How to Write a Great First Resume

2019, Resume Writing

With a lot of youngsters graduating high school just now, not everyone is heading into further education. Some of you may be contemplating heading straight into work. Leaping into the job market can be a very scary thing, particularly if you do not have any work experience. Looking at job ads, you are constantly seeing requests for resumes, previous work experience, qualifications, and more. So, if you are a student or a first-time job hunter, these expectations can be a bit overwhelming and make you feel unqualified for many positions that are out there. However, it is really quite simple to write a solid resume, even if you do not have much or any past job experience. 

First of all, you need to consider the reason for a resume. What is its purpose? To get you a job? Well, that IS the indirect result of its purpose. The real purpose of your resume is to land you the interview that will get you the job. A resume is critical in the job-seeking process. It communicates to hiring managers and recruiters how suitable a person is for a particular job. Writing a persuasive one can improve your chances of getting shortlisted for that all-important discussion with the HR Manager. When writing a resume, it is important to remember a few essential points.

How to write a great first resume

No Jobs? No Problem

When writing your first resume, optimising is important, especially in technical fields. Having SEO (search engine optimisation) on your skills may be helpful since keywords are crucial to recruiters. Resumes sent in electronic format, are sometimes reviewed using Applicant Tracking Systems. ATS is essentially an online software application that accepts and stores information that job candidates input. It is designed specifically for recruitment tracking purposes. Once collected, the data provided by candidates for each position may be easily reviewed by the employer and others involved in the hiring process. The ATS can sift through the applications and help hiring companies determine which candidates may be the most suitable for a given position based on a selection of criteria set by that employer.

It is worth understanding that an ATS is programmed to scan for keywords, as well as other information such as volunteer experience, universities, and qualifications. They categorise candidates automatically in order of potential interest for the recruiter. An ATS may reject more than half the resumes they scan.

Candidates are quickly narrowed down when recruiters enter in specific qualifying search terms. If you do not have the right keyword for situations like these, you may miss out even if you are highly suited to the job.

Education, Volunteer Work, and Community Engagement

Without experience, your education is the next best thing to on-the-job or formal job training. List high school, college or other job-related coursework you have completed at the top of your resume. If you are still currently in school, list your education or certifications as ‘pending completion.’ Be sure to include awards or special achievements.

Life is full of experiences — it’s just that we don’t get paid for some of them. A great first resume isn’t just about paid positions. Include volunteer and community projects you’ve worked on over the years. Team experience is also valuable to demonstrate you can work well with others. Be sure to highlight any leadership positions you’ve had with your experiences. If you do not have any experience to offer yet, volunteer now in some capacity to add it to your resume as current activity. Not only will you gain valuable experience, but you may also meet prospective employers within those networks.

All of these qualities are soft skills, and these are highly valued, especially if you have no work experience to show as yet. So, what are soft skills? Soft skills are about who you are, rather than what you know, or what roles you may or may not have had. As such, soft skills cover traits that decide how you interact with others and are usually part of your personality. Soft skills are becoming more important to employers when choosing between applicants with similar limited experience and education. Whether its team spirit, communication skills, or being a quick thinker, expressing and demonstrating the right soft skills can make hopeful candidates stand out from the crowd. This can be a tricky quality to properly get down on a resume. In a cut-throat hiring environment, employers are looking for soft skills to establish the most suitable people for the role. While industry-based and experience-specific skills still very much have a place in the mind of a hiring manager, soft skills give candidates an edge and show potential employers the social and cultural benefits they would also bring to their new role and company.

A great first resumecan get you interviews

Don’t Feel You Need to Adhere to Standard Formatting

When writing your first resume, you may Google to see what the right format and length is. Whilst you should work with a template to get started, you will need to tailor your resume according to each job for which you apply, unless, of course, they are all very similar. But quite often, new members of the workforce apply to a wide range of jobs. In this situation, you should review your resume each time, and give more space to experiences and qualifications depending on what the requirements are of the job for which you are applying.


The final step before submitting any kind of job application is to proofread it. Read it through yourself, send it to a friend to read, do whatever it takes to confirm that your resume is error-free. 

Nothing will discount you from consideration for a job faster than glaring grammar errors.

With a great first resume in place, all you need to find a great first job is a little luck and perseverance!

Are you seeking a professional resume writing service? Select Resumes can provide this service to you at the highest standard. Select Resumes also offers dedicated selection criteria writers to give you the help that you need for even the most complex government job applications. Once you have secured your interview, talk to us about our experienced and passionate interview skills coaches so that you can feel more confident at your next job interview.