College Admissions, Student Resources

How to Write a College Resume (+ Example Templates)

Remember those kids who started random clubs like underwater basket-weaving just so they could write “Club President” on their resumes? Even if the club never met? Right.

This section is your chance to show that you’re different, because it’s more than just your responsibilities. It’s also about your accomplishments. What’s the difference?

Responsibilities vs. Accomplishments

Maybe the underwater basket-weaving club president was responsible for hosting meetings, planning events and organizing a fundraiser. But if she didn’t actually accomplish any of those things, she can’t add them to her resume. So  consider both your responsibilities and accomplishments, whether in a club, on a team, at a job, through a service project, etc. and then think of those accomplishments in terms of numbers.

Why numbers matter

Numbers give context and scale, plus they can help you stand out. Here’s what we mean:

Say you’re the editor of your school’s newspaper. Think back to how many papers you’ve published. How many articles? How many meetings have you led? How many students in each meeting? Say you babysit neighborhood kids. How many kids? How old are they? How often do you babysit? For how long each time? Maybe you work at a coffee shop. How many shifts per week? How many hours per shift? How many people do you serve on average each shift? Maybe you’re the team captain for your lacrosse team. How many warm-ups do you lead each week? For how many teammates? Do you lead team study sessions to help keep everyone’s grades up? How often?

Use strong active verbs

Once you’ve got the numbers, think of active verbs that describe exactly what you did. Here’s your chance to show that you’ve led, managed, organized, created, problem-solved, budgeted, maintained, coached, produced, written, presented, scheduled, built, developed, traveled, bought, bid, sold, delivered, etc.

Some tips for organizing the Experiences section of your college resume:

  1. List experiences in reverse chronological order, starting with your most recent activities and working backward.

  2. For each activity, list the organization/business (even if it’s just your school), location, your position, and the dates of experience. The dates show much you’ve invested in that activity.

  3. Avoid first person. Instead of saying “I managed,” just say “managed.”

  4. Keep verb tenses consistent. So, if you’re still participating in the activity, use present-tense verbs. If you’re not, use past-tense verbs.

Want a huge list of verbs you can use to perfectly describe your experiences? Boom, here you go.

Need help thinking about your experiences?

Sit down with a parent, guardian, teacher who knows you well, or good friend, and ask them to help you remember what you’ve done.

Note that “experiences” can include lots of things. Don’t sell yourself short; even taking care of your younger siblings could count (if you’ve spent significant time and energy!).

Other ideas for your Experiences section:

  1. Taking care of an elderly neighbor.

  2. Volunteering at your house of worship.

  3. Organizing weekly pick-up basketball in your neighborhood.

  4. Working on your parent’s/friend’s car.

  5. Organizing a fantasy football league in your class.

  6. Serving on the board or council for an organization/group.

  7. Taking summer art classes.

  8. Selling homemade crafts on eBay.

  9. Teaching your little sister to play the guitar.

  10. Writing a regular blog about baking cakes.

  11. Showing pigs through your local 4-H troupe.

  12. Competing in local beauty pageants.

Click here for a list of other activities you may not have considered–but that count.

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