Writing your first resume can be very challenging! Recent graduates from high college often state that they are afraid that they don’t have enough experience that can make them compete in the labour market. This tends to weigh most students down especially when the job position is very competitive!
Writing your first resume is one thing, preparing it professionally makes it even more daunting!
However, you don’t need to be intimidated. Every graduate was also in the same boat and will continue to be. Everyone wants a resume that will look attractive and win them that dream job. Your resume is expected to catch the attention of the employer within 20 seconds of looking at your resume.
Here are few tips on how to get started:
How To Write Your First Resume – Getting Started
Before you even start to write your first resume, keep in mind that the essence of writing a resume is to show the employer that you are the right candidate for the job and that you will contribute your quota to the company.
Take a few minutes to research the particular company you plan to send your resume to and choose the writing style for that resume. It’s always advisable to create a resume that suits the job position you want to apply to. By doing this, your chances of being shortlisted are high!
Sounds crazy though, but your resume must include your personal details such as name, residential address, phone number and e-mail address. Be cautious of the address you add. College students, specifically, tend to move often, so include a permanent address, such as your parent’s address.
Ensure you use a professional email address that looks mature to the eye.
Using nicknames as Email address such as “sexygirl” or “youngmoney” will make you look like you are not a serious candidate to the employer.
How To Write Your First Resume – Include An Objective & Skills Summary
These parts come immediately after your personal details and as a first-time job seeker, it should be brief and to the point. You want to highlight your best attributes here and show where you see your career going over the next few years.
As a recent College graduate with a degree in Marketing I am seeking the opportunity to work in a fast paced and dynamic work environment. During college I completed a number of successful interns where I helped manage the digital strategy and social media marketing campaigns for a large retail company. Over the next few years I wish to solidify my experience in the marketing industry and contribute to helping grow a new and interesting brand such as ACME.
Your “summary of skills” should focus on experiences and qualifications that the employer is searching. Remember! A resume is not about what you want. It’s about what you can offer.
Furthermore, it should be fairly brief and in dot point format so that the recruiter or manager can clearly see what you are bringing to the table.
How To Write Your First Resume – Think about your experience and skills
You might think you have limited or no work experience, but you have a lot of other experiences you can use. Brainstorm the clubs you have participated in, internships and volunteer positions you have undergone. All of these can be outlined under “Experience” or a similar category.
Don’t oversell what you have done, but even listing a few month long internships can make you stand out from the crowd and get your resume to the top of the pile.
How To Write Your First Resume – Education & Achievements
If you just graduated, your education is one of your greatest assets.
Put the “Education” section of your resume towards the top of the page. Highlight all schools you went to, starting with the most recent. Not only that, include the qualifications and certifications obtained in each. List any other achievements you received. Perhaps you were given a prestigious award for your outstanding performance or you made the Dean’s List.
Employers are fascinated by recent graduates’ academic achievements!
How To Write Your First Resume – Provide references
At least two referees should be provided at the end of the resume (But make sure you list the right people). In this case, it is advisable to provide precise and functional details of at least two referees. A referee can be a close lecturer of yours or a proprietor of your former school.
It is also advisable to choose a referee that has detailed knowledge about you, including your moral and educational background.
Later in your career it is okay to put referees available upon request. But for now we want to reduce friction for the hiring company, so make sure they know who they can contact.
How To Write Your First Resume – Lastly, Proofread!
You may have heard that if your resume contains even a slight error, it’ll not be considered. While this isn’t always true, you definitely won’t look diligent if your resume is full of mistakes.
Don’t depend on your word processing program to catch errors— print out your resume and proofread it or better still, get a friend or family member to run their eyes over it to. They will probably pick up common mistakes you are skipping over.
Gavin has 15 years experience as a HR Manager and Leader within large and growing companies. During this time Gavin has seen thousands of resumes and conducted just as many interviews. Gavin has turned his knowledge and passion in this space into a full time profession and launched Jobs in Bradford his career advisory and consulting website.
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