Guide

How to write a resume for the first job

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Writing a resume can be a tricky process, especially if you have not created one before. Creating a resume from scratch might feel daunting, but there’s always a first time to everything. So, do not fret.

As a fresh grad, not having any professional experience or enough skills might lead you to overthink as to what to put in a resume or which resume format to select as a fresher to present my qualifications at the top.

In this guide, we have effectively condensed how to make an effective resume for the first job and be the best among all.

Here’s what you would find in this guide:

  • Understanding of what a resume is
  • Resume writing process step by step
  • The minute details of the resume you must not overlook.

What is a Resume?

A resume is a formal document that lists all the professional details that can get you the job. It includes education, skills, internship experience, and anything that can incite the reader to consider you for the interview. An effective resume tells a story that can catch the reader’s attention at first glance.

A resume is usually the first contact between you and the prospective employer. It is crucial to do it right. It is a determining factor to get you into the next step of the hiring process. That is usually an interview, where you can further impress the recruiter that you are an ideal candidate for the job position.

A step by step guide to writing a Resume

Choose a resume format.

Since you are applying for the first job and considering the fact that you don’t have any work experience, you must opt for a functional resume format. Although the Chronological resume format is more common it is only when you have some experience.

A chronological resume highlights your work experience, while a functional resume focuses on your core skills. Read the complete guide to resume formats to know more

Start with resume summary

A summary is 3-4 paragraphs long, highlighting your education detail, work experience, skills, and proficiency. A work experience can be an internship or volunteering experience at high school or college.

Tip: While writing the objective, focus on the company’s needs, not what you would gain working. Show the hiring manager how your goals align with the vision of the company.

List your key skills.

List down all the skills relevant to the job position. Since it is your first job resume, you can list a few soft skills like critical thinking, public speaking or leadership quality.

However, focus more on hard skills as they are easy to identify and measure by the employer. To name a few, you can add hard skills such as adobe photoshop, Microsoft excel, etc.

Education Section

Since you don’t have any professional experience, you might be judged based on the education section. There are three significant things you can highlight in your education section-

  • Relevant coursework
  • Key Achievements
  • Any projects undertaken
  • Any awards and honors

Pro Tip: Consider to write GPA only if it is 3.5 or higher. If your grades are not so great, avoid mentioning them.

Add relevant experience

You can choose to list down internship experience, volunteering and extracurricular activities. Highlight the section that is more relevant to the job position.

Internships

You must list internship experience if you have any. This showcases that you are responsible, professional, and possess practical experience. Name the organization and the internship position with as many details as possible. You can list your responsibilities with the main focus on achievements and highlight your accomplishments.

Please do not list any fictitious internships you have never done. It can lead you into trouble.

Volunteer Work

Volunteer experience helps you support the soft skills you mentioned above. Even if the volunteering experience is not related to the job position, many necessary skills such as communication skills, time management, and leadership qualities are highlighted.

Extra curricular Activities

Extra curricular activities help round out your experience and showcase who you are as a person. You can mention the clubs, organizations and the societies you have been a part of. In the bullet points exhibit how your contribution helped the society.

Tiny details you must not overlook

Considering that you are writing a resume for the first time, you might miss a few minute details but they can be critical for your resume.

Not to miss out on any crucial minute details, let’s discuss it-

Contact Details

Choose a professional resume template that ensures that your contact details are easy to find. A good template allows you to put your contact details at the top of the resume. Put your phone number and email address as your contact details. You can also put a LinkedIn profile, website and similar pieces of information.

Make sure that you put in the correct details. If your resume is shortlisted, your contact details are only a way for the recruiter to contact you.

Keywords

Since a particular job position attracts a lot of applicants, which makes it impossible for the hiring manager to review it all personally. To combat this, the employer use Applicant Tracking System(ATS) to make the process easy. Using the right industry-relevant keywords is vital in the age of modern hiring to pass the ATS test.

Follow the guide to beat the Application Tracking System and get shortlisted.

The ATS sort resume on the basis of a few keywords that the employer want to look at in a resume. That might seem unfair but you need to pass this process to at least make your resume to the hiring manager’s table.

The best place to find the right keywords is in the job description itself. You can also visit the company’s website for possible keywords that suit your job profile. Incorporate the popular keywords in your resume to get shortlisted.

Note: It is important to update your resume with different keywords for different companies. The job profile might be the same but the requirements might be different.

Right Information

Do not provide any information in your resume that is not correct. As it is your first time, you might try to exaggerate or write any information that is not true to make your resume look attractive.

It is crucial that you provide the only information that you can substantiate in front of the interviewer. Providing false information can lead you to interview only to get you rejected.

Edit and Proofread

A simple grammatical error or a spelling mistake can be a big turnoff for the recruiter. Check out the 10 fool-proof reading tips to improve your resume. Proofread that you have included all the vital information in your resume required for the job listing. Ensure tense correction and that there are no first pronouns ( I, Me, My ) as they can set the wrong impression.

You can also take help from your friend or any relative to do a final proofreading. They can also provide you with constructive feedback that can help you better your resume.

Key Takeaways

Creating your first resume can feel nerve- racking but it’s important to take the first step. To complement your first-job resume with a cover letter to showcase your interest and enthusiasm for the position. We have discussed the nitty-gritty of writing a resume. Also read 11 things you shouldn’t include in your resume.

Here’s a quick roundup of the guide so that you don’t miss out on any important details

  1. Choose a professional ATS friendly template to make your resume
  2. Make sure that your contact details are right as they are the only way for the hiring manager to reach out to you
  3. Use industry relevant keywords to pass the ATS test and personalize your resume with every company you apply to.
  4. Do not mention any false information. It won’t do any good to you rather lead you to trouble.
  5. Check the grammatical errors and spelling mistakes before you hit send.

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