October 13, 2015

The Student’s Guide to Resume Writing

PhoneAt ClickTime, we evaluate more than 600 student resumes every year for our internships and full-time entry-level positions. As a result, we know what a good student resume should look like.

Here are some words of wisdom to help you rise above your competition in the job and internship market:

The Basics

Length: One page. (No, seriously).

Font: CAPS, BoldItalics, or Underline: Pick two. Font size must be 10-point or higher.

Header: Your header must include your name, phone number, and email address. We also recommend including your LinkedIn profile URL and your physical address. Your website, design portfolio, and/or Github account are required for developer and design candidates.

Sections: List your education as the first major section in your resume. When listing your school(s), write your date of anticipated graduation (e.g., “UC Berkeley | Class of 2016”), not your length of time at school (e.g., “UC Berkeley | 2012 – Present”). After the education section, list your experience, projects (if relevant), and skills/interests, in this order.

The Important Stuff

1. Focus on the Bigger Picture

The purpose of a resume is to help recruiters and hiring managers understand your story in one minute or less. We don’t need every detail about your professional life to figure out who you are and what you’re capable of. In fact, excessive detail distracts us from the bigger picture. We can dig deep during the interview. For now, show us the forest, not the trees.

2. Context Is King

WalkRecruiters and hiring managers don’t care about what you did. They care about why your work is important and how you made an impact. So, when you list a job or internship, kick off the section with a one-line sentence encapsulating your work.

For instance, if you’re a product manager at a tech company, you could say, “Created new end-to-end product for a profitable SaaS company.” From there, write a couple bullet points about how you made that happen and the concrete result(s) of your work.

3. Blank Space Is Your Friend

It’s okay if your resume doesn’t fill up the whole page. It’s okay if you don’t have tons of experience. Don’t include every detail of your life for the sake of filling up an entire page. Leave a blank space. We’ll write your name.

4. Get a Little Help From Your Friends

Writing a resume is daunting. We recommend that you talk to your bosses, colleagues, and peers about what your real impact was at work. It’ll help you write a more thoughtful resume and give you more to talk about during an interview.

A Final Word

Resumes are never fully finished. They require dozens of revisions, changes, and perspectives before they feel “right.” So if your first, second, or third drafts aren’t home runs, don’t worry. That’s normal. Keep editing and asking for feedback until you’re confident the resume tells your true story.

This post originally appeared on ClickTime’s blog.

Read more in Resume Writing

Sarah Dabby is a San Diego native who loves helping people shine. She spends her days recruiting and managing people at ClickTime, a time and expense tracking application serving thousands of organizations worldwide. As a professional violinist and violist, she spends her nights and weekends performing with various musical groups.