How to Write Your First Resume

How to Write Your First Resume

Resume writing is never easy. Resumes are, in many ways, a form of sales. You are trying to highlight your best features, experiences, and achievements in order to convince someone you have never met to call you and ask you to come in for a job interview. Even those with decades of experience find it challenging to create a resume that pops.

But it can be especially challenging if it is your first resume. If you need help writing your first resume, use the following steps to make sure that you are writing one that represents you best.

Step 0: Find a Job You Want to Apply For

Before you even begin your resume, you should see if you can find a job you want to apply for. The secret to writing a great resume is to tailor your resume to the job you are applying for. 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 1: Write Out Your Best Experiences and Knowledge

One of the most important strategies to creating a successful resume is to focus on the absolute best achievements in your history. Ask yourself – if you could only name a few facts and experiences about you 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 off your best possible attributes and work/educational history, but you also want to 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 all of them that are relevant to your experience and skills.

Step 2: 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

Be sure to add 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 or formal relationships work best)

Step 3: 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 are words like “Managed,” “Cataloged,” “Presented” – words that indicate what you performed.

Powerful action words that are specifically related to the job you are applying to are able to capture the attention of the hiring manager and draw them in to your achievement.

Step 4: 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 for spelling and grammar, and don’t be afraid to have people you know look at it to make sure that it is accurate.

Step 5: 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 others look over your resume and you’ve decided that only your 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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