Are you a college freshman looking for work? Then you need to polish your resume. Perhaps you have just gotten into college, and suddenly, you realize it is time to start approaching the work market.
College is expensive and many students choose to work part time during the years of study, and even if you have no intention to work until you graduate – it is never too soon to get your resume ready!
You might never have written a resume before, but this guide and the full resume sample down below will help you get it right the first time.
Resume objective for college freshmen
The resume objective is usually the first contact you make with a hiring manager, and a great opportunity to show them who you are. Think of a movie trailer, and how it gives away just enough to get people excited about the movie?
This is what you want to achieve with your resume objective.
When you are a college freshman, it can feel a little overwhelming to write a resume, especially if you lack work experience. It doesn’t have to be an issue, and a college freshman resume should preferably be centered around what you have to offer and what you would bring to the company.
In your resume objective, you can bring up your educational background and your desire to enter the work market – show enthusiasm, while highlighting all your best attributes.
We sampled 15 freshmen resumes for this article, and compared our findings to 15 entry-level work posts for positions available to college freshmens. Work experience isn’t always required, but all these job posts highlighted the importance of wanting to become an essential part of the company.
Nobody wants to hire someone who doesn’t want to be there. The popular work site Monster also points out the importance for a college freshman to mention skills and specific abilities.
Devoted college freshmen looking for an opportunity to enter the workforce and make use of acquired talents and skills. Majoring in English Literature, and with experience working in customer service and as a cashier, and hoping to become a valuable asset to the company.
Resume skills for college freshmen
What is so great about resumes is that they allow you to highlight what you are good at, and what you can offer a company. The skill section is a great place to sell yourself if you haven’t been in the workforce for long, and it is an opportunity to brag with both your soft and hard skills.
Soft skills for a college freshmen would be everything about your personality that makes you a good fit for the job.
Perhaps you are dedicated, empathic, organized, detail-oriented, have people skills or able to think on your feet? These are great skills for any entry-level job.
Hard skills are often obtained through work experience, which you might not have as a college freshman, but there are a few things you might know how to do without realizing!
Today’s young adults tend to possess excellent computer skills, so you can mention your expertise with programs like Microsoft Word and Excel, especially if you are applying for a job with administrative duties.
Language skills are also great for listing when writing one of your first resumes! If you are proficient in any other language than English – this is considered a great hard skill.
According to Clark University, your skill section could also benefit from including quick mentionings of potential work experience, volunteer work, or extracurricular activities.
Analytical | Communicative | Science Major | Customer Service Experience | English | Mandarin | Microsoft Office | Quick Learner | HTML/CSS | Collaborative | Team Player | Valid Driver’s License
College freshmen work experience
The work experience section is one of the reasons many college freshmen hesitate when writing their resume. What if you don’t have work experience? While everyone needs to start somewhere, we recommend filling out this section as well as you can.
Considering how limited your work experience might be as a college freshman, you can add anything here that shows your understanding of having a real job. Did you ever have a summer job, or perhaps you volunteered somewhere in the past?
The trick is to make the experience you do have sound great, rather than to worry about the experience you lack.
This, of course, does not mean you should add entries that aren’t true, as a hiring manager is likely to see right through exaggerations.
The Muse makes an interesting point, saying how a job description may often be more of a wishlist than a list of requirements set in stone. With this in mind – don’t worry too much if the job ad mentions a couple of years of required work experience, as you can always compensate in other sections.
Sample Work Experience
Pet Supermarket, Saint Cloud, FL
Sales Associate, 2016 – 2019
Worked part-time as a sales associate in a popular downtown pet store. Restocked shelves, assisted customers, kept the workspace clean and handled the register.
- Assisted with creating a website to start selling products online.
- Convinced the store owner to start hosting adoption events in collaboration with a local rescue organization.
- Performed customer surveys to improve the overall customer experience.
- Helped with invoices and product inventory.
The Gem Theatre, Kannapolis, NC
Volunteer, 2014 – 2016
Volunteered at a privately owned movie theater to help keep it running, and was responsible for selling tickets, receiving guests, selling snacks and cleaning up after each function.
- Worked without financial compensation to preserve a historical movie theater and its functions.
- Assisted with promotion through social media, which increased assistance with 73% in a year.
- Organized a free screening for a local nursing home.
- Responsible for taking the cash register to the bank after each screening.
Town of Ithaka, NY
Paper Route, 2013 – 2014
Delivered papers around town on a bike, early morning before school, and made sure that everyone on the route got their newspapers on time regardless of weather.
- Met weekly efficiency goals throughout employment.
- Was named ‘Employee of the Year’ for never missing a single day of work.
- Took on double shifts to help cover for coworkers, with the intent of making sure people got their papers on time.
- Trained a new employee by teaching the route and the easiest and safest way to get around town.
College freshmen education
As a college freshman, you might not have a completed professional degree to list, but you can still include your ongoing education (by specifying that you are yet to graduate).
You don’t usually include your High School diploma in a college freshman resume, as it is indicated that you did finish High School in order to be accepted into your current program.
