Writing Your First Resume

There’s a lot of advice out there for folks who are writing their seventh or eighth resume, but what about writing your very first one? You might think you don’t have anything to put down since you’re looking for your first job, but there’s plenty you can do.

  1. It Depends on the Job

If you apply for a job at your favorite fast-food place, they probably aren’t going to focus as much on your skills. You can opt for a list of related hobbies and life experience. But if you’re applying to a job as an accountant or a programmer, skills will absolutely be important to the prospective employer.

  1. Detail Your Accomplishments

Ok, if you don’t have any job-related experience; what kind of experience do you have? Employers like to see you’ve been out and about in the world doing something. School clubs, student council, professional organizations, participation in the Boy or Girl Scouts, anything you’ve done for nonprofits; all of that is viable experience to a recruiter.

  1. Are You Sure You Don’t Have Any Job History?

A job doesn’t necessarily have to be a traditional job you interviewed and were hired for. Things like babysitting, mowing lawns, caring for elders, and tutoring students count as job experience. Put those down on your resume and get references if you can.

  1. Write a Cover Letter

If you don’t have any job experience, a cover letter is very important. It’s a chance to connect with your recruiter personally, and stand out from the competition. Try to keep things short, to around half a page. Try to do more than just say you want the job and are a good fit; a great cover letter tells a story of who you are, how your life story and passion brought you to apply for this position, and why you are the best choice for the job.

  1. Use a Resume Template

A resume should have plenty of white space (so the recruiter’s eyes get a break) and since this is your first resume it should never be more than one page. If you’re having trouble figuring out where to start, check out sites like NovoResume.com or MyPerfectResume.com. These sites have a nice selection of free resume templates to get you started. Try to stay away from anything overdesigned with tons of colors; unless you’re applying for a graphic design job, your experience and skills should stand out, not your artistic skills.

When it comes down to it, if you’re applying for an entry level position, you don’t need years of work history. Recruiters understand you’re just starting out. Focus on what you do have instead of what you lack, and you’ll be interviewing in no time.

Do you have any other questions about writing your first resume? Let us know in the comments section below!

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