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Where to begin?
Research is the crux of creating the perfect first resume for your first job. You will want to cover all bases so that you don't have anything left for later. We are going to do a deep dive of what to cover and take care of, so hold on to you seats, put on your seat belts and let's understand how to write a great first resume.
When you are going in to the job market for the first time it would be wise to conduct research about it. You can hop on to the internet and visit websites like LinkedIn, Monster.com, Indeed, Glassdoor and many more that will provide you with information about the market, what sort of jobs are available, what kind of companies are hiring, the hiring managers, the roles, similar job prospects and even employees and ex-employees with their reviews.
Research on job market will give you the understanding of how much demand exists and what is the supply of labour in the market. If you're fresh out of college or about to graduate you would want to know the worth of your degree and your demand in the course you did, so you will approach those who already exist in that job market, your seniors, your faculty members to understand whether demand for your skills exist or not. You will get the understanding and then you will proceed with what is required.
While you are researching about the job market you will come across various job descriptions as well, mostly on the internet and the websites we stated earlier, however, when you will be speaking to people as well you will come across language and requirements through their mouth as they speak about the roles that are available.
Job descriptions that you will search will mostly contain what all you are expected to do, however, some companies will have more that what is required and will have a similar pay structure. some companies will only require you to do what is stated. There will be various job descriptions in the market, so you will have to choose which one is the best and what needs suit you. So therefore, keep in mind what your expectations of the job requirements are when you have gone through a few and how much are you willing to negotiate and compromise.
Introspection before you start writing your first resume is one of the most important things you need to do. Introspection requires you to assess your self thoroughly. What ever you have done in your like and what you think from your standpoint will help your first resume and your case, you shall put it down.
As a fresher you may not have any relevant work experience, however, you may have developed some skills and even done a few internships, or done projects and probably been part of clubs or committees, that can help you. So make a list of all of these activities, then elaborate on them, by expressing the contribution from your end, and then elaborate on how you grew and what skills you gained from them.
This exercise of introspection will allow you to create a pseudo resume on your own which can then be put in to a format or template.
Company research is also very relevant and essential to resume writing. The companies that you will be looking forward to applying and are on your prospective list will need to be review thoroughly. What this means is that you need to go to their website, understand the company through the about us section, read their mission and vision statement, gain perspective on how they treat their employees.
You can learn more about the company on sources like LinkedIn, and Glassdoor where you can interact with existing employees and ex-employees and read up reviews about the company. Here you can understand whether the company is a good fit for you, whether the skills you possess will be put to correct use and you can grow as an individual too.
While you are now ready to create your resume you still need to learn how to leverage what you have already learnt, and what you already possess. The way you can go about doing is customising the resume for the company you will be applying. So when you have done your company research and introspection, you already have the tools, now you need the platform.
While creating the resume, use the language and words used by the company in your resume to portray your skills and experiences. Secondly, you should use the phrases and even align your objective in the way the company has given is mission and vision statement. These are some ways in which you can customise your resume and tailor it to the company you are applying. The benefits of doing so is that the hiring managers will witness the efforts of customisation by having a sense of familiarity from your resume and your candidature.
When you are done creating the resume through the points we have explained to you previously, you need to lastly proof read your resume. Go on the internet and research about the ways of proof reading. There are a few ways in which we can help you navigate this, first is by giving your resume to your friends and see what they are readings making sense and what you wanted to highlight is coming across or not.
Then you can put your resume through grammar checks online and see if your grammar, punctuation, spellings etc are correct or not.
There are essentially 3 formats; Functional, Reverse chronological order, and Combination type. We will explain to you each of them however, what we will give you guidance over is the functional type resume as that is best suited to candidates that are applying to their first jobs.
Functional Resume Format
The functional resume format type is for people who are getting in to the work force for the first time, the are trying to navigate the professional world for the first time. Secondly it is for those people also who are shifting their jobs from another field, and have experience however, neither their experience or skills are transferable to the job or role they are currently applying to.