Special achievements can be listed in this section as well, such as if you are the president of a club or have a relevant position in a school sports team.
It can be difficult to enter the work market as a student, but companies are often looking for new talent and fresh points of view, and it is your job to show these companies (and hiring managers) that you are worth taking a chance on.
American University, Washington D.C.
Bachelor of Science, 2017 – Ongoing (expected graduation: 2020)
- Vice president of the Club Council
Depending on the job you apply for, you might want to list specific courses related to the position. Don’t just list random coursework, as this will just look like you are trying to fill out your resume, but if you are taking a course directly related to a job – include it.
Examples could be a business course, math if the job includes having to count, law related coursework if you are looking for an internship at a law firm, language courses or anything you think a hiring manager would want to see.
When we surveyed college freshmen resumes, we saw some that included courses and others that did not. We noticed courses being included more often when applying for internships rather than in applications for regular part-time jobs.
- Human Resource Management
- Hospitality, Leisure, and Tourism
Complete college freshman resume sample
Writing a resume is not something to worry about, but you want to make sure to get it right already as a college freshman. To further demonstrate, we have picked out a job post and will be providing a tailored resume for the post.
When applying for any job, it is essential to read through the job description properly, and to use the requested skills, experience and the overall language use to your advantage. Let us show you how.
This Texas-based company is looking for a friendly and flexible individual who appears professional and approachable. They want someone with excellent work ethics and a passion for working with people, as well as computer skills and tech expertise.
Trilingual English major with a passion for books, reading and the written word. Friendly, organized and an excellent multitasker, with experience in social media management, computer usage and digital marketing strategies. Committed to providing excellent customer service and to provide a pleasant environment for both coworkers and visitors.
Organized | Friendly | Multitasker | Literary Knowledge | English Major | Social Media Experience | Goal-Oriented | People Person | English | German | Spanish | Tech Savvy | Outgoing
Urban Lane Call Center, Dallas, TX
Sales Agent, 2017 – 2020
Sold products and services over the phone, used advanced sales techniques to find the right product package for each customer, met sales goals and collaborated with other sales agents.
- Sold to 100 customers within a month, which broke the company sales record.
- Discovered a possible flaw in the sales script, which led to a 36% increase in sales once fixed.
- Received training in complex computer software programs.
- Developed valuable relationships with customers, to increase returning business and the overall customer experience.
Nanny Poppinz Agency, Fort Worth, TX
Nanny, 2015 – 2017
Worked as a nanny, babysitter and caregiver for multiple families in the Fort Worth area. Cared for children aged 0-15, and duties included driving, homework help and general teaching.
- Cared for multiple children at a time and successfully managed very busy schedules.
- Drove to activities daily in heavy traffic, and provided safe trips and punctual arrivals for charges.
- Tutored children in English, Math and Science.
- Assisted with the training of new agency nannies.
Park Forest Community Pool, Dallas, TX
Lifeguard, Summer 2015 – 2016
Worked summers as a lifeguard at a busy community pool. Kept visitors safe, sold monthly passes, worked in the café, tested the water quality and maintained the premises clean.
- Held safety demonstrations for children and parents who were first-time visitors at the pool.
- Provided emergency care to an older woman who slipped and hit her head, and kept her stable and calm until the ambulance arrived.
- Digitalized the member records and trained senior staff in how to properly use the software.
- Learned how to monitor the water quality and maintain safe levels of chloride, etc. etc.
West Coast University, Dallas, TX
Bachelor of Arts, 2018 – Ongoing (Expected graduation: 2022)
- Major: English
- Modern Masterpieces of World Literature
- Shakespeare’s Life and Work
- Classic Latin American Literature
When you are a college freshman writing a resume, you need to find a way to make any experience you have sound sufficient, by wording it correctly and highlighting all your most relevant skills. These are three top tips for how to write a college freshman resume:
- Sound confident in your resume, and sell yourself using relevant skills and experience, to convince a hiring manager that you are worth taking a chance on
- Be clear about your college status, and preferably state when you expect to graduate and get your degree.
- Complement a lack of work experience with volunteer work, study courses and the right attitude for the position.
Tips from Experts
“A summary or professional objective on a resume for college students is to convey what you want to do, what you are looking for or even to highlight your top accomplishments.” – Philip Chesney, Founder of CareerPrep
“The obvious here is to include jobs or internships that you’ve had, and the more relevant to the career you want, the better. Include what you can. ” – Zach Star, Professional Video Blogger
“The first thing you are absolutely going to need, regardless of any type of job or internship you are applying to, is a resume.” – Nicolas Chae, College Life Blogger
Going into college can be scary enough, but that freshmen year is the perfect time to put together a strong resume. The college years go by faster than one might expect, and whether you are planning to apply for a job while still studying, or if you expect to wait – having a resume ready is always smart.
The resume is also a great opportunity to promote yourself, as the interview tends to require you to be more humble. When you write your resume, think of it as your next (and perhaps first) big career step.