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What Does A Resume Look Like For A First Job

What To Include In Your Resume

A résumé expert reveals what a perfect résumé looks like

Start by mining your life experience and academic achievements to show that you’ll be an asset to the company, despite the fact that you don’t have any related job titles to show off at this stage in your career.

For your first resume, take the soft skills you have and show how they translate into success where you choose to apply them. Include volunteer experience, school achievements, sports, clubs, and organizations you belong to.

Scan the job descriptions for the positions to which you’re applying. Look for keywords that indicate what the hiring manager values in a candidate.

For example, the job listing might say, “Successful candidate will be a self-starter who delivers on time and on budget.” In that case, despite the fact that you don’t have relevant work experience in the same field, you can get the hiring manager’s attention by being sure to include projects that you’ve successfully led, such as high school clubs in which you held a leadership role that required you to manage both your time and the team’s money.

Other people skills that employers often seek in entry-level job applicants include traits like dependability, good communication and organizational skills, a solid work ethic, and teamwork.

If you start with the job listings instead of with the blank page, the hiring manager’s keywords will guide you, and help you focus on which of your academic or after-school experiences have prepared you for this first step in your career.

Let’s Start By Looking At An Example

First, lets take a look at what your resume could look like with only one job on it.

Doesnt look so bad, does it? In fact, at first glance, its hard to even tell that youve only held one job and thats the point. Not to hide the truth, of course, but to show real progression regardless of how many companies youve worked for.

Theres one simple rule when it comes to writing a single-job resume:

Show career progression.

Here are some quick ways to show career progression on a resume:

  • Highlight promotions
  • Show a progression of roles and responsibilities
  • Demonstrate a wide range of skill sets
  • Highlighting transferable skills
  • Use numbers to show impact
  • Get more experience

Before we go ahead, we’d recommend getting a free resume review using the AI tool, Score My Resume. It’ll tell you if you’re effective enough at showing progression, leadership and passes checks hiring managers are looking for.

Why Is It Important To Write A Good Resume

Since employers often have a large number of job applications to review, they may only be able to spend a few minutes, or even a few seconds, scanning each resume. Due to this time limit, your resume should capture an employers attention right away. This means that the way you write your resume can have a large impact on the success of your job search.

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First Jobs Resume Examples Of Successful People

Everyone starts with a blank sheet of paper as their first resume even the most successful and well-known people. Building experience and skills to add to your resume takes time, but with enough planning, you can create a great first job resume.

To help, lets analyze what a few successful peoples resume sections might have looked like when they had little to no experience remember, we all started here!

Skills Where Are They

First Job Resume

The answer is everywhere. The truth to be told, you have it just right in front of you. In your experience list. One more thing you should do is to write down all your responsibilities to each of the points and emphasize the relevant tasks and skills you developed. But remember the main word here is relevant.

ProTip: Youre talented, no doubts, but dont list useless things like juggling, proficiency in burger eating or ability to hold the breath for 5 min unless youre not applying for a circus animator position.

Also Check: What Does Relevant Coursework Mean

Consider Including Additional Sections If Relevant

In addition to the above sections, you may also want to include one or two additional sections on your resume if they directly correspond with the position. Common sections you could include are certifications, languages, awards, additional activities and extracurricular activities.

Read more:How to Write an Entry-Level Resume

Emphasize Promotions On Your Resume

The easiest way to show career progression is through promotions, so if youve been moving up within the same company, that won’t raise eyebrows the same way as if youd been in the same position for 10+ years. You can highlight a promotion on your resume either by listing the job titles separately with their own bullet points, or by grouping the titles together if your duties were similar.

Let’s look at two examples of showing a promotion. In the first one, you can highlight a promotion by listing separate job titles under the same company name.

List the positions separately on your resume with their own bullet points if the roles were different

In the second example, you can use bullet points to call out that you were promoted.

If you held multiple similar roles at the same company, group the job titles together with a shared set of accomplishments.

Here are some bullet point examples you can use to highlight a promotion:

  • Promoted to Associate Consultant in 2 years the only member in a cohort of 45 Analysts to be fast-tracked
  • Promoted within 12 months due to strong performance and organizational impact – ahead of schedule by 12 months
  • Ranked top of the class and offered an early promotion to Senior Analyst after two years

Use resume action verbs which stress your promotions words like Promoted, Ranked or Grew are great.

Read more in our in-depth guide on how to show a promotion on a resume.

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Put Your Contact Information Front And Center

Your name and contact information should always be at the top of your resume. This includes your phone number, your email address , and your LinkedIn URL . If its applicable to the field youre trying to enter, you might also consider a link to your personal website or online portfolio.

