How to make a resume for a college freshman
But how do you make a resume for a job when you have little or no formal work experience? To help you assemble the best application possible, we have a variety of resume and cover letter writing guides, examples, and templates appropriate for new college students.
Regardless of how much work experience you have already, here are some resources to help you build a strong college freshman job application:
- How to write a resume with no experience
- How to put an internship on your resume
- Resume for internship sample
- Internship cover letter sample
- Resume example for teens
- College student resume example
- Undergraduate resume examples
- Student resume examples
- Entry level cover letter example
- How to list a fraternity or sorority on your resume
- Resume example for a part time job
- Resume for your first job
Our free-to-use resume builder can make you a resume in as little as 5 minutes. Just pick the template you want, and our software will format everything for you.
What to include on a college freshman resume
Here’s what to include on a resume as a college freshman:
- Contact information
- Resume introduction
- Educational background
- Work/relevant experience
- Key resume skills
- Hobbies, volunteer work, or extracurricular activities
1. Contact information
List your contact information in your resume header so that it can be seen straight away. At a minimum, include the following information:
- First and last name
- Phone number
Make sure that you use a professional-sounding email address (e.g. JohnDoe@gmail.com, or your college email address).
You can also include your LinkedIn profile or a link to your portfolio website (if you have one) to give employers a more comprehensive picture of your experience and qualifications.
2. Convincing resume introduction
Your resume introduction is a short section at the start of your resume that summarizes your key strengths and qualifications.
Including an introduction on your resume is essential for college freshmen, because it gives you an opportunity to show you have the skills and motivation to carry out a job, internship or scholarship, even if you don’t have much work experience.
The best type of resume introduction for a college freshman is a resume summary. This is because a resume summary gives you space to draw attention to your skills and personal attributes, and away from your work history.
Here’s an example of a well-written college freshman resume summary:
Hardworking History major with extensive writing and editing experience. Honor student with a 4.0 GPA and Editor-in-Chief of the college newspaper. Superb research, organizational, and communication skills.
3. Detailed education section
As a college freshman, your education is a large part of your overall experience. To reflect that, your resume education section should be thorough and detailed.
When you have more experience, this section should be lower down and have less information. But for now, include as much relevant information as you can.
Your education section should list the following information for your college and high school:
- Major and level of degree
- College name
- Location of the school (including the city and the state)
- Expected graduation date (both the month and the year)
- Your GPA (but only if it’s above 3.0)
- Any awards or honors
Also include Dean’s list on your resume if you made the list more than twice during your college career.
You could also include relevant coursework on your resume to demonstrate that you’re interested in and have background knowledge of the job or internship you’re applying for.
For your reference, here’s a sample of a well-written college freshman education section:
B.A. Political Science / 3.7 GPA
Coral Gables, FL
Expected graduation: June 2024
Dean’s List: Fall 2019
Relevant coursework: Political Power in American Cities; Justice and Law; Data Science for Politics; Introduction to Statistical Methods; Research Design
Class of 2017 / 3.5 GPA
Smith High School
Graduation: June 2019
Academic Honor Roll
4. Relevant experience
If, like most college freshmen, you don’t have much work experience, swap out your “Work Experience” section for a “Relevant Experience” section. This allows you to provide a more accurate picture of your skills and achievements.
If you have no professional experience to highlight, use this section to list any of the following experiences (as long as they’re relevant to the job you want):
- College coursework
- Volunteer work
- Study Abroad
- Extracurricular activities
- Hobbies and interests
- Choirs, orchestras and other musical ensembles
Don’t forget to explain the main duties that you took on and the relevant skills that you gained. Any experience can prove that you are a good fit for the job.
Here’s an example of what a relevant experience section from a college freshman’s resume looks like:
5. Diverse mix of skills
Include a mix of hard and soft skills in your resume skills section to demonstrate that you’re a well-rounded candidate capable of tackling a variety of challenges. As a college freshman, you’ll probably find it easier to prove that you have soft skills, such as:
- Communication skills
- Analytical skills
- Leadership skills
- Time management
- Creative thinking
- Critical thinking
- Conflict resolution
- Good work ethic
Don’t worry if you haven’t got many technical skills yet — most other freshmen won’t either. But you do probably have more hard skills than you think, so don’t forget to include them on your resume if they’re relevant to the job you want. These include:
- Microsoft Office
- Google Workspace
- Typing speed (words per minute)
- Foreign language skills
- Social media
- Driving license
3 tips for writing a college freshman resume
Now that you know what to put on your college freshman resume, here are a few tips for making it perfect.
