Get a head start on doing the things that look good on a resume
For anyone in school—whether you’re in career school, vocational school, or college—it’s never too early to start thinking about your resume. Sure, you won’t actually need your resume until you’ve got your degree, but there are lots of things you can be doing right now to make your resume look great in the future.
Remember, you’ll be competing with a lot of other recent grads when you look for your first job, so it’s a good idea to have a resume you can be proud of. Try these suggestions for ways to improve your resume while you’re still in school.
1. It may sound obvious, but…. get good grades!
Whether you’re in career training school or college, your number one priority should be your school work. This means: don’t skip classes, study hard, and earn the best grades you can. There’s no doubt that studying can be hard! If you start to fall behind, take steps to get back on track. Staying in school and finishing your program will be worth it.
2. Take on challenging projects at school
Going above and beyond your classwork is another way to build your resume and impress a potential employer. Find out if you can do extra credit work, special research projects, or extra courses that will better prepare you for your future career. Then be sure to include these on your resume. They will not only show potential employers that you are more qualified, but an employer may also be impressed that you made the extra effort.
3. Get involved in your school
Schools are a great place to find leadership and community opportunities. See if your school has a student council or other extra-curricular activities where you can take on leadership responsibilities. You could organize an activity, run a charity donation drive, do a school improvement project, or find another creative way to make a difference at your school.
4. Get to know your instructors
Your instructors at college or career training school can be a great resource for developing your career. Try to get to know them by participating in class, attending office hours, and volunteering for extra projects. You don’t need to try to be the teacher’s pet. Just raising your hand and showing your teacher that you are engaged in their class can go a long way when it’s time to ask for referrals and recommendations.
5. Volunteer in your career field
When you are looking for your first job with no job experience on your resume, it can be tricky. One way to beef up your experience is through volunteer work—especially if you can find volunteer experience in a related field. Do your best to find a volunteer placement that is somehow related to the career field you want to pursue. And when you do start volunteering, make sure you treat it like a job. Show up on time, act professionally, and take it seriously. Not only will the experience look good on your resume, but you may also be able to get a good recommendation from the volunteer coordinator.
6. Keep your digital footprint respectable
Being in school can mean new friendships and good times. If you’re like most people in the digital generation, you like to post photos of what’s going on in your life. There’s nothing wrong with that, but be sure to use some caution. In other words, skip the party photos. Skip the angry rants. Before you post something, use the rule of thumb “would I want my grandmother seeing this?” Usually if it passes that test, it’s okay to post. Remember, your digital footprint stays with you for good! If you’re worried about yours, try these tips for cleaning up your social media.
7. Get a part-time job or an internship
If your schedule allows, it’s a good idea to have a part-time job while you are in college or career school. Even if it’s not related to your career field, at least it shows potential employers that you have some work experience. Part-time jobs can help you develop transferable skills and understand workplace etiquette. In addition, your supervisor may be able to provide a recommendation for you.
Internships and job shadowing are also great opportunities. According to the U.S. Department of Education’s Education Planner, “an internship will look terrific on your college application or your resume. The more experience and dedication that you demonstrate, the more attractive a candidate you are. An internship is a great way to network and get references, too.” With this in mind, if your career training program or college has an internship program, definitely take advantage of it. Or to find an internship on your own, try Education Planner’s Internships Overview.
8. Develop relationships with other students
That person sitting next to you in class? He or she could be a co-worker someday, or could set you up with a job opportunity in the future, or could be a person to share career advice with over the coming years. If you start developing a network of friends and colleagues while you are in school, you never know where it can take you. For introverts, try these tips for getting to know your classmates. It will be worth the effort!
9. Don't be afraid of technology
Nearly every job these days involves some kind of technology. Make sure you are staying up-to-speed on the kinds of technology you need in your career field. You should also know basic programs such as the Microsoft Office suite, and possibly some basic coding and HTML, depending on your career field. If you feel you’re getting behind in technology, see if your school offers a course, or enroll in a course at your local library or online.
10. Use LinkedIn to your advantage
LinkedIn has become a go-to resource for employers who want to learn more about their potential employees. It’s never too soon or too late to create a LinkedIn profile. LinkedIn allows you to post your resume information, read and post interesting articles, join career-focused groups, connect with others in your field, search for jobs, and follow companies that interest you. If you start a LinkedIn profile now while you’re still in school, it will have the benefit of showing potential employers that you were career-minded well before you started your job search.
With these resume boosters, you should be on the path to creating a better resume and a positive career path for yourself. For more information on resume writing and career-building try:
Career One Stop’s Resume Guide
How to Write a Resume for an Online Job Application
Forbes’s How to Write a Resume When You’re Just Out of College
Building Marketable Skills and a Great Resume at Salter College
This article was produced by Salter College. Located in West Boylston, Massachusetts, Salter College is dedicated to helping our students get the career training they need to get started on a positive career path. The professionals in our Career Services department are here to help students boost their resumes and refine their career searches. Check out the career development services offered at Salter College:
- Externships: Most career training programs at Salter College include an externship placement where students spend an average of three months in their chosen field of study. This not only gives our students great on-the-job experience, but it also improves their resumes.
- Career fairs: Our Career Services professionals coordinate and promote on-site career fairs to introduce students to potential employers in the region.
- Resume and Cover Letter Help: Our advisors help students craft a strong resume, build their Linkedin profiles, and write customized cover letters.
- Career Development Resources: Career Services provides weekly job postings, advice on job searches, alumni networking, and an employer database to assist students in their job searches.
If you’re looking for career schools in Massachusetts or short-term training for a quick start career, consider Salter College. Contact us at 774-261-1500 for more details or fill out our online form. Before long, you could be on your way to a new career!