Cover letter Samples & Templates

How to Create Your First Job Resume

Landing your first job is a momentous accomplishment, but creating a first job resume for it can be difficult. Even if you lack substantial full-time employment experience, you may still construct a resume that emphasizes your education, prior employment, volunteer work, extracurricular activities, and community involvement—all of which can help you qualify for many entry-level roles.

In this post, we’ll show you how to create a properly formatted first job resume that uses the appropriate keywords, highlights your most relevant experience and credentials, and includes a goal to let hiring managers know why you’d be a good fit for the position.

Identifying resume keywords

Employers may not always have a lot of time to analyze each resume they receive due to the enormous pile of applications they get. A software program known as an applicant tracking system (ATS) is one resource that many businesses utilize to track and filter applications. An ATS will frequently use keywords to rank applications in order to highlight resumes that are most closely aligned with the demands of the position. This indicates that by including the same keywords from the position description in your first job resume, you might improve your chances of getting discovered.

Start by carefully reading the job descriptions of positions that interest you in order to determine the best language to incorporate into your first job resume. Attention should be paid to parts with titles like “Major Qualifications,” “Minimum Requirements,” or “Job Duties.”

Make a note of these, then consider your demonstrated talents and abilities that might meet these demands. These may include things like positions of leadership you’ve held, educational skills you’ve acquired, projects you’ve finished, or involvement in clubs.

For instance, if you’re looking for a position as an office assistant, the job description might highlight desirable qualities like:

  • cooperative, effortlessly gaining the respect and support of colleagues and consumers
  • promotes teamwork
  • is committed to ongoing self-improvement, and has an interest in self-development.

They may also be looking for someone to fill responsibilities such as:

  • Respond to all incoming calls in a polite manner.
  • accuracy in acquiring information and paying attention to detail when taking notes
  • Organize and keep an accurate inventory.

Concentrate on the position description, think back on specific instances where you matched the employer’s ideal applicant, and list those on your first job resume. When feasible, provide KPIs to give employers a data-driven understanding of the value you’ll offer to their business. Below is an example of how this may appear on a first job resume. We’ll put communication abilities in the spotlight in this instance.

Experiences and Skills
Volunteer | Modern Art Museum | July 2014 – November 2015

  • welcomed and pro-actively helped guests in a prompt, courteous manner
  • On-time distribution of incoming mail to the right recipients.
  • Streamlined procedures to efficiently manage, place orders, and keep track of inventory
  • Teamed up with colleagues to compose emails and social media posts about new exhibits

These experiences demonstrate the applicant’s capacity to carry out the duties necessary for the position and some qualities the company is searching for. If your resume uses the same language as the job posting, even for businesses that don’t use an ATS, they will be more likely to reply favorably.

Showcase your abilities and education.

Choose a resume structure that places your abilities and education at the front of the page when applying for your first job. If your employment history contains gaps, a functional resume format might be a wise choice.

Consider organizing your resume into the sections that follow to make sure employers view what is most important first:

  1. Skills, related job history, and coursework
  2. Education and accomplishments
  3. Extracurricular activities and volunteer work

By organizing your resume in this way, you give employers the chance to rapidly grasp why you’re a suitable fit for the position and highlight important elements of your experience. Despite the fact that you may lack professional experience, you can increase your chances of getting hired by prioritizing other significant activities or coursework on your resume.

Develop a resume objective

The resume objective, sometimes referred to as the career objective, resume summary, or objective statement, is typically made up of one to two sentences that succinctly list your pertinent talents. It is frequently listed first on a resume in an effort to catch the hiring manager’s eye.

Writing a succinct, clear resume goal will help you rapidly explain to potential employers how far along you are in your career, the job you’re looking for, and what abilities and knowledge you possess that make you a fantastic fit for the position.

You can use the following objective statement samples as a guide as you create your own.

“I am a highly motivated recent graduate of a business school looking for a full-time job in accounting where I can use my expertise in market statistics to help your company increase profitability.”

I’m a driven team member and prospective fashion buyer looking to expand my understanding of the couture market and put my conversational abilities to use as a junior retail assistant for your female formal wear business.

Mention your skills

You should highlight both soft and hard skills when describing your qualifications on a resume. Soft talents are typically a part of your nature, whereas hard skills are something you may have learned to accomplish, though there are exceptions.

Soft skills

Soft skills are invisible personality attributes that are frequently challenging to teach, making them extremely valuable. Soft abilities to list on a CV include things like:

  • Good communication abilities
  • Decision making
  • Time management
  • Teamwork
  • Managing ambiguity
  • Adaptability
  • The capacity to function under duress

If you’re unsure of your soft talents, ask those around you—teachers or relatives—to describe you. They can compliment you on your listening skills or detail-oriented nature. Instead, consider your insights, skills, and best qualities that enabled you to complete those tasks. These probably include a variety of soft skills.

“Hard” technical skills

Your list of necessary technical skills should be heavily influenced by the industry you intend to work in. For details on what the hiring manager expects, consult the job description. Technical abilities can range from knowing specific software or coding languages to being able to speak another language.

