Whether you’re a college freshman looking for a part-time job, internship, or exchange program, you’re faced with tough competition.
On one hand, student debt can be crippling, so many college students are searching for opportunities to make it at least less painful.
On the other hand, most college freshmen wouldn’t want to miss the opportunity to study abroad or partake in exciting options their university may offer.
Whichever the case might be, with so much competition, landing a job or a paid internship as a college freshman can be hard, especially if you’re just entering the workforce and have little to no job experience.
This is exactly why you need a rock-solid college freshman resume that will give you an edge over your competitors.
And we’re here to help!
With our step-by-step guide and a top-notch college freshman resume example, you’ll learn how to write an impressive college freshman resume that will help you land an interview for the job, internship, or any other opportunity you’re after even if you have no previous work experience.
So, let’s dive in!
College Freshman Resume
Here’s what this college freshman resume example does right:
- Reverse-chronological format. The college freshman resume example above uses the reverse-chronological resume format, which is the most popular resume format among recruiters throughout the world.
- Relevant contact information. The college freshman resume example above mentions key contact details, including the candidate’s full name, phone number, email address, and location.
- Eye-catching resume objective. This college freshman resume example includes an effective resume objective that puts the candidate’s language skills in the spotlight and attracts recruiters’ attention from the get-go.
- Focus on achievements. Whenever possible, the candidate in the college freshman resume example above lists their achievements and makes them quantifiable to drive the point home.
- Organized skills section. In the college freshman example above, the candidate doesn’t include just the skills that are relevant for the position but also lists his soft and hard skills separately.
- Bullet points. Reading large chunks of text is difficult, so this candidate uses bullet points to organize the information on his college freshman resume.
- Additional sections. This college freshman resume example makes use of relevant additional sections by including the candidate’s language proficiency and hobbies.
Write Your College Freshman Resume With This Step-By-Step Guide
So, you want to learn how to write a college freshman resume no less impressive than the example above?
Read along and we’ll show you exactly how to do it with our step-by-step guide:
#1. Format Your College Freshman Resume the Right Way
You don’t want your college freshman resume to look like a mess, and that’s why you first need to pick the right resume format to structure it and make it easy to follow.
Basically, these are the three most common resume formats:
- Reverse-chronological resume format
- Functional resume format
- Combination (hybrid) resume format
But, as we mentioned above, the reverse-chronological resume format is hands down your best option.
Whether you have work experience or not, the reverse-chronological format will bring your skills and achievements to the foreground (not to mention, hiring managers love it!).
Here’s what that looks like:
Now that you got the formatting part for your college freshman resume out of the way, let’s talk about your resume layout, which includes:
- Font. Sure, you might’ve just left high school, but your college freshman resume has to look professional, and that means saying goodbye to fonts like Comic Sans. Instead, pick a simple font that is easy to read.
- Font size. You don’t want your college freshman resume to spill over to page #2 or be hard to read, so keep your headings at 14-16 pts and the body of your resume at 11-12 pts.
- Length. Hiring managers are busy people, which means they don’t have the time to read multiple-page resumes (unless the candidate’s professional background is really impressive). So, just keep your college freshman resume one page long.
- Bullet points. Whenever possible, use bullet points to organize the information in your college freshman resume. This way, your resume will look clean and well-structured.
- Format. Unless specifically asked otherwise, make sure to save your college freshman resume as a PDF file. Otherwise, your resume might look messed up once opened on a different device or OS.
Times New Roman is the most common resume font.
Find it too dated or bland for your taste?
Make your college freshman resume stand out with a modern font that is also easy to read, such as Ubuntu or Overpass.
Or Pick a College Freshman Resume Template
Let’s face it - making a resume from scratch can take ages.
After all, you have tons of college assignments, so tweaking the margins of your college freshman resume, or making sure it doesn’t spill over to the next page is the last thing you want to do in your free time.
So, chances are you’re procrastinating and we can’t blame you!
Well, what if we told you there’s a way to kiss this problem goodbye?
Yeap! With our resume templates, you can make your college freshman resume in a matter of minutes. All you have to do is pick a plug-and-play template and fill in all the contents - the formatting and layout are already taken care of.
That means you don’t have to choose between starting your job search and going to a college party this weekend - you can do both!
Not just that - our resume templates are free, look professional, AND they’re much more visually appealing than basic resumes.
Check it out yourself:
#2. Add Your Contact Details
Once you’re done with the formatting of your college freshman resume, you can start filling in the contents, which start with your contact details.