Lets try to understand what the functional resume format is. The format focuses heavily on the skills of the person and not their experience. Thats why the skills section sits above the experience section. In your skills section you can choose to separate it through hard and soft skills. You shall only have a couple of skills so that you can expand on them through examples and experiences. Perhaps the 6 skills that you are the most confident about you have an experience to share which is not your job but perhaps where you expressed that skill to the best of its abilities.
Secondly in this type of resume you shall focus on your education section as well, which can go before your skills section too. Your education shall be in reverse chronological order where the hight academic qualification you possess shall come first and then then it should follow to the second highest, so on and so forth.
The functional resume format highlights the key personality traits of the person without relying on the experiences too much. So even as a fresher or a first time job applicant, you have a few experiences on your hands then you can choose to put them towards the end of the resume and highlight using action verbs and key words if you have anything that is significant to the job or the role you will be applying to.
Reverse Chronological Format
The name of this type of format gives it away, the reverse chronological format has everything into the reverse order. However, in this type of format the first and foremost thing to keep in mind is that your experience section has the highest priority, then your skills and education, or any other section you choose to put in your resume.
This type of format is not relevant for you if you are applying to your first ever job, since you do not possess and work experience, however, for reference we will share with you some of its characteristics, to keep you better prepared in the future.
The format follows the guideline of contact information, resume summary, experience, projects (optional), education, skills, certifications (optional), hobbies.
As the chronology of the sections follow, you can see the priority sits with experience, and even within it you need to put your job that you did latest, first and then the second last job, so on and so forth.
Combination Resume Format
The combination resume format is also called the hybrid resume format. The hybrid resume format takes the characteristics of both the functional and reverse chronological type format. This type of format is most widely used format in the world.
So the person can choose to put their skills section first, and then put their experience section below it or visa versa, depending on where they are applying to their role in the previous organisation, their level of experience and are they shifting to a new role or not. There are multiple factors however, in a combination type format the writer of the resume can play around with the sections as per what they think will get them the most eyes from the hiring managers.
The section will give some juicy tips on how to keep your resume neat and clean and how to avoid silly formatting mistakes. Lets start of by telling you that our website has hundreds of ready made templates for your use and if you feel like it is the perfect one then just select it and make it yours.
Now lets dive in to how to improve the template you are using. Firstly, when you are using any template you need to keep in mind that the separation between each section is equalised and is consistent. You will hear the word 'consistent' a lot during this section, but that is because the formatting of a resume needs to be consistent.
Secondly when you have made sure that your spacing between section is consistent, lets make sure that the font size and the font used for your pointers, headers sub headers are also consistent. Please keep in mind to use one type of font for the entire resume, and have its variations of headers and paragraph types to introduce levels.
Moving on, the margins of the resume from the top and bottom, and from the left and right side shall also be consistent, so that when the hiring manager reads it feels formal. The next thing to keep in mind is the spacing between the lines. The spacing between should not be so less that you fit in a curriculum vitae in a resume. You need to make your resume legible therefore keep a spacing that is 1 as per a work document to make it legible enough.
Writing a resume as a fresher
The skills section as previously explained will be the most vital for you. The skills can be divided into hard and soft skills. Hard skills are those that are tangible in nature, which means you have learned some tool or software, or a skill that you can physically prove. On the other hand soft skills are those that are not tangible in nature, they can't be shown as proof but you can possess them.
The way soft skills are shown are through experiences and references that can validate it, for example, if you wish to put a leadership skill on your resume you shall have some experience of leading an event, committee, organisation in your college and proof of certificate, an email from the faculty or something to show for it.
The skills section will hold the most importance in your resume, so as per the introspection you did and the points your created you need to start expanding on them when you put your skills here. Pick a handful of skills you are confident with, and write under each of them where you used them, and how you gained them. You need not write whole paragraphs, however, you need to write them in pointers, like how all resumes should be written, reading a paragraph is more straining than reading single points.
Now to keep one more thing in mind, when you are writing your points, use key words and actions verbs and most importantly you should quantify what ever you can quantify. The skill such as leadership can also be quantified by saying you led a team of 50 students, and organised an even of 500 people with a team of 50 students. Quantifying your skills can make your resume 10x better than the next fresher.
