you’ve managed employees or made a steady profit, with the figures to prove it.

5. Offer to assist or do research for a professor

Sure, you might feel like you suck up to your professors enough during the school year, but offering your help after class or during the summer allows you to build a professional relationship with someone with valuable life experiences and connections in your desired industry. Plus, you might learn something new about yourself and the topic at hand.

6. Get a job in a related field

If you can’t snag your ideal internship, getting a part-time job in a related field can help build your resume so you’re more qualified the next time around. For instance, finance and accounting majors can benefit from holding positions as bank tellers, and nutrition majors can familiarize with dietetics by working in hospital cafeterias. By immersing yourself in the industry you’re interested in, you can observe from the sidelines and make important contacts.

7. Hold a position in a student organization

Student organizations are a great way to build people skills, quickly advance, and gain leadership positions before you get out in the working world. A student majoring in journalism, for example, can get a feel for the publishing world and get published clips by writing or editing for the school newspaper. A student majoring in political science can benefit from being involved in the student government or a political organization on campus. 

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