StandOut CV

First CV templates – Write a winning CV for your first job

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If you’re looking to land your first job, you’re going to need a CV.

Writing your first CV is a big challenge, but I believe anybody can create a strong CV – even when you don’t have any work experience.

In this post, I’m going to explain what a CV is, and show you 3 example first CV templates along with some CV writing guidance, so that you can create your own CV that will get you plenty of job interviews.

Writing your first CV

What is a CV?

  • Example first CV templates

How to write your first CV

CV templates 

What is a CV

A CV (short for curriculum vitae) is a written document which you send to employers when you apply for jobs, and it contains relevant information about you, such as your education, skills, and knowledge.

It’s usually a 1 – 2 page document written using a word processor like Microsoft Word or Google Docs .

It’s purpose is to get the attention of employers, and persuade them to call you in for a job interview.

Quick tip: You should think of your CV as your marketing material – like a leaflet or advert for your services as an employee, selling your most valuable skills to employers.

Example first CV template 1

Law Student with no experience CV-1

This is an example of a first CV which has been written by a school leaver with no experience.

Although they have no work experience, they have still managed to showcase lots of skills and knowledge that will be impressive to employers and help them get job interviews.

First CV template 2

First CV template 2

First CV template 3

First CV template 3

Now that you’ve seen a good example of a first CV, I will walk you through how to write a CV that will win you lots of job interviews.

Quick tip: Before you start writing your CV, research the types of jobs you will be applying for online and make a list of the skills and knowledge your target employers are looking for – then try to include as many as possible when writing the CV.

Structure and format

The first thing you need to consider when writing your CV, is how easy it will be for recruiters and hiring managers to read it.

Recruiters and hiring managers tend to be very busy and often have to review lots of CVs every day, so you need to make it easy and quick for them to read your CV, and digest the important information

CV formatting

Use these formatting tips to get started;

  • Create a text-based document using Microsoft Word or Google Docs – Don’t add images because they will congest the page.
  • Keep it simple by using a clear font (Arial, Tahomo etc.) and black text on a white background
  • Give it a professional appearance and make it easy to navigate by clearly dividing the CV sections with bold headings and borders
  • Break text up as much as possible using bullet points, to create a pleasant reading experience
  • Keep the CV somewhere between 1 and 2 pages long . If you don’t have any experience, 1 page should be enough

How to structure your first CV

Here’s how you should structure and layout your first CV.

CV structure

I’ll now run through each of those sections in more detail

Name and contact details

Your name and contact details should be clearly visible at the top of the CV, so that readers know who you are, and how to get in touch with you.

The only contact detail you need to include are your location , telephone number and email address .

You do not need to include your full address, DOB, martial status or anything more – these things are unnecessary at this stage of an application and will waste space

Your CV profile

Your CV profile  (or personal statement ) is an introductory paragraph which sits at the very top of your CV.

It’s the very first thing a reader will see when they open the CV, so you need to ensure that it grabs their attention, and sells your most valuable attributes.

CV profile

The idea is to give a quick overview of what you have to offer in just a few lines.

Typical things you should include are:

  • Your educational achievements – Grades, subjects, courses, awards
  • Your hard skills – Numeracy, writing, languages, IT system experience etc.
  • Soft skills – Communication, team work, adaptability
  • Your goals – e.g. You want to work in finance, or you want to become a lawyer (you should also write about this in your cover letter )

Quick tip:  If you struggle with spelling and grammar, try our quick-and-easy CV Builder

Check out my video guide on writing a CV when you have no experience

Core skills and achievements

If you really want to highlight your most relevant skills for the jobs you’re applying for and show off your achievements – then add a core skills and achievements section like this.

Core skills section CV

It’s a simple bullet pointed list of:

  • Your skills that are relevant to the jobs you are applying for
  • Any impressive achievements that you’ve made in or out of school

These short sharp points will jump off the page at readers and ensure they notice them quickly – a great way to make a big first impression.

As a candidate with little or no experience, your education will need to contain plenty of detail.

List the schools/colleges you have attended and grades you have achieved in your GCSE and A levels, along with any other qualifications.

You should also highlight any positions of responsibility you have held in school such as being a prefect or member of a team or club.

Hobbies and interest

Hobbies and interests won’t be too important once you gain more work experience – but right now, they are a great way to demonstrate valuable transferable skills you may possess.

Good examples of hobbies to include are:

  • Sports – Playing for a team or taking part in an individual sport competitively shows determination, patience, teamwork, communication, and many more valuable workplace skills
  • Writing – If you write an online blog or perhaps your own books, this is a great way to show off your written communication skills
  • Ventures – If you sell things on eBay or raise money for charity, this proves that you are motivated, enterprising and helpful
  • Accomplishments – Perhaps you’ve run a marathon or climbed the 3 peaks, these sorts of personal achievements show you have a drive to be successful
  • Volunteering – helping out businesses or charities involves a huge range of valuable skills you can showcase.

References: You don’t need to add references to your CV because employers should only ask for them once they’ve made you a provisional job offer.

Boosting your CV

If you feel that your CV is lacking skills and knowledge, there are plenty of things you can do to add some weight to it – check out the infographic below to learn how.

5 ways to boost your entry level CV

Who reads your CV?

When you apply for a job, your CV will be read and reviewed by either a hiring manager, or a recruiter.

Hiring Managers vs Recruiters

Hiring managers are people within a company who are looking to hire a person for their team. For example, a shop manager who is looking to hire a shop assistant. This is the person you will normally end up working for directly when you are successful in getting the job.

Recruiters are people whose sole job is to find good candidates for hiring managers. They might work directly for a company, or externally for an agency. They will review your CV and speak with you, before passing your CV on to the hiring manager if you are successful.

If you can impress recruiters and hiring managers by showing them you have the right skills for their jobs, you will get plenty of job interviews and move one step closer to landing your dream job.

And your CV is the key to making that good first impression.

Writing your first CV – conclusion

Writing you first CV will always be a challenge, but if you stick to the guidelines above you can easily create an attractive CV that will attract employers.

Remember to make the document super-easy to read with simple formatting and a logical structure firstly.

Then ensure that you use your education, achievements and hobbies to highlight your most valuable skills.

Good luck with your job search.

How to Write Your First Job Resume [For 2024]

Background Image

So there you are, sitting in front of a screen, staring at a blank Word page for hours, with one task at hand: writing your first job resume.

Where do you even start?

And most importantly: How do you fill those 1-2 pages when you have no work experience?

We feel your struggle and we’re here to help!

In this article, we’re going to guide you through the entire process of creating a first job resume from start to finish.

Let’s dive right in, shall we?

How to Write Your First Job Resume

  • Pick the right resume template
  • Write down your contact information (correctly)
  • Include a resume objective
  • List your education (in detail)
  • Instead of work experience, focus on…
  • Highlight your skills
  • Mention optional sections
  • Stick to the one-page limit
  • Get inspired by a first-job resume example

Don’t worry, we’re going to cover all of the above in detail!

Starting with the first step:

#1. Pick the Right First Job Resume Format and Template

There are 3 main resume formats you can pick from. Each of them highlights a different part of your resume.

  • Reverse-Chronological Resume - In this format, your work experiences and education are listed in reverse-chronological order. 
  • Functional Resume - Instead of work experience, this format focuses on your skills and achievements.
  • Combination (or Hybrid) Resume - This format focuses on both your skills and work experience.

For 99% of job-seekers, we recommend sticking with the reverse-chronological format.

While a functional resume can sometimes help for career changers or recent graduates, it’s still nowhere near as common as the reverse chronological one.

Plus, recruiters world-wide are familiar with the reverse-chronological format, making it a safer bet.

A reverse-chronological resume looks as follows:

reverse chronological format for first job

Once you’ve picked the format, the next step is to perfect your layout, font, and the like. Here’s what we recommend for that:

  • Use a Two-Column Layout. A two-column resume layout allows you to fit a lot more content into your resume.
  • Pick a Common Font. We recommend Ubuntu, Overpass, or Roboto.
  • Use Bullets to Describe Your Experiences.
  • Don’t Go Over One Page. Unless you’re a professional with a decade of work experience, we recommend sticking to the one-page resume limit.

Want to avoid all the hassle of formatting your resume layout? We don’t blame you - if you wanted to build a good-looking resume from scratch, it would take you hours before you could even start filling it in.

Thankfully, there’s an easier way out: using a resume builder.

With Novoresume, all you have to do is pick a template, and fill in the contents. It’s that simple.

And on top of that, Novorésumé resumes are ATS-friendly . Meaning, your resume won’t be swallowed up by an applicant tracking system just because it can’t read it.

Want to get started with Novorésumé? Browse our resume templates .

first job resume examples

#2. Write Down Your Contact Information (Correctly)

It’s important for the recruiter to have at least two ways of reaching back to you.

Meaning, you should always provide your contact information in your resume . That includes: 

  • First and last name
  • Phone number

Apart from these must-haves, you can also provide:

  • LinkedIn URL - This is a good way to complement your resume. It also makes the recruiter’s life easier since they usually check your LinkedIn profile anyway. Make sure all information is updated and consistent with your resume, though.
  • Relevant social media (like Quora or StackOverflow) - Any social media that is related to the job position and puts you in good light should be included in your resume. In most cases. If you’re a developer, it could be projects on GitHub. Writer? Personal blog.
  • Website or blog - Again, this should be something related to the job. It shows your interest and dedication to the industry and how you spend some of your free time.

When it comes to your contact information, the key is to write everything correctly . Double-check you’ve spelled your name and email right, make sure the phone number you’ve listed can be reached, and that the accounts you have linked to are up to date . 

Something else you should know regarding location is how much detail you should be providing. 

The reason recruiters want to know your location is so that they have an idea of whether you’re in the vicinity of the company or not (and if you’ll need to relocate for work). 

That means, providing the city and country where you live will be enough. No need for your full home address. 

#3. Include a Resume Objective

Recruiters spend on average 7 seconds scanning each resume before deciding if it’s worth more consideration or not. 

That means your resume has about 7 seconds to leave a great first impression and convince the recruiter you’re the person they’re looking for.

A good resume objective does that for you. 

A resume objective is a 2-3 sentence snapshot of your skills, achievements, and career goals . Its purpose is to communicate your motivation for getting into the field and your interest in this particular position. 

This makes it ideal for the first job resume of a recent graduate or somebody who’s changing careers. Basically, any resume with no work experience . 

Your resume objective should be tailored to the position you are applying for and highlight skills that will help the company achieve its goal. Use as many facts and numbers as you can to back up any statements or achievements. 

  • Creative and motivated recent graduate with a B.A. in Marketing from the University of Michigan. Seeking permanent employment in the field of marketing after completing successful internships in 2 major media companies. Looking to further develop my market analysis skills and contribute to future marketing strategy developments at XY Company.
  • I am looking to put my marketing skills into action by initially working for the marketing department of a well-known company until I can finally get to an executive position.

#4. List Your Education (In Detail)

For starters, you should know how to list your education entries correctly in the following format:

  • Program Name e.g.: B.A. in Information Systems
  • University Name e.g.: University of Chicago
  • Years Attended e.g.: 07/2013 - 05/2017
  • GPA (only if really high)
  • Honors (If applicable) e.g. Cum Laude

Exchange Program (If applicable) e.g. Exchange program in Berlin, Germany

Apart from your skills, your education is the biggest selling point in your first job resume. This is not the place to be humble and play down your achievements!

