How do you demonstrate leadership skills on your resume if you lack work experience? Here are 3 areas that you shouldn’t overlook that will demonstrate your leadership skills and help your resume stand out.

1. Leadership

Leadership roles, whether in the classroom, at a part-time job, in clubs, sports, or organizations, show that you are trustworthy and disciplined.

Common areas for college students to demonstrate leadership:

  • Participation in student government
  • Founding a club or group
  • Office or chair of a club, group, fraternity/sorority
  • Captain of a sports team
  • Tutoring or teaching assistant
  • Volunteer or fundraising positions
  • Political campaign or organizing
  • Class project

The secret is showing that you are a well-rounded candidate, that you use your time in such a way as to develop skills and competencies that are enticing and marketable on the job market.

2. Responsibilities

Another opportunity to position yourself is through clearly stated responsibilities that you had in any role that you’ve spent time doing. This doesn’t mean you had to be running the place, but you should state what you are/were relied upon to make happen (and include numbers wherever possible).

Common areas for college students to show responsibilities:

  • Research assistant for a professor
    Example: Assisted Professor X in drafting of annual $2,500 grant proposal and assembling of final presentation for six-member department panel.
  • Volunteering in your community
    Example: Delivered 12 warm meal kits to community seniors two days per week during the semester.
  • Club membership
    Example: Co-chaired philanthropy committee’s annual 5K Fun Run for Charity, acquiring sponsors and personal donations to break 2018’s $10,000 goal.
  • Retail associate
    Example: Monitored sales floor and assisted customers with item selection and checkout.
  • Server
    Example: Facilitated diners in a section of four-six tables by timely addressing various needs during the course of the meal.
  • Babysitting
    Example: Supervised two infant children on Thursdays and Saturdays over course of the semester, keeping schedules and overseeing child welfare.
  • Private tutoring
    Example: Aided underclassmen students comprehend and apply advanced mathematics classwork on alternating weekends.
  • Campaign volunteer
    Example: Participated in Get Out The Vote weekend drive by visiting 42 homes over the last weekend of October.

3. Awards and Honors

Awards and honors aren’t just given away, they are earned. Similar to leadership traits, receiving an award or honor involves character and discipline. This demonstrates that you were recognized for your continuous, long-term efforts and hard work. Make sure you add your awards and honors to your resume.

Examples of awards and honors that college students receive:

  • Dean’s List
  • President’s List
  • Competitive scholarships
  • Academic major award
  • Honorary college, fraternity, society
  • Civic awards
  • Weekly/monthly/quarterly student or employee award

The important takeaway is that, even if you lack leadership experience, you can make your resume stand out by presenting yourself as a well-rounded, appealing candidate – beyond job experience alone.