One of the best ways to make your resume is by filling out one of our free resume templates. All our templates are designed by experts and free to download for Microsoft Word or Google Docs.
1. Stick to one page
College freshmen should always use a one-page resume. This gives you plenty of space to list your relevant skills and achievements, while making it easy for employers to read.
Anything longer is hard to justify when you don’t have much experience, and can make it hard for employers to find the information they’re looking for.
2. Use the right resume format
As a college freshman, it’s important that you communicate your most notable qualities as quickly as possible. That’s why formatting your resume properly is essential.
You should start by using a chronological resume format, with your education placed towards the top of your resume, followed by your experience section. Your experience should list your most recently held position at the top, with your least recent position at the bottom.
Here’s an example of what that looks like in action:
This format is ideal for freshmen because it puts your most marketable quality (your education) right at the top of your resume, and then provides an easy-to-read overview of your relevant experience.
3. Use strong action verbs
You should always use resume action verbs when talking about your experience on your freshman resume. These powerful verbs help put the focus on your accomplishments by actively describing what you’ve done.
For example, don’t just say that you led a volunteering project. Write that you chaired, coordinated or organized an aspect of this project. This way, you demonstrate to employers what you’re capable of achieving if hired.
College freshman resume template
Here’s a college freshman resume template that you can paste into Microsoft Word or Google Docs and fill out. It includes an outline for each resume section, and what information you should list in each section.
1. Resume Heading
FIRST AND LAST NAME
Email: email@example.com | Phone: 123 444 444 | Address: 123 Smith Road West Hartford, CT 06091 | LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/yourproﬁle [optional]
2. Resume Summary
College freshman majoring in [major name]. Seeking to leverage my competence in [job-specific hard skills] to fill the [position name] position at [company name]. A [positive personality trait] worker aiming to contribute to [company name]’s goals and take on more responsibility as quickly as possible.
Degree level and major / GPA (if above 3.0)
College Name – City, State
Expected graduation: month and year
Honors and awards: [optional] Relevant coursework: [optional] Class of […] / GPA (if above 3.0)
High School Name
Graduation: month and year
Honors and awards: [optional] Relevant subjects / coursework: [optional]
4. Relevant experience
Most Recent Volunteer/ Internship/ Extracurricular Experience Title
Employer Name/ Location/ Start Date – End Date [you can just write ‘present’ rather than an end date if you are still carrying out this role]
- Include a bullet-point list of your main duties and achievements.
- Make sure you add numbers to these bullet points.
Earlier Volunteer/ Internship/ Extracurricular Experience Title
Employer Name/ Location/ Start Date – End
- Include a bullet-point list of your main duties and achievements.
- If you’re no longer carrying out this role, make sure you use past tense verbs in your bullet points (e.g. ‘Chaired a student committee on diversity’ / ‘Performed in venues around the world’ / ‘Created and executed lesson plans’, etc.).
- List any relevant skills
- Include a range of hard skills and soft skills
- Be as specific as possible. Mention the actual names of software or tools you’re able to use.
College freshman resume example
To help you put together the ideal resume as a college freshman, here’s a college freshman resume example to take inspiration from:
Hardworking History major with extensive writing and editing experience. Honor student and Editor-in-Chief of the college newspaper. Superb research, organizational, and communication skills.
TOWSON UNIVERSITY, TOWSON, MD
Bachelor of Arts in History (3.8/4.0 GPA)
Expected graduation date: May 2024
Relevant coursework: Political Power in American Cities; History of the United States Since the Civil War; Women in the 20th Century; Research Design
SAINT GABRIEL HIGH SCHOOL, BALTIMORE, MD
Class of 2020
National Honors Society Member
INFORMATION DESK ASSISTANT
MUSC Children’s Hospital / 2020 – Present
• Greet hospital patients and visitors and provide guidance in finding the proper patient room, clinic, and departments
• Process and distribute mail and newspapers to patient rooms
• Assist wheelchair-bound patients in reaching their desired destinations
One80 Place Homeless Shelter / 2018 – 2019
• Organized a successful schoolwide canned food drive that collected 400+ cans in one month (November 2016)
• Assisted in biweekly meal preparation and lunch service on Saturdays
• Processed incoming food donations and organized food pantry, developing new system of grouping items by expiration date to reduce monthly food waste by 15%
• Expert in Microsoft Office, with a focus on Excel
• Bilingual in Hindi and English
• Web and tech savvy, require little to no training