Write down your GPA (if it’s something impressive), emphasize your honors, and most importantly, highlight your academic achievements by describing them in detail.  

What you can also do is list specific courses that you have taken that are relevant to the position you are applying for. 

Here’s an example of what an entry on the education section should look like:

B.A. in English Literature (Cum Laude)

Boston University

07/2014 - 05/2018

  • Courses: Advanced Topics in Literature: Shakespeare’s Work 
  • Clubs: Boston University Drama Club
  • Exchange program in London, UK

job search masterclass novoresume

#5. Instead of Work Experience, Focus On This

As a recent graduate, the recruiter knows you don’t have any work experience - and that’s OK. As long as you’re applying for a junior or entry-level position, the experience isn’t something expected from you.

Instead, the recruiter will be looking for other experiences that enrich your profile, like:

  • Internships
  • Extracurricular Activities

When talking about these experiences, format them just like you’d format your work experience. 

Business Analyst Internship

AAA Company

Milan, Italy

05/2019 - 12/2019

  • Ran weekly and monthly analysis on diverse areas of the business
  • Created insightful reports of the analysis to present to managers and teams
  • Defined strategic KPIs, in order to monitor the efficiency of commercial operations

When possible, try to focus on listing your achievements and not your responsibilities. This will help you stand out from the rest of the applicants.

Haven’t done any internships? Include extracurricular activities.

More often than not, an applicant with extracurricular activities and an average GPA will impress the recruiter much more than a 4.0 GPA student with nothing else to show. When listing your extracurricular activities, each entry should have the following format:

Moot Court Club Member

2017 - 2019

  • Participated for two years in a row at the Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition, making it to the finals in 2019
  • Researched and prepared written pleadings, called memorials addressing timely issues of public international law
  • Helped train the new club members in topics of international law

Finally, you can also list independent projects, if you have any. Think, something you did on the side just for yourself. This can be a personal project, small business or startup, side-gig, blog, etc.

Amy’s Book Club Blog

2018 - Present

  • Created my own book club website for reviewing and discussing the latest books.
  • Curated a monthly book calendar for my followers to follow, combining trending, relevant, and classic books.
  • Created over 40 book review articles.
  • On average, received 2000 visitors per month to the blog.

#6. Highlight Your Skills

The two types of skills you can mention on your resume are soft skills and hard skills.

Soft skills are attributes that help you adapt to work environments, work in a team, and apply your hard skills effectively. They are related to your personality, social skills, communication, attitude, etc.

Hard skills refer to technical knowledge and specific tools. They are skills that one learns and applies directly to the job. Some examples of hard skills include:

  • Financial accounting
  • Adobe Illustrator

Although soft skills are becoming more and more in demand by employers , for your first job resume, we recommend sticking to hard skills. 

Sure, attributes like “teamwork” or “critical thinking” are much appreciated by just about any employer. 

The thing is, though, the recruiter can’t really tell if you actually have critical thinking skills, or just listed it on your resume to fill space.

Hard skills, on the other hand, are very easy to test.

Tailor Skills to the Job Ad

Not sure which skills to mention in your first job resume?

The simplest way to find the essential ones is to check the job ad.

The recruiter themselves mentioned the skills they’re looking for - the only thing you need to do is mention them in your resume (as long as you have them, anyway).

Let’s say you’re applying for a graphic designer position that wants the following qualifications and skills:

  • Adobe Creative Suite proficiency, particularly InDesign, Illustrator, Photoshop and Acrobat; XD, Animate and/or After Effects are a plus
  • Working knowledge of presentation software (Canva, PowerPoint and/or Keynote)
  • Ability to work under pressure, manage work on multiple projects daily, manage a large workload and meet deadlines.
  • Detail-oriented, highly organized

Based on that, your skills section should include the following:

  • Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop, and Acrobat
  • After Effects and Cinema4D
  • Canva and Keynote
  • Time management
  • Detail-oriented

If the job ad isn’t too descriptive, you can also check out these 101+ most in-demand skills for 2024 . 

#7. Mention Optional Sections

Still have some space on your resume?

That’s not a bad thing! You can use this space to your advantage and add some other useful sections.

Here are some ideas:

  • Volunteering - If you have some volunteering experience, make sure to include it in your first job resume. Such a section shows commitment, dedication, and a sense of purpose, something most recruiters will appreciate.
  • Languages - With companies becoming more and more international, additional languages are always appreciated.
  • Hobbies - You can show your genuine interest in the industry or field by listing some relevant hobbies/interests.
  • Awards & Certifications - Whether it’s an award from an essay competition in college or a certificate from an online course, anything that flatters your profile should be added.

#8. Stick to the One-Page Limit

“ How long should a resume be? ” seems like an eternal dilemma at this point. 

Generally, the answer is: it depends. 

Since you’re making a first job resume, the answer is: definitely one page . 

Unless you have an extensive employment history that can’t fit into one page, there’s no need to go over that limit. 

It’s unlikely that the recruiter will want to look at two pages of extracurriculars and hobbies. 

#9. Get Inspired by This First-Job Resume

Need some inspiration for your resume? Check out the resume examples below.

resume for first job

First Job Resume FAQ 

Still have some questions on how to write a convincing first job resume?

We’ll answer them here.

1. What do I put on my no-experience resume?

There’s plenty of other things you can include in your resume instead of work experience. For starters, you should:

  • Focus on your education, making sure the entries are formatted correctly.
  • Pick the right skills that match what the employer is looking for.
  • Talk about internships, personal projects, or extracurricular activities. Describe your achievements in detail.

If you still have some space left, you could use it to your advantage and add extra sections like volunteer work, languages, awards & certificates, or hobbies.

2. Is a resume necessary for a first job?

Depending on the region, a resume or CV is always necessary for a job application, be it the first or the 20th. 

Before deciding if they should call you for an interview, the recruiters need to have some insight into you and your skills.

3. Do I need work experience to land my first job?

Short answer: You don’t! 

If you’re a recent graduate, it’s a given that you won’t have any work experience. Most employers don’t actually expect years of work experience for an entry-level or junior position. 

Instead, they’ll be looking at your other types of experiences (internships, extracurricular activities, etc.) to decide on whether you’re a good fit for the job or not.

4. How do you write a resume for your first job?

The process is quite similar to the one for writing a regular resume, but with a few tweaks.

The exact steps for creating a first job resume are:

  • Instead of work experience, focus on extracurricular activities, internships, projects, etc.

Key Takeaways

Writing your first job resume doesn’t have to be stressful!

Remember the following tips and you’ll do just fine:

  • Pick the right format and template to avoid the hassle of formatting your resume. Make sure to pick an ATS-friendly resume template.
  • Write a concise and attention-grabbing resume objective. Show the recruiter that you’re relevant for the role and that they should read the rest of your resume.
  • Instead of work experience, include information on your internships, projects, and extracurricular activities.

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first job cv template

Dive Into Expert Guides to Enhance your Resume

Entry-Level Resume Writing: The Ultimate Guide to Launch Your Career

Get a headstart with an entry-level resume format

Greg Faherty

Certified Professional Resume Writer

CV template Prague

Launching your career can feel like stepping into a vast, uncharted territory—especially when you’re drafting your first resume with minimal work experience . 

Fear not! This guide is here to navigate you through creating an entry-level resume that not only stands out but also positions you perfectly on the first rung of your professional ladder. 

You’ll learn how to articulate your potential loudly and clearly, ensuring that recruiters see your value right from the start.

What is an Entry-Level Resume?

Think of your first job resume as your personal ambassador—it presents your skills, education, and the potential you bring to every prospective employer. 

Designed specifically for those stepping into the job market or pivoting to a new field, this resume acts as your initial handshake, offering a snapshot of who you are professionally.

Why is it important?

A robust entry-level resume does more than list your experiences —it narrates your story in a way that compels hiring managers to take notice. It’s your opportunity to make a memorable first impression , potentially paving the way to that all-important interview .

Your entry-level resume should tell recruiters that you understand the role and are prepared to add value , despite having less experience than others might.

Entry-level resume example

Examining a resume example for a first job can be incredibly useful as it provides a tangible model to reference and draw inspiration from when writing your own personalized document .

[John Smith]

[123 Main Street | Anytown, USA | (555) 123-4567 | [email protected]]

[Marketing Professional]

Recent graduate with a Bachelor of Science in Marketing from State University. Skilled in social media marketing, content creation, and data analysis. Completed internships with a local marketing agency and a volunteer position with a nonprofit organization, demonstrating a strong work ethic and a passion for driving results. Proven ability to leverage tools such as Google Analytics and Hootsuite to optimize marketing campaigns and enhance brand visibility.

Social Media Marketing | Content Creation | Data Analysis | Email Marketing

SEO Optimization | Google Analytics | Hootsuite | Microsoft Office Suite

Bachelor of Science in Marketing

State University, Anytown, USA

  • GPA: 3.7/4.0
  • Graduation: May 2023

Marketing Intern

ABC Marketing Agency, Anytown, USA

June 2022 – August 2022

  • Assisted in developing social media marketing strategies for clients, resulting in a 20% increase in engagement on average.
  • Created engaging content for various social media platforms, driving brand awareness and customer engagement.
  • Conducted market research and competitor analysis to identify trends and opportunities for client campaigns.

Marketing Assistant (Volunteer)

XYZ Nonprofit Organization, Anytown, USA

September 2021 – May 2022

  • Managed organization’s social media accounts, increasing followers by 30% within six months.
  • Designed and implemented email marketing campaigns to promote fundraising events, resulting in a 25% increase in donations.
  • Coordinated with internal teams to develop promotional materials and digital content to support organizational initiatives.

Marketing Campaign Analysis Project

January 2023 – May 2023

  • Led a team in analyzing the effectiveness of various marketing campaigns, utilizing Google Analytics to track key metrics such as website traffic and conversion rates.
  • Presented findings to faculty and industry professionals, demonstrating the ability to communicate complex data clearly and concisely.

Certification s

  • Google Analytics Certification, 2024
  • Hootsuite Platform Certification, 2023

Need inspiration to write your resume? Try our AI-powered resume builder and get tailored suggestions and guidance!

The Most Effective Resume Format for Entry-Level Candidates

For an entry-level candidate, the best resume format is typically a combination format . This format allows you to highlight your relevant skills and achievements, even if you have limited work experience. 

There are several reasons for this:

  • Skills section : With this format, you can place a prominent section near the top of your resume. This allows you to present the abilities you’ve gained through education, internships, volunteer work, and other experiences.
  • Work experience : While you may have limited professional experience, you can still include internships, part-time jobs, or volunteer work under the Work Experience section. Focus on your achievements and transferable skills . make sure you list them in reverse chronological order.
  • Education : Since education is often the most relevant section for entry-level candidates, it’s typically placed near the top of the resume. Include details about your degree, GPA (if it’s strong), coursework, and any academic achievements or honors.
  • Optional sections : Depending on your experiences, you may also include additional sections such as projects, certifications, extracurricular activities, or volunteer work. These can help round out your resume and provide additional context for your abilities.

Overall, a combination format allows you to display your abilities, education, and relevant experiences in a way that shows your potential and suitability for the position.

How to Write Your First Resume When You Don’t Have Experience

When tackling your first resume, it’s essential to spotlight elements beyond the typical sections like contact information and education. 

Focus on the tasks you performed, any achievements or recognition you received , and how these experiences have prepared you for your future career endeavors.

