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Follow these 8 Ultimate Resume Tips to Land your First Job

Follow these 8 Ultimate Resume Tips to Land your First Job

Stop writing resumes that suck! If you keep getting rejected from jobs applications or you’re just hearing crickets, then maybe the problem is YOU. Or more specifically – your resume. Follow these resume tips to turn your stinker into a winner.

We see you sitting in front of your blank word document, dreading the prospect of writing your first resume. Now let us help.

Yup, we’ve been there.

At Good Luck Templates, we offer a large variety of resume templates with built-in resume tips to help you get started. If you’re interested in learning more about resume writing, please download our free guide for resume writing and we’ll email you your guide straightaway!

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Resume Tips for first time Job seekers infographic.
From our Pinterest

Now, let’s review some time-tested tips that will get you started on your resume writing.

1 – Stick with a Reverse-Chronological Resume

In our first resume tip, we recommend this reverse-chronological format for ALL first time job seekers.

Reverse-chronological means that the most recent job experience, interning experience, and other relevant work experience is up top in your work experience section and you least recent experience is towards the bottom of your work experience section. 

This format is the most widely used and the reverse-chronological resume makes it easy for HR managers to see your most recent experience to gauge your experience level to see if you’d be a right fit for the job. 

Also, reverse-chronological is globally used by job recruiters so that’s a big benefit to this format.

And while we are on the subject of formats, make sure that you follow these tips for the formatting so that your resume has a clear visual look to it:

  • Use a Two-Column Layout – This resume layout will help you pack more information into your resume
  • Use Common Fonts – Common fonts are clear and easy to read. We recommend fonts like Garamond, Helvetica, Arial, and Robot. Make sure to use these fonts consistently throughout your resume document. 
  • Use Bullet points – Bullet points make it so easy for the ready to move from one resume section to the next. We’re using bullet points here to prove our point. 

2 – Include relevant contact information

Remember that the hiring manager will need to get in touch with you.

Therefore, make sure that you include the contact information that you use regularly so that you can respond right away. Include your email address, phone number, and address (or at least the city in which you live). If you have a relevant blog or website, include that! Having your own website or blog can show that you put in the effort to write about and show what you are passionate about.  For example, if you are applying for a designer position, include a website that shows your design work. Here are the must-haves for your contact information:

  • First and last name
  • Email
  • Phone number
  • Location (doesn’t need to be you exact home address, city and state will suffice)

As for social media contact information, include a LinkedIn profile if it is up-to-date or Facebook if you post about relevant stuff. If your Facebook or Instagram accounts are unprofessional, make sure NOT to include the link. 

And while we’re on the topic of social media and first time job seekers, this might be a good time to review your online presence. Delete your unsavory photos, comments, etc. It’s time to be professional. These days, a deep dive into your personal life is just a Google search away so take a look at what your future boss might see.

3 – Include a resume objective

Think of your resume objective as an elevator pitch about yourself.

Some say that the resume objective section is outdated and unnecessary, but we disagree.

Most companies agree that this section is hugely important to clearly lay out who you are and why you are the perfect person for the job. Here’s about to write a great resume objective section.

In this section of your resume, quickly and clearly explain who you are and why you’d be a great candidate for the job. Explain your goals and achievements succinctly and make sure that this section is no longer than 2 or 3 sentences because the rest of your resume will lay out the details. A well written resume objective statement will show that you’ve read the job description, researched the business, and are qualified for the position. 

Moreover, bonus points for also including important keywords from the job description into this section. This will help you in case the company uses ATS software to filter candidates. ATS is software that hiring managers use to filter out candidates who don’t use specific keywords from the job description. More about ATS in the next section. 

4 – Make an ATS Friendly Resume

ATS stands for Applicant Tracking System.

A resume tip article is not complete without mentioning ATS. If you’re new to the job hunt, you must be wondering, ‘What is ATS?

Essentially ATS is a software that 98% of Fortune 500 companies (as well as a growing number of small and medium size businesses) use to filter resumes before human eyes ever see your application.

Hiring managers use ATS because it helps them filter through thousands of job applications they might receive for a single position. For hiring managers, instead of reviewing each and every application, they can focus on the candidates that ATS identifies as a qualified match. Although ATS is supposed to filter through the people who may be unqualified and just ‘wanna give it a shot,’ some strong candidates can fall through the cracks of ATS. 

