Home » College Students » Job Search Advice » An easy formula for a great college resume

An easy formula for a great college resume

The Resume: a company’s first look into who you are and what you can offer.  Studies show that recruiters view an average resume for just 6 seconds – precious little time to grab their attention and direct it towards the most relevant pieces of your professional life.  No pressure, though.


Resumes can be tricky to format, and many people have made careers off of helping students and professionals fix their resumes.  Here at TransparentCareer, we’ve compiled some free tips and formatting advice so you don’t have to shell out money for a career advisor.  


General tips and guidelines:

  • Font: Times New Roman is the traditional font for professional writing, though there are other options available such as Arial or Georgia if you want to use a different font. (we personally love Verdana)


  • Education: For most resumes it is recommended you put experience before education.  However if you are still in college or a recent graduate, it’s better to mention your education first.


  • High School: A lot of people have experiences/awards from high school they’d like to put on their resume.  This is completely fine if high school is your highest level of education, or if you’re still in college, but upon college graduation it’s better to keep high school off the list.


  • Length: Unless you’re at the mid-career level with 15+ years of experience, it isn’t necessary to go beyond one page.  If you’re struggling to keep your resume to one page, try to include only the experiences most relevant to the job for which you’re specifically applying.  


  • Hobbies: Hobbies are a great way to stand out, but try to keep them relevant to the career.  You might think your stamp collection is great, but chances are the investment bank you’re applying to doesn’t.  A counterpoint to this: Google recruiters are famous for evaluating “Googleyness”: basically, their term for personal information that’s weird, quirky, and fun.


  • References: Many people include “References available upon request” at the end of their resume, but this is assumed nowadays, and wastes precious space.  Either submit references immediately if requested by the employer, or wait until asked.  


  • Honesty:  This may come off as a given, but don’t lie on your resume.  People get caught 56% of the time, and it will completely obliterate your chances of getting hired.


  • Be chronological:  Employers like knowing timeframes for your work experience.  This also applies to your references – the more recent the reference has had professional experience with you, the more valuable they are as references.  


Here is a sample resume for a recent undergraduate looking to apply for a starting financial analyst position.  

Jane Smith

123 Fake Road, Fakeville, State, Zip Email: [email protected] Phone: (123)-456-7890


Finance Associate

2 Years of Financial Modelling Experience –  President of University Investment Club – Treasurer of University Real Estate Club



Bachelor of Science in Business Administration – Fake University, Scranton, Pennsylvania – 2017


3.7 GPA – Dean’s List – 2013-2017  

Member of Investment Club 2013-2017 – President 2016-2017 School Year

Member of Real Estate Club – Treasurer 2015-2016 School Year


Professional Experience

XYZ Trading Firm – New York, New York

  • Based out of Hong Kong, XYZ specializes in trading raw materials and is moving into the American marketplace with New York office.
  • Summer 2016 internship focused on finding opportunities in the market and creating presentations and financial models to illustrate my findings.
  • Developed a model to predict coal prices in the rust belt based on the time of year and other demand functions.
  • The firm actively trades on the model I developed.

ABC Commercial Bank – Scranton, Pennsylvania

  • Local bank specializing in loans and financial planning for clients.
  • Summer 2015 internship focused on improving and maintaining client relations.
  • Worked with clients to discuss their financial goals and how to properly manage their money.
  • Assisted bankers in preparing presentations for clients and managing their portfolios.


Other Skills and Interests

Experience with Microsoft Office Products – Proficiency with Stata, Data Analysis Software




Contact Information

After providing basic contact information, the next section should indicate the position to which you’re applying, followed by 3 experiences/skills you have related to that position.  This gives the reader a quick reference point to your skills and how they translate to the job.



Since this is an application for a recent college graduate, education was placed before experience.  GPA is included, but matters less as you progress after graduation.  College graduates obviously don’t have as much professional experience as those that have been in the workforce for a few years, so providing your education and a few key highlights from your college experience provides a quick glance to your ability to perform the job.



Professional experience should follow your college section, and should outline experiences relevant to the position.  Even if your most recent job was waiting tables at a restaurant, it’s better to mention pertinent finance experience, using the above resume as an example.  Provide a quick summary of the company and what they do, and then explain your day to day tasks and highlight any noteworthy experiences from the position.  If you were awarded “Best Summer Intern 2016” or received other types of recognition, this is the place to mention it.  



This section is up to you – do you want to list your hobbies, awards, interests, professional certifications, or a combination of all the above? The other skills and interests section was left somewhat blank in the sample resume, but only contained information that may be relevant to the position.  If you were applying to work retail at a music shop, it’s perfectly fine to mention your years of guitar experience.  Not all hobbies are related to your career, but if you’re certified in any other skills this is a great place to mention them.  If you’re applying to work at a daycare center and are certified to perform CPR, this is the place to put it.  


Looking for help writing a cover letter?  Check out our article on cover letters


Do you have your own resume tips?  Comments? Questions?  Reach out.


Another great way to improve your chances of nailing a great job is to have the right info to back you up.  TransparentCareer offers free data on compensation, career paths, and salary negotiation, all for free.  Sign up here.