By strategically listing   these aspects of your background, you can create a compelling entry-level resume that presents your potential and positions you as a promising candidate, even without extensive professional experience.

Resume Summaries vs. Resume Objectives: Which To Use

Deciding between a resume summary and an objective can shape how recruiters view your application. While both elements aim to introduce your credentials, they serve slightly different purposes and are perceived differently by hiring managers.

Resume Objectives

Traditionally, resume objectives have been used to outline your career goals and what you seek to gain from the job. 

However, objectives are increasingly seen as outdated and self-focused, as they often emphasize the applicant’s desires more than their contributions to a potential employer.

Example of a Resume Objective

Seeking a challenging position in graphic design where I can leverage my coursework and freelance experience to grow and develop my skills.

Resume Summaries

On the other hand, resume summaries are gaining favor because they focus on what you can offer the employer. They provide a brief overview of your key accomplishments and abilities, which can immediately show your value to the hiring team.

Example of a Resume Summar y

Detail-oriented graduate with a Bachelor’s in Graphic Design, skilled in Adobe Creative Suite and digital illustration. Completed more than 15 freelance projects, demonstrating creative flair and a strong commitment to delivering client-focused solutions.

Why Choose a Resume Summary?

Given the shift in preference towards candidates who can articulate what they bring to the table, a resume summary is more effective , especially for entry-level candidates. 

It allows you to succinctly display your skills and potential contributions, meeting more directly employers’ needs.

Consider opting for a summary over an objective. This approach positions you as a proactive candidate while aligning with modern hiring practices.

4 Key Sections of an Entry-Level Resume Plus Examples

From emphasizing your educational achievements and coursework to displaying your extracurricular involvement and valuable work experiences, each section plays a key role in presenting a comprehensive picture of your qualifications. 

Let’s explore how to maximize these sections with examples and insights tailored to entry-level candidates.

Education Section

In the Education section of your resume, list your academic achievements and any relevant coursework or projects. This is particularly important if you have limited work experience. 

Provide details such as your degree, graduation year, and any honors or awards you received.

Bachelor of Science in Computer Science

XYZ University, Anytown, USA

Graduated May 2023

  • GPA: 3.8/4.0
  • Honors: Dean’s List, Fall 2022

Relevant Coursework:

  • Introduction to Data Structures and Algorithms
  • Web Development
  • Database Management Systems
  • Software Engineering Project
  • Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning
  • Mobile Application Development

Work Experience Section

In this section, include both formal work experience like internships and volunteer work , as well as shorter-term experiences like micro-internships and job shadowing . 

Treat these experiences similarly to full-time jobs , detailing your responsibilities and achievements. Frame non-traditional experiences such as volunteer work or projects as formal work experience.

Ex perience

Volunteer Coordinator

Quantify your accomplishments with numbers when possible, or include KPIs . This helps provide context and scale to your contributions.

Include Your Extracurricular Activities

List any extracurricular activities where you held leadership positions or were actively involved in a team setting. 

These experiences demonstrate your ability to collaborate effectively , manage responsibilities, and contribute to group success.

Ex tracurricular Activities

President, Marketing Club

September 2021 – May 2023

  • Led weekly meetings to plan club events and discuss marketing trends.
  • Organized guest speaker events and workshops to enhance members’ skills and industry knowledge.
  • Collaborated with other club officers to develop marketing campaigns to increase membership and engagement.

Team Captain, Intramural Soccer Team

September 2020 – May 2022

  • Organized team practices and coordinated game schedules.
  • Fostered teamwork and camaraderie among team members to achieve common goals.
  • Represented the team in league meetings and served as a liaison with university officials.

Using Power Words to Enhance Your Entry-Level Resume

Power words are action verbs that can make your resume more compelling and memorable. 

By using these dynamic words, you display your contributions and show active participation in your experiences. 

Here are some effective power words tailored for entry-level resumes, along with examples of how to use them:

Assisted : Demonstrates your ability to work cooperatively in a professional setting.

Assisted in managing a team of five in a university project, coordinating logistics and schedules.

Created : Shows initiative and the ability to develop something new.

Created a customer feedback system as part of a school project, which enhanced the group’s final project submission.

Resolved : Emphasizes problem-solving skills.

Resolved user issues as a volunteer at a tech fair, improving visitor satisfaction.

Organized : Points to your capability to arrange resources or events effectively.

Organized a local charity event, resulting in over 100 participants and raising $5,000.

Implemented : Indicates you can put plans or ideas into action.

Implemented a new inventory system during an internship, which reduced waste by 20%.

Enhanced : Suggests improvement of a project or task.

Enhanced the company newsletter as an intern by incorporating interactive content, increasing engagement by 30%.

Coordinated : Shows leadership and management skills , even in informal roles.

Coordinated the schedule for a college workshop series, improving attendee rates.

Designed : Reflects creativity and the ability to conceive and execute designs.

Designed a new layout for the student organization’s website, improving user experience and accessibility.

Achieved : Used to describe an accomplishment.

Achieved ‘Top Salesperson of the Month’ as a part-time retail worker through enhanced product knowledge and customer engagement strategies.

Tailoring Your Resume for Different Entry-Level Roles

Tailoring your resume for each job application is essential to increase your chances of standing out among other candidates.

Begin by thoroughly analyzing the job description provided by the employer. Identify key abilities, qualifications, and experiences they are seeking in an ideal candidate. 

Pay close attention to keywords and phrases used throughout the job description , as these are often the criteria against which your application will be evaluated.

For example, let’s consider a job description for a marketing assistant position that emphasizes skills in social media management, content creation, and data analysis. 

A candidate should incorporate these keywords into their resume summary to demonstrate how they meet the job requirements .

Example Job Description

Marketing Assistant responsibilities

  • Manage social media accounts and develop content calendars to drive engagement and brand awareness.
  • Conduct market research and analyze data to identify trends and opportunities for marketing campaigns.
  • Assist in the creation of marketing materials, including blog posts, email newsletters, and promotional materials.
  • Collaborate with cross-functional teams to execute marketing initiatives and support overall business objectives.

Now take a look at how a candidate has added the keywords from the job description to their resume summary:

Resume Summary

Results-driven marketing graduate with proficiency in social media management, content creation, and data analysis. Experienced in developing engaging content calendars and conducting market research to drive brand awareness and customer engagement. Skilled in collaborating with cross-functional teams to execute marketing initiatives and achieve business goals. Excited to leverage my skills and passion for marketing to contribute to the success of [Company Name].

In addition, take the time to research the company’s culture and values . This insight can help you tailor your resume to underscore experiences and accomplishments that resonate with the company’s priorities, further increasing your chances of making a meaningful connection with the employer.

Customize your resume for each application based on the job description and company culture. This way you’ll demonstrate your genuine interest in the position and show how your skills and experiences match with the needs of the employer.

Embark on Your Journey: First Resume for a Teenager

Diving into resume writing while you’re still hitting the books can seem pretty intimidating. However, with the right approach and guidance, it’s entirely manageable. 

Here’s a step-by-step guide to creating your first resume:

  • First things first, as you probably have little to no paid work experience to detail, it is recommended that you use a combination or functional (skills-based) resume format to present a blend of abilities and activities that benefit you.
  • Secondly, as extra support, there are hundreds of specific first-job or teenage resume templates to use which are hugely advantageous in providing structure, advice, and examples for first-time resume writers.
  • The next step is to consider the content of a teenager resume, including the headings and texts . Social and athletic groups allow you to develop skills and experiences that are crucial to mention on a first resume.
  • Finally, when the content is compiled, you must ALWAYS edit and review the resume. You can ask a teacher, coach, or parent to take a look for you to ensure there are no errors or irrelevant information that could put a hiring manager off contacting you.

See an example in action:

[1234 High School Avenue, Anytown, USA | (555) 123-4567 | [email protected]]

Motivated high school student eager to gain valuable work experience and contribute to [Company/Organization] in a [desired role]. Skilled in [list relevant skills or areas of interest], with a strong work ethic and a passion for learning.

High School Diploma

Anytown High School, Anytown, USA

Expected Graduation: May 2024

Relevant Coursework

  • Advanced Mathematics
  • English Literature
  • Computer Science
  • Social Studies
  • Science & Biology
  • Proficient in Microsoft Office Suite (Word, Excel, PowerPoint)
  • Strong communication skills, both verbal and written
  • Detail-oriented and organized
  • Team player with the ability to collaborate effectively
  • Quick learner with a proactive approach to tasks

Extracurricular Activities

President, High School Debate Club (September 2022 – Present)

  • Led weekly meetings to discuss debate topics and practice argumentation skills.
  • Organized and participated in inter-school debate competitions, earning [list any awards or achievements].

Member, Anytown High School Soccer Team (September 2020 – May 2023)

  • Developed teamwork and leadership skills through regular practice sessions and competitive matches.
  • Represented the school in district-level tournaments, contributing to team success and sportsmanship.

Volunteer Experience

Volunteer Tutor, Anytown Community Center (June 2022 – August 2023)

  • Provided academic support to elementary and middle school students in math and English.
  • Assisted with organizing and facilitating educational workshops and activities.

>> Additional Information <<

  • Strong work ethic and willingness to take on new challenges.
  • Excellent time management skills, balancing academic studies with extracurricular activities and part-time work.
  • Seeking opportunities to gain hands-on experience and make a positive impact in a professional environment.

Empower Your Search: Entry-Level Resume Templates

Are you in a hurry or need extra assistance? Try our resume templates for quick, expert help . 

Choose from a variety of samples tailored for entry-level positions , providing a solid foundation for your resume. Customize them to fit your needs and stand out to potential employers.

Our templates provide a proven structure to kickstart your resume creation . They also offer valuable advice on completing each resume section, guiding you on what to include and what to avoid to catch the attention of the right employers.

Key Takeaways for Writing an Outstanding Entry-Level Resume

Writing your first resume can feel overwhelming at times, but worry not! With the expert guidance offered in this comprehensive guide, you’ll have all the tools you need to create a standout resume that sets you on the path to success in your career:

Here’s a quick recap of the most valuable advice shared in this article:

  • Tailor your resume : Customize each resume for the specific job and company by adding relevant skills and experiences.
  • Use power words : Incorporate dynamic action verbs to make your contributions more appealing.
  • Choose the right format : Opt for a combination resume format to effectively present your abilities, education, and achievements.
  • Write a compelling summary : Use a resume summary to list key accomplishments and skills, focusing on what you can offer the employer.

May your career aspirations take flight and lead you to remarkable achievements!

An entry-level resume should include essential sections like contact information, education, abilities, work experience (including internships, volunteer work, or part-time jobs), and relevant projects or coursework. Underscore transferable skills, achievements, and any certifications . Tailor each resume to the specific job you’re applying for, focusing on showcasing how your experiences align with the requirements of the position. Additionally, consider adding a summary or objective statement to emphasize your career goals and what you bring to the table as a candidate.

Including a summary in an entry-level resume is optional but can be beneficial . A well-written summary provides a concise overview of your skills, experiences, and career goals, helping recruiters quickly understand your qualifications. It’s particularly useful if you’re transitioning to a new industry or highlighting transferable skills. 

If you’re a student with no work experience, focus on transferable skills , relevant coursework, volunteer work, internships, or extracurricular activities that demonstrate your capabilities and enthusiasm. Show your willingness to learn, adaptability, and passion for the role or industry. Additionally, express your eagerness to contribute, grow, and make a positive impact within the organization. Writing a compelling cover letter that displays your potential and matches the job requirements can also help compensate for the lack of professional experience.

