How to Format a Resume for a Student

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For the typical student who has limited work experience, writing a resume can be a very intimidating task. However, considering the importance of a resume in the job market, starting a resume as soon as possible in your career is a positive move. Understanding the resume format best suited for students is crucial. For the student, the functional resume format is the most effective as it allows students to focus on and highlight skill sets rather than continuous work experience.

Start your resume by centering your name and all contact information, including your mailing address, phone numbers and email.

Choose which of your skills you would like to focus on in your resume. Ideally the skills you highlight should be skills that reflect your educational experience and your goals as a student and future worker. For example, you might have a section titled "Organizational Skills," which would include any experience you have had in school or previous jobs that will show your ability to organize tasks as well as other students. Remember that a student is not expected to have had significant work experience, so use ALL of your experience as evidence of your abilities (volunteer work, organization memberships, sports, school activities, clubs, etc.) Try to include at least three main skill categories, and type these headings in boldface.

Begin listing accomplishments and experience beneath each main skill category from the previous step. Under "Leadership Skills," for example, you might write "Selected as a peer mentor for a local organization" or "Chosen as a captain for school track team." You would also list job experience that falls under that particular skill, such "Worked as assistant manager at a local fast food restaurant." The idea is to include three things you have accomplished or experience you have gained that clearly shows you possess the skill listed. Set these entries off with bullets and/or indentations.

State clearly at the end of your resume that references are available upon request. Make this list available and ready to send out. As a student, including former and current teachers on your reference list is a good idea.

Print your resume on high-quality resume paper. Type everything in 10-12 point font, and use paper that is neutral in color: beige, white, off-white, etc.


Try to keep your resume to one page; if you must exceed that, never go beyond two.