How to Write a Resume for the First Time: Simple Guide for College Students and Graduates [Example Included]

how to write a resume for the first time

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Stepping into the job market is no easy task as a recent college graduate, especially with having no job experience related to your profession. Crafting an exceptional resume becomes 50x more stressful because of the lack of experience. But do your best to not worry! That’s why we wrote How to Write a Resume for the First Time AND created an example! 🙂 It is to help you as a college student or graduate, young professional, working adult, to create an exceptional resume with what you already have working for you.

WITH THAT SAID, HERE IS HOW TO WRITE A RESUME FOR THE FIRST TIME: A SIMPLE GUIDE FOR COLLEGE STUDENTS AND GRADUATES!

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HOW TO WRITE A RESUME FOR THE FIRST TIME

How to Write a Resume For the First Time Step 1

Start with the Basics: The Format

Why It’s Important: Your format dictates how easy your resume is to read. If a hiring manager can’t find what they’re looking for quickly, they might just move on. Which you do not want happening to you! So, ensure to follow these tips:

Tips:

  • Use clear headings, consistent fonts (one-two: headings, body), and bullet points.
  • If writing paragraphs, do not write more than 3-4 sentences.
  • Avoid fancy designs unless you’re in a creative field.
  • Tools like Microsoft Word and Google Docs have beginner-friendly templates to get you started!
  • Stick to a one page resume (since this may be your first job). Only have multiple pages if you have an extensive employment history that is related to the job you’re applying for. Surely there are many other applicants, so condensing to one page, prioritizing the most important points, will be more in your favor.

How to Write a Resume For the First Time Step 2

Your Contact Information

It sounds pretty obvious, but ensuring your contact information is clear and up-to-date is incredibly important! This should be at the very top of your resume and include:

  • Your full name (larger font than the rest)
  • Phone number
  • Professional email address (preferably firstname.lastname@gmail.com or a variation)
  • LinkedIn profile link, website link or primary social media account (if you have one)
  • Home address OR city, state (optional nowadays, but can be included)

How to Write a Resume For the First Time Step 3

Objective and/or Summary

Why It’s Important: This is your elevator pitch! In a few sentences, introduce yourself and express your career ambitions. It should be tailored specifically to the job you’re applying for.

Tips:

  • Stay clear and concise.
  • Mention the role you’re aiming for.
  • Provide your main qualifications and how you hope to contribute.

 

Objective Example:

Energetic and goal-oriented Business Administration graduate with a specialization in Digital Marketing seeking an entry-level position at [Company Name]. Experienced at leveraging analytical skills an passionate for modern online marketing strategies to drive business goals and optimize brand presence. Excited to bring a fresh perspective and commitment to your dynamic marketing team.

Summary Example:
Recent Business Administration graduate with a concentration in Digital Marketing from [University Name]. Demonstrates knowledge of SEO/SEM, content creation, and social media marketing during internships and university projects. Recognized for strong analytical skills, creativity, and the ability to understand and tap into emerging online trends. Proficient in tools like Google Analytics, AdWords, and social media platforms. Committed to learning and growing within the fast-paced digital marketing realm.

How to Write a Resume For the First Time Step 4

Highlight Your Education in Detail

Why It’s Important: Writing a resume for the first time, may mean you also have limited job experience. With that said, your academic background will play one of the biggest roles. If you graduated as a valedictorian, summa, magna etc, highlight it! Include your concentration, GPA, cords and more.

Tips:

  • Apart from your degree and college, include relevant courses, projects, and honors.
  • It’s not about listing everything you earned but showcasing what’s relevant to the job.
  • If you went to multiple schools, start from the most recent.

How to Write a Resume For the First Time Step 5

Technical Skills and Soft Skills

Why It’s Important: Breaking down your specific skills will show employers that you’re equipped for the role.

