I started searching for opportunities to build my resume
without internships or joining a million on-campus
organizations when I decided I wanted to work in the fashion industry. I felt at a complete disadvantage competing for internships against students who study in New York City or Los Angeles and have access to unlimited fashion opportunities at their fingertips.
I’ve since learned that there are ways to set myself apart and bulk up my resume that aren’t always taught in resume workshops. These are simple things that any student can do, no matter their major or chosen field, to showcase their best selves on their resume and differentiate themselves in the eyes of employers.
1. Explore online certifications.
Plenty of websites offer free certification programs that can teach you valuable skills and add an extra touch of credibility to your resume. CodeAcademy offers free coding and programming courses, you can earn a “Bachelor of WordPress” on the popular web design site, or become certified in Google Analytics, Google Digital Garage, and Google Adwords. For social media marketing expertise, Hubspot Academy’s Inbound Certification trains you in search engine optimization, email marketing, and other social media skills. For those seeking creative positions, you can become certified in the Adobe Creative Commons suite.
2. Use classroom skills to your advantage.
How did you write your last paper? In-depth research skills. What earned you an A on your last presentation? Excellent public speaking skills. What got you through that horrible group project? Your ability to collaborate and lead effectively. What did that mandatory art gen ed teach you? Photoshop and Illustrator.
Classroom experience can be just as valuable as work experience! Review all the courses you have taken so far and what they taught you. You should leave every semester with a toolkit of newly learned skills that you can translate onto your resume.
3. Create your own opportunities.
Everyone has a unique voice and perspective that they can share through a blog or social media account. By creating a personal blog, you can showcase any graphic design or website building skills you have, your writing style, and what you’re passionate about all while building a concrete portfolio that you can share with future employers.
Be yourself, post about the things that interest you, and make sure to keep your identity consistent. Who cares if the only person to read it is your mom? It’s the perfect way to establish a personalized digital identity and show what you’re good at.
Additionally, if your blog or profile generates enough engagement, brands may start to reach out for sponsored posts, partnerships, and ambassador positions. This is an excellent way to build your credibility and personal brand.
4. Highlight soft skills.
I used to think that soft skills were pointless filler words. However, after learning resume strategies, I found that they deserve to be taken seriously. Soft skills are personality traits, attitudes, and habits that can determine your fit with company culture and indicate your potential just as effectively as hard skills.
According to Indeed.com, some of the most sought-after soft skills include adaptability, work ethic, problem solving, leadership, teamwork, and dependability. Make sure if you’re including these words on your resume, you have concrete examples of when you exemplified these traits in case you’re asked in an interview.
Tori Reginelli is a second-year student from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She is a strategic communications major with a minor in fashion and retail studies. She is an account executive for The PRactice and the social media director for her sorority, Alpha Phi. She hopes to one day work in fashion PR and marketing.