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Journey to Landing Your First Job Part 1: Making Your Resume

Landing your first job can be daunting, but it’s not as difficult as you might think. And the very first step to getting there is making an impressive resume, which most people often struggle with. Luckily, we can help!

Drafting a great CV is not that hard, provided that you know what to do. Even if you don’t have any formal experience, you can still leave a lasting impression on the hiring manager with just your resume. Stick around till the end to find out how! 

Elements of a great resume

To make an impressive CV for your very first job, you need to add a few important elements. These include:

A resume header

The very first thing you need is a resume header, which will let employees know your name as well as your contact details at just a glance. The more prominent it is, the better so that they can easily reach out to you if they want to interview you. 

As the name suggests, the header should be right at the top of the resume. According to most people, it should be left-aligned or present in the center, but that really depends on the template you’re using.

Here’s an example of a good header:

Resume template taken from Jobxee's mobile app
Template taken from Jobxee

Ideally, your resume header should contain the following:

  • Your first and last name preferably in bold to make it clear (if not bold, then the text size should be at least bigger than the rest of the CV)
  • Your updated contact information, including your phone number and email
  • Your LinkedIn or Twitter profile to show professionals that you’re present on different social media sites and don’t have anything to hide 
  • Any other important links you’d like to mention such as a link to your portfolio if you’re a designer or a website if you’re a blogger

Since you want to show your professional side, avoid linking to your personal accounts on apps like TikTok, Instagram or Snapchat. These are most likely unrelated to the job and will only eat up valuable space on your resume. 

And if you want to further stand out from others, you can incorporate subtle elements in the header like your name and contact information enclosed in a box or a different color for the name. 

Resume objective 

The purpose of a resume objective is to briefly introduce yourself to the recruiter. In just a couple of sentences, you need to tell them your professional goals and why you like the position you’re applying for. So, in essence, your CV objective should include your:

  • Skills
  • Role you’re applying for
  • Training and education
  • Relevant experience, if any (this can also be an accomplishment at school as long as it’s related to the job in some way)

Since it’s your very first job resume, you should keep in mind the company’s needs when writing the objective. Instead of just writing about what you hope to achieve from that position, try to demonstrate how your goals also align with theirs. 

Skills   

Since this is your first job, you need something that highlights your life experience and skills to make up for your lack of experience. This is where the functional resume format comes in. In this format, the work experience section that’s typically present in a chronological resume is replaced by the skills section. 

For this section, you need to choose at least 3 skills that are highly relevant to the job you’re looking to apply for. Think about all the skills, both hard and soft, that you’ve gotten from sports, clubs, classes, projects, etc. Then, come up with a couple of bullet points depicting how you used those skills. 

Soft skills are basically personality traits that are quite valued today and make you stand out from others. These include public speaking, critical thinking, and people skills. Meanwhile, hard skills refer to things you learned in school or from experience, such as Photoshop, programming, or Microsoft Office.

Note: When writing skills, be short and concise – you don’t want to go overboard and have just the skills eat up valuable space. Ideally, your resume should be one-page long. This is because recruiters have to go through hundreds of resumes and a concise, to-the-point resume saves their time while giving them all the important information that they need to know.

Coursework & education

For your first CV, the education section is pretty important. Some achievements from school that you can highlight in your resume include publications, coursework, certifications, academic accomplishments, and additional projects.

So for instance, if you’re a college freshman, make sure you mention a class you’ve taken (like computer science) that’s related to the role you’re applying for (like software development). Adding relevant coursework on the resume proves that you have the educational qualification needed to join the field.

Don’t forget to add in honors and awards you received to show that you’re a fast learner, ambitious, and an active student. 

Many people also mention GPA on their CV, but that’s really up to you. If you have a good GPA (3.5+), then you can mention it, but if it’s not that great, you don’t need to add it. In some cases, your employer might ask for it, so make sure you follow their instructions. 

Non-work experience 

Other things like extracurricular activities, volunteer work, and internships make your resume more impressive, but you have to be careful about what you mention – you need to choose experiences relevant to the job. 

By adding internships to your resume, you demonstrate that you have the capability of working in a professional environment and have practical experience in your field. It also gives you the chance to take responsibility for projects and fill up the work experience section on the resume with important information, which is pretty hard to do when you barely have any work experience.

Similarly, volunteer work shows that you have some practical experience and is something to talk about during interviews. Even if the volunteer work you’ve done is unrelated to the role you’re applying for, most skills are transferable, like time management and communication. 

And finally, extracurriculars give employers an idea of who you are as a person and the way you spend your time. It also allows you to demonstrate some of your best skills. For instance, if you were the leader of your college’s football team, you can add leadership skills to your CV.

Correct margins and fonts 

Formatting the resume in the right way can show hiring managers that you’re a pro even if you don’t have work experience. The right font also helps with readability. Ideally, you should opt for a standard resume font like Arial or Times New Roman. The size should be somewhere around 10-12 to keep things neat and ensure that employers can read without any problems.

As for margins, 1” should be sufficient to evenly space out your information throughout the page. But if you’re short on space, you can change it a bit and keep it somewhere between 0.5 and 1”. 

It is true, though, that formatting a CV can be tricky with spacing going all wacky if you try moving things around. The best way to deal with this problem is to use a CV maker app like Jobxee. Jobxee has a bunch of pre-formatted templates available and once you download the app, all you really have to do is choose the one you like best, enter your information, and the app will take care of the rest.

Make your work easy

If you’re running short of time or just want to make things easier for yourself, you could use a CC builder like Jobxee to make your resume. It only takes a few minutes and once you answer a few questions about your skills, experience, and education, you can get an updated, professionally formatted resume that can help you with your job!

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