Tips:

  • Technical Skills Examples: Computer Programming, Data Analysis, Digital Marketing, Graphic Design, Foreign Language Proficiency, Machine Operation (relevant to the position).
  • Soft Skills Examples: Communication, Public Speaking, Teamwork, Leadership, Problem-Solving, Adaptability, Time Management, Creativity, Critical Thinking (relevant to the position).
  • Highlight every skill you have that you believe is relevant. You do not have to be an expert in the skills, just ensure you will be able to showcase them if you do get hired.
  • Have examples or contexts in mind where you’ve demonstrated each skill, for future interviews This makes them more convincing and relatable.

How to Write a Resume For the First Time Step 6

Instead of Work Experience, Focus on…

Internships, Extracurricular Activities, Community Service!

Why It’s Important: They offer insights into your character, interests, and work ethic.

Tips: Do you sell printables on Etsy (Graphic Design) Did you captain a sports team (leadership)? Social Media Influencer (Social Media Management)? Organize an event (project management)? There are numerous roles you play that can showcase skills you didn’t know you have. Reflect and highlight them!

Transitioning from college to your career

TIPS FOR COLLEGE TO CAREER TRANSITION

The best tips for your transition from college to career. The professional world can be brutal, so preparing yourself ahead of time is key to success!

How to Write a Resume For the First Time Step 7

Awards, Certifications [if applicable]

Importance: This section vouches for your expertise and achievements. Share academic or external awards you’ve received. Certifications, especially those related to the job you’re applying for, can give you more credibility. Examples could include a Google Analytics Certification for a digital marketing role or a CPR certification for a healthcare position.

Tips: Only include awards and certifications relevant to the job or those that highlight a unique achievement.

Coursera is an amazing educational platform where you can Earn a Certificate for Free! Learn more about and apply for their tuition assistance to see if you are qualified.

How to Write a Resume For the First Time Step 8

Mention Optional Sections

Depending on your experiences and the role you’re seeking, consider adding:

  • Projects: Academic or personal projects.
  • Languages: Are you bilingual or multilingual? This can be a major asset.
  • Hobbies: Only add these if they’re relevant to the job or highlights transferable skills.

How to Write a Resume For the First Time Step 9

Tailor Your Resume for Each Application

Why It’s Important: Each employer has different needs and each may request different things. That is why, ensure Resume optimization, which means to align your resume to a specific job description and a company’s needs.


Tips:

  • Don’t just spray and pray with a generic resume.
  • Adjust your skills and experiences to match what the job posting emphasizes!

STEPS TO ENSURE YOUR RESUME IS EXCEPTIONAL

How to Write a Resume For the First Time Step 10

Crafting the Cover Letter

Why It’s Important: It complements your resume, offering a more personal insight into who you are.


Tips:

  • Start by introducing yourself and stating the position you’re applying for.
  • Mention what excites you about the role and company.
  • Describe why you’re the right fit, referencing a few key parts of your resume.

How to Write a Resume For the First Time Step 11

Review Your Resume before Submitting

This point is a must! 


Why It’s Important: Your resume is the first impression employers have of you. It represents you accurately and professionally. A thorough, error-free resume highlights your attention to detail and professionalism. Even minor mistakes can result in your resume getting discarded, especially when there’s stiff competition for a role.

Tips:

  • Grammar and Spelling: Before anything else, double-check your resume for any grammar or spelling errors. These can make you appear careless or not serious about your application.
  • Consistency: Ensure that your formatting is consistent throughout the resume. This includes fonts, bullet points, and date formats.
  • Read Out Loud: By reading your resume aloud, you might catch phrasing that may sound awkward or redundant.
  • Ask for Feedback: Share your resume with mentors, professors, or peers. They might offer valuable feedback or catch mistakes you might have missed.
  • Check Contact Information: Ensure your contact details are current and correct. An oversight here could mean a missed opportunity if employers can’t reach you.
  • Quantify Achievements: Where possible, include numbers to provide context and showcase the impact of your work. Instead of saying “managed a team,” you could say “led a team of 5 on a project that resulted in a 20% increase in sales.”
  • Use a Professional Email: Preferably using your name is more professional. Avoid informal emails.

