How to Write Your First Resume

How to Write Your First Resume

Resume writing is never easy. In many ways, resumes are a form of sales. In one document, you must highlight your best experiences and achievements all to convince someone that you have never met to call and invite you to a job interview. Even with decades of experience, many find it challenging to create a resume that pops.

Writing your first resume is especially challenging. If you need help preparing your first resume, use the following steps to make sure that you are writing one that represents you effectively.

Step 1: Find a Job You Want to Apply For

Before beginning your resume, find a job posting that interests you. The secret to writing a great resume is to tailor your resume to the position being offered. If the job description asks for someone with knowledge of Microsoft Excel, and you know Microsoft Excel, then you will want to mention it. Without a job to apply to, you may not know what skills and experiences to mention.

Step 2: Write Out Your Best Experiences and Knowledge

The most important tip when creating a successful resume is to focus on the absolute best achievements in your work history. Ask yourself – if you could only mention a few facts and experiences about yourself to get the job, what would they be? This is where you’ll really want to focus on impressing your prospective employer.

You want to list your best attributes and work/educational experiences, but you also must limit it to your absolute best achievements. “Lesser” achievements that are nice to mention but may not help you get the job, will only drown out the more important experiences you have. There are keywords that your employer listed in the job description, grab those and use one that is relevant to your experience and skills.

Step 3: Find a Great Template

Review resume templates and sample resumes to get a better idea of what your resume should look like. It is best to stick to chronological resumes – traditional resumes used by most job applicants. Use those resumes as a reference to create your own.

Here’s a Great First Resume Template to Start With

Include these fields in your resume, in the suggested order:

  • Name and Contact Information
  • Summary (of your experiences)
  • Education (starting with the most recent)
  • Employment History (Starting with the most recent. If you have none, be honest – and think of any relevant volunteer or other experience)
  • Achievements
  • Other Interests
  • References (people who are your advocates – professional and formal relationships work best)

Step 4: Brainstorm Strong Action Words

Once you have a template, you can begin filling it with important information, such as your name, educational history, work history, and so on.

When you reach the place where you list your achievements, start each achievement with powerful “action words.” Action words such as “Managed,” “Cataloged,” “Presented,” are used to introduce the tasks you completed in your previous position.  

Powerful action words catered to the job you are applying to are able to capture the attention of the hiring manager and draw them into your achievement. Check out our Ultimate Action Verb List for suggestions by industry. 

Step 5: Review for Professionalism

Make sure that every word on your resume is professional – including your email address. Over 50% of hiring managers have said they have ignored resumes because the email address was unprofessional. Check spelling and grammar, and don’t be afraid to have a friend take a second look.

Step 6: Finalize and Send In

It always helps to look at how other resumes are written, and to take advantage of services, like those at Online Resume Builder, to determine if you have created your resume correctly.

Once you’ve had someone review your resume and determined that only the best information is included, you are ready to send it in. Writing your first resume is challenging, but the more you learn about resumes and job seeking, the more you’ll understand what to put in each resume and how to make sure it has the maximum impact.

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