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How to Make a Resume for First Job In 6 Steps (+ Examples)

  • Julia Mlcuchova , 
  • Updated January 12, 2024 15 min read

“How to make a resume for first job,” you ask?

In this highly competitive job market, even the most experienced professionals can struggle for success. So how can you, a fresh graduate with no experience , stand out from the rest? Believe us, you can. 

We'll show you how to highlight your skills and academic achievements , and other relevant experiences you might have, in a way that makes up for the lack of experience and catches an employer's eye.

In this article you'll find how to make an effective resume with no experience and land your first job. You'll also find out:

  • If you need a resume for your first job;
  • How to make a resume for first job in 6 steps;
  • How to know what is relevant;
  • First job resume examples.

But let's start with the basics...

Table of Contents

Click on a section to skip

What even is a resume?

Do you need a resume for your first job, how to make a resume for your first job in 6 steps, how to know what is relevant, resume example for first job.

  • Key takeaways: How to make a resume for first job?

In short, resume is a document which presents your career history in a succinct way. It provides an overview of your most relevant achievements (professional and educational):

  • the skills you've acquired; 
  • any qualifications, awards, or certificates you've gained; 
  • your education;
  • and work experience. 

Stylistically speaking, resumes are formal, brief, and packed with information . 

The aim of a resume is to present a summary of everything you need to convince the hiring managers that you are the right person to fill the open position in their company.

Who is the resume meant for? 

The target audience of your resume are the recruiters or the hiring manager . 

Resume serves as the initial point of contact between you and the people who decide whether you get invited to a job interview . With a good resume, you can make a strong first impression which will get you on the list of promising candidates.

Recruiters like brevity and efficiency, so make sure you communicate with them in clear and concise language .

What does a resume consist of? 

Given the volume of information included in a resume, you must organize it into appropriate and clearly distinguished resume sections . This will prevent your resume from looking cluttered and chaotic.

Generally speaking, there are two types of resume sections: necessary and optional .

The necessary resume sections include:

  • Personal/contact information
  • Resume summary or resume objective
  • Work experience

From the optional sections , the most frequent include:

  • Hobbies and interests
  • Awards and achievements
  • Certificates
  • Volunteering
  • References (though this one is mainly used in CVs, rather than resumes.)

How long should a resume be?

Choosing the right resume length can be tricky, believe it or not. Luckily for you, there is only one correct answer. 

Our recommendation to keep your resume to only one page probably won't surprise you. 

Absolutely. 

Whether it's your first or fiftieth time, you always need to attach a resume to your job application . 

Your resume is something like an ID card in the workforce – it tells people who you are, what you can do , and how they can reach you . Without a resume you won't get invited to a job interview; and without a job interview, well, you won't get a job. 

Maybe you feel that since you have no practical experience, writing a resume is pointless - this statement couldn't be further from true. 

After all, you would have to create a resume at one point in your life, so it may as well be now.

The simple fact of having a well-done resume already displays a certain level of professionalism and readiness for the workplace. 

Knowing how to best present yourself and your abilities – especially when you have no previous experience to vouch for them – is a skill in itself. And every skill needs practice. 

So let's practise!

Writing a good resume for your first job can be intimidating; but following these 6 steps will make the process much easier.

Instead of a resume summary, opt for a resume objective. In 3-5 sentences, focus on your career goals and academic achievements. Express your enthusiasm for the job, your goals, and your desire to grow professionally. 

This might be the most important section of your resume. Write your education entries in detail. You can mention relevant coursework, projects, or awards.

If you lack professional experience, you can build on your relevant internships, volunteering, independent projects, your teen jobs , summer jobs, or part-time jobs. Especially highlight those that are at least somewhat relevant for the job.

Highlight hard skills, like languages, computer skills , or other tools. Also, don't forget to include soft skills , which are personality traits and are transferrable from your old jobs or school. You can also organize your skills section into smaller categories and use infographics.

Include your contact information in your resume header. Make sure they are clearly visible and easy to find with the first glance. Don't forget to include your LinkedIn profile.

If you feel that there's still relevant information to be mentioned, but you lack separate resume sections – create them. For instance, create a separate 'Independent Projects' section and boast about your endeavours.

Now, let's go through these steps in detail.

Step 1: Create a compelling resume summary/objective 

What is the purpose.

What separates a good resume from a great one is its ability to immediately capture the attention of whoever is reading it. A nifty piece of text called a resume summary does the trick. 

This brief text placed near the top of your resume, close to your contact information, condenses your resume highlights into 3-5 sentences . 

It provides an overview of your most impressive professional qualities:

  • Most significant achievements
  • Most relevant skills
  • Experiences that cater to specific needs of the job you want

What can you do?  

Obviously, you can't really do all that. But you can still create a persuasive short text that will make the recruiters keep on reading the rest of your resume. 

Instead of writing a resume summary, try to compose a resume objective . 

Instead of past experience and achievements, you can highlight your:

  • Career goals 
  • Enthusiasm to learn and grow professionally
  • Educational achievements

Look at this example:

What makes this resume objective good?

  • Anita shows the recruiters her qualifications by informing them of her bachelor's degree.
  • She states exactly what she can offer to her future employer: proactive approach, problem-solving, critical thinking. 
  • She expresses her desire to “ grow professionally ”

Step 2: Flash out your education

The education section is where you list your degrees and your academic accomplishments. To be honest, candidates with years of professional experience need this section only as a way to show that they hold an academic degree. Simply because such is the convention. 

In their case, an education entry contains the following:

  • The name of the institution
  • Location of the school
  • Years of study
  • Level of study 
  • Name of their degree

What can you do?

For fresh graduates, the education section of a resume is often the most significant part . Make sure to put some meat on the bones … a lot of it actually.

At this point in your professional life, your academic achievements are probably the only way to showcase your most relevant abilities and substantial qualifications . Throughout your academic journey, you've likely gained and achieved a multitude of things, use this section to show your range. 

Apart from the information shown above, you should elaborate on your education entries by detailing your:

  • Relevant coursework. Being fresh out of school does have a certain advantage – all the theoretical knowledge is still in your head. 
  • Final thesis. Your final thesis is the climax of your studies. It's by far your most elaborate project. It requires a lot of effort, good time management, dedication and long-term commitment – all the qualities highly desired by employers. Not to mention if the subject of your thesis directly links to the job you're applying for!
  • Extracurricular activities. It's good to demonstrate your interest in things outside of the prescribed curriculum – this might suggest similar tendencies in work environment. 
  • Projects you've worked on. Apart from the knowledge, you've gained valuable teamwork experience.
  • Scholarships.  
  • Academic awards. Make the recruiters recognize your hard work. 
  • GPA . Include it only if it's higher than 3.5.

In short, make note of every relevant information that will make your future employers see your potential.

Keep in mind that your education entries should be listed in reverse-chronological order .

Consider this example:

What makes this education section good?

  • By mentioning the acknowledgements for her academic performance, Hannah shows the recruiters that she is focused, hard-working and consistent. 
  • Her membership in various societies and clubs suggest that she's developed strong communication and networking skills.

Step 3: Camouflage your work experience.

Normally, the work experience section takes up the most space on a resume. It is here where candidates demonstrate their acquired skills and know-how with practical examples from real-life professional situations.

One of the defining characteristics of those just entering the workforce, such as yourself, is the lack of practical work experience. 

This doesn't have to mean that you have no experience whatsoever. 

Instead of dealing with this section in the traditional way, you can make for your lack of experience by focusing on:

  • Internships. You can treat your internships as if they were regular jobs. In a few bullet points, note your responsibilities and accomplishments. Include any projects or studies you've participated in. What problems did you solve? What outcomes did you contribute to?
  • Independent projects . Feel free to add any kind of projects you've worked on. These can be academic, personal, work-related, freelance projects, etc. For instance, if you created a website for your college society, include this along with the transferrable skills you gained and a URL link.
  • Volunteering. Volunteering is as valid as any other work experience. Just because something wasn't paid, doesn't mean that it didn't bring you anything valuable. Plus, if the company you're interested in shares your passion for volunteering, this can be your greatest weapon. 
  • Part-time jobs. What relevant tasks did you undertake? What were your responsibilities? 

If you pick one, two, or combination of all – keep in mind that all the information on your resume should be relevant! This means that everything you decide to put on this document has to connect to the job you're applying for in some way.

If none of your experience aligns with the demands of your target job, you can still include it. Just make sure to focus on all the transferable skills you’ve gained because of it. 

Here is one example of how to deal with the feared “work experience” section:

What makes this work experience section good?

  • Despite not having any full-time experience, Nathan utilized his internship to the maximum. 
  • He clearly states the competences and tasks he undertook.
  • He details the accomplishments and skills he employed with specific examples . 
  • To make the text more readable and organized, he used bullet points and bold fonts . As a consequence, the whole entry feels less dense.

Step 4: Show relevant skills

It's quite straightforward, really – the skills section on your resume is there to highlight any skills that can help you get the job. 

Your abilities fall under one of two categories: hard or soft skills. 

Hard skills are those you can obtain through education or training – they can be easily measured and quantified. The most prominent hard skills are:

  • Foreign language proficiency
  • Computer skills (coding languages, spreadsheets, etc.)
  • Completed training (forklift operation, driving licence, etc.)

Soft skills , on the other hand, aren't so easily defined. We can say that these are the interpersonal and social nuances one cultivates throughout years and years of experience. You can also know them under the term transferable . Some of the most sought-after soft skills include:

  • Communication skills
  • Problem-solving skills
  • Leadership 
  • Reliability
  • Time management 

Since soft skills aren't strictly tied to a particular job position, you can apply them across all industries. Yes, even you .

Although both hard and soft skills can be included in the skills section , we recommend you to do this:

  • Use the skills section to mark your hard skills . Since these can be objectively measured, you can mark down the level of your proficiency by using infographics. Your resume will be sleeker and visually more interesting.  
  • Sprinkle your soft skills throughout other parts of your resume . Don't just write communication skills and blackout three out of five circles – that doesn't say much. We aren't saying that this is necessarily wrong; but you can do better!
  • Instead of just writing teamwork , mention your participation in various projects when you talk about your education. 
  • Don't just write reliable, show how many responsibilities and competences you were able to handle during your internship.
  • Instead of just writing leadership skills , mention the fact you led multiple group projects in your resume objective. 

Let's look at Anita's resume again. Focus on her skills section:

What makes this skills section good?

  • She included hard skills only, which allowed her to include more of them. (all relevant to the job position though!)
  • Anita organized her skills section into two categories . This made it more readable. 
  • By including infographics, she elevated the overall look of her resume.

Step 5: Provide up-to date contact information

A good resume is incomplete without your personal contact information. The recruiters need to know how to get in touch with you as soon as they look at your resume. Don't forget to clearly state your:

  • Full name; 
  • email address;
  • phone number;
  • and links to your LinkedIn, online portfolio of social media account (only if relevant!)

Make your contact info stand apart from the rest of the text. Place it in the topmost part of your resume (also called the resume header ). 

You can use a bigger font size to draw immediate attention to your name. 

And for the love of God, don't use unprofessional-sounding emails such as [email protected]

Step 6: Enhance your resume with optional sections

Optional sections in a resume are those that are not essential but can be included to provide additional context about your skills, experiences, or personal interests. 