So how do you make sure that you ‘beat’ the ATS system? Here are our simple recommendations for the best resume format to beat ATS:

  • Tailor your resume to the job description EVERY single time you apply for a new job. It’s so easy to apply for hundreds of jobs using a single, master resume, but you are most likely wasting your time. 
  • Match your resume keywords to the job description
  • Use long-form and the acronym version of keywords 
  • Employ a reverse-chronological resume format
  • Use traditional resume fonts like Helvetica, Garamond, or Georgia
  • Don’t use headers or footers as the information might get lost or cause parsing errors in the ATS algorithm
  • Use standard resume section headings like ‘Education’ rather than something like ‘Where I’ve Studied’

For example, if a job description includes words like ‘data-entry’ ‘experience with Google Drive’ ‘proficiency with Photoshop’ you better include those words in your objective section and your skills section. 

However, take note that you do not want to be keyword ‘stuffing’ your resume because this can diminish your chances of landing the coveted interview. 

Take care to  integrate important job keywords without overtly trying to ‘game’ the ATS with keyword stuffing. 

5 – List Your Education (in detail)

Education can say a lot about you

Education is so important when writing about resume tips. As a first time job seeker, perhaps you just graduated from college or high school. Education, although not everything about a candidate, education can say a lot about the person applying for the job.

Look back on your education and parse the important information about what you studied, relevant extracurricular activities, any honors or awards received. Maybe you graduated with a 4.0 GPA? Make sure to include that! HR managers want to work with people who are smart and able to learn.

6 – Focus on your skills

An article about resume tips would not be complete without this.

If you have little or no work experience (hey, we’ve all been there), then focus on your skills. Your skills section can elaborate on the skills that you’ve learned from internships, extracurricular activities or projects. 

Your skills can be divided into hard and soft skills. Check out this handy infographic about the difference between these two. 

Make sure to follow us on Pinterest for other helpful job and work related information. 

Soft Skills VS Hard Skills to include in a resume
Courtesy of our Pinterest

Essentially, hard skills are the technical abilities or skills that fit the job. Hard skills are easily tested and measurable and can be taught. Hard skills include:

– Proficiency with Mac iOS 

– Being Bilingual/Multilingual 

– Experience with Adobe software 

On the other hand, soft skills are unique abilities that make you a good employee. Soft skills are more innate and are difficult to ‘teach.’ Soft skills include:

– Creative problem solving 

– Verbal and written communication skills 

– Ability to negotiate 

We recommend that first time job seekers stick with hard skills with a smaller emphasis on soft skills. 

Resume Tip #7 – Stick to the one-page limit

Unless you are very experienced

In this section, we will briefly go over page length. First off, if you’re in the beginning stages of your career and especially if you are applying for your first job, there is no need to have a resume that is more than one page long. In fact, recruiters would probably prefer that you don’t go beyond a page because it makes their job easier at figuring out if you are the right person for the job. 

Resumes in general should never go beyond one page unless you have decades of work experience.

Resume Tip #8 – Edit, Edit, Edit

Just do it! You’ll thank us later

Did we mention edit? Nothing will stop you from getting an interview like spelling and grammar mistakes. Therefore, we recommend that before you press send on your application, you carefully read and reread your resume. Do the words flow? Did you do a spell check on your document? The best way that we’ve found to edit a resume is to read your resume out loud. Yes, OUT LOUD.

Offering you these resume tips are not useful unless you do the necessary editing. This is ensures that if there are any words that just don’t make sense or any grammatical errors you’ll be hyper aware of it. Because editing is so important, we recommend at least 2 other people review your document. Print it out and hand them a red pen to mark up your resume. You’ll be surprised how much other people can see that you don’t! 

Writing your first resume does not have to be stressful. Instead, see your first resume as an opportunity for your future employer to get to know you better! 

Key Takeaways

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

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

  1. Use the reverse-chronological work history format for your resume – It’ll make the hiring manager happy. 
  2. Include relevant contact information that you actually check regularly – also take a look at your personal social media accounts to make sure that the content is professional or at least neutral
  3. Include a strong objective section – Ideal this objective section will position you as a well-informed and highly qualified candidate for the job. 
  4. Be aware of ATS and use it to your advantage – Include keywords that pop up in the original job description to play nice with ATS.
  5. List your education in detail – Rack your brain for all the awards, honors, relevant coursework, and important extracurricular activities that you have under your belt. 
  6. Focus on your skill – Make sure to put an emphasis on your hard skills over soft skills, although you can include those too if they are relevant. 
  7. Use a one-page resume format – No need to go beyond a one-pager!
  8. Edit and then edit some more – Don’t skip this step! 

Hopefully these resume tips will help you get started on your career path. And remember that every winner used to be a beginner so it’s natural that you don’t have a lot of work experience yet. Just focus on your best skills and present a resume that is honest and confident. 

If you need extra help with getting your resume started, please see our resume templates for beginners. Our resume templates are easy to edit in Word Docs, Apple Pages, or Google Docs and include a cover letter and references page with helpful writing tips throughout. Als please consider downloading our free resume writing guide for new nurse grads!

Good Luck! 

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