As an entry-level candidate, you might be wondering whether or not to include a locationespecially if you just finished school and intend to move somewhere new. The answer depends. If youre applying to jobs where you currently live, go ahead and include your city and statefull mailing address not needed. If youre applying to jobs in an area where youre definitely planning to move, you can leave off your current location and write Relocating to at the top of your resume or mention your plans to move in your cover letter.

If youre not sure where youre headed, Smith recommends leaving your location off your resume. If you list an out-of-area location, you risk getting disqualified by a recruiter who has no relocation budget. But if you leave it off entirely, you could land an interview and allow the company to learn more about you before discussing location. This isnt likely to create a relocation budget where none exists, but it will get you considered for a role if youre able to move without financial support from the company.

Take Stock Of Your Achievements And Activities

The UX resume that got me a job

Make a list of absolutely everything you’ve done that might be useful on a resume. From this list, you’ll then need to narrow down what to actually include on your resume. Different things might be relevant to different jobs you apply for, so keep a full list and pick the most relevant things from it to include on your resume when you send it out.

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Include Volunteer Work And Extracurriculars

Highlighting extracurricular activities and volunteer experiences can help add context to the value youll bring as an employee. These activities provide a wealth of real-world experience that is valuable to employers, building both soft and hard skills in candidates.

Align any traits and skills listed in the job description with the volunteer work and extracurriculars youve participated in. For example, volunteering with a food bank organization might have helped you develop the problem-solving, flexibility and time management skills employers are seeking.

Computer Skills And Certifications

If youve worked on your high school projects or designed posters as a club member for fests, or if you have made a good presentation in your group project, then these are some of the skills that can be added. In our resume examples for teens, well show you what to include.

It can be any software youve worked on. You can write you have photoshop skills, proficient in PowerPoint and Microsoft word or excel. Add them in this section to get a call from the recruiters. People who are hardworking are always preferred.

Also Check: How Many References Do I Need For A Job

Work Experience And Projects

In any resume, no matter the stage of your career, your work experience and projects should take up at least 70% of the overall space. As such, these are the most important sections and will decide whether you get an interview or not.

When you have a few years of experience then the size of your projects section will decrease as the size of your work experience section expands.

If you have an internship relevant to the job you’re applying to, then of course this should be detailed in your “work experience” section. As a college student your work experience can also contain any part-time jobs you had while in school even if they don’t seem relevant to the job you’re applying to.

It’s not easy to balance work and school and having a part-time job demonstrates responsibility and drive, key attributes employers are looking for in prospective employees.

When talking about your work experience, there are a few key tips you should follow:

  • Mention the skills you demonstrated on the job.
  • Quantify the impact of your work whenever possible.
  • Talk specifically about your role, avoid being too general.
  • Use action verbs like “owned” or “led” to highlight your leadership abilities.

I’m sure you’ve heard that numbers speak louder than words, and that’s especially true on your resume. By providing numerical context around your work, you convince the hiring manager of your ability to meaningfully contribute.

WRONG – general work experience descriptions

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Tips Preparing Your First Resume

First resume for first job. Its pretty empty. What can I do to improve ...
  • Don’t lie. No matter how tempting it might be to stretch the truth, lying on your resume is always a bad idea. You might make it through this round of interviews and even get the job, but you won’t be able to deliver on the promises your resume offered. Plus, you’ll probably be caughtand fired.
  • Don’t pad. You don’t need to include the line “references upon request,” or personal information beyond your contact information, or a bunch of unrelated hobbies. In fact, there’s a lot of stuff you don’t need to put on your resume, even when it’s your first one.
  • Proofread. Nothing is less persuasive than a resume full of typos and inconsistencies. Have a trusted friend or family member proofread your resume before you submit it.

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What Does A Good Resume Look Like

Related video: Resume Tips: Avoid These 8 Mistakes

A resume gives you the opportunity to present your background, experience and abilities to an employer before meeting with them. A well-written resume should highlight your qualifications for the position you have applied for. In this article, well review what makes a resume look good and provide some examples.

Read more: Resume Samples and Templates To Inspire Your Next Application

Include A Summary Statement

Resume objective statements, where you state exactly what career goals you wish to achieve, have mostly fallen out of fashion. This is largely because you want to focus on what you can do for the employer, not what the employer can do for you. A resume summary statement, on the other hand, sums up who you are professionally at the top of the page in a sentence or two and serves as the first impression you give a hiring manager to entice them to keep reading.

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Show Off Your Skills And Show Progression Of Skills

Another way to prove that you havent stagnated in your tenure at one company is by emphasizing skill progression and showing a wide range of skill sets.

Using subheadings is a great way to do this separate subheadings allow you to list a large number of skills without making your skills section difficult to read. It can also give the illusion of having a more varied skill set, even if all your skills came from the same job.

