As exciting as applying for your first job may be, it can also be quite intimidating. After all, many employers are searching for applicants with prior experience. It’s a bit of a Catch-22, you need the experience to get a job, but you also need the job to gain the experience.
But, don’t worry. Writing a resume for your first job is easier than you think.
First, choose a resume format
Start with some basics, and choose a professional-looking resume format. These are available through writing and word processing programs as well as other writing programs on your computer. Make sure you choose something simple and clean.
Be sure the template includes the following:
- A clean header with a place to add your name, phone number, and email address
- Uses standard font and margins. This means one-inch margins, 10-12 point font size, and using a standard font such as “Times New Roman” to keep your resume neat and easy to read.
Next, think about your experience
When looking for your first job out of college or trade school, you may have little or no work experience to put on a resume – and that’s okay. This is when it is important to look at the experiences you do have such as internships, apprenticeships, volunteer work, extracurricular activities, or even everyday activities you can pivot into workplace skills.
- Internships and apprenticeships most closely resemble real-world work experience. So, be sure to list these on your resume along with the skills you acquired.
- Volunteer work is also a great addition to your resume.
- Extracurricular activities can help close the gaps if you held a leadership-related position such as captain of the baseball team, or team lead of a debate club. These all also allow for additional talking points during your interview.
- Most of us at some time or another have babysat, even if that means watching a sibling or family member. This type of experience can show that you’re responsible and have time management, and multitasking skills essential for the workplace.
- Part-time jobs are also great assets for your resume. Working as a host in a restaurant or even helping to mow lawns taught you life skills that you can apply in the workplace.
If you are still in school or recently graduated, it’s acceptable to include your current GPA and any scholastic achievements you may have; dean’s list, honor’s student, and so on. If you were involved in any academic or on-campus activities then you should list those as well such as student council, fraternity member, sorority member, or resident advisor.
And that’s it! The tips above will help you demonstrate your soft and professional skills even with limited experience. These can show a hiring manager the potential that you can bring to their organization and lead you to an interview where you can further prove why you would be a wise hiring decision.