Comparing a High School vs. College Resume

A resume is a forever-evolving document that tells your story. It’s an important way to tell a potential employer about you and what you bring to the table. It outlines your unique skills, past accomplishments, and experiences, as well as the characteristics that make you stand out. In simple terms, a resume is a way of selling yourself to your future employer.

For the majority of your life, your resume will be used to sell yourself to your future employer, but many colleges nowadays are asking for a resume when applying. A resume for a college application looks completely different from what a college resume should look like. Here we will discuss the differences between a high school and college resume and what you need to include in both.

A High School Resume

Having a resume to go along with your college application is a big advantage and almost expected. It allows you to present aspects of you, your activities, and your life that don’t always fit into a college application. In a resume for a college application, the main objective is to sell yourself to the school and emphasize how you would be a great addition to their campus. It should outline all of the important aspects of your life, including your academic achievements, social groups and activities, and community service.

For the academic component of your resume, you need to include your transcript, your GPA, your class rank, your course load, and any awards you received from the school. This section is important because it shows your ability to handle the course load at the high school level, and if you could be successful at the college you are applying to.

In the social and activity part of your resume, you need to list your activities outside of school. This could be sports you played, plays you participated in, or any other clubs that you did after or before school. In this section, you are trying to demonstrate that you would be an actively involved student on campus.

In the community service section you need to list all the volunteer hours you participated in, or any clubs you participated in that did community service. This is an essential piece of your resume because it shows the college that you would not only be an active member on campus, but you would be an active member in the community outside of your campus as well.

Similar to a job resume, all of these components are trying to show the college that you would be a perfect fit. What are the colleges you are interested in looking for? Beginning as early as freshman year you should do the research on schools that you like. Start goal setting for yourself in order to meet the college's requirements. For example, if your dream school has a GPA requirement of 3.5, print out that number and post it on your wall as motivation when you're doing your school work. Your resume for college needs to demonstrate why you are a person that this college wants to have on their campus.


A College Resume

A college resume is the resume you write to sell your skills to your future employer. This is the resume that will be forever-evolving. During college, most of your resume will include the internships you’ve worked in and the skills and experience developed in these internships. To do this, it’s really beneficial to figure out what you want to do early on. Thinking about your career path might seem scary, but we here at Pathmatch are focused on career exploration for students, so we use AI to match our clients to in-demand, recession proof careers based on 100+ variables that define career fulfillment and success. Learn more about how it works.

Companies are looking for a certain skill set when looking for employees, and it's important that you know what you want to do early on, so you can start developing those skills as you go through college. You also need to align your credentials with the job that you want. For example, Google receives two million resumes a year, and they hire only a few thousand people a year. Google wants their employees to be leaders, and the candidates they employ have to show a consistent past of leadership throughout their college careers. This does not mean that you have to be president of your class every year, but it does mean you should take on a leadership role in some of the group projects or clubs you participate in. It’s essential for your resume to show why you and your abilities are the perfect candidate and fit for the job.

The resume you write for college admission includes an entire list of your activities outside of school; however, in a resume for a job or internship you need to be more focused on the career path you want to pursue. The employer isn’t likely to care about your part-time summer jobs, such as lifeguarding, babysitter, waiter/waitress, barista, etc, but if you worked as an intern for a company in a related field, they would be interested and it would make you stand out best.

How Can PathMatch Help?

PathMatch has helped thousands of students and grads improve their resumes to get through Applicant Tracking Systems and in front of Recruiters and Hiring Managers. Our Resume Optimization Playbook, a tell-all guide created by a former recruiter, was designed to help students get their resumes past the filter, with insights and guidance that help our clients' chances of landing a job go up 76%. This guide is included free in all our available plans.

Want all these resume tips to fit in your pocket for on-the-go resources? Download our PathMatch app today!