First Year Student Resume Examples & Writing Guide

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First-Year Student Resume Examples & Writing Guide

Diving into the professional world as a first-year student can be daunting, but a well-crafted resume is your first step toward success. This dedicated guide aims to define the crucial components of a student's resume and walk you through highlighting the skills and experiences that matter most.

We'll explore how to effectively showcase your budding talents, academic excellence, and any extracurricular involvement. Accompanied by sample texts, this guide will be your roadmap to creating a resume that opens doors to new opportunities.

Understanding the Role of a Resume for First-Year Students

The purpose of a first-year student's resume is to showcase their academic achievements, extracurricular activities, skills, and any relevant experiences they have acquired so far. 

It serves as a platform to demonstrate their potential, work ethic, and eagerness to learn, even with limited work experience. These resumes are tailored to highlight qualities and experiences that can make them suitable candidates for internship opportunities, volunteer positions, or entry-level roles, paving the way for your professional journey.

Key Skills to Highlight on Your Resume

  • Strong academic performance
  • Time management and organization
  • Basic technical skills (e.g., Microsoft Office, Google Suite)
  • Communication and interpersonal skills
  • Critical thinking and problem-solving abilities
  • Adaptability and eagerness to learn
  • Teamwork and collaboration
  • Leadership potential (from school clubs, sports, etc.)
  • Community involvement and volunteer work
  • Creative or artistic abilities (if applicable)

How to Write a Resume as a First-Year Student

Here are the steps to writing a first-year student resume:

  • Include your contact details
  • Craft a concise resume summary and/or objective statement 
  • Put academic qualifications in the education section
  • List any relevant coursework
  • Mention any work experience or internships
  • Highlight extracurricular activities, volunteer work, or side projects
  • Make a list of core skills and competencies in the skills section 

As a first-year student, your resume should be concise, clear, and focused on your strengths and potential. Aim to fit your resume on a single page.

1. Choosing the Right Resume Format

There are three main professional resume formats that a first-year student can choose from:

  1. Chronological: These list work and education in reverse chronological order. They highlight career and educational progression. 
  2. Functional: These are ordered by area of expertise to showcase skills that are relevant to the role.
  3. Combination: Combines elements from both functional and chronological resumes, creating a balanced focus on skills and work history.

Typically, first-year students have little to no work experience. 

Therefore, the combination or functional resume format is often best for first-year students, as it emphasizes skills and academic achievements over work experience. This format allows you to present yourself in a way that aligns with your career aspirations and current strengths.

2. Presenting Your Contact Information

The contact details section of a resume should include:

  • Full Name
  • Phone Number and Email Address
  • LinkedIn Profile (optional)
  • Portfolio Website URL (for relevant professions)
  • City and State (full address is not necessary)

This information ensures potential employers can easily reach out to you. Ensure the section is up-to-date and professional, especially your email address and LinkedIn profile. You may also want to double-check your social media accounts since reviewing these may be a part of the company’s hiring process.

3. Crafting a Professional Summary

The goal of the summary section in a resume is to provide a brief overview of your strengths and professional goals. A compelling introduction sets the tone for the rest of your resume.

The key here is to think about what you want to achieve, the skills you can offer potential employers, and how to showcase relevant experiences. 

Consider including the following:

  • The type of role you’re looking for
  • Your career aspirations
  • Key skills, experiences, and achievements
  • Extracurricular activities that align with the desired role

You can then write a two or three-sentence summary that highlights these key points. Be sure to tailor the summary so it’s relevant for each application.

Sample Summary: "Dedicated first-year student majoring in Business Administration with strong analytical skills and a passion for finance. Active member of the university's Economics Club and volunteer tax assistant."

This summary is effective as it highlights academic experience, relevant skills, and extracurricular involvement, presenting a well-rounded picture of the candidate's interests and potential in their field of study.

Not sure where to start? Use Rezi AI Resume Summary Generator for help writing a professional summary. Simply add the job position and list of skills you want to highlight, and our tool will automatically craft a tailored summary based on these two factors. 

4. Highlight Your Education

The education section of a resume provides crucial information about your academic background, which is especially significant for a freshman in college who may not have extensive work experience. This section demonstrates your commitment to learning and any relevant knowledge or skills gained through education.

For a first-year student, include:

  • Name of the institution
  • Degree program and major (if declared)
  • Expected graduation date
  • Relevant coursework (if applicable)
  • Academic achievements (e.g., scholarships, honors)
  • Extracurricular activities or clubs related to your field of choice

Sample Text:

Bachelor of Science in Computer Science (Expected Graduation: May 2026). University of XYZ

  • Relevant Coursework: Introduction to Programming, Data Structures, Computer Systems
  • Achievements: Dean's List Fall 2023, XYZ Coding Challenge Winner
  • Activities: Member of the Computer Science Club, Volunteer Tutor in Coding for Community Program

This example effectively details the student's academic pursuits, relevant courses, achievements, and extracurricular involvement, providing a comprehensive view of their educational background and interests.

5. Showcasing Extracurricular and Volunteer Activities

Involvement in extracurricular and volunteer activities is particularly significant for first-year students. These experiences showcase your ability to balance academics with other interests and responsibilities, demonstrating key soft skills that are valuable in any professional setting.