These sections can be particularly useful for highlighting aspects of your profile that might not be evident from the standard sections.

When it comes to organizing your resume sections, there really is only one rule. The more important the information, the sooner it should be accessible . 

If you want to draw the recruiters' attention to all the certificates you've gained – create yourself a stand-alone certificate section . 

Maybe you have both internship and volunteering experience, but you only went into detail on your internship – create a volunteering section . 

Or, you may want to create a separate Projects section where you provide links and descriptions of your independent endeavours you did as a freelancer or just for fun.

Your additional section can look like this:

What makes this example good?

  • By organizing all certificates under one section, you draw attention to your qualifications head on. 
  • Each certificate is explained in detail with 1-2 short sentences.

If you'd like some more inspiration, breeze through our resume samples and have a look at resumes that have actually helped our customers to land the job they'd wanted. 

Congratulations. Now you know how to make resume for first job. 

Just one more thing.

If you've read carefully you might've noticed how often the word relevant pops up in this post. (Could be a good drinking game actually.)

By relevant we mean pertaining to the job you're applying for . 

Knowing what your job demands allows you to tailor your resume to each job posting you wish to reply to. The closer your resume aligns with these requirements, the better chance to land a job interview you'll have.  

Go to the job posting and read it again. Which key words and phrases catch your eye? 

In this example, we've highlighted them for you: 

Job posting example:

 Entry-Level Customer Service Representative

XYZ Tech Solutions is looking for a motivated Entry-Level Customer Service Representative to join our team in Miami, FL. The ideal candidate will have excellent communication skills , basic computer proficiency, and a strong command of both English and Spanish . This role involves addressing customer queries, solving problems with a proactive approach, and contributing to team efforts in a fast-paced environment. No previous experience required, making it perfect for those starting their professional journey. If you’re passionate about delivering exceptional customer service and ready to grow your skills, apply now and kickstart your career with us!

When constructing your resume, make sure that you've managed to tick as many boxes as possible . Just don't lie!

Have a look at the following resume example.

Now, let's have a look at a great example resume for first job belonging to a student intern.

She highlights her skills and education, effectively camouflaging the lack of work experience.

She makes use of the skills-based resume format , which focuses on your skills rather than professional experience – also a great way to make up for the lack of experience.

The best thing is you can use this resume as your first draft.

Student Intern Resume Sample

This resume was written by our experienced resume writers specifically for this profession.

K ey takeaways: How to make a resume for first job?

Even without formal work experience, a resume is crucial. It serves as the initial point of contact between you and potential employers .

To make your first resume land with a bang, follow these simple steps:

  • Create a compelling resume objective. Focus on career goals and academic achievements.
  • Flash out your education. Highlight relevant coursework, projects, or awards.
  • Camouflage your work experience. Utilize internships, volunteering, and part-time jobs to adequatly compensate for your lack of experience.
  • Show relevant skills. Include both hard and transferabe skills. For better readability use infographics if possible. 
  • Provide up-to date contact information. Ensure it's up-to-date and prominently displayed.
  • Enhance your resume with optional sections. Add any other relevant sections as needed.

Don't forget the golden rule – always customize your resume to align with the specific job requirements, focusing on relevant skills and qualities .

Finally, a good resume should always be accompanied by a good cover letter. It can lend you more space to show the recruiters your passion and personal motivation to work for their company. As a fresh graduate, this is how you write a cover letter with no experience .

Is your first resume any good?

Scan your resume for issues and see how it compares against other resumes in our database.

Julia has recently joined Kickresume as a career writer. From helping people with their English to get admitted to the uni of their dreams to advising them on how to succeed in the job market. It would seem that her career is on a steadfast trajectory. Julia holds a degree in Anglophone studies from Metropolitan University in Prague, where she also resides. Apart from creative writing and languages, she takes a keen interest in literature and theatre.

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First Job Resume Examples + Samples for 2022

This page provides you with First Job Resume Examples + Samples for 2022 resume samples to use to create your own resume with our easy-to-use resume builder . Below you'll find our how-to section that will guide you through each section of a First Job Resume Examples + Samples for 2022 resume.

Retail Sales Associate Resume Sample and Template

If you’re a new graduate worrying about how to write your first ever resume, you’re not alone! When you don’t have a lot of past work experience, resumes can be pretty intimidating. It’s easy to wonder how you’ll fill all the space, especially if you’ve never even held down a part-time job before.

Don’t panic! Even if you’re totally new to the world of work, you almost certainly have enough relevant experience behind you to build a great resume for your first job. If you think laterally, it’s perfectly possible – and very much allowed! – to include things like club activities, school-based responsibilities, and volunteering work on your first job resume.

To get you started, we’ve put together this helpful guide to writing your first job resume. We’ve put together some example resume sections, some do’s and don'ts for writing your resume, and some advice on what to expect from the job application process – including some tips you may not hear from your college careers office. Read on, and you’ll be building your first job resume in no time!

If you’ve never worked before, chances are that you’ve never had to write a resume before, either. Don’t worry – it’s not as complicated as you think! As a general rule, a resume contains the following sections:

  • A summary and/or objective
  • A record of your past work experience
  • A list of your qualifications, certifications, and licenses
  • A list of your relevant skills

It’s important to remember that your resume needs to show a hiring manager two things, particularly when you have no work experience. The first is that you have relevant qualifications for the role you want – whether that’s an academic qualification in a relevant field, or just some volunteering-based or extracurricular experience. The second is that you have the skills you will need to do great work in the role.

What this means is that it’s okay if your experience section feels a little thin on the ground. As a current student or a new graduate, you won’t be expected to bring a ton of professional experience to the table. What matters is how you present yourself – which means making the most of the skills, qualifications and experience that you do have, so hiring managers can see a good reason to take a chance on you.

We’ll cover each section one at a time, so you have all the information you need to make your resume as strong as possible.

The Best Format for a First Job Resume

Before you get started on actually writing your resume, you’ll need to choose your resume format! This dictates what hiring managers will notice first when they take their first look at your application. The right format will draw their eyes to your strongest assets, and away from the places where you’re not as strong as you’d prefer.

When you choose your professionally-designed first job resume template from our selection, make sure you keep that in mind. Since you won’t have much prior work experience, it makes sense to choose a format that will call attention to your qualifications and skills instead. This will give recruiters an opportunity to see the best side of you, first and foremost!

Remember, this is just your first job resume – you will be able to create a brand new resume once you have more experience behind you. After you’ve built up a stronger work history in your field of choice, you’ll be able to opt for a resume format that balances your skills and qualifications with your work experience. We have a range of resume guides for a variety of different fields and industries, to help you pick the best resume format when the time comes!

  • Applicant Tracking Systems

You may not know that some companies use an applicant tracking system (or ATS) to sort through the resumes they receive when inviting applications for a position. ATS software filters resumes based on keywords (usually drawn from the job description) to help winnow out resumes that are generic, not qualified for the role, or otherwise unsuitable to move to the next stage of the process. This is great for hiring managers, as it saves them valuable time and enables them to speed up the hiring process.

But for candidates, it isn’t always such good news! If your resume doesn’t make it past the ATS software, it is likely to be rejected before a human gets to see it and make informed decisions about your application. That can be a blow, particularly if you’ve spent a lot of time and effort on your resume.

You can maximize your chances of beating the ATS software by paying close attention to what the job description is asking for. Try to use the exact words used in the job description when describing your skills and experience: for example, if a job description asks for ‘strong time management skills,’ use that exact phrase when writing about your history of meeting deadlines for school. If you don’t treat the job description as your guide, you risk losing the role before the hiring process has truly begun.

ATS software can also be confused by complex and intricate resume formatting. That’s why all of VisualCV’s resume templates are designed to make your resume easy for ATS software to read, regardless of the layout they provide. That means you don’t have to worry about the software getting confused by your resume format – you can just focus on making sure your resume is as strong as it can be.

How to Write a Summary for Your First Job Resume

Most resumes begin with a summary. It’s the first thing most recruiters will see when they pick up your resume, and it’s intended to give them a clear, concise picture of your best qualities. Writing a good summary is all about brevity – think about your biggest strengths in relation to this particular role, and write them down in three sentences or less.

Remember, your summary should be tailored to the specific role you’re applying for. You can’t write just one summary, then reuse it across multiple applications! Recruiters will notice, and it will hurt your chances of getting the job.

Because you’re applying for your first job, you won’t be able to talk about your prior work experience in your summary. However, you can mention your educational background, your skills, your best qualities, and any relevant non-work experience you have. Later in your career, you can use your summary to describe the trajectory of your career so far, so recruiters can see at a glance where you’re coming from. 3 First Job Summary Examples

  • Current student at NYU majoring in International Relations. Secretary of the NYU Tea Society, with experience in planning, communication, and working to deadlines. A quick and adaptable learner with a strong work ethic.
  • Maintaining a 3.8 GPA at Williams College. Former editor at the Williams Record, with experience of project management and collaborative work. Dedicated to learning new skills without compromising on the quality of my output.
  • Majoring in Computing at UT Austin. Three years of volunteer experience in a residential care home, delivering enrichment activities to residents. Strong customer service skills with a compassionate mindset and a drive to deliver the best.
  • How Not to Write a First Job Resume Summary

It can be tempting to turn your summary into a second cover letter – a long-form piece of writing focusing on the story behind why you want the job. Don’t give in to that temptation! It’s the number one thing to avoid when writing a resume summary.

Remember, your summary needs to be clear and direct, focused on what you can offer an employer in the role you want. Keep it brief, keep it focused, and keep it professional. You can talk more about yourself in your cover letter – don’t give up valuable resume space for the sake of a more in-depth summary than you need.

Summaries can be tricky to get right. Not every recruiter agrees that you need one – in fact, opinion is pretty divided – so don’t despair if you’re struggling with it! Leave it out for now, and consider coming back to it later.

  • For the past three years, I have worked as a volunteer at the Shady Pines Residential Care Home, delivering enrichment activities to residents every weekend. I am excited to apply my experience with customer service to the role of Cashier. I believe I have the customer-focused mindset and the work ethic to really succeed in this position.

Do You Need a Resume Objective?

We’ve covered summaries pretty thoroughly – but what about your resume objective?

When you’re applying for a first job, an objective is a great way to give a hiring manager a little more information about your long-term goals. It’s a single-sentence statement about where you want to work or what you want to do in the longer term. Needless to say, your objective should have some relevance to the role you’re applying for!

Keep in mind that you won’t always need a resume objective. They’re not so useful when you already have an extensive work history, as your career so far can go a long way toward telling a hiring manager about your long-term plans. But at the beginning of your career, they’re generally considered to be worth including on your resume. First Job Resume Objective Example:

  • International Relations major at NYU, hoping to build a career in the communications industry.

How to Describe Your Experience on Your First Job Resume

By definition, you probably don’t have any previous experience of holding down a paid job – after all, this is your first job resume! But that doesn’t mean you don’t have any relevant experience. Here are just a few of the things you can include in this section of your resume, provided you’ve participated in them in the past:

  • High school clubs
  • College extracurriculars
  • Volunteering experience
  • Internships
  • Work experience placements
  • Relevant hobbies and achievements

As long as you can draw on the experience to show why it makes you a good fit for the role you want, you can include it! It’s worth sitting down and listing all of the skills you used or learned during your non-work experience. Then you can include any experience where those skills align with the skills listed on your job description – generally a good sign that the experience is relevant to the role.

