As a student leader you have gained many transferable skills that employers seek. One of the biggest mistakes’ students make is that they actually deemphasize their leadership experience and what they have done on campus on their resumes.
Many students unintentionally hide their leadership experience under other sections. Do not make this mistake! Follow the steps below to highlight your skills and emphasize all that you have gained through your leadership roles on campus.
How We Can Help
Bearcats – From the beginning of your college experience, through graduation SALD is here to help you find your community and build skills to secure a job! We offer various opportunities to help you grow--
- Strengths Finder Assessment
- Values Inventory Presentation
- Student Leadership Week
- Student Impact Symposium
- Professional Headshots
- Co-Curricular Transcript
Check out our four steps on how to setup your resume for success and highlight your student engagement.
Begin the brainstorming process, write down a list of responsibilities and duties for each of your involvements. It may be helpful for you to refer to a copy of your position description. In addition to your responsibilities, consider the following:
- What has been your major accomplishment in your student leader position?
- What are you most proud of?
- What is your typical role at meetings or other organized events?
- What programs or events have you planned and implemented during your time as a student leader?
Examples of Transferable Skills: oral & written communication teamwork ● flexibility critical thinking ● discipline interpersonal skills ● dedication creativity ● self-motivation accountability ● detail-oriented public speaking ● leadership organization ● customer service mentoring ● time management
Think about formatting The skills you have gained through your leadership roles are valuable for employers. Do not let this information get lost on your resume! Keep in mind that the top third of your resume is your “sales” section. You should market your strongest and most relevant experiences here. Your resume should have the most important information towards the top. Order your categories accordingly. There is not one right way to format a resume. Experiment with various layouts and section headings until you find one the format works for you.
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Identify Transferable Skills...
Use the information you collected in step 1 to determine your transferable skills. Begin by listing the responsibilities, duties, and accomplishments you identified. Then determine the transferable skill(s) that you have gained as a result of your experience. Responsibility/Duty/Accomplishment Transferable Skill(s)--
- E.g. Provided Campus tours for prospective students and families.
- Transferable skills: Public Speaking, Customer Service, Interpersonal Skills
- E.g. Coordinate with a team of 8 Resident Advisor staff members to plan and implement weekly residence hall programs.
- Transferable skills: Teamwork, Organization, Leadership
Write Your Resume
You may not have the space to include everything on your resume. How do you decide what to include? Compare your transferable skills list from Step 2 with the list of requirements for the position you are applying for. On your resume, make sure you include the responsibilities and transferable skills that are most relevant to the position you are applying for. If you are applying for different types of positions you may find that you need to develop multiple resumes to address the requirements for each position. Rewrite your responsibilities, duties, and accomplishments using action-oriented verbs and incorporating your transferable skills. Quantify information and provide results when applicable.
Examples: Gained valuable public speaking and customer service skills by providing campus tours for groups of approximately 25 prospective students and families. Utilized teamwork and organizational skills to coordinate with a team of 8 resident advisors to plan and implement weekly residence hall programs.
Exception to the Verb Tense Rule: When describing your responsibilities and transferable skills from current positions, you should use the present tense. However, if you are describing an accomplishment at a current position, it may be appropriate to use the past tense if the accomplishment is complete. For an example of this exception, refer to the Alpha Phi Omega Service Fraternity bulleted description on the Sample 1 Resume found on the back of this page.
Think about formatting
The skills you have gained through your leadership roles are valuable for employers. Do not let this information get lost on your resume! Keep in mind that the top third of your resume is your “sales” section. You should market your strongest and most relevant experiences here. Your resume should have the most important information towards the top. Order your categories accordingly. There is not one right way to format a resume. Experiment with various layouts and section headings until you find one the format works for you.
As employers and graduate schools are looking for new ways to get to know candidates virtually, your online “brand” is going to take on even more significance. You need to consider ways to stand out that are beyond what you may have done when “in-person” connections were more the norm.
Manage your online presence: What you tweet or post publicly is part of your professional image, whether or not you intend it to be. Be mindful of your privacy settings and/or consider the audiences that can see your posts before you publish. Bottomline, make sure your content is suitable for future recruiters to review.
Update on LinkedIn. If you currently consider your LinkedIn profile to have “the basics” now is the time to develop an effective profile and get active. Recruiters want to see what you have been involved with, what matters to you, who you follow, and what you are interested in. Watch this Learning LinkedIn Video for Students to uncover everything you need to know from creating a profile to growing your network, to following influencers, and sharing content. (LinkedIn account linked to your umich email is required).
Get active on social media. It may be time to move from a strictly social network to career-related networks. Leverage social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook to highlight and build upon your industry expertise. Incorporate your professional brand into your bio by using hashtags related to your interest areas, following leaders in your field, and retweeting top industry stories. This serves the dual purpose of also keeping up with trends in fields that interest you!
Create a blog and/or website. Remember, employers are looking, online, for additional ways to learn about applicants since they are unable to meet you in person. Blogs or websites are a great way to showcase your personality, skills, interests, and other important qualities. Find out why this matters to recruiters and check out the following (free!) tools for creating sites: Wix, Squarespace, or Wordpress.
Maintain your profiles: As you gain more experience, education, and skills, your profiles should change! Revisit your Handshake, LinkedIn, and social media profiles, and update, update, update!
Credit: University of Michigan
Need more support? Visit The Bearcat Promise Career Studio is a place where all UC students can participate in career exploration, planning and development. Whether you’re writing your first resume or interviewing for your first job, they are there to help.