Here’s what you need to include:
- Your first and last name
- Your phone number
- Your email address
- Your city and state
Optionally, you can also include any relevant social media handles (e.g. if you’re applying for a job at a bakery and have an Instagram profile dedicated to desserts, write it down).
Sounds simple, right?
And it is! Just make sure you don’t make any typos and you’re good to go.
Here’s an example of the contact information section:
Albuquerque, New Mexico
#3. Write a College Freshman Resume Objective
To catch the hiring manager’s attention and get them to read your college freshman resume, you need an effective resume objective.
Simply put, a resume objective is a 2-3 sentence introduction that highlights your skills and professional goals.
As such, a well-written resume objective lets recruiters quickly see whether you’re a relevant candidate and what you can offer to the company.
Here’s how to write a resume objective that will get the hiring manager to read the rest of your resume:
- Mention what you’re currently studying (or planning to study during the upcoming years of university)
- Include any relevant background (skills, work experience, etc.) that makes you a good fit for the position
- Mention your motivation for working in that particular field/company
And here’s an example of a powerful college freshman resume objective:
Energetic and cooperative undergraduate student majoring in Psychology looking for a part-time sales associate job in Company X. Eager to learn more about organic skincare products and looking to apply my excellent active listening and persuasion skills to assist your customers and drive more sales to your store.
#4. Prioritize Your Education
As a college freshman, it’s only natural that you don’t have much (or any) work experience.
That’s why you should first list your ongoing education on your college freshman resume, along with any relevant education details (your major, your minor, research projects, relevant courses, etc.).
For starters, format your education the right way:
- Start by writing down your major.
- List your college/university name and, optionally, location.
- Include the expected year of graduation.
- Add relevant additional information, such as your minor or relevant courses.
Since you’re still in the progress of getting your degree, you can also write down your high school education (and, particularly, don’t forget to mention your high school achievements, if any).
And here’s a great example of the education section if let’s say, you’re applying for an internship or a part-time job at a news media company:
Majoring in Journalism (Bachelor of Arts)
Western Kentucky University, Bowling Green, KY
Expected graduation date: 2024
Minor: Public Relations
- Introduction to News Writing
- Press Law and Ethics
- Intermediate Reporting
- Feature Writing
- Fundamentals of Public Relations
- Public Relations Writing and Production
#5. Describe Your Work Experience (The Smart Way)
Once you’re done polishing your education section, it’s time to describe any work experience you may have.
Let’s start with the basics - here’s how to format your work experience section on your college freshman resume the right way:
- List your most recent job first. From there, move back in time and add your older positions. This way, you will have a well-organized work experience section.
- Add your job title. Make sure that the job title accurately describes your role, so avoid any eccentric job titles (e.g. use ‘Lifeguard’ instead of ‘Ocean Attendant’, ‘Barista’ instead of ‘Coffee Wizard’, etc.).
- Include the company name and location. Feel free to add a brief company description if the company you worked for isn’t well-known.
- Add the employment date. Use the mm/yyyy format so that the hiring manager can see how long you’ve worked in the company.
- Add your responsibilities and achievements. If you have had several jobs in the past, add 5-6 bullet points to your more recent jobs (if possible) and just a couple for your older roles.
And here’s an example of an effective work experience section on a college freshman resume:
05/2020 - 09/2020
- Welcomed and served 80+ customers daily.
- Prepared and served hot drinks and light snacks.
- Operated Point of Sale systems.
- Kept the work area, coffee machines, and other equipment clean and organized.
- Awarded Employee of the Month in July and August 2020 for efficiency and providing excellent customer service.
What If I Don’t Have Work Experience?
Now, as a college freshman, you probably don’t have much work experience, and that’s okay - hiring managers don’t expect you to have lots of relevant work experience anyway.
In fact, according to Jobvite, the importance of previous job experience for choosing a candidate has dropped by 30% in the last 4 years.
Truth is, even with no work experience, you can still write a job-landing college freshman resume.
Here are some tips to help you make the most out of your work experience section as a college freshman:
- List any work experience you have. Any work experience is better than nothing, so add any jobs you’ve had (even if they aren’t relevant for the position you’re applying for) to help you stand out among other candidates, many of whom might have no work experience at all.
- Make use of any other experience you have. If your work experience section is lacking, present your internships, volunteer jobs, etc. as work experience on your college freshman resume (especially if they’re related to the job you’re applying for or your major).
- Highlight your achievements. Your achievements make you stand out from the rest of the candidates who had similar responsibilities, so make sure to focus on them. And, if possible, make your achievements quantifiable to show the impact you had in your previous workplace.
