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7 Rules to Live by When Creating a Resume for Your First Job

7 Rules to Live by When Creating a Resume for Your First Job

The after-graduation job hunt is exciting.

But it can also be challenging.

It takes a lot of time and organization on your part not only to interview for jobs, but to put together a killer resume that HR recruiters will love.

Today’s candidate pools are large. When you apply for an entry-level position, it’s easy to get lost in the shuffle.

But, your resume doesn’t have to end up on the bottom of the pile. You are capable of creating an impressive resume that will stand out to recruiters.

If you follow these seven tips, you’re sure to score some interviews, and maybe even land a new job!

Check it out:

1. Include Your Contact Information

First things first:

Never (and I mean never) forget to include your contact info on your resume.

It seems obvious, but you’d be shocked at how many job applicants forget to write their information at the top of the sheet.

I guess some people get so caught up in listing their credentials that they forget the most important part. But, it doesn’t matter how qualified you are if your recruiter can’t get in touch with you!

Don’t be one of those people who does this. It’s easy to type your name, address, phone number, and email address.

And just a tip:

If your email is something like, you might want to change it. An address like that doesn’t look very professional. Recruiters might think you’re still in high school!

Instead, create a simple, straightforward email address that includes your name or initials. Using a professional email on your resume will make you a stronger looking candidate.

2. Select the Right Resume Style 

There are three main types of resumes: functional, chronological, and combination. 

Chronological resumes are the most common types. These are documents that list your work experiences in order from most recent to least recent.

Since you’re job hunting for the first time (and thus have little or no experience), a chronological resume probably wouldn’t work well.

A functional resume could be a better option for you. This is a resume where you list all of your relevant skills, along with work experiences that illustrate how you’ve used those skills.

For example:

If you’re applying for graphic design jobs, you might list Adobe Photoshop as a skill. Underneath, you’ll list some of your Photoshop-related accomplishments.

Usually, you’d include paid jobs. But if you’re applying for your first job, you probably don’t have a lot of work to list. Instead, you can list college courses and internships.

Typically, I recommend that new job seekers use a combination resume, which combines both job experience and skills. This format allows you to showcase your experience (part-time jobs, internships, and academic achievements) while calling attention to specific skills.

3. Keep It to One Page

This is a big deal. After all, no hiring manager wants an encyclopedia-sized resume dumped on their desk.

One page is considered best practice and should be sufficient, especially for students and recent graduates.

If you happen to have a lot of experience to list, think of ways to make it concise. And don’t shrink the text down to 8-point font just fit it all on the page. Even though one page is better doesn’t mean you have to cram everything in.

Focus on your skills, background, and experience. As long as you present a good summary of yourself, you should be able to impress a recruiter in fewer than 500 words.

4. Use Strong Action Words 

For your resume to stand out to employers, it needs to grab their attention. So DON’T PUT THEM TO SLEEP!

Make sure to use strong, vibrant language when describing your work experience. You want to paint a mental image in their mind of who you are, what you’ve achieved, and what you’re capable of doing.

For example:

If you were the President of your yearbook club in high school, you could simply describe your experience like this:

President, Springfield High School Yearbook Club

-Ran the yearbook club for my high school

OR, you could punch it up and describe it like this:

President, Springfield High School Yearbook Club

-Oversaw the production of Springfield High’s 2017 Yearbook

-Organized writers, photographers, and designers to ensure all deadlines were met

-Mentored younger club members to prepare them for next year’s production.

See what I mean? The second version is far more powerful and professional. By using action words like oversaw, organized, and mentored, you’ll persuade recruiters to take a second look at your resume.

Bonus Tip: Get Familiar with Your Industry’s Jargon

Make sure you’re well versed in industry jargon so you can sprinkle in specific keywords throughout your job descriptions.

Being familiar with industry phrases will show hirers that you’ve done your research and you’re knowledgeable about the field.

I work in property management, and in my field, we use phrases like broker, amenities, and subsidies. If a job applicant finds a way to work terms like those into their resume, I know they mean business.

5. Keep it Organized 

Researchers say that hiring managers spend around six seconds looking at a resume. 

No pressure there! 

To take advantage of every second, make sure that you organize your resume. This means it should be easy to read, with bolded sections to highlight the important part.

Type each job title in bold font, so the manager can see your past jobs when skimming.

If you utilize a template from Microsoft Word or Apple Pages, everything will look consistent and clear. No need to draft up a complicated document that makes your reviewer feel like they’re solving a crossword puzzle!

6. Send Your Resume as a PDF

What the heck does a PDF have to do with hiring?

Well, it maintains the formatting you worked so hard to put together.

If you send your resume as a Word .doc, for example, you run the risk of messing up your fonts and styling choices. Not all computers can open a Word .doc without breaking it.

But PDFs look the same on every computer. If you send one to your hiring manager, you can be sure that they’ll see the document exactly as you intended them to. Your formatting will stay the same, and you won’t have to worry about it turning into an unreadable format (it’s rare, but it happens).

7. Update Your Social Media Accounts 

Nowadays, it’s pretty common for employers to look you up on social media. Even if you don’t include your social handles on your actual resume, they might take it upon themselves to search for you.

This can provide valuable info about who exactly they’re hiring.

So if you’re worried that there might be some embarrassing photos on your Instagram or Facebook, set your account to private. If you’d rather them stay public, give your accounts a good review and scrub anything that you wouldn’t want a potential employer to see.

And when it comes to LinkedIn, include a link on your resume. It’s in your best interest. Even if you don’t get the job, the hiring manager may send you a Connection Request.

It’s a great way to network!

If you do include a link, make sure the credentials (job titles, descriptions, etc.) listed on your LinkedIn page align with the info on your resume.

See, that wasn’t too hard, was it? 

Now that you have all the skills and secrets necessary to put together an impressive resume, it’s time to apply what you’ve learned. 

You may not get your dream job overnight, but a compelling resume will certainly improve your chances.

And remember, it’s vital to refresh your resume once in a while, even if you find a job you love. There may come a time when you decide to hunt for a new job. If that time should come, you’ll need a stellar resume ready to go. 

For now, these tips are a good place to start. Get ready to embrace the employment world because you can handle anything!

About the Author

Josha Kuykenall

Joshua Kuykendall is the Business Manager for the Parq at Iliff Station community. He loves financial reporting, and thrives off the challenges of managing a large community. Joshua is passionate about team growth and encouraging all to take customer service to the next level.

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