 

Before hitting the submit button, take those few extra minutes to review your resume, this will make a huge difference! Your goal is to make it as easy as possible for hiring managers to see that you are qualified and fit for the position.

How to Write a Resume For the First Time Step 12

Prepare References

Importance: Employers often want to hear from third parties about your work ethic, personality, and capabilities. This provides them reassurance in hiring you. Including a well-prepared list of references can significantly boost your chances. Not all employers will request them immediately, but having them ready will showcase your proactivity and thoroughness.

Tips:

  • Prepare at least 3: This is typically the amount most employers request for.
    Always Ask First: Before you list anyone as a reference, ask for their permission. You do not want to list someone who might actually be uncomfortable with being asked questions.
  • Choose Wisely: Pick individuals who closely know your work and character. Professors, internship supervisors, or coaches can be excellent choices for recent graduates.
  • Provide Context: When providing references, include a brief note about how you know the individual. For example: “Dr. Jane Smith, Professor of Biology Oversaw my senior research project.”
  • Stay Current: Keep in touch with your references and let them know the types of jobs you’re applying for so they can tailor their recommendation to best fit the role.
  • Thank Them: It’s a small gesture, but always thank your references for their time and support!

INTERVIEW TIPS

How to Write a Resume For the First Time Step 13

Preparing for the Interview

Preparing for the interview is essential, especially for recent college graduates who might be stepping into their first professional interview. Here’s how you can prepare:


Why It’s Important: An exceptional resume might land you an interview, but excelling in the interview will land you the job. Showcase your personality, answer their questions confidently, speak of your future goals with the company, and show genuine interest in being a part of their team. This will prove you are not only qualified for the position, but also that you intend on accomplishing more than just landing the job.

Tips:

  • Research the Company: Familiarize yourself with the company’s mission, culture, products, and recent news. This will not only help you tailor your answers but also demonstrate your genuine interest in the company.
  • Anticipate Common Questions: Practice your answers to standard questions like, “Tell me about yourself,” “Why do you want this job?” and “Where do you see yourself in five years?”
  • Dress the Part: Wear appropriate attire that matches the company’s culture. When in doubt, it’s better to be slightly overdressed than underdressed.
  • Ask Questions: At the end of the interview, you’ll likely be asked if you have any questions. Always have a few ready! This shows your eagerness and interest in the role and the company. Ask about opportunities the company offers through your position (education assistance, seminars, career development, training etc).
  • Practice Good Body Language: Maintain eye contact, offer a firm handshake, sit up straight, and respond with interest to show you’re actively listening.
  • Prepare Examples: Be ready to discuss times when you’ve demonstrated the skills or qualities the company is looking for. Real-life examples are more compelling than abstract statements.
  • Relax and Be Yourself: While it’s essential to be professional, employers also want to get to know the real you.

 

Entering an interview prepared can significantly boost your confidence. It is important to remember that the interview is as much about getting to know the company as it is them getting to know you. Conduct your research, prepare and practice your responses, and present yourself in the best light possible to ace your interview.

EXAMPLE

How to Write a Resume For the First Time Example

How to Write a Resume for the First Time Example

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This Concludes How to Write a Resume for the First Time: A Simple Guide for College Students and Graduates!

Follow this guide and you will be set to navigate the task of writing your resume for the first time, and submitting them for jobs confidently!

If you are not confident in the job you are applying for, be sure to check out our Guide on Career Planning and Exploration and Best Books that You Can Read for a Successful Career Selection.

Always keep in the forefront of your mind: It’s not about the length of your experience, but the quality of what you bring to the table. You got this, young professionals!

love, Jas Joy

A Simple Guide on How to Write a Resume for the First Time. Perfect for newly college graduates or young professionals with no experience.
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