Getting your degree online, whether in high school or college, offers a number of advantages that traditional students simply don’t get. You enjoy the flexibility of making your own schedule, you get to work at your own pace, and you also acquire and master a number of soft skills, like personal responsibility, self-discipline, and time management. However, you may feel like you’re at a disadvantage when it comes to securing a job after school due to your online education. The good news is that simply isn’t true, provided that you take the necessary steps to prepare yourself for life after school. Having a solid resume is important for anyone, but it is even more vital for online students since some employers may view virtual students a little differently than traditional students. Thankfully, you can create an incredible resume that stands out in the best ways, and you can use your online education to your advantage to prove how well-rounded you are, how much of an asset you’ll be to any company, and how qualified and prepared you are to take on a new career. Here are some top tips from industry experts on how to build a well-rounded resume as an online student.
Land an Internship
Whether you’re in high school or college, an internship is only going to benefit you. Not only will it teach you valuable skills related to a job or industry you hope to work in, but it will also give you some connections in certain fields that could help you get your foot in the door. Caleb Backe, Certified Life Coach and Business Consultant, says this about creating a well-rounded resume: “Finding an internship or volunteer position related to your field of study is always a plus. The key is to network as much as you can so that you have plenty of material for your resume.” Basically, the more you learn and the more you do while in school, the more you’ll have to brag about on your resume.
Get Volunteer Experience
If you can’t get an internship for some reason, get some volunteer experience. Find an organization that means a lot to you or one that relates to the field you hope to be in one day, and do anything they’ll allow you to do. Even if you can’t find something that’s related to your chosen industry, just showing a potential employee that you care about others and are willing to volunteer some of your time is going to benefit you. Being a volunteer will also help with networking and if you can make strides within a particular organization, that will help improve your resume as well.
Have a Job
Maybe an internship isn’t feasible and you simply don’t have enough time to volunteer. If that’s the case but you still want to build your resume, you can get a job. Ideally, the job would be something that is related to what you want to do after graduation, but that’s not an absolute requirement. Caleb Backe says, “Even if you opt to find a job that’s not related but pays the bills, the responsibilities and skills required can be reflected in an advantageous manner in your resume if you write them the right way.” All skills you acquire, no matter how simple or complex, can be translated into meaningful abilities that apply within various fields. Even a job at a fast food restaurant or a grocery store can teach you important skills like punctuality, personal responsibility, respect for authority, a good work ethic, and more.
Take on Extracurricular Activities
Most students tend to participate in extracurricular activities, and the key to creating a well-rounded resume is selecting the right ones. If you play a sport or are extremely passionate about a club or activity, getting involved in it during school is a great use of your time. If you can make it into a leadership role in any group, that’s even better. Business coach Stacy Caprio says students should “try to find actual outside activities to participate in so your resume includes more than simply sat in front of a computer to get a degree. It will be helpful to do volunteer activities, try to find some community leadership activities, and join outside speech clubs or other events you’re interested in. This will show you’re well-rounded and more than just someone who can learn in front of a computer.”
Do Your Research
When you’re applying for a specific position, or even if you’re preparing for an interview, you need to make sure you do your research. You may have a general resume that you use for all jobs you’re applying for, but you can tailor each resume to the specific company and job to make yourself stand out more. The more well-rounded and well-read you appear, the better off you’ll be. Do your research about what works on resumes and what doesn’t, and do your research on the company that you’re applying to work for. BP Greycastle of Name Colorology Group says, “The best way to build and stand out and succeed in a resume or interview is by knowing [about] the person … that will be interviewing you or reading your resume.”
Consult Resume Experts
If you’ve done all the legwork of being well-rounded but you need a little assistance in putting together the perfect resume, you may consider hiring experts to help you. Various companies and individuals will craft an incredible resume for you or will look over what you’ve already done and help you make improvements. A large part of building a well-rounded resume is not only having the experiences but also having the right words to make yourself come across the way you desire. Alexandra Nima from The Sophisticated Geek says that career hacking courses “help anyone, in any situation, to structure and present their skills and past work experience in a way that makes any recruiter pay attention.”