An Employer’s 3 Tips for Writing a Resume for Your First Job

by on October 15th, 2010
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Writing a resume for your first job can be difficult. You don’t have any work experience and you might still be in school, so you don’t have a degree of any kind. If a resume is supposed to be about all the things you’ve done as a professional, it seems like you need to be a professional to make one.

There’s no need to look at it that way. Writing a resume for your first job will be harder than writing a resume for your second job, but it’s not such a huge task.

I run a small coffee shop, and I see resumes on a monthly basis, if not weekly. Hopefully, this article will help you avoid making some of the common mistakes I see in those resumes.

What information should NOT be included?

Let’s start by eliminating the elements of a resume that are unnecessary.

Many resume templates have an “objective” section, which is pointless for most people applying for a first job. You can leave out the “objective” if your objective is simply to get hired in a paying position.

In my experience, applicants for first time employment have a tendency to identify church affiliation on their resumes. This can work for you in some cases and against you in others. It’s not necessarily a matter of prejudice in either case, but one of self-presentation.

A resume doesn’t ask the question “Who are you, really, as a person?” A resume also does not ask why you want the job (that is the cover letter’s purpose). When writing your first resume you should be answering the employer’s question, “Why should I hire you?”

A good first resume will demonstrate your ability to answer this question with organization and focus. Straying too much into the “who” question will have employers like me skipping to the next resume in the pile.

The real focus of your first resume.

When you think about it, writing a resume for your first job is the first work-related task you will complete for an employer. The finished resume shows an employer what your work will look like if you get hired.

So…make it smart. Make it clean. Make it finished.

I’ve seen resumes with typos and misspellings and I’ve seen resumes by first time applicants that were printed templates saying “RESUME” at the top with all the blank spaces filled in by hand. Those people didn’t get hired.

Make it your own.

Don’t just fill out the first resume template you pull off of the internet and hand it to a prospective employer. You should look at a few example resumes and see which looks most natural to you. Once you pick a style, type out your own document.

Do not fill in the template.

As an employer, when I see a template resume I think, “I’m not going to hire anyone this lazy.” Type out your own resume to make it look more or less like the examples you’ve seen. There are no real rules to what a resume is supposed to look like. Your first resume is also your first chance to enter the working world on your terms.

Being creative might just get you hired. Being genuine will certainly help. Putting in the effort of creating a nice looking, original resume is definitely going to work in your favor.

So, again…make it smart, clean, finished and individual.


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