How to write a resume for a first job?

A resume is the most important document when looking for a job.

Whenever an employer considers a resume, the first thing he is going to look at is whether or not you have experience. However, as this is your first job, it is likely that you probably do not have any professional job experience. At most, you may have an internship, a summer job, babysitting or any volunteer work, which if you do is great; however if you don’t, that’s okay too.

The challenge now lies in getting the employer to consider your resume over the others who may have internships or other work experience. Don’t lose hope yet! It is not unheard of hiring an eager newcomer rather than an industry veteran; what you require is a great resume and some decent interview skills, and of course a willingness to learn.

So, how do you write this great resume? First, start of with –

  • A good layout: This should include a white A4 size page with 1 inch margins and a 12 pt font. The font should be professional, either Times New Roman or Arial. The ink used should always be black. In case you are applying for a job in a design industry, this of course does not apply. You can instead use any color paper or ink and play around with the layout, in order to show off your design capabilities. However, it is not required and everyone else should stick to a traditional layout, lest you risk appearing unprofessional.
  • Letterhead: On the top of the page should always be a letterhead. This should include your personal details, such as name, address, contact number, and e-mail. Again this should be simple and professional. The font can be 14 or 16 pt, no more. However, design majors can feel free to use a customized logo or font.
  • Profile: The first thing on the page below the letter head should be your profile. This is where you sell yourself to your prospective employer. Highlight your key strengths and skills; mention what you are studying, and your field of interest and career ambitions. Use bullets instead of paragraph. Paragraphs are long and boring to read, hence most hiring managers do not read them at all. Instead bullets are easy, short and to the point. Use strong forceful words to describe yourself. Avoid using vague, general and boring phrases. Paint yourself as a learner and a doer. However, do not lie.
  • Work Experience: If you have any work experience, such as an internship or any summer jobs, including babysitting, list them here. Highlight your duties and activities under the job. Also include any volunteer work or community service you may have done.
  • Education: In reverse chronological order, detail your academic experience. List the college you attended, from when to when, and the degree you earned. You can also list subjects and the grades achieved which are relevant to the job you are applying, as well as any relevant clubs you were a part of or awards you have earned. You can also mention your high school, its location and any relevant clubs or achievements.
  • Skills: Here list any and all skills you have that are relevant to the job. You can include information about computing software, such as Microsoft Office, Photoshop, Illustrator, etc. You can also include any foreign language ability, any awards or outstanding achievements, etc. However, ensure that they are applicable to the job. Also remember that you can boast, but so not lie, as lies will always get caught.
  • Interests and Hobbies: Here you can mention any and all interest and hobbies that are relevant to the job you are applying for. For example, of you are a gave developer, you can list playing video games as a hobby; or if you are applying for a job at a book store, then reading is a good hobby to have.

Well there you have it, this encompasses your resume. However, you may also keep in mind that, you should:

  • Keep it Simple: Always keep the included information simple and to the point. An average employer spends approximately 20 seconds on a resume; hence you should give all the relevant information in a format that a reader can go through within less than a minute.
  • Keep is Honest: Honesty is the best possible. While, you would want to boost and appear to be better that the other candidates, do not lie to do so. Because, once your lie does get caught, you would be worse off in their opinion then in the first place.
  • Be positive: Include positive and forceful words that indicate action, rather than vague words. For example: organized, managed, coordinated, analyzed, etc.
  • Proofread your resume: Always ensure that the grammar and spellings in the resume are accurate. Nothing is more off putting than incorrect grammar, which often looks unprofessional. Also get a friend or somebody in the profession to read over your resume; not only will they help point out errors in the resume, but they can also offer pointers to help you best represent yourself.


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