Tips for Creating a Winning First Resume

how-to-write-resume-1Getting the first job can be quite hard and writing your first resume can be even harder. You sit staring at your computer screen thinking where to start, what to include and what to exclude from your resume.

Most first-time job seekers would simply get hold of a resume template, edit it a bit or even worse, fill the details in blank spaces left in these templates, and off they go to post the resume. But, in most of the cases, this whole exercise yields in nothing. They keep waiting and waiting for the interview call to come, wondering what might have gone wrong.

Here are few tips that you can follow to write a better first resume. While there are no ‘hard-and-fast' rules for writing a resume, these tips will definitely increase the chances of you getting your first interview call.

1. Create a Functional Resume:

Since there will definitely be other people applying for the same job, you must create a resume that clearly depicts that you can be the right choice. One way is to create a functional resume. A functional resume is a resume where you put any related previous work experience, i.e., internships or summer jobs on the top. This format is contrary to chronological resume format and makes the relevant job experience the prominent most part of your resume.

2. Use Your Own Words:

It is always recommended to use your own words while writing the resume. Ready-made templates can work as good reference examples and inspirations but should not be used ‘as-it-is'.

3. Resume Formatting

Formatting can be big difference between a winning resume and others. Use an easy to read font and consistent font size through out the resume. It should be eye-catching and at the same time, should give a professional look. Also, you must avoid any spelling or grammatical mistakes.

4. Get to Know the Employer

Knowing about the company where you intend to apply can be of great value. Carry out research to know more and more about the employer. Knowing the vision, mission, work philosophy etc. of the company will always benefit you while making your resume and during job interview as well.

5. What You Must Include:

Your resume must include the following:

  • Previous work experience details (summer jobs, internships etc.) with job durations
  • Your academic background highlighting the job relevant coursework
  • Personal contact details i.e. address, contact numbers and email address.
  • Details of computer software skills with level of competency
  • Details of achievements like awards, certificates, memberships etc.
  • Number of Languages you can write and/or speak
  • Details of voluntary work, if any
  • Key personal characteristics
  • At least two references

6. What You Must Avoid:

Unless categorically asked by the employer, avoid including the following in the resume:

  • Your political affiliation
  • Details about your hobbies, interests not relevant to the job
  • Avoid providing an email address in your personal details that sounds non-professional or gives an impression of non-serious attitude, e.g., [email protected]. Create a new email address if you have to.
  • Avoid giving references of family members or friends. References should be either from your educational institution or from previous jobs.

M. Azam is an experienced human resources consultant and seasoned writer. Apart from his consultancy, he also conducts HR workshops and provides resume-editing services online.

If you have any questions, please ask below!