Writing your first resume can seem intimidating. It’s your initial foray into the all-important job market, an opportunity to finally be financially independent. All you need to do is prove your worth. Sit down at the computer and compile your best qualities so that hiring managers will jump at the opportunity to hire you. Unfortunately, it’s not as easy as it sounds. On the other hand, it’s not as hard as it sounds either.
The fact is, you can be the most qualified person on the planet, but if your resume is flawed, it can be a disadvantage. If you’re ready to write that first resume, here are some tips for crafting content that will snag the hiring manager’s eye right away. These resume tips will help you out when you’re just getting started and writing your first resume.
Get to the Point
Hiring managers are not necessarily forgiving of people who cannot put together a competent resume. Who can blame them? If the contents of a single sheet of paper is beyond your skill, why should they trust you with their operations? The most important element in a resume is to showcase your capabilities as clearly and effectively as possible. Understand that you have a few seconds to get the hiring manager’s attention. That means getting to the point quickly with solid credentials. In your opening statement or objectives section, demonstrate that you understand the job you’re applying for and can use the skills you’ve leared in your coursework or volunteer experience to succeed in the role.
Choose a Resume Style
When writing your first resume, the combination resume—which focuses on experience and skills—is your best bet. You may not have a lot to put here, but don’t let that deter you. Include any summer jobs, internships, if you’ve worked at your uncle’s auto shop or bagged groceries at the local supermarket, helped out in the principal’s office or volunteered at the community center. Put any studies, training or certifications you have, even if it’s only for typing. When reviewing first timers, hiring managers are going to be looking for responsibility more than anything.
Evaluate Your Potential
If you did work in your uncle’s auto shop, think beyond the physical aspect of the job. You may have been moving boxes around and sweeping floors, but you can attest to being part of a team that offered good customer service. You could include handling inventory or answering phones. If you worked in the principal’s office, you might have monitored schedules. We are constantly developing skills that would be important to a hiring manager in the right situation.
Use the Right Words
Use words like created, organized, produced, developed and managed. These are action words that show your accomplishments. Make sure you also use words that are relevant to the job you’re applying for. Read the job ad and notice how they describe the roles and responsibilities needed.
Proofread Your Work
This cannot be stressed enough. Hiring managers can dismiss your submission for any reason they choose. Spelling and grammatical errors top the list. Don’t simply rely on a spell check. Have others read your resume because a spell check will not notice you used “had” instead of “has” or that you dropped a word mid-sentence. As this is your first resume, don’t feel compelled to fill the page. And don’t enlarge fonts beyond 12. You can tighten the margin a little if you want. But overall, rely on the content to impress the hiring manager enough to get the interview.
Writing your first resume can be a challenging process, but these resume tips will help you craft one to get your a great start in the job market. If you can craft a strong, attractive resume that showcases your skills—even if you lack professional experience—you’ll have a better chance of starting your career on the right foot.