April 19th, 2010
When you submit your resume as a part of your first job application, you need to make sure it contains more than just your educational background. While some white space can make a resume appear organized and professional, too much white space is just proof of your inexperience. But you don't have to include a long list of jobs to catch a recruiter's attention, there are many ways you can enhance your resume while you are in college.
Organizational involvement. It is important for you not to spend all of your time at school in study groups and coffee shops. Every once in a while, it helps to put your knowledge and effort into something else like student organizations. Get involved at school orbecome a member of an organization that is related to the career field you are interested in. For example, if you are a journalism major become a member of the your school's chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, or if you are a political science major become involved in student government. Not sure what kind of career you want to have? You can also look into joining academic organizations and student clubs based on your interests. Being involved in organizations will help you gain knowledge and hands on experience that could be relevant in the future.
Work Experience. While you obviously don't have the time to devote to a full-time position while you are a student, you may be able to squeeze in a part-time job or internship here and there. It is unlikely that an employer would want to hire someone who has never had a job before, and babysitting usually doesn't count. Previous work experience shows that you not only have a good work ethic, but that you are responsible enough to balance work and school. When it comes to resumes, internships can prove to be particularly valuable because they show that you have experience working in an area relevant to the type of career you are seeking.
Volunteer experience. If your schedule is so swamped that you don't have time to be involved in student organizations or work, you can still enhance your resume by volunteering when you do occasionally have some free time. You can gain real life experience and develop skills relevant to your major by volunteering in an area related to it. For example, if you are a psychology major, volunteering at a local women's shelter may help you develop a sensitivity that will benefit you when you decide on a career in counseling psychology.