Pair Your First Job Resume With A Complementary Cover Letter
If youre writing a resume for your first job, youre likely writing a cover letter for your first job too. Knowing how to write a cover letter is even more important for you than experienced job seekers, because it gives you a chance to really pitch your application on grounds other than work experience.
To complement your first-job resume, use your cover letter to showcase your passion for the position. Explain how your skills, certifications, and relevant life experiences make you the perfect fit for the role.
Ideally, your cover letter will present you as a hardworking, loyal, and personable employee, justifying the investment the company made in hiring you.
Creating a good cover letter is straightforward:
- pick a professional cover letter template
- address the hiring manager by name
- explain why youre passionate about the role
- include at least two body paragraphs that show how your experience makes you the right person for the job
- conclude by repeating your contact information and requesting an interview
Arrange Your Contact Information
Now that you know the format youre going to use, its time to start your resume. First things first, employers need to know who you are and how to contact you.
List the following contact details in your resume header at the top of the page:
- Telephone number
- Email address
- Link to online portfolio
- LinkedIn profile
Traditionally, you would also include your mailing address on your resume. However, this is no longer mandatory because most job applications are sent via email.
Here are two examples of how you can format your contact information section:
Resume Summary Or Objective
Its not a secret for anyone that first impressions matter, whether theyre in your personal life, or your career.
If you leave a bad first impression, chances are, its there to stay. After all, its very hard to change someones opinion of you.
The same applies to your job search – the HR manager spends around 6 seconds scanning each resume. Yep, your carefully-worded, hand-crafted resume only gets 6 seconds of attention. Unless, of course, you manage to leave an amazing first impression.
The way you accomplish this is through either a good resume summary or objective. Both are placed at the top of your resume, right around the contact information section:
So, heres what you need to know about the two:
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What Are Technical Or Hard Skills On Your Resume
Here are some hard resume skills for 15 in-demand fields:
How To Discover Skills The Company Values
You need to use the job description to customize your resume skills and work history sections. But dont stop there. Research the employer to gain insight into the workplace culture and company values. You may discover additional qualities that would be prized by the employer.
If you know someone who works at the company, or has in the past, reach out to ask about the workplace culture and what the employer considers important in its workers. Also check websites such as Glassdoor and Fairygodboss for company reviews by employees and former employees.
The companys website can tell you a lot, too. Reading the About Us page is typically a good place to begin.
For instance, in a section called Living our values, IBM includes the following:
- Dedication to every clients success
- Innovation that matters for our company and for the world
- Trust and responsibility in all relationships
If you were applying for a job at IBM, you would want to consider what soft skills you possess that fit this framework customer service, attentiveness, initiative and loyalty and weave them into your resume.
Here at Robert Half, we focus on and promote our four LEAD principles. They are:
- Leadership by Example
- An Openness to New Ideas
- Dedication to Excellence
If youre applying for a job at Robert Half, you might highlight skills that speak to your leadership, drive and diligence, as well as your confidence and ability to collaborate.
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How To Include Education On A Resume With No Experience
When youre creating your first resume, its important to highlight your education. This will show employers youre able to overcome challenges, stick to your commitments and learn new things. You can also take this opportunity to share coursework youve completed that are relevant to the job.
For example, if youre applying to a retail associate position, heres how you might highlight your high school experience:
And here is how you might highlight your college experience if youre applying for a role as a receptionist at a spa:
New York UniversityMajor: Pre-Med with a Concentration in Holistic HealthExpected Graduation Date: May 20XXGPA: 3.7Relevant coursework: Customer Discovery & Development, Introduction to Interpersonal CommunicationAwards and Honors: Deans List Fall 20XX through Spring 20XXClubs: Women in Business, Center for Holistic Healing
And Lets Wrap It All Up
If youve followed all of our advice until now, congrats! Youre probably an expert on how to make a resume.
To wrap it all up, lets brush up on some of the most important lessons weve learned so far…
- Use the rightresume builder. You dont want to mess around with formatting for hours before even starting to work on your resume!
