Develop Your Resume While Still in College

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Students shouldn't wait until after graduation to think about the experiences and skills that they need to begin their careers. When you fill out your first "real" job application, you are going to want to submit a resume that says more than just what you earned a degree in.

While you want a resume that contains enough white space to ensure a professional appearance, one that contains too much white space is just going to make you look inexperienced.

Here are some ways that you can develop your credentials while in college so that you are prepared to submit your resume as soon as you receive that diploma.

Academic Accomplishments

As a student, you may feel as if studying and turning in homework assignments is your full-time job. If this is the case, you shouldn't hold back when it comes to your academic accomplishments or be shy about listing some of the things you are particularly proud of. And I'm not talking about listing that you made a 98% on a final exam that half the class failed, you want to list accomplishments that are unique and set you apart from the typical student.

This could include a professor choosing to enter your research paper in a contest or your painting being selected for a student art showcase. Other types of accomplishments that may be more common but still impressive to a potential employer, such as the number of times you made the dean's list, maintaining a high GPA, or being a member of an honor society.

Work Experience

While you obviously don't have the time to hold down a full-time position while in school, you may be able to find a few extra hours here and there to work. Remember, even if you don't need the money that doesn't mean you can't greatly benefit from the experience. It's going to be hard for an employer to believe that you will make a good employee if you have never worked a day in your life.

Having a part-time job or internship in college will ensure that your resume doesn't draw a blank when it comes to the "Professional Experience" category. Being able to show that you held down a job while in school is a good indicator of you work ethic and level of responsibility. Internships can also be particularly valuable as they can help you gain experience in an area that is relevant to the career you want.

Leadership Positions

While academics are important, it is also important that you don't spend all of your time in college hitting the books. Employers want to see that you are able to branch out and put your effort and apply your knowledge elsewhere. One way this can be done is by becoming involved at school and obtaining a leadership position within a student organization. And this doesn't always mean being elected to student government or becoming president of a fraternity.

There are many types of positions that allow you to demonstrate your abilities to lead by example, such as student chair, council member, or group leader. If you can't commit to a position for the entire year take on a short-term leadership role by volunteering to organize a community service project or be in charge of planning a social event.

Remember, a leadership position is anything that demonstrates your abilities to manage, organize, motivate, or represent.