- Take advantage of action verbs. They sound more impressive and make your responsibilities and achievements stand out (e.g. aided, supported, achieved, etc.).
Here’s an example of how you could present your volunteering experience on your college freshman resume:
Special Needs Support Volunteer
06/2018 - 08/2018
- Provided care for people with disabilities.
- Initiated the ‘Conversational English’ teaching program.
- Assisted in organizing educational games, board game evenings, and other socialization activities.
#6. Include Both Soft and Hard Skills
The skills section is one of the most important parts of your college freshman resume - even though you may not have much work experience, it doesn’t necessarily mean you lack relevant skills for the job.
So, no matter the job, you should make sure to perfect your skills section - and here’s how you can do it:
- Tailor your skills section to the position. Sure, you may be an AutoCAD master, but it means nothing if you’re applying to be a bartender in a local craft beer bar. So, instead of wasting your time listing all of your skills, simply write down the skills that are relevant for the job.
- Write down your soft and hard skills separately. Whether you want to land a customer service representative or a lab assistant job, you’re expected to have an assortment of different skills. So, to have a well-structured college freshman resume, list your soft skills separately from your hard skills.
- List any skills from the job ad that you match. Are you unsure which skills to mention in your college freshman resume? Take a close look at the job listing and simply write down any skills you have that the company is looking for.
Need more inspiration? Check out our list of 101+ essential skills you can add to your college freshman resume!
#7. List These Additional Sections
If you don’t have much work experience, you likely have some space left even after filling in all of the main parts of your college freshman resume.
So, to make the most out of your application, consider adding any of these additional sections to show off your unique abilities:
- Languages. Foreign languages are valued in all job sectors, so knowing one or two languages can increase your chances of both finding a job and getting a higher salary. So, make sure to list any foreign languages you know on your college freshman resume (just remember to stay realistic and don’t overestimate your abilities!).
- Personal projects. Whether you’ve done any projects in college or in your free time, make sure to include them on your college freshman resume to show the hiring managers you’re a passionate and enthusiastic candidate (and especially so if any of your projects are related to the position you’re applying for).
- Certifications. Don’t let your certificates collect dust in your drawers - take advantage of them by listing any certifications you have on your college freshman resume.
- Hobbies and interests. Your hobbies and interests can help you build rapport with the hiring manager and, in case they’re relevant for the job, strengthen your position (e.g. if you’re applying to be a receptionist at a yoga studio, an interest in mindfulness, meditation, Eastern philosophies, etc. can work in your favor).
And here’s an example of how additional sections look on a college freshman resume:
- English - Native or Bilingual Proficiency
- Russian - Limited Working Proficiency
04/2018 - Present
- A travel blog with 5,000+ monthly readers.
- Public speaking
#8. Attach a Cover Letter to Your Resume
Now that you know how to write an impressive college freshman resume, there’s one final step left- and it’s writing a compelling cover letter.
The same Jobvite study that found that work experience is much less important than 4 years ago also found that hiring managers value cover letters much more than before - in fact, their importance has increased from 8% to 26% since 2017.
So, to land the job, you have to attach an effective cover letter to your college freshman resume that explains to the recruiter that you’re the perfect candidate for the position as well as a great match for the company.
Not sure how to write a cover letter?
Here’s exactly what you need to do:
- Include your contact details (full name, phone number, e-mail address, location, and, optionally, links to any relevant social media profiles you may have) in the header to start your cover letter the right way.
- Greet the hiring manager directly by their name to show that you’ve researched the company and have an eye for detail.
- Mention your 1-2 top achievements in the first paragraph to make a great first impression.
- Use the body of your cover letter to describe any experience and the skills you have as well as explain why you want to work in this company specifically and how you would benefit their team. This is also where you can explain anything you couldn’t in your college freshman resume, such as the reason why you choose a specific major or add anything that didn’t make it on your resume.
- To effectively end your cover letter, include a call to action (e.g. “Please let me know if you need anything else,” “I would appreciate the opportunity to discuss this internship in greater detail at your earliest convenience,” etc.).
Here’s an example of a top-notch college student cover letter:
Use our professional cover letter templates to match your cover letter to your college freshman resume!
And now you know how to write a job-winning college freshman resume!
Before you start working on it though, let’s go over the key points we’ve covered in this guide:
- For your college freshman resume, pick the foolproof reverse-chronological resume format.
- As a college freshman, you should mention your ongoing education first.
- If you have little to no work experience, take advantage of any internships, volunteering, and other experiences you may have.
- List your relevant soft and hard skills separately to keep your college freshman resume well-organized.
- To help you secure the job, attach a convincing cover letter to your college freshman resume.