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What Should Writing Your First Resume Be Like? Not A Pity Party

Updated: Dec 14, 2023

Fresh out of college or haven't written a resume for many years? It’s a jungle out there, isn’t it? What with the pressure of student loans and the race with your peers to land a job, did you freeze like a deer in the headlights after typing the word ‘Resume’ on your MS Word document? More successful professionals are seeking the help of top rated

It’s hard to know what to put in and what to leave out, isn’t it? Especially considering you don’t have job experience or you have been working for many years. To land a first job or to get back into the workforce, you need some insight to know what potential hiring managers are looking for.

Writing your first resume may feel like trying to light a campfire with found sticks. You never know if you’ll get the fire going by nightfall. Just like it’s hard to know whether your resume will look right to the recruiter.

But don’t get lost in self-pity and procrastinate over your resume! There is an easier way to do this, and it doesn’t involve tearing your hair over the number of resume templates out there.

Let’s take a step-by-step look at writing your first resume. It’s simpler than you think, really.

Stay In The Right Frame Of Mind

First things first, hire a reputable professional resume writing service! You’ll have a much easier time with resume writing if you start by managing your expectations. Let’s face it. The job market is competitive. People with better credentials and more experience may be applying for the same job as you. But don’t let this discourage you. Let it push you harder and improve your marketable skills. A top rated resume company will know how to write a powerful and engaging resume that lands interviews.

If you attempt to write your own resume, it might seem easier said than done in the beginning. But we promise you, and it gets better with time. As you write and rewrite your resume and apply to more jobs (and don’t receive offers), you learn a lot. You’ve got to roll with the process and not fall into self-pity.

And the following advice applies not just to writing your resume but to everything from now onwards: manage your mental health. The school was the easy part. Now you’ll need to do what you have to in order to stay positive and determined. This means learning to manage your stress along with your expectations, eating right, sleeping well, and working out. If you get this right, you’ll be fine through your job search.

Start At The Job Boards & Tackle The Ai

If reviewing your own (seemingly insubstantial) history fills you with dread, start at the job board first. You’ll want to tailor your resume according to the job description. This is important because recruiters these days use an applicant tracking system (ATS) to filter resumes that match the job descriptions.

The ATS makes things slightly easier for you. Your first hurdle isn’t an overworked recruiter having a bad day. It’s an AI looking for keywords that match what it’s been fed by the recruiter.

You’ve got to find these keywords on the job posting and include it on your resume. Doesn’t this make things seem easier?

When you’re looking through the job posting, look out for keywords related to:

Hard skills – these skills have to do with carrying out the job role as described.

Soft skills – personality traits and attributes the recruiter are looking for.

Remember: the candidate described on the job posting is the ideal candidate. If you can get as many of the keywords from the posting as possible into your resume, you’re more likely to get noticed for the next stage of interviews.

Now Go Back To Your Relevant Experiences

The operative word here is ‘relevant’. You may not have any job experience as a graphic designer. But if you’re choosing this profession, there is likely to be some relevant experience that you have. Maybe you interned at a design company, where you learned valuable lessons participating in an advertising campaign.

Or maybe you didn’t go to design school. Maybe you have a successful social media channel. Maybe you’re great with motion graphics or taught yourself Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator (and are constantly learning). Maybe you’ve got a portfolio to show for it.

Whatever your history, recruiters are more interested in how it ties in with their needs rather than what you’ve done. Dig into your life, think of any part-time work or extracurricular activity that could be related to the responsibilities the job describes.

Keep Your Resume Short & Sweet

A single page is all you need for your resume, especially as a fresher or if you've been working at the same company for the past 10-15 years. No recruiter is going to want to sift through three pages of information when others are presenting on one page. This means sticking only to the utmost relevant information.

Format Your Resume Professionally

You could technically write your resume in any format (unless specifically mentioned), but a professional-looking format will be:

  • Easy to read. Typical fonts used by professional resume writers are Cambria, Calibri, and Helvetica. These fonts are easy to read.

  • Keep the size between 11 and 14. Anything smaller or larger will look unprofessional.

  • Don’t make your bullet lists so long they look like a checklist. Keep the bullets to six in number.

  • Keep a 1-inch margin around the page.

  • Justify or left-align the resume.

Take Pains With Your Career Objective

The opening statement or two will tell recruiters two things:

  • Who you are as a person, whether or not you match the company.

  • What kind of job you’re looking for.

Example of a bland career objective for an MBA graduate:

An MBA graduate is looking for a career in a professional organization.

Example of a better career objective:

To explore my core strengths and experience in the field of sales for the growth of the organization and to maintain a good relationship with individuals and groups for organizational development and continued success.

Highlight Your Skills And Abilities Over Experience

The functional format lets you put your capabilities first before your limited experience.

The format is typical:

  • Header

  • Objective

  • Abilities & skills work experience.

  • Your education

  • Interests

In the Abilities and Skills section, be sure to highlight the relevant skills. For example, if you’re in the graphic design format, include skills like:

  • Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign

  • UI/UX

  • HTML

  • Motion design

You can include any certifications or education that’s relevant.

Who Are You Writing Your Resume For?

All through the process, don’t forget you’re writing your resume for an organization. Research the company, check out their products, values, leaders, history, achievements, etc. Find out what you need to about the job posting.

Then look over your resume and see that your skills and abilities, achievements, and objectives align with the company and its requirements.

Use Metrics For Your Achievements

Make sure to not generalize your achievements but use metrics to describe them. For instance, if you took your social media platform from 10 to 30,000 subscribers in a month, but that in (as long as it’s relevant).

Also, if you scored well at college, list your GPA because employers are interested in academic achievements. This is especially important if you have studied abroad.

Use Positive Words

We are primed to respond more positively to positive, powerful language. So, you’re likely to make a better impression with your resume if you use words like improved, resolved, achieved, created, managed, generated, overhauled, initiated, etc.

The Bottom Line

At the end of the day, writing your resume is an art. You can develop the skills to write it better. But there is a tried and tested format that will make your resume more attractive. All you need to do is to brace yourself and go for it. If you need more help, you could always turn to a professional resume writer to help you out. Those who write resumes for other people know tricks and strategies that can make a difference.

If you need resume help, DoMyResume.NET is available. We have been writing resumes for 35 years, and we understand what hiring managers are looking for and how to tell a story that conveys everything you bring to the table. Contact us for more information about our resume review, resume writing, career coaching and other career services. 

Currently the #1 Rated Career Services Company in the Southwest:


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