While you are a fresher and while the article has already touched upon this point indirectly, lets address it directly as well. Extra curricular and co-curricular activities if you are doing or done, and not yet started then shall do so that your resume will have points to show to the hiring manager.
The Hiring managers know that they are hiring freshers, now the reason why freshers are hired because the minds of freshers are the most malleable amongst the other workforce, it is easy to impart knowledge, and teach them the ways of the company, they are also eager to prove their worth and therefore will take up more responsibilities, and finally freshers if they stay long with the company become assets to do the same for future employees to join.
Now extra curricular activities like being part of some committees, or clubs, or internships, taking on projects with the faculty, or being part of some NGO are things that will add value to your resume since you do not have any experience. Secondly, these activities actually build personality, as you are taking up responsibilities, and performing tasks that may not add much significant value to the world but doing so gives you skills which can be directly or indirectly translated to the real world.
For example you are fresher with a computer programming degree, and you were part of the coding club of which you were also the founder and the leader for 3 years. Now you may have done loads of programming, learned new programming softwares, participated in competitions and so much more which did not add to the GDP of the nation but it gave your hard and soft skills which the company will look for in a candidate.
There can be instances of you doing co-curricular activities as well. These activities are more academic oriented, which means that you can pick up academic projects with your faculty, or conduct some research on your own which can add value to your education or otherwise, or you participate in competitions which are related to your education and you have gained some recognition there.
There are a lot of these events and activities one can be a part of, and if you have some of them with you then your fresher resume will not look empty. Therefore, if you are thinking of preparing your fresher resume and there is still time to do any of these activities then please do them and gain some brownie points apart form your academic records.
First job resume sample
In this part of the resume you need to elaborate your personal information as below:
Full Name: Mention your full name as per your government identifications
Mobile Number: The mobile number you provide shall be at you at all times in case the hiring managers are trying to reach you
Email Address: The email address you provide over here shall be professional one and not your personal one, if you don't have one then please create it
Personal Address: Your personal home address is optional and even if you do choose to give it then you can shorten it, with just your area and the area code
LinkedIn Profile: Before putting your profile link here, please update it thoroughly
Resume summary is also called resume objective. This section is a precursor to your complete resume, and is a short summary of you. It should be between 2-4 sentences long and 3-5 lines long. The resume summary includes any key experience or project you have undergone which has had a significant impact on you and has given you some skills and growth and which has also allowed you to give back through your skills the performance that was required.
The resume summary also consists some key achievement or recognition, and since you a fresher it could be winging any competition in the university, or being recognised for some contribution to the club or committee, or it could also be an academic recognition/ achievement. The achievement is subjective and which something you believe is of significance.
The resume summary is a very crisp version of your cover letter, and which you have already made can be shortened to make the most impact. However, if you have not then you can follow the article to the end and we will give you the guide on how to make the cover letter too.
Since you are a fresher you need to put all your academic qualifications i.e., your degrees, diplomas, or chartered holdings here in the reverse chronological order. Which means the highest qualification first which will ideally will also be your latest and then following the second hight academic qualification and so on and so forth.
The name of the degree as per your institutions certificate you received on your graduation.
the name of you institution i.e., name of your college and/or university as per the certificate on your educational qualification completion
Location and Date:
The location of your institution can be the area or state it was in. The date shall be represented in 'month-year' or 'year' in 'from-to' format.
Since you are a fresher who is fresh out of college or any academic institution then your GPA - grade point average will have significance. Therefore, you shall put it under each of these academic qualifications
The skills that we are providing here can be picked up by you to put on your resume. You can also take it a as guide to develop some of them as you deem fit. The skills here can also be used as key words that can help you get through the ATS - Applicant tracking system.
As previously explained, capture any few skills that you are confident with and are comfortable to put it on your resume even if you are still developing it, and have a few lines and pointers to explain them.
📌List of relevant skills for your first job resume:
- critical thinking
- social media marketing
- project management
- technical skills
- technical knowledge
- organizational skills
- time management
- valuable skills
- hard and soft skills
- hard skills
- key skills
- academic achievements
- transferable skills
As a fresher we understand that you will not have any significant experience. By experience we mean any jobs you might have been associated with. However, even if you have done some internships, some projects, any freelancing then this can all come under the experience section. List them down and their description as we guide you.