Here are some essential skills to highlight:

  • Leadership and Teamwork: Holding a position in a student organization, sports team, or club can highlight your leadership qualities and teamwork skills. These experiences show your ability to collaborate with others and potentially lead initiatives or projects.
  • Community Engagement: Volunteering experience reflects a sense of community and social responsibility. They illustrate your willingness to contribute and engage in activities beyond your personal and academic obligations.
  • Diverse Interests and Skills: Participation in a range of activities can also showcase your diverse interests and talents, whether in the arts, sports, or other areas. This diversity can make your resume stand out and present you as a well-rounded candidate.

Example: “Volunteer at Local Food Bank, 2022-Present. Coordinate food collection drives and manage distribution to families in need. Member of University Debate Team, honing public speaking and critical thinking skills.”

6. Mention Work Experience and Internships

The goal of the work experience and internships section of a resume is to showcase practical experience and demonstrate how your past roles or internships have developed your skills and work ethic. 

First-year students will typically not have much to include in this section. If relevant, consider mentioning the following points:

  • Highlight any part-time roles, campus jobs, volunteer work, or internships.
  • Emphasize transferable skills gained, such as teamwork, communication, or time management.
  • Detail specific achievements or contributions in these roles.

When writing this section, structure your sentences in a way that shows your achievements by focusing on outcomes. You can do this by including the specific results you achieved and starting your sentences with action verbs.

As an intern or entry-level employee, you may not have had the opportunity to lead projects. But you can still highlight the impact of projects you helped on. The below example shows how this works in practice.


Intern at ABC Marketing, Summer 2023. 

  • Assisted in social media campaigns that increased follower engagement by 20%.
  • Coordinated client meetings, improving team efficiency.

The above example is effective because it showcases relevant skills gained in a real-world setting and quantifies the impact made, demonstrating the student's ability to contribute meaningfully in a professional environment.

Try out Rezi AI Resume Builder if you’re unsure about how to write powerful sentences that describe your work experience. Simply mention the job title you’re writing about and our AI Resume Writer will generate bullet points for you. 

Or if you already have resume sentences but are not sure how to improve them, use our AI Resume Editor. This can rewrite your resume sentences and offer suggestions based on the best practices so you know exactly how to best showcase your experience. 

7. Demonstrating Skills and Certifications

Highlighting skills and relevant certifications is crucial, especially for first-year students with limited experience. This section can compensate by showing your technical abilities and other competencies pertinent to the workplace.

This could include:

  • Proficiency in computer software (e.g., Microsoft Office, Adobe Suite).
  • Foreign language skills.
  • Leadership abilities demonstrated in extracurricular activities.
  • Problem-solving and critical thinking skills.
  • Time management and organizational skills.

This section helps to round out your profile, showcasing a diverse set of skills relevant to various roles, even if you have no work experience.

8. Consider Additional Sections

Freshman college students often have experiences that don’t fit directly into a standard resume structure. With this in mind, consider adding extra resume sections to highlight experiences that prospective employers may find valuable. 

This could include:

  • Awards or honors that you achieved outside work or school
  • Published articles or research
  • Community service or volunteer work
  • High-level athletic achievements
  • Businesses, side hustles, or personal projects that you run while at school
  • Non-college related certifications  

The key here is to think about anything that will appeal to potential employers and ensure that you mention it in your resume. It is these experiences that can help you stand out when compared to other students with similar resumes. 

Having said that, there are still some restrictions. 

Hobbies and interests, for example, are most effective when they’re extremely relevant to the role. Besides that, rather than simply listing these, we’d suggest describing personal projects instead that reflect your passions and interests. Showing is more powerful than telling. 

Final Tips for Your College Freshman Resume

Emphasize Soft Skills

For first-year students with limited professional experience, emphasizing soft skills like teamwork, communication, and adaptability is vital. These skills are transferable across various roles and industries. Highlighting them can demonstrate your potential to employers, showing that you have the foundational qualities necessary for workplace success.

Include Relevant Extracurriculars

Participation in extracurricular activities can significantly enhance your resume. These additional activities show initiative, passion, and the ability to balance multiple responsibilities. Whether it's a club, sport, or volunteer work, these experiences can illustrate valuable skills and a commitment to personal growth.

Keep It Neat and Professional

A well-structured, error-free resume creates a strong first impression. Use a clean layout, consistent formatting, and professional font like Arial or Times New Roman. Proofread meticulously to avoid grammatical errors or typos. This attention to detail reflects your professionalism and seriousness about your career aspirations, even at an early stage.

Don’t add references

References are an essential part of getting hired. But you shouldn’t add them to your resume even if they are especially impressive. Employers will usually ask for your references when they want to see them, which typically happens at some point after getting past the first stage of the hiring process. 

Optimize your resume for ATS keywords

Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) use keywords to filter and rank resumes based on their alignment with job requirements. Adding relevant keywords to your resume will help you pass these initial screenings and reach potential employers.

The problem is knowing which keywords to include in your resume. But the Rezi Resume Keyword Scanner can help by analyzing your job description to identify relevant keywords and then highlighting which ones are missing from your resume.

First-Year Student Resume Template Example

Here’s a complete example resume you can use as inspiration for your own. The resume was created and optimized using Rezi. Click here to create a free account and build your resume today. 

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Rezi is an awesome AI-based resume builder that includes templates to help you design a resume that is sure to check the boxes when it comes to applicant tracking systems. This is a great jumping off point to kickstart a new resume.

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