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The best way to Write a First Resume + Downloadable Template for 2022

Selling yourself and your skills to an employer can be difficult, especially if you don't have enough experience. Whether you're writing a first resume or are struggling to find a job outside of college, this guide goes through everything you need to put on your resume, even if you don't think you need to add much at all.

Read on to find out what you can learn from successful people's first resumes, and download our free first resume template to get you started.

What to include in your first resume

Keep your resume simple and easy to read while providing the most relevant information the employer needs.

It is advisable to keep it short and easy to understand. Because most employers receive many resumes in a day, they don't have time to read pages and pages of content — in fact, hiring managers only spend an average of six to eight seconds looking at each resume.

Most first job resumes should include these sections:

Contact information: Name, phone number and email address.
Summary and objective: Describe yourself and your goals.
Work experience: Past jobs, activities and volunteer experiences.
Educational background: High school and/or college education, courses and certifications.
Capabilities: Relevant skills and achievements.
Hobbies and interests (optional): Fun facts, relevant hobbies, awards and interests.

How to create a resume for your first job: 10 steps

Starting your first resume can be daunting and may even make you feel like you don't have any relevant experience to add on the job. However, you can still create a great resume by stepping back and looking at everything you've accomplished over the years.

Did you help a family friend and babysit for a few weekends during high school? Congratulation! You've proven that you can time your schoolwork while using your communication skills and even temper to calm a five-year-old.

Or maybe you ran a long school project for an after-school club. Well done! You have already demonstrated leadership qualities.

Any experience – both inside and outside of a professional workplace – can count towards your achievements on a first resume. Even if you've never had a job before, there are many ways you can showcase your skills and experience to impress relevant employers. To that end, here's how to create a resume for your first job.

1. Find out how best to organize your first resume

The first step in writing your first resume is figuring out how best to organize it.

If you have just graduated or are still in school, you can choose to receive your educational information first and your work experience second. If you can list some experiences it may be a good option to start with that first as it will be more relevant to an employer.

Here are three ways you can organize your first resume:

Chronological CV: Resumes in chronological order focus on your previous experience. The experience is presented in reverse chronological order, so your most recent position or degree should be listed first, followed by previous positions. Chronological resumes also include a summary, achievements, and certifications.
Functional CV: In a functional resume, focus on your skills and abilities rather than your experience. This can be a great option if you don't have a lot of experience, as it allows you to emphasize your most relevant skills instead of focusing on your experience. This type of resume can help you prove to the hiring manager that you are capable of doing the job.
Combined CV: If you have some experience, especially if it is not entirely related to the position you are applying for, a combined CV may be a good option for you. In a combined resume, you combine both the functional and chronological resume by first listing your skills and abilities and then adding your experiences in reverse chronological order.

2. Start with your name and contact information

Once you figure out how best to organize your resume, start listing your contact information. In the header at the top of the page, enter:

your first and last name
phone number

You can also provide your current location, LinkedIn profile link and portfolio link.

3. Research resume keywords

Employers receive an average of 250 applications per job posting, and 75 percent of them use some form of applicant tracking software. So if you received a few rejection emails shortly after submitting your resume, chances are it wasn't tailored properly for the job and was rejected by the software.

However, it's a good idea to do some keyword research before writing your first resume to ensure your listed skills and experience match the job description and increase your chances of an interview.

Take a look at the job descriptions of the positions you are considering applying for, paying particular attention to the Requirements, Qualifications, and Responsibilities sections. Write down some of the most common keywords you see and compare them to your skills and experience.

Once that is done you can adjust your resume accordingly and add some of the keywords if they relate to your experience.

4. State your skills and education

Now that you have your favorite way to organize your first resume as well as your customized keywords, it's time to bring your resume to life by listing your skills and education.

Putting your skills and abilities on your resume means employers can see in seconds if you're a good fit for the job, especially if you don't have a lot of experience. If you list your education and experience in reverse chronological order, you can also see what you've been working on over the years.

5. Write your goal

Resumes typically start with a short summary section, also known as your goal. In this section, write a few sentences about yourself, your relevant skills, or what you would like to achieve in the workplace.

Although some people don't want to include this section, it can be a quick way to show the employer what you can offer. It can also show them if you're a good fit for the job, especially if this is your first resume.

Here are some examples of good and bad resume goals:

good aim
Bad target

I'm a highly motivated and resourceful person with experience in customer service and I'm looking to expand my knowledge of content marketing.

My goal is to find a well paying position to demonstrate my skills.

Fresh high school graduate looking for an entry-level position in women's retail. Hoping to demonstrate my customer service and communication skills.

