Now, oftentimes when looking for a job, you need work experience. To gain the work experience you need a job. There is thus a vicious circle of "experience for a job, and job for experience" which is difficult to break sometimes. So, how to properly create a resume to receive your first job offer? Let’s discuss this in the article below.
Generally, a resume goes through several stages of verification before you are invited to a job interview. Among hundreds of resumes, it will firstly go to an HR, then to an interviewer (most often, it is a colleague or a team lead) and so on. In order to successfully walk through these circles of hell and continue to stand among others, you should at least have a well-structured resume that looks professional and presents the information clearly.
So how do you structure a good resume? These are the key sections you should include in your resume:
1.Your full name, headline and contact information
7.Awards/Achievements (Optional – can be included within other sections)
8.Personal attributes desirable for a job (Optional)
9.Hobbies and Interests (Optional)
Don’t worry if there is not too much to write on one of the points. Fortunately, when you apply for a first job your resume should be 1-2 pages long.
By the way, did you know that it is better to send the document file in PDF format? The structure and readability of a resume in another format may be disrupted on another device.
The other important point that might be unobvious is that your resume design is just as important as content. Look over these CV templates to help you format a nice-looking resume. Using a template will make it easier to structure your resume so that you can immediately focus on the content.
Now, let’s look at the sections listed above and figure out how to write each one.
If you specify poor contact information details, or your contacts convey a lack of professionalism, employers most likely will not get in touch with you. Instead, your aim is to make it as easy as possible for an employer or hiring manager to reach you regarding a potential job.
Optionally, specify a resume headline, also called a resume title to highlight and summarize your professional qualifications that are most relevant to the job you’re applying for.
The summary statement also goes at the top of your resume and sums up who you are as a professional. You should write a few brief, concise and meaningful sentences about yourself from a professional context, and your immediate career goals. Make it a couple of sentences long and focus on what you can do for the employer, not what the employer can do for you.
Unlike the resume objective, the summary statement focuses more on the employer's needs, not the needs of the job seeker.
Your professional skills section is one of the most valuable and key information in the resume. It will be carefully analyzed by HRs, interviewers or anyone who will look at your resume before inviting you to an interview. It gives an idea of what kind of knowledge you have right now and how confident you are in your skills. Therefore, it is necessary that you specify only points that you can definitely prove.
Carefully read the employer's job requirements. Match the requirements with your knowledge and write down the complete list of the demanded skills. Then list those of your skills that match the requirements, starting with the strongest ones. Optionally add the others that you think might be useful or relevant for this job.
However, try to omit to specify the skills that are rather obvious. It all depends on the position you’re applying for. For example, having something like “advanced Notepad” user could be considered very funny for the reviewer of your resume, but not so funny for you.
If you don’t have much to write into Work experience section, try to remember everything you have been doing for the past few years. And write it all down on a piece of paper. Mind mapping can help you. Courses, practice, part-time work in the summer, helping friends - remember everything you did and what results it brought. Emphasize experience relevant to the industry and useful for the desired position. Even if there was no commercial experience, please indicate examples of projects you have been working on, for example during your studies, for yourself or on a freelance basis. However, you should indicate only relevant experience. For example, if you were working as an amateur Massage Therapist, it is unlikely to help you get a programmer position.
You should put your employment history in chronological order (most recent first). Write the name of the position, the company name and the period of your work there. Keep this structure consistent. Do not specify the list of your duties in the details. It’s much better to add the bullet points where you talk about what you actually accomplished.
You may be wondering whether it’s fine to embellish your achievements. Well, you can and you should embellish but do not lie. There’s a big difference.
The education section in your resume should be as concise as possible and have a clear structure. For example:
-Period of study
-Name of the educational institution
Avoid unnecessary words in a narrative form, provide a clear structure with dry facts.
If you have taken specialized courses, language courses, seminars, and training - feel free to write this in this section as additional education using a similar structure. Write here about the experience that will be useful for your future position. Indicate the name of the courses, where and when you took them and what was the result.
Today, in the world of globalization, employers often demand foreign language skills from their employees. The required language knowledge very much depends on the country you’re working in, the company and the job itself. For example, English is often used as an international language in many companies, so if you speak English well, it can be a very important advantage even for a young specialist.
But don’t exaggerate language knowledge, it is very easy to check. In the companies where foreign language knowledge is the main requirement, you will most likely have a short dialogue with HR so they can check your level. However, do not be afraid. Usually, the questions you might be asked are rather common. For example, the interviewer might ask you: “What did you like most at your last job?” or “What was the most challenging problem you faced on your last project?”, etc. Try to prepare to answer this kind of interview questions in advance and you will sound confident and proficient.
If you are not sure what level to specify, use the following lifehack: there are many foreign language courses and many of them have a free trial lesson or tests to determine your language level. In addition, you can find online services to check your level. Try several options, compare the results to find out your level more objectively.
Personal qualities block is the part of your resume where you can add information about yourself as an individual. Think about what qualities are suitable for this job. These can be such qualities as responsibility, commitment, punctuality, communication skills, etc. Keep in mind that employers can and will check any of the beautiful words in this block. Accordingly, if you are late for an interview, the word punctuality will cause ambiguous feelings about you.
And remember, information about your personal qualities should complement the picture about you as a potential employee, and not be the center of attention. The recommended length of personal qualities section should not exceed the length of your professional skills. After all, the employer is interested in you as a professional, not just a good person.
It’s absolutely up to you whether to add this information on your resume or not. However, some employers are really wondering about this in order to understand whether you’re going to fit their company culture.
The point of having hobbies included in your resume is to list those hobbies that would let the employer know you’d be the right addition to their team. So, try to specify those of your interests that are in any way related to the desired position but NOT to list everything you like to do.
You may also want to read our article The Right Way to List Hobbies and Interests on a Resume with Examples for more details.
Awards and achievements section is also optional and you don’t see it on most resumes. It’s preferable that you add here only achievements that cannot be mentioned as part of your education or employment history.
For example, scholarships may be included in the education section. Employment history is the best place where you specify awards you received for something you did as a part of your job. However, if you were awarded for doing something outside of the usual scope of your job, proudly place it in your awards section.
When creating a resume without work experience, people often worry that such a document will not allow finding the desired job. But keep in mind that even the most experienced specialists once started their career path from scratch and without any work experience.
Focus on the content of your document, not on the amount of the information. Analyze all your experience — we are sure that you have something to offer your future company. And remember, in your resume, there should not be more experience and qualities than in your head. 🧐