Breaking your skills section into subheadings allows you to highlight different skill sets.

Read more about the top resume skills and keywords in demand across different industries and positions.

Consistent Margins And Line Spacing

Resume Tips: How to Write a Resume that Stands Out

A key part of crafting a successful resume is leaving enough white space. Overcrowding your resume makes it look cramped and difficult to read. To open up your design, be sure to always leave one-inch margins on all four sides of your resume. Additionally, you should make sure all the text on your resume uses consistent line spacing. Choosing 1.0 spacing typically allows you to fit all your information on one page without making the text look compressed.

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Tips For Writing Your First Resume

If you are worried about writing your first resume or are struggling with the task, youre not alone! However, it does not have to be intimidating.

Many students and recent graduates worry that they dont have enough experience to create a compelling resume. However, dont worry.

There are many ways to emphasize your skills and experiences, even if this is your first job.

How To Start A Resume

Whether you are looking for your first job or making a career change, starting a resume is an important part of getting hired. A strong introduction followed by a consistent, detailed and concise resume can help your resume get noticed by recruiters.

In this article, well discuss how to get your resume started.

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Write Down Your Contact Information

Its important for the recruiter to have at least two ways of reaching back to you.

Meaning, you should always provide your contact information in your resume. That includes:

  • First and last name
  • Location

Apart from these must-haves, you can also provide:

  • LinkedIn URL – This is a good way to complement your resume. It also makes the recruiters life easier since they usually check your LinkedIn profile anyway. Make sure all information is updated and consistent with your resume, though.
  • Relevant social media – Any social media that is related to the job position and puts you in good light should be included in your resume. In most cases. If youre a developer, it could be projects on GitHub. Writer? Personal blog.
  • Website or blog – Again, this should be something related to the job. It shows your interest and dedication to the industry and how you spend some of your free time.

When it comes to your contact information, the key is to write everything correctly. Double-check youve spelled your name and email right, make sure the phone number youve listed can be reached, and that the accounts you have linked to are up to date.

Something else you should know regarding location is how much detail you should be providing.

The reason recruiters want to know your location is so that they have an idea of whether youre in the vicinity of the company or not .

That means, providing the city and country where you live will be enough. No need for your full home address.

After That Describe Your Relevant Work Experience

How to Write Your First Job Resume [For 2021]

The experience section of your resume should include the jobs youve held for the past 10 years. List the name of each company youve worked for along with the title you held. It should also include the starting and ending dates for each and a short, bulleted list describing your main responsibilities and key accomplishments. Whenever possible, quantify your accomplishments to give the recruiter an idea of your contribution to the overall success of the project, team or company.

If youve held positions that arent directly related to the one youre currently applying for, relate the skills you learned while working in those positions to your desired role. If you cant find any direct relations, consider leaving the experience out so hiring managers can focus on relevant details.

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Technical Vs Workplace Skills

Human skills, sometimes called soft skills or workplace skills, are those that apply to just about any job. Some examples include communication, decision making, leadership, time management, and problem solving. Technical or hard skills tend to be more job specific. These might include programming languages, software proficiency, or knowledge of a foreign language.

The skills you list in your resume should reflect whatâs listed in the job description. For technical skills, also include your level of proficiency. If youâre still developing a skill, for example, you could write, âFamiliar with Excel spreadsheets.â

Itâs okay if you donât have many technical skills to list. A study from job site LinkedIn found that 80 percent of companies value candidates with better workplace or human skills, which can be harder to teach . The same study found that the five most in-demand human skills are:

  • Creativity

Craft Strong Bullet Points

When it comes to listing your experience, just stating your past positions or the activities you were part of isnt enough. Under every entry, you need to include bullet points describing what you did and what you achieved. These bullet points might be the most important part of your resume with the most real estate devoted to them, so they deserve time and attention.

Dont focus on the mundane daily duties, talk about your accomplishments, Owens says. If you were a salesperson in a retail store, recruiters know the basic job duties that entails. But they wont know that you made more sales than anyone else in the month of Decemberunless you tell them. If you had an internship with a major company in your field, its likely that you assisted the staff with daily tasks, but its unique to you that you were part of a team that conceived of a new marketing campaign that boosted sales by 50% in a month and wrote the copy for the campaigns social media posts. In your bullet points, write about what you did that made the project, company, or job better and what you did that moved the needle, Owens says.

Whenever possible, you want to quantify your bullet points in order to be more specific and memorable and to call attention to the results you got. Which sounds better? Led tutoring sessions, or, Led tutoring sessions for up to 30 students twice a week, leading to an average 10% test score increase?

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