Your first full-time job sets the tone for your career development. According to the study, 87% of students whose first job matched their potential had a decent job five years after. So, your first job resume should present your potential and your knowledge in full. Moreover, it has to be compelling enough to persuade the hiring manager to consider your candidacy furhter. But the problem is, how do you write a resume for your first job if you have no experience? In today's article, experienced resume writers and career consultants will share tips for writing your first resume.
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Employers in all industries always expect a resume. Even if you've learned about the opportunity in LinkedIn or other social media, or from your sister's friend, an employer will ask you to submit a resume anyway to start the hiring process. And even if you didn't have any full-time job, there's still a way to make your first job resume informative and catchy. Here's how.
If you've never written a resume before, look up for samples online to get the idea of the structure and formatting. Below, you will find some examples as well. A first job resume should contain the following sections.
Use a cell phone number rather than a landline and write a professional email address. 35% of employers reject resumes with an unprofessional email (such as Miss_sweet@gmail.com). Use an email that consists of your first and second name. Write an address as well - some employers reject people applying for a job who live far away. If you're looking to relocate, use a local address.
If you have completed a LinkedIn profile, attach the link to it. Similarly, if you have a portfolio, an employer might be interested in taking a look. This is particularly important for designers, copywriters, translators and other professionals who can provide visible results of their work.
Although this section is optional, our resume consultants highly recommend adding it. Yet, avoid generic self-descriptions like "I am a team player with good communication skills who likes learning new things". Focus on what you'd like to achieve if hired and what exactly you can offer the employer. Indicate the information that can set you apart from others.
This may be winning a student contest or a national award, contributing to a volunteering project, or graduating Cum Laude. Being an editor of the college newspaper or starting a club will also impress them. Employers like people who are proactive, show leadership traits and are willing to learn new things.
List 10-15 hard skills and soft ones relevant to the job. For example, if you apply for Virtual Assistant position, you might want to list such skills: Google Suite, MS Office, document writing & editing, multitasking, phone etiquette, office management, bookkeeping, etc. Skills inform the recruiter about your qualifications instantly. Moreover, they help you pass the applicant tracking software. These are programs that companies use to select relevant applications, and if your resume has many keywords, you will surely pass.
Education is your main asset. Here are the key rules to make this section look impressive:
• List your college or university degrees starting with the most advanced one. No need to put the high school.
• Include the relevant coursework to prove your theoretical knowledge in the area where you plan to work.
• Brag about your academic accomplishments: the Dean's list, athletic achievements, and a high GPA.
• Include the additional education such as online courses, training outside college and other educational activities that show you as an eager learner.
When you are writing a resume with no paid experience, note that all unpaid activities can be described as jobs. Think of your college projects, internships, volunteer work and community work. Name your role and briefly describe how you contributed to the task or project. Tell if you had a leadership position or organized the work of others.
If you have nothing of that kind, even part-time jobs like babysitting or woring as a waiter in summer can work. On the contrary, if you have multiple internships and extracurricular activities, describe 3-5 most relevant ones. Describe such unpaid work experience in detail, for example, "Communicated with clients via phone and email, assisted in meetings and maintained office inventory".
As a rule, the entry-level resume should be one page. The only exception if you had many internships and voluntary projects that present you in a good light. Focus on information that is important for a potential employer and do not go into excessive details.
Use this section only if it help you look a better professional. Do not write about religious or political preferences, make sure that your interests do not contradict the position and corporate policy of the company you want to work for. Say, if you apply for a web designer position, interests like drawing or painting will make a good impression in your job search.
Typos and mistakes in writing can turn off the employer. Make sure to edit and proofread your first job resume before sending. Use an automatic spell checker in MS Word or try a Grammarly online tool to correct minor mistakes. Ask a friend to check the resume for you, as you may overlook some mistakes. Experts also recommend that you read the resume aloud and check if it sounds well.
Writing "References available upon request" is out of fashion. Prepare a separate list of references that you'll be providing to employers if they ask. Of course, you need to contact every person you include as a reference and ask for their permission. Don't add family or friends as references. You may include your internship supervisor, university teacher or instructor, and other people you've met professionally.
Before you send a resume make sure it makes a strong first impression. Recruiters will spend 6-7 seconds reviewing it, so it should grasp the attention immediately. To make the paper reader-friendly, use 10-12 pts font and leave enough white space. Use bulleted lists instead of paragraphs and opt for short sentences.
A cover letter can grab the attention of a recruiter or potential employer. Some companies specifically require a cover letter, and 45% of recruiters won't be considering a resume without it. A cover letter for your first job should be individual and compiled for each specific job opening. Keep it short: no more than 3-4 paragraphs that take less than one page. Don't reiterate the resume word for word. Instead focus on specific relevant experiences and present your soft skills.
If you are still not sure about the right resume format and content of your first resume, pay attention to the sample below:
The sample is built with the help of resumelab.com.
Why is this a good example? Let's have a closer look at it:
Therefor, such a resume will help the graduate to beat other job-seekers and get a job. You can use the same structure when writing your first resume.
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