By Jordan Perras
When I applied for my first job, I was asked to submit a resume. At that point, I started panicking. This was my first job, so I couldn’t possibly have anything to include on a resume! I thought that resumes were for people who had already had jobs, but I didn’t know wrong I was.
Anyone can benefit from having a resume because it is a way to highlight your accomplishments and strengths in a concise and professional way. Here’s a step-by-step guide to writing your first resume, no matter how much work experience you have.
Your Contact Information
This part is easy! Here, you’ll want to include all of your contact information, so that potential employers can get in touch with you for interviews or with questions. Make sure you include your full name, address, email address and cell phone number.
Tips: Think about whether your email address and voicemail message are professional. You can’t go wrong with a mix of your first and last names for your email address. For the voicemail message, here’s an easy script: “This is (Your name) at (Your phone number). I am unavailable right now, but I will return your call within 48 hours. Thank you!”
This part should also be pretty easy! Include your education starting with the most recent. If you’re in college, list your university first and then your high school. Include where the school is located and when you graduated or expect to graduate.
Tips: Include a section for extracurricular activities, community service, awards and leadership. You’ve worked hard, so show off your achievements! Don’t forget to say what type of degree you received or expect to receive. Does your high school offer Distinguished Graduate? Are you working towards a Bachelor of Science?
Here’s where you may have to think outside of the box a little bit! Even if you’ve never had a job, you’ve had experience in other ways. Have you held a leadership position? Mowed grass around your neighborhood? Done community service?
Tips: Make sure you describe your role using strong action verbs. Think about what you want to convey and then tailor your descriptions to accomplish that. Are you trying to highlight your professionalism or communication skills?
Skills and Interests
This is a great place to share anything else about you want an employer to know about you. Do you speak another language? Are you great with PowerPoint? Include that here.
Read over your resume and think about what it says about you. Do you sound like the type of person who would add value to the organization? That’s what you’re trying to do, so change anything that doesn’t help you accomplish that.
Tips: Do NOT lie. You lose credibility if an employer finds out that you misrepresented yourself. Show off the great things you have done and don’t worry about what you haven’t! Proofread! Make sure you have used correct grammar and spelled every word correctly. Look at resumes online for formatting ideas. Play around with margins and bold or italicized font to make it eye-catching.
Jordan Perras is a third-year student at Northeastern University majoring in Math and Business Administration with a concentration in Finance and a minor in Economics. She has a wide variety of interests that include history, art and literature and plans to pursue an MBA after college. She is especially interested in the role of social entrepreneurship in sustainable business.