- Focus on achievements. Mention your achievements instead of responsibilities, so that you stand out from all the other applicants.
- Include the must-have sections. That is, resume summary, work experience, education, and skills.
- Tailor for the job. Everything listed on your resume should be relevant for the job youre applying for.
- Perfect your cover letter. Its as important as your resume, so make sure you pay as much attention to it!
At Novorésumé, were committed to helping you get the job you deserve, every step of the way! Follow our career blog to stay up to date with industry-leading advice. Or, check out some of our top guides:
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Academic Project Relevant To A Job
Including an academic project in a resume is straightforward. Include where the project took place, what class it was a part of, the title of the project, the date it was completed and a short summary of its purpose.
Example of how to list an academic project in a resume:Coral Springs University, Coral Springs, Florida Intro to Hospitality Course McDonalds Restaurant Analysis Group ProjectWorked within a team of 4 to analyze data on the revenue, size, and customer base of a popular fast-food chain in Florida. Created and presented findings during a course presentation. Was personally responsible for collecting data on McDonalds revenue and creating a PowerPoint presentation.
Personal Project Relevant To A Job:
For example, lets say you hosted a bake sale in your neighborhood and are now applying for a job as a cashier at a grocery store. You could explain that while selling your baked goodies, you practiced your customer service, money handling, and food service safety skills.
Example of how to list a personal project in a resume:Summer Bake Sale Hosted a summer bake sale in my neighborhood every weekend from April to August 2018. Created and handed out flyers, took and fulfilled customer orders, handled cash payments, and home baked all products. Skills learned include customer service, money handling, and food service safety.
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List Your Relevant Education And Certificates
On a resume for your first job, the education section may be of more importance to the employer than other experience. Understanding your area of study, degree level, concentrations, coursework and sometimes GPA can help provide context around the value you may bring to the company.
For education, you may want to include:
Coursework relevant to the job receiving the resume
Researching the companies youre applying to can help select what information about your education background to include. While some companies might value a holistic approach to displaying your skills, experiences, education and certificates, others may prefer applicants only list whats directly relevant to the posted job description.
The Creative Angle: An Infographic Resume Or Resume Website
This resume type is characterized by how its formatted visually. You may choose a reverse chronological order or skills-based style to organize your information, but also use graphics, colors, unique fonts, and even multimedia elements to help that information pop. Keep in mind that any creative resume is still likely subject to an ATSand certain elements may be unreadable by a robot. So consider going this route only if you know a human will be reading your resume .
Who its good for: People applying to creative roles , startups, or fun companies, or to jobs where a creative resume is encouraged, if not required.
Not a designer but want your resume to look just as pretty as this example? Check out these articles:
Your resume is a living, breathing document. So while you wont go through this whole process every time you apply for a job, you should be thinking about all these things as you go to update your resume for your next career step. You might decide later on to switch up the order, or remove or add things, or even get creative and try out a whole new format. If youre not getting the calls back you expect, you may decide to scrap it and start overand thats totally OK.
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Other Important Resume Sections
The sections weve covered so far are must-haves for any resume. Theyre the bread-and-butter for any job application, and if you get them right, youll land any job you apply to.
The following sections, though, can really give you a boost here and there.
Are you bi-lingual? Or better, multi-lingual? You should ALWAYS mention that on your resume!
Even if the position doesnt require you to know the specific language, it can still come in handy at some point. At the end of the day, its always better to know more languages than less.
To list languages in your resume, simply write them down and assign them the appropriate level:
As a given, you should never lie about your language skills. You never know, your interviewer might turn out to be fluent in the language, or even be a native speaker!
Hobbies & Interests
Want to add some spice to your resume? The hobbies and interests section, while not a game-changer, can help show who YOU are as an individual. Who knows, maybe you and your interviewee have some hobbies in common?
If you end up with some extra space in your resume, dont hesitate to show off your personality with a hobbies/interests section.
If youre the type of person to use your free time helping others, while expecting nothing in return, chances are that youre the type of employee whos in it for more than just the money. It leaves the impression that youre a devoted, loyal employee.