Remember, you don’t have to include everything you’ve ever done on your resume. If you have a lot of experience, be selective. On the other hand, if you don’t have much experience, don’t even think about lying to bulk it out – if you get caught (and you are likely to get caught), it will throw up red flags that recruiters won’t be able to ignore.

  • Describe Your Experience Effectively

Each ‘item’ of experience on your resume is usually accompanied by a bullet-pointed list of things you achieved while carrying out the job. But as you’ll see in the example below, it’s not as simple as all that! Every bullet point you write should prove that you have at least one of the skills or qualities listed in the job description.

That’s why you should make sure to write about what you actually achieved – not just about the bare bones of what you did from day to day. Instead of ‘answered emails,’ try ‘addressed client queries promptly via email, ensuring clear communication and building trust.’ Doesn’t that sound so much more impressive?

As a rule, hiring managers will want to see evidence that you were able to succeed in your previous work – whatever it was. Point to the results you achieved by completing each task, and hiring managers will be more likely to believe that you can achieve results again in a future role.

Do: Editor, The Williams Record | 2019-20

  • Responded to pitches for articles and columns from fellow students, selecting pitches for content in line with the mission and tone of the newspaper
  • Supported writers in delivering their articles on time and to a high standard
  • Liaised with other members of the editorial team to ensure that each issue went to print in good time
  • How Not to Describe Your Experience

Don’t just write a list of the tasks you completed! Without any further context, a straightforward list of responsibilities assigned to you won’t tell a hiring manager anything. They won’t have any reason to believe that you excelled at those tasks, or that you might excel at similar tasks in a new job.

When writing a resume, you need to show hiring managers that you have the skills it takes to succeed. Be clear and explicit about those skills and how you applied them – don’t assume that they will make those connections for you.

Don’t: Editor, The Williams Record | 2019-20

  • Answered emails
  • Edited articles
  • Worked with other editors

How to List Skills on Your First Job Resume

Your skills section should be a list of the skills you possess that will help you in the role you want. You can usually refer to the job description for the skills necessary for the job! Most of the time, they include a list of qualities that applicants should have – use that as a guide when listing skills on your resume.

It’s useful to distinguish between ‘hard skills’ and ‘soft skills.’ Hard skills are the practical skills you’ll use from day to day in your role – things like the use of particular software packages, or the ability to use a cash register. If you don’t have all the hard skills listed as necessary for the role you want, don’t panic – you can write, either in your cover letter or as part of your skills section, that you are willing to learn on the job.

On the other hand, you probably already have some relevant soft skills! We’ll cover those in more detail below.

For general information about skills on your resume, check out our resume skills guide here!

Important Soft Skills for Your First Job

Soft skills are the skills that you use in every aspect of your professional life. Skills like communication, organization and attention to detail are vital in almost every line of work, and will give you an advantage in navigating a new work environment. Plus, when you don’t have much prior work experience, a strong portfolio of soft skills can show an employer that you have what it takes to succeed.

Here are some of the most important soft skills to include on your first job resume, regardless of the job you’re applying for!

  • Communication

Can you get along with people and make yourself understood, whether in person, in writing, or over the phone? Communication is foundational to almost every job – being able to communicate effectively will make you a better team member, as well as better at liaising with clients or customers.

  • Organization

In the world of work, it’s vital to be organized. That means balancing all your commitments, showing up on time, looking presentable, and managing your working hours effectively. Prove that you can do all that, and your application will be that much stronger as a result.

  • Willingness to Learn

This one is particularly important for people looking for their first job, as they’re likely to need more on-the-job training than more experienced candidates. Being willing and able to take in and adapt to new information is a crucial skill!

Very few jobs will need you to work in perfect isolation. You’ll have to get along efficiently with people from all walks of life, regardless of your personal feelings about them, in order to do most jobs to the best of your ability. That means being able to take on your share of responsibilities, all while keeping the wellbeing and morale of your colleagues in mind.

Final Thoughts

Landing that first job can be a daunting prospect, but it’s not impossible! With a well-written, well-constructed resume, you’ll be on your way up the career ladder in no time. Use what you have, think laterally about your experience, and don’t be deterred by rejection – keep pushing, and you’ll get there.

For a little extra boost to your resume, consider a VisualCV Pro membership! Pro membership allows you to customize every aspect of your resume, so you can show hiring managers your very best self from the outset of the application process. Sign up today, and get the head start you deserve on that first job.

Copyright © 2024 Workstory Inc.

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How To Write Your First Job Resume

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In This Guide:

What will this guide do for me, related resume guides, covering the basics, how to set up a resume, overcoming resume-writing block, breaking down your first resume, additional sections, sample first job resume, reviewing your resume, frequently asked questions.

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At some point we all must go through our first time – our first time creating a resume, that is. Your first resume will lead to your first job and the rest of your career. When creating your first resume, some of the anxieties surround its length, how you write a first resume, and what needs to be on it. It can be particularly difficult knowing how to write a resume with no experience, too.

Fortunately, we’ve put together a comprehensive guide with examples to show you why you need a resume, what a resume needs, how you put all of that together, and how you can have the best one out there (with or without experience). Looking for a quick reference? You can find our first resume FAQ at the end of this post, too.

  • Provide an understanding of what a resume is
  • Explain what your resume can be used for
  • Provide tips to overcome resume writer’s block
  • Show you how to set up a resume
  • Detail the major points that you need to include in your first job resume
  • Highlight successful examples that show these points in action
  • Give inspiration for how your first job resume can be created
  • Answer frequently asked questions on resume building

Enhancv How To Write Your First Job Resume First job resume

BUILD A JOB WINNING RESUME

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What is a resume?

Your resume is a formal record of your skills, attributes, interests, abilities, prior experience, and relevant expertise in any field. For many people, a resume is off-putting as they don’t think they have any relevant experience nor do they understand how to approach it. One of the hardest steps to overcome with your resume is getting started, so be sure to check out how to overcome that struggle below.

Why do I need one?

Your resume is your conversation starter with any future employer. No resume in the world will be able to speak for you as well as you could yourself, but the aim is to make your resume as comprehensive and concise as possible so the recruiter (the people that hire employees) will want to hear more and offer an interview.

There are many ways that people find employment. However, if your personal network doesn’t give rise to finding a job, and you don’t have any friends that have jobs vacant, your resume is the first step. Think of it as the foundation from which you can build the empire of your career.

Who looks at my resume?

There are two main review systems used by employers. These are recruiter reviews and automated reviews (ATS). In some instances, an organization may run your resume through an automated system that scans for keywords and key details. After that initial screening, a recruiter will further analyze the details on your resume.

As it is possible that your resume will pass through an automated service, it is important to use readable fonts and a format that makes sense.

First things first, you need to set up your resume with the right resume format. There are a few options you can choose from: reverse chronological, functional, or a hybrid of the two.

Here’s the difference between them.

The reverse chronological resume layout emphasizes your work experience, listing them off from the most recent position first. This layout also shows off your qualifications, skills, and education, but work experience is the main focus.

Enhancv How To Write Your First Job Resume First job resume

Since you’re just starting out in the workforce with little to no experience yet, this format may not be the best option for you.

How about the functional resume layout?

This one emphasizes your skills, putting less of the spotlight on your previous work experience. Your skillset takes up most of the page, with only a brief summary of your experience and education at the bottom.

Enhancv How To Write Your First Job Resume First job resume

And finally, the hybrid resume layout is the perfect mix between the reverse chronological and functional formats. The hybrid resume equally focuses on your skills, work experience and educational background.

Enhancv How To Write Your First Job Resume First job resume

For a first job resume, go for either the functional resume layout or the hybrid layout (if you have some experience to talk about).

Enhancv has customizable resume templates for you to choose from to make writing your resume easy.

Formatting tips

Making your resume easy to read and scannable will go a long way in making a great first impression.

Keep these tips in mind when writing your resume:

  • Use a common font, like Times New Roman or Arial
  • Make the font big enough to read (12pt or higher)
  • Bold headings, subheadings, and job titles
  • Use bullet points to organize your points in descriptions
  • Export your resume as a PDF so it looks consistent across all devices and platforms

There are a few sections that are required in a resume; no matter what position you’re going for. Some jobs have restrictions on the formatting, details, and fonts you may use (for example, an Academic Resume), but for the most part, you can start with a blank slate and add what you feel is necessary. The key to building your resume is thinking about three things:

  • What is the job I’m applying for?
  • What is required of me in that role?
  • How do I convey that I fulfill those requirements?

If you keep those three things in mind, you won’t get overwhelmed by what you think should be happening in your resume – instead, you’ll be excited to start working and showing your talents.

Other tips you can use to overcome writer’s block when it comes to your resume are:

  • Speak to your family on how they have written their resumes and what they think might belong to yours
  • Sit down and think about moments you are most proud of
  • Talk to someone who has worked with you on some project or volunteering

While there is no one-size-fits-all way to create a resume, it’s helpful to see some examples of sections you can include. Some things are needed on all resumes no matter what they’re being used for. We’ll focus on those for now.

The first thing the recruiter should see is your name and who you are below it. They’re not going to remember who turned in the resume at the desk or submitted it online. Without your name on your resume, there’s nothing to distinguish your resume from another person’s. It’s reminding the recruiter who you are at a glance.

Enhancv How To Write Your First Job Resume First job resume

2. Contact details

Always include contact details on a resume. This can include your email, phone number, website, and/or LinkedIn. It is necessary to include at least two ways that a recruiter can get in contact with you – just in case one of them doesn’t work.

Do’s and Don’ts:

Enhancv How To Write Your First Job Resume First job resume

3. Personal summary

Chances are, you don’t have a lot of experience when writing your first job resume. This is okay – but you need to find a way to tell the recruiter more about you. A personal summary can be used to explain who you are and what you hope to accomplish from the role. Typically, 2-3 sentences just below your contact details are enough. It doesn’t have to take the form of a paragraph. You can use a Personal Philosophy Section or Most Proud Of (see: additional sections) section to convey more details.

Enhancv How To Write Your First Job Resume First job resume

4. Skills section

In one form or another, you’ll have to mention your specific skills on your resume. This is to show the employer what you’re capable of and what you’ll bring to your role should you be hired.

Some skills that you can mention in your first job resume (with working experience) are:

  • Customer relations (solving customer issues)
  • End of day processing (closing shop)
  • Data processing (inputting stock on excel)
  • Transaction maintenance (working on a checkout)
  • Inventory control (managing stock)

Some skills you can mention in your first job resume (without working experience) are:

  • Proficiency in Office Suite (Word, Excel, Outlook and Powerpoint)
  • Conflict resolution (you’re able to find compromise)
  • Human relations (communication)
  • Innovative problem solving (you can find creative ways to solve problems)
  • Time management (you can get things done on a deadline)

It’s important to include a mix of soft skills and hard skills on your resume.

Hard skills describe your technical or teachable abilities – the ones that are specific to the job.

For example, if you’re applying for a restaurant server position, your hard skills would be things like:

  • Inputting orders
  • Using the POS systems

On top of your hard skills, employers want to hire people who will fit in with their company culture and deliver an amazing experience to their customers. They’re looking for job candidates who have soft skills too.

Soft skills are more personality-based. While hard skills are teachable through training or education, soft skills have more to do with your personal character.

