As part of the application process, students should carefully polish their resumes. This is what human resource managers and recruiters at companies are most interested in, whether they are applying for a vacation job or a training position. Since students still have little work experience, they need to put different emphases. Hobbies, interests and additional knowledge automatically gain importance. But they only light up in the resume if the formalities are in order.
Student resume: that’s why it’s so important
A student resume is not fundamentally different from any other applicant’s resume. As a student, you should keep in mind that personnel managers in the company usually don’t take much time to apply for a job. They simply have too little of it. A human resources manager will probably not take more than two to five minutes to go through your documents.
That’s why clarity is so important. The tabular resume offers just that: it’s clear, concise and structured. Unless, of course, you haven’t bothered to write it down…
An alternative to the tabular CV is the detailed CV in continuous text or a handwritten CV. Both are permissible, but these days they are almost rare. Choose one of these two forms only if the company specifically requests it.
The student’s resume: who it belongs to
Students usually lack one thing: work experience. Your professional life hasn’t even started yet, so your resume may not be that big. But that doesn’t mean you have to hand in a half-empty piece of paper when you apply.
If work experience is lacking, personal interests and strengths, for example, can come through. A student’s resume consists of these elements:
The application photo is incredibly important – perhaps even more important for students than for other applicants. Because whether young people are motivated or apathetic, awake or out of their minds, you can sometimes see it from the tip of your nose – or at least you think you can tell.
And if the experience is lacking, all other aspects of the application gain in importance – and with them the visual aspect. So it’s fair to say that appearance plays a bigger role with younger applicants than with older ones. You don’t have to endorse this idea, but you shouldn’t ignore it completely either. Therefore, attach great importance to your application photo, clothing and hairstyle. Open your mouth slightly and smile – it will make you look more likeable in the photo.
Let’s say the employer wants to invite you to an interview and then realizes that he or she can’t find any contact information for you in the documents. This is bad. Also because it makes a messy, chaotic impression. And your employer doesn’t want to hire a chaotic person. Therefore, don’t forget current (!) contact information in your application. Place it in the header or in the middle of the field – depending on how much space you have. Remember: your CV should be clearly organized. Don’t compress everything, but guide the reader through the page. It is important to choose a serious email address. Preferably one that includes your name. For example, like this: prénom.email@example.com. If you don’t have the address yet, register it. In any case, it is important to refrain from using funny or salacious email addresses like firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
In addition to contact information and your full name, your place of birth, nationality, religion and marital status are also interesting. Why? For example, if you are approaching a business in your birthplace, this can be an argument in your favor. You know the area and know what makes its people tick. If you apply on the other side of Germany, this could be just as advantageous because it signals mobility. You are willing to move for your dream job – a positive point.
As far as nationality is concerned, if you have an EU nationality, there is certainly no problem with a work permit for your employer. For other foreign passports, this is not always so certain. The name in turn can be very important for some employers. For example, if you are applying to a religious institution, you must not misappropriate it under any circumstances. However, the name is no longer a mandatory part of the application – neither is the marital status. You can safely omit it, especially since most people just starting out in their careers are probably still single anyway. List all the schools you have visited so far or are currently attending. High school, middle school, high school, college, elementary school. In the left column you can see the time period, in the right column the name and location of the school.
Internships are worth their weight in gold, especially for students. No employer likes to hire someone for whom the working world is still unknown territory. Therefore, please include in your resume all internships you have done, regardless of the employer, the industry and the time period. This also includes one-week trial internships. If you have internship certificates, please attach copies. Never send originals! Completed internships signal to an employer that the applicant has already committed himself to his youth and was not on the wrong track. However, there are of course also scenarios in which you can or should discreetly hide an internship. For example, if (for whatever reason) you received a miserable internship certificate. Or if you interned at a questionable company that was involved in criminal activity. But these should be absolute exceptions.
Interests and knowledge. Computer skills are also relevant today, in almost every job. If you have been interested in computers since you were young, please mention this in your application. For example: SEO know-how, familiarity with Microsoft Office, social media savvy, basic knowledge of Python and Java or or or…
Hobbies should not be missing from your resume either. They allow you to draw conclusions about a candidate’s personality. For example, team sports are synonymous with teamwork and cooperation, reading for curiosity, meeting friends for a strong social dimension. It’s best to stick to the truth. But avoid using phrases like: hanging out with friends or getting drunk. It sounds – well – slightly anti-social.
The wording is also important. Example: it’s best not to write computer games as a hobby. Rather: simulations and strategy games (even if you prefer to play first-person shooters). The truth is already a bit flexible…
Finally, you can also indicate your favorite subjects. But only do so if they are job-related. For example, math is great for a business apprenticeship, and a foreign language correspondent is well suited to English, French, Spanish, and/or German. If you want to become a physical trainer, you must have been an enthusiastic school athlete.
The student’s resume: how it is structured
As a general rule, you can remember The tabular resume should not exceed two pages. Students should even manage quite easily with a single A4 page. Use a two-column table with no visible rows and simply give the title of the document with the CV. In the right-hand column you indicate the content: Contact information, personal data, educational background, internships, language skills, special abilities, interests and hobbies. In the left-hand column, you enter the time period for the respective station. Simply enter the month and year of the start and end of the activity.
Arrange the stations in reverse chronological order. This means that they start with the last station and end with the first. This applies to both schools attended and internships. So you start with your current school (for example, comprehensive school) and work your way up to your elementary school. Since you don’t have as many stations behind you as a student, you can also proceed in chronological order. It is ultimately up to you and your preferences. The important thing is that it is clear! At the end of the tabular CV, add the location, date and your signature. Please sign by hand! By doing so, you guarantee that the CV is really yours and that all information is correct. If you are applying online, scan the signature and add it to your resume.
Student CV: what format should it have?
The resume should be clearly structured – but also uniform. So use only one font and not too many different font sizes. Use a size between 10 and 12 for text segments. Subheadings can be slightly larger and highlighted in bold. You can place the resume section in an even larger typeface. This means that, overall, there should be no more than three font sizes at the end. And dispense with playful, ornate fonts. It may be tempting to experiment with them a bit – especially if you have a creative bent – but readability suffers. It’s best to choose a simple font like Arial or Helvetica, or serif fonts like Times or Georgia. Once you’ve chosen a font, stick with it. This means that you write your entire application in one font: resume, cover letter, cover page. Please do not switch!
Student resumes: how to get them out there
This is not only important for model students: always have your documents proofread at the end – by your parents, for example. Even the best German students are prone to spelling mistakes and other errors.
The best way to do this is to combine this with self-checking – by checking your texts on the computer with a correction program. Four eyes (plus computer algorithms) see more than two.
It’s not just about hard grammar. Finally, check that you have written all proper nouns correctly. If you address your company contact as Mrs. Meyer instead of Mrs. Maier, that doesn’t exactly mean you’ve been careful and accurate – a big negative!
The big picture needs to be right. It also needs to be consistent in type, font and size. Is everything clearly structured? Have you forgotten something? Are the documents in the right order? The right format? If all is well, click on “Send” – and hope for the best.