Before you start applying for jobs, you need to have a resume that demonstrates your qualifications. Because hiring managers see this document before they meet you, it is important for your resume to stand out. You often do not have much experience to put on your resume, though, when you first finish school. You may wonder how you can possibly write a stand-out resume when you do not have much information to put on it.
Even if you do not have much work experience, you can still craft a resume that is sure to stand out to hiring managers. Many of the best writing practices apply to your first resume as well as the ones you will write later in your career. Look over the tips and the sample resume included below to learn how to make a resume for a first job.
How To Make a Resume for a First Job
Writing your first resume does not need to be difficult. The following steps can help you understand the elements that need to be in every resume, as well as the little things you can do to ensure this document stands out.
1. Include a qualification summary
When you first learned how to put a resume together, you were probably taught to begin this document with an objective statement. However, if you want to learn how to make a resume for a first job fit the most current standards, you should usually omit this statement. All employers understand you are looking for a job and are more interested in the professional skills you offer.
Begin your resume with a summary that states your most important qualifications. These should be the skills you want every potential employer to know so they immediately understand the benefits of hiring you instead of another jobseeker. Is part of your coursework relevant to the job? Do you have a certification employers want, such as in CPR? These should go in your summary statement.
2. Include only your most recent experience
When you apply for your first job, employers understand you do not have much experience. However, this does not mean you should omit your work experience section. Your volunteer work counts as relevant experience, especially if it is in a similar field as the job you are applying for.
Your most recent volunteering work should usually come first, and like any work experience, you can typically omit volunteering positions from more than 10 years ago unless they are relevant to the job you’re applying for. Do not worry if your volunteering work spans a broad range of activities; this range demonstrates you like to help your community and try new things.
3. Show how you made a difference
Even your first resume can demonstrate your various accomplishments. These accomplishments should typically include some numbers. Did you help an organization deliver the most meals to senior citizens? Did you take the lead on a project? List these accomplishments and list any accompanying numbers, such as the amount of money you helped the organization save or the percentage of people you impacted. If accomplishments don’t spring to mind, ask your teachers and volunteer coordinators about the impact your work has had.
4. Use bullet points to show your experience and achievements
Bullet points make your work experience easy to skim. They should tell employers what you did in class or at one of the organizations you volunteered for. While you should list your responsibilities, make sure you also include your achievements. Try to have between five and eight bullet points for each volunteer position you list, if possible.
5. Be creative with your bullet points
When you learn how to make a resume for a first job, you may list all your volunteering tasks and coursework with phrases such as “worked” or “responsible for” or “learned.” Instead of using these phrases, use action verbs to begin each of your bullet points. Words like “researched” or “trained” give employers a better idea of what you did in a class or volunteering position. Use your thesaurus so you don’t use the same words multiple times.
6. Include your education
When you write your education section, you should omit your high school diploma unless you have just finished high school. It is alright to list your GPA, and you can also include your academic honors. If you are still in school, list the date when you expect to graduate or write that the degree is “in progress.” Additionally, list your relevant coursework. Was your project picked to represent your school at an academic fair? Make sure you mention this achievement. You should also list the campus organizations you’re involved in.
7. Don’t forget about format
While format may seem like a minor matter, this is one of the elements that can make your first resume stand out. This document should be easy to read, so you should typically use a clean, professional font and make sure the font size is at least 10 point. If you want to help your resume stand out, you can add a bit of color. For a more traditional job or company, though, it is a good idea to leave color off this document.
8. Pay attention to the top of your resume
When hiring managers look over your resume, they usually do not read the entire document. Instead, they typically look at the top third, your summary statement, and key qualifications before deciding if they want to keep looking. Because of this, you want the top of your resume to stand out. Make sure you’re using a professional email. If you still use your school email address, it’s a good idea to set up a professional one. Do you have any work samples? Put these on your personal website or LinkedIn page, and make sure to list these sites on your resume.
First Job Resume
Below is a sample resume. Pay attention to how the jobseeker lists her volunteer experience and coursework.
Concord, New Hampshire
T: 555-123-4567 E: swilson@anymail
Resourceful student who works independently and pays attention to detail. Two years of experience teaching children about science and nature. Experience promoting events and training volunteers. Patient and able to work in high-stress environments. Collaborates with others to do tasks quickly and efficiently.
● Experience with Microsoft Word and MATLAB
● Active listener
● Great communication skills
● Certified in CPR
Concord Children’s Museum – Concord, NH
● Conduct science experiments with children
● Lead nature walks on museum grounds
● Train new volunteers
● Organize experiment materials
● Identify potential experiments
● Collaborate with director of children’s programming to promote new exhibits
Intern, June – August 2017
New Hampshire Museum of Science
● Conducted museum tours
● Led activities for children
● Wrote blog posts about current exhibits
● Collaborated with programming staff to identify possible new exhibits
● Performed preliminary research into subjects of future exhibits
● Wrote brochures promoting upcoming events
Allen County Humane Society – Concord, NH
● Exercised dogs
● Cleaned cages
● Prepared meals
● Recorded animal information in database
● Promoted adoption days through leaflets and flyers
● Wrote animal bios for a pet magazine
West Concord High School
Concord, New Hampshire
Anticipated graduation May 2018
● Science Club
● Conversational Spanish Club
● Ladies a cappella group
Advanced Placement Chemistry
● Studied stood intermolecular forces
● Performed experiments in the lab
● Prepared lab reports
● Trained in safety procedures for handling chemicals
● Recognized for “Possible Applications of Organic Chemistry” project in state science fair
Advanced Placement Computer Science
● Wrote and tested programs in Java
● Studied different methods to test software
● Analyzed algorithms
● Developed data structures
● Collaborated with classmates to create new website for the course
Advanced Placement History
● Gained ability to interpret primary sources
● Analyzed quantitative data
● Recognized biases in historians’ arguments
● Established evidence to present counter arguments
● Identified trends in American history
● Prepared presentation on the aftermath of World War I