Job title and Company:
Mention the name of the company you interned in, or did the freelance project with or even if you held some form of job if not full time here
Dates of Experience:
The formats of the dates of your experience shall be 'month-year' or just 'year' in 'from-to' format
The description shall be in pointers and not in paragraphs. The description shall include what you did as per the job description you might have received, the contract of the freelance project, or any academic project guidelines. Be very concise in the way you put your points here so that the hiring manager does not lose interest in your candidature.
The achievement or recognition can be whatever you contributed to as part of that experience, some value that you added to where you were present and that aided in something being done more efficiently and easily.
There need not be any achievement in the experience section since we understand you are a fresher, but if there is then put it as so that you can glorify your resume and the hiring manager is impressed. Another reason to put achievement is so that you can quantify it, and the use of numbers will pop out on you resume.
Key words are the lifeline of any resume before it even gets to the hands of the hiring manager, and when it does it becomes crucial. When key words are put in the resume, it is to first catch the Applicant Tracking System, which allows you to clear the first screening test all companies do to removed maximum people from the applicant process.
You need to use the correct key words, and not the generic ones, or the most used ones which will get you rejected. Therefore, please use the key words we have provided you with to get the maximum traction in your application process.
📌List of relevant keywords for your first job resume:
- high school student resume
- soft skills
- job description
- resume objective
- relevant skills
- first job
- high school student
- skills section
- relevant experience
- volunteer work
- transferable skills
- relevant coursework
- extracurricular activities
- job experience
- professional job
- hard skills
- dream job
- volunteer experience
- cover letter
- education section
- no experience resume
- community activities
- organizational skills
- job ad
- highlight skills
- particular position
- professional summary
- college student
- school projects
- casual jobs
- relevant aspects
- high school students
- multiple projects
- relevant details
- group project
- recent graduate
- academic honors
- professional experience
- first job resume
The cover letter is where you express your personality and your career in a narrative format or rather an essay about your self. The narrative you weave gives you the flexibility to express your achievements, your experiences in a more wholistic manner rather than pointers like that in a resume. Although a cover letter is not a substitute to the resume it is to be complimentary in nature. Therefore, whatever you express in your cover letter can be corroborated with more facts in the resume.
The cover letter follows a few set of guidelines as follows:
Header: The header contains your contact information as mentioned in the resume too
Salutation: It is how you refer to the hiring managers i.e., 'Dear hiring manager' or 'Respected hiring manager' etc
Introduction: It is where you express the desire to be hired by the company you are applying to
Main Body: This section contains the key experiences you have had in your university life or school life that has added value to you. You will also mention the key achievements you have garnered too.
Conclusion: Here is where you mention your desire of getting hired once more and conclude it with your enthusiasm.
Closing: The closing would be how you end the letter i.e., 'Regards your name' or 'Sincerely' etc.
As a fresher candidate you need not mention any references, however, if you have had a few experiences of freelancing, or internship where you thing your reporting managers can attest to your performance then please mention if the hiring manager request them. You can only gain from having references as they will add value to your candidature. You should not have more than 3 references as a key call out.
In conclusion we recommend you use our ready made templates and resume examples from our collection to create your own super resume which we are sure will ace. You can also use our resume builder to create a resume to perfection that give you suggestions like ChatGPT and AI prompts.
We hope that our guides and collection will give you the best guidance to create a perfect resume. We wish you all the very best!
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What should my resume include in the education section for my first job resume?
We suggest you put in all the relevant educational qualifications from institutions and not any certifications that you might have done. Put only degrees/ diplomas/ charters.
How many references should my first job resume have?
We propose to have not more the 3 references, if the previous two fail we hope that the third reference will come around and answer the hiring managers call.
Shall I provide a cover letter with my resume for my first job?
We suggest to keep a cover letter ready, and customised to the companies you will be applying to. Not all companies will have an application process that will ask you to put in your cover letter, however, keeping one ready when one asks it is always good.