How to Write Your First Resume

Writing your first resume doesn't have to be challenging. Follow our collection of tips to get started.

Photo: Thinkstock

By Christopher Geno

Your first resume is typically intimidating to write because you don't have much to add to it, but there are many ways to convey your skills to apply for a job in a resume. Maybe you had one job in high school and you have one school under the education section of your resume, but what else do you put on the page?

The best thing to do is to be honest but positive. Don’t make things up and don’t draw attention to your lack of experience. Instead, focus on the good qualities you have.

Fortunately, everyone started out just like you. While you will not get a job as a CEO or a top managerial position with that first resume, it's not time for that yet! There are plenty of companies that hire students and young people just starting out in the job market. If you can convey the skills you have and how they will apply to the job you are applying for, employers will be more likely to see your value.

Use these resume tips to write a solid resume and get employed.

What if I don’t have enough work experience to write my first resume?

First of all, don’t panic. Remember you’re in the same boat as everyone else entering the job market. Also remember that they call them entry-level jobs for a reason: they’re jobs for people just entering the job market.

The best thing to do is to be honest but positive. Don’t make things up and don’t draw attention to your lack of experience. Instead, focus on the good qualities you have. Put your work experience down along with three bullet points for each job that list specific skills, job details or qualifications that show how great you were at that job.

What can I put in the education section of my first resume?

It’s okay if the job experience section is small. There are other necessary sections to a resume, and all are important. Education is an easy one to fill. If you’re in high school, put down your high school and add your anticipated graduation date. If you have a good GPA or class rank, add those too.

If you’re in college, you can write down the name of the school you attend, your major and a couple brief points on any academic achievements you have: Dean’s list, Honors Program, etc. It’s okay if you put in your high school, but once you graduate college you remove any prior education unless it’s specific training for a specific position. Once you have your degree, employers care more about that than where you went to high school.

If you have or are pursuing a graduate degree, it is acceptable to list both your graduate and undergraduate colleges.

What else can I do to make my resume competitive?

For first time job seekers, a concise, well-written objective statement is an excellent thing to have. As you get more experience, you may choose to take it out, but for new workers, write about what you’re hoping to find with your resume. Stay realistic and mention how you can benefit employers instead of how you hope your employer can help you.

Skills and Hobbies are also useful. Examples of good skills to list would be if you’re CPR or First Aid certified, if you are proficient in multiple languages, or if you have any pertinent skills (especially computer skills) that would help you in your job.

Quick Tips

  • Don’t use big font sizes or funny fonts to fill up space. Employers would rather see a short, very professional resume than a long one that’s obviously taking up extra space.
  • If you have absolutely no work experience, list volunteer or community service experience.
  • Do make use of lines and section breaks. Keep everything simple and professional, but they can make your resume easier to read. That’s a good thing.

People Who Read This Article Also Read:

How to Find Your First Job
10 Job Search Tips for the Busy Job Seeker
Jobs and Internships: What's On Your Resume?
Degrees That Get You Hired

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