Let’s go back to the restaurant server example. Restaurant managers want to hire servers who have both hard and soft skills to deliver great customer service. These soft skills can be things like:

  • Self-motivated
  • Positive, helpful attitude
  • Great verbal communication
  • Able to work under high pressure

When writing your first job resume, include a mix of your hard and soft skills to show the hiring manager that you’re the well-rounded candidate they need for the job.

Just be sure to give examples that show that you have these skills whenever possible.

5. Previous experience

Your previous experience is a great way to show the recruiter that you can apply all of your skills to the real-world. Employers want to see you’re capable of making a difference in their organization and that you’ll be an important piece of the puzzle in achieving success.

What do I put on my resume if I have no experience?

Before you skim over this section and think you don’t have any previous experience, it doesn’t have to be in a working environment. If you’ve spent time volunteering, babysitting, coaching, leading people at Summer Camp, taking on extra-curricular activities at school, all of these things are previous experience.

The important part of describing your previous experience is to go in-depth about what you accomplished more than what you were responsible for. See an example below for a Library Assistant and Equipment Manager. Make sure everything you mention is measured when possible.

Enhancv How To Write Your First Job Resume First job resume

6. references

References or Referees are people you include on your resume that will be able to speak about you. There are two types: character references and professional references.

Character Reference

A character reference is used when you do not have any professional experience (working in a job). Traditionally, you should include two character references that can speak to your abilities and who you are as a person. These should not be family members if you can avoid it. Ask one of your teachers, coaches, and so on. You should include their name, email, and phone number.

Make sure to ask your referee (the person you include as reference) for their permission to do this and notify them when you are applying for jobs.

Professional Reference

Professional references are those from people that you have worked with/for previously. Usually, this will be your supervisor or manager. As with character references, you’ll need to include contact details and name. Again, be sure to ask their permission to include this.

There are some more sections that you can include on your first job resume depending on your personal preferences. These sections are more about showing your personality and interest and aren’t needed exactly, but they can help you stand out from the crowd. If you have little experience, these optional sections are a great way to show off your talents.

Most proud of

Your Most Proud Of Section gives insight into who you are as a person. It can be used to highlight some of your projects and personal achievements. This will help the potential employer understand how you fit in the company’s culture and the team.

2. Certifications

Certifications show you’re willing to dedicate time to learning new skills. Being certified in First-Aid, Manual Lifting, Microsoft Excel and more are great to include on a CV as they show you’re proactive in your work.

3. Passions

Passions are a way to quickly emphasize things that matter most to you. These can be personal causes or more business-focused. Some examples of personal passions are:

  • Music Production
  • Fighting homelessness

Some examples of business-focused passions are:

  • Improving efficiency
  • Growth and improvement
  • Diversity & Inclusion
  • Collaboration

Awards are the pinnacle of measured achievement. Including awards shows the employer that external parties have recognized your ability and rewarded it in the past. If you’re still in high-school, high-school awards such as Student of The Year are appropriate. As you enter college, you should try to include awards and achievements from college instead.

For some industries, a photo is an excellent way of personalizing your resume and adding a human touch. However, in some countries, it’s forbidden or frowned upon to include a photograph. So, double-check. This can be as simple as emailing the HR department to ask or ask your guidance counselor for some help with this.

Enhancv How To Write Your First Job Resume First job resume

We have more resume examples for you to check out, specific to your job title.

TRY ENHANCV RESUMES

After completing your resume, reviewing your content is the last step you should take before sending it out to recruiters.

1. Have you read the job description?

The job description is typically posted alongside any job listing. It will give details on what the job will entail and the duties you’ll be given. Reading the job description will help tailor your resume to answer the question the recruiter will ask.

For example, if the job description mentions accounting, you’ll know to include your math skills.

Not all parts of the job description need to be satisfied, however. Meet as many expectations as possible. If it mentions “experience with customers” this doesn’t have to be direct experience working in customer service. It can be selling hot dogs at your local football game.

2. How is your resume different?

Looking at your resume, you should spot things that make it unique. Remember, you need to stand out from the pool of people that are applying for the same job you are. Including personalized sections (Most Proud Of etc.,) tells your unique resume story and typically satisfies this idea.

3. Are your achievements measured?

Look over achievements to see if they are all measured. Again, listing responsibilities will only do so much. Providing a measure shows the recruiter what impact you have made in the past and gives insight into the potential impact you’ll have in the future.

4. Have you checked for typos?

Typos are very common in resumes. Everything else may be perfect, but if there’s a typographical error (spelling mistake, grammar mistakes, and so on) it will dampen the good impression you’re trying to leave on the recruiter. You can utilize Enhancv’s content analyzer to spot common typos.

5. Has a friend reviewed your resume?"?

Getting a fresh pair-of-eyes to look at your resume will do wonders. Not only will it give you an idea of how your resume comes across to a neutral party, but they may also find mistakes that you’ve missed. They may even think of some achievement you forgot to include. Luckily, Enhancv’s built-in referral link allows you to do this with ease.

1. How long should my first resume be?

For your first resume, you should aim to keep your resume between 1-2 pages (1 is preferable). Extremely long resumes are often filled with fluff and aren’t tailored to one particular job.

2. What font should I use?"?

Font restrictions are not very common, but check out the job description/application guidelines just in case. In general, use a readable font with clean edges. Arial, Times New Roman, Rubik, and so on.

3. How many resumes should I have?

A good rule-of-thumb is to have a resume for every sector or industry you’re applying to. For example, a sales resume and a volunteer resume . For jobs that you really care about, you might even tailor your resume to that specific company .

4. What needs to be on my first resume?

Essential sections include:

  • Contact Details (Phone Number & Email)
  • Previous experience (not necessarily in the working world)

Additional sections include:

  • Most Proud Of
  • Achievements
  • Personal Summary (important for your first resume)
  • Certifications

5. Where can I find first resume examples?"?

You can find real examples of people that have been successful with their resumes on Enhancv’s Resume Examples page.

Writing your first job resume

Writing your first job resume can be difficult, but it’s manageable. Once you overcome writer’s block and start to think about the things you have done in your life, it will come naturally. To create a first job resume that resembles our sample resume and that satisfies all of our tips, be sure to check out Enhancv’s resume builder.

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The Best Résumé Templates For Your 2024 Job Search

N o matter what the news says about low unemployment rates, if you don’t yet have your dream job , you’re going to need every tool at your disposal to attract an employer’s eye . Literally.

That’s why it’s increasingly popular for people to incorporate flashy designs in their résumé. For those of us who aren’t graphic designers, that often means using a résumé template. We’ll point you in the direction of some résumé templates out there in a minute, but first, you might be wondering how necessary these are for a job search . Do hiring managers even look at résumés when they can find out everything about us on social media or in those lengthy online applications we’re always filling out?

“Employers are always going to look you up on LinkedIn , but you also need to have some kind of tangible document that you can send along to demonstrate your professional identity,” career coach Elana Konstant tells Refinery29.

Amanda Augustine, careers expert for  TopCV , says having a strong résumé template is vital. “If a résumé’s content is king, then consider its design is queen,” she says. “How your information is presented on a résumé is just as important as the information itself. Recruiters want to see a visually appealing, yet uncomplicated, résumé that strikes the right balance between content and white space. If your résumé is not easy to read, employers will simply move on to the next application.”

When you’re going up against potentially hundreds of people for a job, the layout of your résumé could be the difference between being skipped over and getting an interview, Augustine warns. After all, studies have proved recruiters typically make a decision about a résumé within 10 seconds.

“A good résumé template is designed with both the hiring professional and its recruitment tools in mind,” she adds. “The document is first and foremost easily skimmable; it utilizes a consistent layout with clearly marked headings and an uncomplicated design that allow the reader to quickly understand why you’re a good fit for a particular job. It also avoids certain design elements that might throw off an  applicant tracking system  (ATS), such as custom fonts or bullet points, graphics, and right-hand columns or rails, among others.”

As you browse through some of the templates, you might be tempted to choose the designs that are the most artistic or fit the most words on the page. Konstant warns that those aren’t necessarily the ones that will land you a job. Some managers in creative fields might welcome an unconventional design, while many others will prefer a more conservative approach.

“I’ve noticed on Etsy, and some other sites, they sell formats that are pretty to look at, but I sometimes find that it can be hard to extract the right information from them,” she says. “It’s a delicate balance between finding something that you think looks good, but that represents the right information. … I definitely err on the side of fewer bells and whistles and really having the experience stand out.”

While many of these template sites include guidance on the content, not just the design, Konstant suggests seeking guidance offline. “Ask people who actually do the kind of work that you want to do to take a look at [your résumé] and see what’s missing,” she says. “[That way] you can make sure that your résumé really speaks to the kind of jobs that you’re looking for.”

Before you run off and find your mentor, you can at least start by using the following template sites. One note: Beware of many sites offering free or low-cost templates. Some of them will automatically subscribe you to their services after 14 days, and charge you fees. If there’s no pricing info available on a site, that should be a red flag.

There are plenty of options here, and Augustine recommends using the London, Santiago, Singapore and Athens templates if you’re applying for a job in a country that discourages using a résumé photo.

In both the UK and US this should be avoided as many recruiters won’t consider applications with a photo.

Google Docs

The easiest place to start is right here, and it’s free. There are five templates to choose from that include tiny bits of personality in the form of font changes, colour, and lines.

This can give you a clean, need and easy to read format to follow, that you can also adapt and develop further if you need.

Microsoft Office

If you have Office, there are pages and pages of free résumé and cover letter templates available to download and use in Word. They range from the simplest to wildly colorful with photos. Choose wisely — you don’t want to use the same template as everyone else, nor do you want to present something wild to a very traditional employer.

At the very least, use this as a source of inspiration, then create your own format selecting the best of what you’ve browsed through.

There’s a variety of free Word doc templates to choose from here, but it comes with a catch: You have to share a link to the site on Facebook or Twitter in order to unlock the free download link. We know that can feel a bit cringy to do.

As an alternative, you can buy a premium pack, which includes a cover letter format and free email support.

Another site with plenty of Word templates for free, but this one comes with a land mines of ads for other résumé sites scattered throughout the page — and they all look like the buttons you should click for your download until they take you to a different page.

The trick is to hunt for the blue “Download” buttons on the template of your choice, and then click on the hyperlinked word “free.”

Graphic designers use this site to showcase their work, and some up-and-comers are so eager to showcase their wares that they offer résumé templates to download for free. This is a gold mine if employers in your field value creativity.

Canva is another option if you’re keen to be a bit more creative; both paid and free versions are available. Someone working in graphics or a creative role might enjoy the range of design options here more, as there’s plenty of space to put your own mark on your résumé. Remember, it still needs to be clear and easy to read, so don’t go overboard.

Seb Morgan, an expert at CV Genius, says most of the templates here are free to download, and you don’t need to sign up to access them.

“Two of my personal favourites are Severn and Tyneside, two versatile templates that are both easy to personalise and appropriate for most industries,” he says.

This site offers two templates you can download for free in a ZIP file and then edit in Microsoft Word or Apple Pages.

You can also buy fancier templates for around $12-13 (each, with some packages for $19). For another $29, you can get an editor to look at your résumé, too.

Support the entrepreneurial designers out there by buying a template directly from them.

There are plenty listed for around $10, give or take a few dollars. Most offer simple designs, so you might find it worth the investment.

