Conquent: Without Limits
Conquent: Without Limits
Kristen Fife's Blog

Resume Tips for College Freshman and Sophomores

2009-04-28 11:40:00

Last night I gave a resume presentation for the University of Washington Mu chapter of Sigma Kappa (I'm an alumna from OH). I put together a pretty detailed document, but I was gearing it more toward graduating seniors and those looking for internships. A lot of questions came up about whether or not to put anything from High School on your resume. I answered some of the questions but I'm trying to rectify that lack in today's blog post.

The basic rule of thumb for writing any resume is that whatever you put on your resume should be 1) Recent within two-three years 2) Applicable to what you are looking at doing. "Relevant" is a very subjective term. If getting a job is your goal, you want to present yourself in the best light possible overall, obviously.

If you are a freshman or sophomore, the first thing to remember is that prospective employers are looking for work and applicable collegiate experience demonstrating leadership, teamwork, and initiative. You should first take an inventory of your *current* college experiences to see what you can pull from it. Do you have a part-time job? Have you done volunteer work during the school year? Are you a member of any clubs or sport teams, or receiving any honors (academic honors, like Dean's list or on any sort of scholarship). Have you worked on any projects like a class presentation that has given you skills such as public speaking, research, and perhaps using PowerPoint? These are the items you need to think of first. If you are a sophomore are you perhaps an RA?

Work or volunteer experience should come first after your education section. *Education is always first on a collegiate resume until after one full year out of college or a full time job in that time*. It is always in reverse chronologic order, meaning most current to oldest. If you are a freshman, I wouldn't recommend going back any further than your junior year in HS unless you had some exceptional experience your freshman or sophomore year, or you held the same job multiple years running (like a summer job). Sophomores shouldn't go back any further than their senior year, or again, to call attention to something exceptional (an example would be a foreign exchange student your Junior year.)

Freshman and sophomores may have a minimum of actual work experience from their collegiate years, and they may be satisfying basic requirements that aren't specialized toward their majors; or, alternatively, they may not even have chosen a major yet. In this case, high school may provide the best source of "experience" for them. In my own case, the summer after my senior year, I babysat
for a family. I was actually more of a nanny, and that was a valid job to put on my resume at the time.

Here is how I would write such an entry (I'm dating myself here!)

Summer Child Care/Nanny - Foote Family
June-August 1984
Westlake, OH
Responsible for full time weekday care of three children ages 15 months - 12 years old and assorted household chores. Duties included devising activities for the children, feeding them lunch, ensuring the toddler took assigned naps, keeping the household for two working parents (ie cleaning, laundry, dishes, etc.)

The main thing to remember is that your high school years should not overshadow your collegiate experience. You want prospective employers to see your potential and work ethic *now*, not two or three years ago.

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: Re: Resume Tips for College Freshman and Sophomores
2010-06-19 16:01:46

Jan Stover: Re: Resume Tips for College Freshman and Sophomores
2010-06-19 16:06:32

thought this would be helpful

Nicole: Re: Resume Tips for College Freshman and Sophomores
2011-01-20 16:01:04

but what about graduating seniors? especially in the sciences, i have little to put on a cv and only one relevant previous job, so what would you suggest for that?

Kristen Fife: Re: Resume Tips for College Freshman and Sophomores
2011-01-20 16:19:38

Hi Nicole,
I've actually written a several entries pertaining to graduating seniors. You can also check out my column in

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