How to Write Your First Resume

Woman working on her resume in a sunny roomNitchakul Sangpetch / Shutterstock

You may have just graduated and have not started looking for a job yet, or maybe you are working for a family friend who has never asked you to CV. Anyway, if you do not have a resume yet, nothing is more discouraging than looking at this blank page. We are here to help you.

Almost all job hunters have started right where you are. Writing a resume is not a creative exercise: you just have to follow the right formula. We are here to give you this formula so that you can build a resume that will open the doors of your career.

Whether you are writing your first resume or starting from scratch when you change careers, follow these steps to start the job search with confidence.

Make a list

For many new job seekers, the hardest part of writing a resume is knowing what to post it. Without previous professional experience, how to write a CV?

Before you start preparing your resume, start by brainstorming about what you could include. Do not worry about what's relevant to your dream job and what's not. Consider things like:

Education: Major, years of study and extracurricular or clubs related to the school
Volunteering: Any unpaid work you have done
Informal jobs: Childcare, animal care and other temporary or unofficial jobs – internships are also interesting for resumes
Price: What you have won for school, sport or some other reason
activities: Clubs, sports and other non-school activities
skills: Any skill or ability that may be related to a future job
Social media: Relevant information on social networks, such as your email address (a professional address with your name) and the LinkedIn profile URL

Try to start the recovery process sooner, so that you have enough time to make this list. More things will come to you when you start thinking about what you did and what you do well.

Keep your list organized into sections (such as "work", "school", and "achievements"), so you can easily plug the information into your resume later. And even after you've built your resume, save this list and continue to complete it, it will be an excellent reference for future updates.

Potential research jobs

Before you begin writing your resume, take the time to look for the jobs you want to occupy.

Check out the job offers of companies for which you want to work or sites such as LinkedIn. Look for keywords and phrases that come back regularly and write them down. Take note of the specific skills or types of experience required.

Reading these job offers will help you get an idea of ​​what your future employer is looking for. You will be able to use your resume to show them that you have it. If you do not yet know what kind of job you want, take some time to browse the job offers and find the ones that might be right for you.

Choose a format

Now that you have an idea of ​​what to put on your resume, you can choose the format of your resume.

There are many free resume templates online, so use one instead of starting from scratch. You will find three main resume formats:

Chronological: The most popular type of resume lists your work experience in order, starting with your most recent job.
Functional: These resumes focus more on your skills and activities and are not based on a time-based format.
Hybrid: A hybrid resume mixes elements of both formats.

If you have not yet professional experience, it will be difficult to prepare a chronological resume. Look for a functional or hybrid model that suits your experience.

For example, if you had a few summer jobs, but not enough to fill a full resume, find a hybrid model that will showcase both that work experience and your other relevant skills and accomplishments.

Keep yourself in a standard template of a page that does not include unnecessary or irrelevant information. You do not need references, photos of yourself or bright colors on your resume. Although, in some cases, a creative and unique resume is a good idea, keep it simple for your first.

Read CV examples

When you have an idea of ​​the format of your resume, look for examples of online resumes in the same format. Try to find CVs made for the type of work you want to have. Seeing how others have presented their information can give you ideas on how to present yours.

Plug in your information

Woman typing on a laptop, grabbing information on her resumefizkes / Shutterstock

With your downloaded template, start filling in your basic information. Feel free to modify the template if necessary. For example, old resumes always include your full address, but today it is more common to list only your city and state. You can add your email address or your LinkedIn URL to the extra space.

It's a rough draft, so do not worry about perfecting everything and do not spend too much time worrying about small formatting issues (it's more important to understand everything and adjust the details later). Just try to decide what will go on your resume and where you will place it. You probably will not use everything from your initial brainstorming list, but choose what suits you best. If the model you chose does not seem to fit your experience, download another one and try it.

Add a summary declaration

A summary statement is a good modern alternative to the obsolete section of the goal. If you're having trouble finding enough information to include in your resume or if you think your experience seems to be everywhere, consider including one.

In this statement, you will write a few sentences to summarize what you bring to the table as a candidate. This takes up space on your resume with valuable information, giving employers a peek at who you are. Concentrate on what you can do for them and not what they can do for you.

Rearrange as needed

Once you have the basics of your resume, edit your sections and content for the best results.

The elements at the top of the page will attract the most attention, so put in your most important information. For example, if you have an excellent average and have been active on campus, your Education section may appear at the top of the page. Relevant experience for the position you want should go beyond the less relevant experience.

Rotate your content

Once you have drafted all the essential information, it's time to turn your content into the work you want.

This does not mean that you should embellish or add things that you have not done. When you have limited experience on your resume, the exaggerations will stand out badly. But you can always choose the best way to present your information.

Go back to the notes you took when you were reviewing the job offers. If keywords or phrases come up often, find places to include them.

You will also need to explain how your experience makes you a good candidate for the position you want. It is not enough to list what you did: you must also explain why they position you as a good candidate.

Be clear and precise when describing your experience. Show; do not say anything: avoid vague expressions such as "responsible with money" or "good interpersonal relationships". Explain what you did to demonstrate these skills in action. For example, if you volunteered at a fundraiser at a school, you could write "manage both cash and card transactions" and "attend donors quickly and professionally". skills.

Even if something does not seem relevant to the job you want, you can often edit it for your resume. For example, if you are applying to work in the retail industry, your previous experience with houseitting may not seem important. But housekeeping shows that you are trustworthy, that you know how to keep a clean space and that you can work independently, which is important for a job in retail. Use your resume to show employers why your experience matters.

Make the last changes

Soon you will have a draft resume that includes your best information and presents them convincingly. But before you start sending it with your applications, it's time to make some final changes.

Ask a couple of friends or family members to check if your resume contains errors or missing information. Print a copy to edit. You will often notice things you missed on a page printed on your computer. Make sure the smallest details, such as your fonts and spacing, are consistent. Having different fonts or random spaces can make your resume unprofessional.

An employer can run a perfectly good resume just because it has an obvious typo, so it's worth taking the time to change it. This shows them that you will pay the same attention to detail. Once your final edits are complete, you will have a complete and winning resume that you can be proud to submit to potential employers.

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