This site offers free one-page résumé templates, in styles ranging from “functional” to “creative,” that are perfect for people in the early stages of their career.

Premium subscribers can get longer résumé templates, custom layouts, cover letter templates, extra fonts and colors, and options to add icons.

The best thing about this site is the way you can import info from your LinkedIn profile to begin building your résumé. Of course, you should probably do a bit of editing after that: Konstant recommends you tailor descriptions of your experience and skills for each position to which you’re applying, making sure you include some keywords that are in the specific job listing.

There’s a free option for some of the templates, but they will include a Resumonk footer, which doesn’t look particularly professional. An annual fee will get you 17 templates in both PDF and doc formats, accompanying cover letter templates, plus a URL for your résumé that allows you to track who’s looked at it.

Though it’s based in Poland and caters to people all over the world, this résumé-building site specifies which formats are recommended for American jobs. An online tool clearly guides users through each step of filling out the template, with tips from recruiters included in each section.

The starter pack includes four templates that you can save in PDF format and download unlimited times. The premium plan includes 18 templates, cover letters, and a URL that tracks views and downloads.

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What is a CV?

A career advisor holding a student’s resume, listening to the student talk about what she wants to include in a cover letter.

Job searching and submitting online applications can feel like a never-ending performance featuring your professional skills and knowledge. If you're starting to identify more as a member of the chorus than the lead character, make sure you’re referencing the proper script.

A career-seeking superstar should understand the difference between a CV and a resume.

So, what is a CV?

Like a resume, a CV is a document outlining your professional experience. In contrast, a CV provides substantial detail where a resume may not and can be more relevant to specific career sectors and geographic location. Think of a CV like a feature-length documentary while a resume is more of a commercial preview .  Certain opportunities you seek may require the CV for a more expansive exploration of your education, professional experience, achievements, interests and skills.

What Does CV Stand For?

To discover what CV stands for, open the binding of your Latin reference guide. The unabbreviated version is “Curriculum Vitae” which translates to “Course of Life.”

If you do not already diligently document your accomplishments, consider drafting a CV for yourself. This can be a living and breathing list of what you have done and currently do as you progress through the years. The list should relate to your passions, interests and every step forward leading you to the future you deserve.

Ask yourself these questions:

  • Have you completed a new academic credential?
  • Have you had a job or internship relevant to your passions and interests?
  • Do you possess specific skills gained throughout your educational and professional experience?
  • Did you publicly publish an article, research paper or other professional media?
  • Did you serve as a contributor on a research project or industry presentation?
  • Have you won an award, formal recognition or a merit scholarship?
  • Are you affiliated as a dedicated volunteer with a nonprofit organization?

Keep your list updated and continue to add to it as each achievement materializes. This is your course of life. Your CV is a professional celebration of you. Toot that horn!

If at some point you need to submit your CV for a career-related opportunity, you will not mistakenly forget and forgo any of the impressive details along the way.

How Do You Write a Simple CV?

As you draft or update your list of accomplishments for a CV, imagine yourself receiving a V ery I mportant P rofessional award. The award presenter lists achievements throughout your life thus far and plans to leave no relevant stone unturned. To deliver a clear message, your gathered CV content should follow an easy-to-understand format.

Grace Dugan with the text Grace Dugan

Dugan said most of her work related to CV advising is with graduate students or professionals in the nonprofit space, seeking a career in academia or research sectors. Other instances occur when her advisees are considering international employment where use of the CV is more commonplace. Be aware that the term CV could also be interchangeably referenced with the term resume outside of the United States. So, it’s important to clarify with the recruiter or relevant hiring contact about which document is preferred prior to submitting your application.

In her CV template used to support SNHU students and alumni, Dugan suggests the following outline to organize academic and occupational accolades:

Contact Information

Include your full name, general location information, and the methods to reach you within the first block of text in your document. If the hiring team would like to speak with you, the information will be easily accessible and clear:

FIRST & LAST NAME City, State Zip PHONE (555) 123-4567 • [email protected]

Tip: Make sure your provided email address is professional – [email protected] may be cute, but likely will not leave the most effective impression when applying for an established career opportunity.

Desired Job Title

Professional profile.

This section serves as your elevator pitch  to set the stage for what is to come in the remainder of the CV document:

An enthusiastic adult teaching professional with a superb record of student support and student focus. A real passion for explaining curriculum requirements and working with a diverse student population. Committed to supporting and retaining students, adhering to institution’s mission and values, and capable of effectively collaborating with students, faculty, and administration.

Plan to include the two most recently completed educational credentials, plus any that are specifically related to the desired role:

Master of Arts in English , July 2023 Southern New Hampshire University, Manchester, NH GPA 3.7, President’s List

Bachelor of Arts in English, Professional Writing , May 2010 Southern New Hampshire University, Manchester, NH

Tip: Academic history should be listed in reverse-chronological order. If you’ve completed a bachelor’s degree or higher, the mention of obtaining your high school diploma or equivalent is unnecessary.

Qualifications

Create concise bullets to share an overview of your acquired skills as they relate to the available opportunity:

  • Excellent written/verbal communication skills
  • Ability to evaluate student performance, support students at varied levels in on-site or online settings
  • Familiar with the facilitation of lectures and discussions in an online academic arena
  • Knowledge in developing course material to ensure success in English Composition classes
  • Knowledge of MLA, APA, and Chicago Manual of Style

Teaching Experience

If you possess specific professional experience closely related to the desired job title, include the details in a separate section to call out those skills:

English Language Instructor (ESL) , 2014-Present The Genesis Center, Providence, RI

  • Designed ESL onsite/online curriculum to accommodate adult students with varying levels of experience
  • Successfully encouraged students to actively participate by creating a nurturing classroom environment

Tip: Highlight the subjects, topics and demographics or populations influenced by your knowledge and skills when seeking careers in academia or related grant-funded research applications.

Relevant Experience

Pull from other professional roles where your practical experience might be appropriate for the desired job title, creatively addressing soft skills like public speaking, mentorship or teamwork:

Office Manager , 2008-2014 The Home Group, Manchester, NH

  • Effectively instructed new employees on safety standards and operating procedures
  • Developed training manuals, presentations, and employee assessments for diverse audiences
  • Identified barriers to employee success and used various strategies to overcome obstacles
  • Collaborated with management to determine training needs

Tip: Follow a reverse-chronological format and try to use measurable details whenever possible as you bullet your relevant experience. You can mention dollar amounts or percentages, number of direct reports, grant funds awarded, etc. Make your past and possible impact crystal and quantifiably clear.

Honors and Awards

This section houses the list for any formal recognition received from industries or organizations where you’ve made an impressionable impact:

New England Most Innovative Instructor, 2021

Literacy in Action Grant, 2017

Teach for America IGNITE Fellowship, 2012

Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce Citizen of the Year, 2009

Publications and Presentations

Contributions to the field in the form of published work, research or presentations should be included to showcase the expertise and passion you possess for related topics and themes:

Freelance Writer , 2009-2013

  • Multiple articles published. Able to proofread, research, blog, and use social media marketing skills
  • Able to manage grammar, typographical, compositional errors, and multi-task to meet deadlines

OR cite each publication, project or presentation in an accepted citation format (i.e. MLA or APA):

Smith, Jane. Engaging English Speakers in Education . ABC Publishing, (forthcoming).

Smith, Jane. “Evolution of the English Language.” International Journal of LMNOP Writing , vol. 2, no. 4, June 2020, pp. 40-45.

Smith, Jane. “Making an Impact in Adult Education through Volunteering.” Civic Innovations, Literacy in Action Conference, 15 February 2016, InterContinental Hotel, Boston, MA. Conference Presentation.

Affiliations and Memberships

Include any honor societies, professional associations in which you are a member, and other related volunteer work that highlight your interests and extracurricular activities:

Tutor and Teaching Assistant , 2007-Present Adult Education and Literacy Coalition Volunteer, Boston, MA

  • Assist teachers in a community-based environment helping adults earn their general equivalency diplomas

Scholarship Fund Committee Member , 2006 – Present Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce Volunteer, Boston, MA

  • Review applicant essay submissions to select an annual award recipient of $2,000 scholarship toward professional development in the teaching profession

Technical Skills

Finally, note the hard skills such as software or languages collected within your toolbox of knowledge:

MS Office, Moodle, Blackboard, Adobe Connect, Basic Course Design Concepts, Google Drive, and other Scholarly Databases / Library Resources

What is the Correct CV Format?

While the above-mentioned sections are helpful for writing a simple CV, be sure to do your research. When reviewing opportunities that request a CV, investigate whether the institution or organization provides a template for you to follow in the application overview or careers page on their website.

Dale Jacobs with the text Dale Jacobs

You can also review the types of research the academic team has been involved with before and during their tenure. These could serve as inspiration for examples of accolades and research interests you may want to expand upon moving forward in your own career path.

Tip: Check out some of the SNHU faculty leadership team’s academic and research interests  and compare them with your own achievements and interests as you consider your professional goals.

For other opportunities in academia or research that may require a CV, stop by LinkedIn as well to seek out professionals who have worked or are working at organizations of interest – you may be able to find their CV uploaded and available for public review.

Test Your CV Knowledge

As you start to be able to answer the question of “What is a CV,” review the knowledge check below to test your newfound CV expertise:

Q: What does CV stand for?

A: Curriculum Vitae, or “Course of Life” in Latin

Q: If I’m applying for an office job abroad, should I have a CV or a resume?

A: CV and resume are sometimes used as interchangeable terms in countries other than the United States. Especially for an international corporate-related position, if you’re asked for a CV, check if it actually refers to the one-to-two-page resume snapshot or in fact requires a full CV document.

Q: Should I include certifications and awards on my CV?

A: Yes! If you were recognized professionally and it is relevant to your experience, you should absolutely include that on a CV. Your CV is a reflection of all that you’ve accomplished in your academic and career experience, so don’t be afraid to brag.

Q: What if I don’t have enough experience to fill in a whole CV?

A: Every CV is unique to the candidate’s specific experience. As you tally your achievements thus far with the outline provided and realize it only populates one page, that is still a great start. Although CVs are typically two-to-three or more pages in length, dig deep and remember what you can to get the document going. Create that simple outline and fill in more as you go along. Soon enough, your CV will be chock-full with your impressive repertoire.

Q: Should I start to use a CV instead of a resume to apply to jobs?

A: Although both documents provide a professional overview of your experience, let the job description and application requirements guide you. Typically, if a job application asks for a resume, then you should submit a resume document. The CV is more geared toward certain career sectors like academia and research and is rarely requested in the United States for most professional roles. Learn how to write an effective resume .

Final Thoughts

A second definition of CV should be Confidence Vault. Keep it close to you and always keep it updated. As you list your ongoing achievements, be proud of everything you can and will bring to this world. Each little step is a rung on the ladder of your future. Shine bright and look forward to the featured presentation of your professional premiere.

Online. On campus. Choose your program  from 200+ SNHU degrees that can take you where you want to go.

Dana McGrath

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About southern new hampshire university.

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SNHU is a nonprofit, accredited university with a mission to make high-quality education more accessible and affordable for everyone.

Founded in 1932, and online since 1995, we’ve helped countless students reach their goals with flexible, career-focused programs . Our 300-acre campus in Manchester, NH is home to over 3,000 students, and we serve over 135,000 students online. Visit our about SNHU  page to learn more about our mission, accreditations, leadership team, national recognitions and awards.

COMMENTS

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