Feature Your Skills And Education
When applying for your first job, choose a resume format that puts skills and education at or near the top. One good option might be a functional resume format if you have gaps in your work experience.
Any relevant professional experience
To ensure relevant information is the first thing employers read, consider structuring your resume in sections as follows:
Skills and relevant experiences or coursework
Education and achievements
Volunteer work and extracurriculars
Organizing your information this way highlights key aspects of your background, allowing employers to quickly understand why youre a good fit for the job. Though you may not have professional experience, putting other important activities or coursework in a primary position on your resume gives you a better chance at moving forward in the hiring process.
Upload your document or create a resume on Indeed Resume to quickly apply for jobs. When building your Indeed resume, you can simply include the skills, strengths and experiences that make you the best fit for the job. However you choose to develop your resume, make sure it highlights your strengths as they pertain to the position.
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Polish Up Your Grammar And Formatting
Resume writing is a unique style. It can be tricky to remember which tense to use or when to omit pronouns. How can you use language to tell a more compelling story? Which fonts and formats are ATS-friendly? Lets take a look.
Its important to use a font that is easy to read on screen, ATS-compatible, and commonly available. A few traditional resume fonts to consider include Helvetica, Garamond, or Georgia. Avoid using script fonts or custom fonts unless you are a designer. Dont use a font size below 10.
Tense and Pronouns
Use past tense when talking about jobs in the past, and present tense when describing the work you are currently doing. Traditional resume writing leaves out personal pronouns and gets right to the action. Ex. Spearheaded a new email marketing initiative that increased revenue by 10 percent.
Resume Action Words
Action verbs help liven up your writing, making your resume more readable for recruiters and hiring managers. Consider beginning each bullet point on your resume with an action verb and replacing generic verbs like managed or led with more engaging words like mentored or accelerated.
Include Your Name And Contact Information
Your resume should begin with your name and contact information including your email address and phone number. You have a choice about whether or not to include your mailing address. Your name should be highly visible at the top of your resume with a bolded or larger font than the rest of the document, but no more than a 14 point size. You might also include a link to your online portfolio if you are applying to creative positions, for example.
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How To Structure Your Resume
No two resumes will look exactly alike , but generally, resumes should have the following sections.
Header & Contact Info: At the top of your resume, always include a header containing your name. Your contact info should be close by as well. After all, you donât want there to be any confusion over who the resume belongs to, or make it difficult for recruiters or hiring managers to reach out to you. However, you may want to avoid putting your contact info in the header or footer of the document itself â the headers and footers can sometimes be overlooked by the software that scans your resume.
Professional Summary: The professional summary is a brief, one- to three-sentence section featured prominently on your resume that succinctly describes who you are, what you do and why youâre perfect for the job. In contrast with the largely out-of-date objective statement â a line that describes the type of career opportunity youâre looking for â professional summaries arenât about what you want. Instead, theyâre focused on the value you could bring to a potential employer. Itâs worth noting that a professional summary isnât an absolute must-have â if your resume is missing one, it probably wonât be a dealbreaker â but it can be a nice way to give time-pressed recruiters and hiring managers a quick, high-level overview of why youâre the right person for the job.
Writing Your First Resume
You also can see that your technical effectivity is written separately under the skills. It is to specify the exact device you would possibly be capable of using. Tell a story of progression show how your learning has amassed over time.
It might not have been paid work, however you actually would have gained some priceless skills doing it. If youve by no means held a job, make your experience section more general. Everyone appears for entry degree jobs firstly of their careers. Everyone begins by wondering tips on how to make a resume with no experience. The hiring manager has been there, probably remembering the dread when cobbling together their resume and shall be primed to look for the indicators of potential in something that they learn.
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Give Yourself Credit For Projects You Couldnt Complete
Watkins noted that if you were laid off before projects were completed, you can still mention these accomplishments on your resume.
You can put that it was projected to produce a certain outcome, but Project halted because of coronavirus, Watkins said. You can definitely say that, because no matter that it went to fruition or not, you still did work and you want to give yourself credit for that.