Fresh graduate looking to work for a company that fits my personality.

Actively looking for an entry-level healthcare position to fulfill my passion for care.

Looking for a job in retail. I currently have no experience but am a hard worker and will do whatever it takes to get the job done.

6. Check Soft and Hard Skills

When listing your skills on your first CV, it is advisable to include both soft and hard skills.

soft skills: Skills related to your personality. These are usually difficult to teach and can be of great added value. They can relate to your work ethic and the way you treat people.
Difficult Skills: Skills you have learned that are measurable. They are usually mastered and improved through practice, and you can usually learn them through classes and courses.

Here are some examples of soft and hard skills:

soft skills
Difficult Skills

Bilingual or multilingual

programming languages

solve problems
software knowledge

time management
marketing concepts

Ability to work under stress
Academic degrees

computer skills

7. Feature Education and Certificates

Employers are interested in your training and certificates when applying. In your CV for your first job, indicate the education you have acquired, e.g. B. Degrees, GPA (if 3.5 or higher) and relevant coursework and certifications, including projects and academic achievements.

8. Add volunteer and extracurricular activities

Including volunteer and extracurricular activities on your resume is especially important if you don't have much work experience. In your first job resume, list all relevant activities and what you have gained from them. These show that your hands-on experience has helped build your soft and hard skills.

9. Make it quick and easy

The format of your first resume also plays a big role in the hiring process. Keeping it short and concise allows hiring managers to read through your resume with ease and better understand the value you bring—in addition to your organizational skills.

Make sure the resume is in a legible font, such as Times New Roman, Calibri, or Cambria, and is at least 10 pt, but preferably 12 pt.

Although the colors of the resume will depend on the field you are applying for, keeping it simple helps to improve readability. For your resume, plan to use a black font on a white background and use a third color, e.g. B. Blue or Green if you want to highlight a title.

You can also try bold type, italics, and CAPITAL LETTERS areas you want to emphasize.

10. Consider a personalized cover letter

Depending on the position, a cover letter may also be required. A cover letter gives you extra space to express yourself and show what you have accomplished and achieved your goals.

The focus of your cover letter should be what you can offer a particular company. Therefore, you should consider a personalized cover letter for every job you are applying for. This belongs in your cover letter:

contact information
Hiring manager name or company name
Reasons why you are a good candidate and a good fit for the company
Understanding of the position you are applying for
Formal Graduation

First Jobs Resume Examples of successful people

Everyone starts with a blank sheet of paper as their first CV – 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, let's analyze what the resume sections of some successful people might have looked like when they had little to no experience – remember, we all started here!

Kamala Harris

Before becoming Assistant District Attorney and Vice President of the United States, Kamala Harris dedicated her life to education and the pursuit of social advancement. If Kamala Harris were to create her first pre-law resume, her work experience section might look like this:

An illustration of Kamala Harris' first resume.

Since Kamala devoted a lot of time to her studies during her studies and wanted to become a lawyer, it would be important for her to list her educational experience first.

The experiences Kamala lists, such as work and extracurricular activities, also apply to leadership, which she has made a career in today. This is especially helpful when a job requires not only technical training but also the development of both soft and hard skills.

Mark Cuban

Mark Cuban's journey to becoming a billionaire and eventual owner of the NBA's Dallas Mavericks didn't start easy. Prior to his success, he worked on various gigs and ventures throughout his career. If Mark Cuban were to write his first resume while in college, he would likely include some of his hobbies and interests.

An illustration of Mark Cuban's first resume.

After graduating from Indiana University, Mark Cuban moved back to Pittsburgh and took a job at Mellon Bank. Though his degree likely helped him land a job after college, he didn't have much formal work experience.

Mark Cuban diversified his interests and hobbies to gain experience in different fields, eventually diversifying his business portfolio as a mega-investor. Highlighting how you acquired different interests and skills can also set you apart from applicants with the same level of experience and education.

Bill Gates

Resumes have changed a lot over the years. For example, look at Bill Gates' 1974 resume. We use a different resume format these days, but we can still learn a lot from the skills and experience section of Gates' resume. This is what this section would probably look like when it started:

An illustration of Bill Gates' first resume.

Bill Gates uses his self-taught hard skills to his advantage when writing his first resume. He taught himself so many programming languages ​​and eventually created his own empire. It can be good practice to include relevant coursework during school, project achievements, and descriptions of each.

Button to download the first resume template.

The final result

Every successful person has had to write their first resume at some point. Identifying your accomplishments and skills along with your personality traits can help you create a resume that could potentially lead to a great first job.

An infographic describes how to create a first resume and includes tips from the resumes of successful people.

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