College is the beginning of your professional journey. Certainly, your major frames your long-term goal, but what you do in college fills in the blanks on your college resume. Consider the choices that you make in college as opportunities to try new things and get involved on campus. Be strategic in what you do, but have fun along the way. Make the most out of your college experiences and focus on a few key areas to highlight how you’ve developed your personal and professional skills.

1. Become Immersed in your Academic Experience

If you’re wondering how to boost your college resume, go the extra mile in your academic pursuits. Once you’ve decided upon a major, build strong relationships with the faculty. Seek the opportunity to work alongside a professor on a special project. If possible, volunteer to be a research assistant to learn even more about the your major. If you intend to go to graduate school, participating in research opportunities will set you apart as you continue your education. In addition to showcasing your diligence as a student, you’ll also build references, which will be beneficial when it comes time to job hunt. You can also look into study abroad opportunities to gain a global perspective.

2. Get Involved on Campus

When you get involved with extracurricular activities, you demonstrate the ability to multitask. Once you’ve found a club or organization that connects with your interests, volunteer for leadership roles. In addition to having fun and gaining new friends, serving as an organizational officer is a great way to learn leadership and organizational skills. Future employers are attracted to candidates that have strong interpersonal skills and can demonstrate leadership. Don’t be afraid to serve as a leader of your organization. You can also build up your resume in college with participation in intramural sports, residence hall government, Greek organizations or departmental clubs.

3. Get a Part-Time Job

In addition to a little extra cash, a part-time job is a positive addition to your current college student resume. A campus job in your academic department will enhance your knowledge base in your major. Or, look for a job that reinforces the skills that you’ll need in your professional career. Summer employment is also a plus. If you can find a job that will rehire you each summer, you can show consistency in your employment record. Be sure to talk to your supervisor about the responsibilities that you would like to showcase on your college resume. A supervisor that thinks highly of your work is likely to agree to be a job reference.

4. Secure a Relevant Internship

An internship in your professional field will help you build up your resume in college. Talk to your faculty advisor about businesses or organizations that are interested in college students for internship experiences. You can also visit the career development center or go to a job fair to learn more about internship opportunities. Some internships offer compensation for the work. The right internship may even segue into a professional career after graduation. Think about the career path you'd like to take during your internship and take notes of what you liked or disliked. If you map out your college courses effectively, you may be able to do your internship during your senior year and earn course credit.

5. Commit to Community Service

Employers look favorably upon prospective job candidates that give back to their community. Many campus organizations incorporate community service into their regular activities. You may also be able to participate in a service trip during spring break, winter break or over the summer. Adding community service on your college resume demonstrates your commitment to others and underscores a selfless quality that is attractive to potential employers. If possible, use some of your leadership skills or things you’ve learned in your academic major to make a community service project be even more successful. List what you learned and how you made a difference on your college resume to showcase how the experience was integrated into what you gained as a student.

Related Articles

About the Author

Dr. Kelly Meier earned her doctorate from Minnesota State Mankato in Educational Leadership. She is the author and co-author of 12 books and serves as a consultant in K-12 and higher education. Dr. Meier is is a regular contributor for The Equity Network and has worked in education for more than 30 years.