Be as explicit as you can when listing technical expertise. If a technical talent is listed as wanted by an employer, make sure to highlight it on your resume and indicate your level of ability. If you have a lot of spreadsheet experience, you might write something like, “Advanced in MS Excel, including pivot charts and vlookup.” You might also say that you’re just starting to learn a new hard skill. For instance, if you’re still learning how to utilize a CRM system, you may add, “acquainted with Salesforce CRM.”

Include a list of your relevant degrees and certifications.

The educational section of your resume for your first job could be more significant to the recruiter than other experiences. Understanding your study subject(s), degree level, concentrations, coursework, and occasionally grade or rank can assist in putting the value you might bring to the firm into perspective.

You might want to mention the following under education:

  • Courses taken that are pertinent to the position or positions listed on the CV
  • Academic accomplishments
  • Overall score or position
  • Grade or position specific to your major (if your college offers one)

When deciding what information to add about your educational experience, doing some research on the organizations you’re applying to can be useful. While some employers may welcome a comprehensive approach to showcasing your qualifications, others might prefer candidates to simply provide information that is directly related to the job posting.

Include extracurricular activities and volunteerism

Highlighting your extracurricular and volunteer activities might assist in putting the value you’ll contribute to the company into more context. These activities give candidates a plethora of practical experience that is beneficial to companies and helps them develop both soft and hard abilities.

Ensure that your voluntary work and extracurricular activities are in line with any qualities and abilities mentioned in the job description. For instance, working as a volunteer at an emergency food pantry may have given you the flexibility, problem-solving skills, and time management abilities companies are looking for.

Add a personalized cover letter
Even though it isn’t always necessary, a cover letter can give employers important background when you’re looking for your first job. A well-written cover letter can show that you put a lot of care into your application preparation and give you more room to outline your skills and experience for the position.

In your cover letter, you should mention:

  • Your identity
  • Abilities and experiences that are pertinent to the job
  • Your enthusiasm for the job
  • Your understanding of the responsibilities of the position and your ability to fulfill it
  • Evidence that you have studied the company and are familiar with its goals

Describe in detail how your experiences (such as volunteering or extracurricular activities) have shaped the technical and soft abilities the employer is looking for in your cover letter. Less self-promotion and more emphasis on what you can provide to the organization that is in line with its goals and missions should be the focus of your cover letter.

Your cover letter should be one page long and roughly 300 words long.

Every professional in the workforce has, at some point, created a resume for their first position. These resumes are the ones that employers frequently evaluate because they are expected to. You can distinguish yourself from the competition by emphasizing your accomplishments and positive character attributes that make you the ideal candidate for the position.

Template for A First Job Resume

Here’s a basic template for a first job resume:

[Your Name]
[Your Address]
[City, State, ZIP Code]
[Your Email Address]
[Your Phone Number]
[LinkedIn Profile (if applicable)]

Recent high school graduate seeking an entry-level position in [Target Industry/Role] to gain valuable work experience and contribute to a dynamic team. Eager to apply [Relevant Skill #1], [Relevant Skill #2], and [Relevant Skill #3] acquired through coursework and extracurricular activities.

[High School Name], [City, State]
High School Diploma
[Month and Year of Graduation]

  • Relevant Coursework: [List a few relevant courses]
  • GPA: [Your GPA, if it’s impressive; otherwise, you can omit it]

Relevant Coursework:

  • [Course Name 1]
  • [Course Name 2]
  • [Course Name 3]


  • [List any technical or soft skills you possess, such as computer skills, communication skills, problem-solving, etc.]

Extracurricular Activities:

  • [Name of Club or Organization], [Your Position], [Dates of Participation]
  • [Another Club or Organization], [Your Position], [Dates of Participation]

Volunteer Experience:

  • [Organization Name], [City, State]
    Volunteer, [Dates of Participation]
  • [Describe your responsibilities and contributions]
  • [Another Volunteer Experience], [City, State]
    Volunteer, [Dates of Participation]
  • [Describe your responsibilities and contributions]


  • [Any relevant awards or honors received, such as academic achievements or recognition from extracurricular activities]

Available upon request.

The Importance of a First Job Resume

The importance of a first job resume cannot be overstated, as it serves as a critical tool for young individuals entering the workforce. Here are several key reasons why a well-crafted first job resume is essential:

  1. Professional Introduction: A first job resume introduces you to potential employers and provides them with their first impression of your qualifications, skills, and potential as an employee.
  2. Highlighting Relevant Skills: Even if you lack formal work experience, a first job resume allows you to showcase relevant skills gained through education, extracurricular activities, volunteer work, and personal interests.
  3. Demonstrating Responsibility: Crafting a resume demonstrates your responsibility and commitment to your job search. It shows that you are taking your first steps into the working world seriously.
  4. Career Guidance: Preparing a resume requires you to reflect on your skills, interests, and goals, providing valuable insights into potential career paths.
  5. Professional Development: The process of creating a resume encourages you to identify areas for improvement and personal growth, such as acquiring new skills or gaining more experience in specific areas.
  6. Interview Preparation: A well-crafted resume serves as a foundation for job interviews. It helps you articulate your qualifications and achievements when discussing them with potential employers.
  7. Competitive Advantage: In competitive job markets, a polished resume can set you apart from other candidates, even if you have limited work experience.
  8. Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS): Many companies use ATS software to screen resumes. Creating a first job resume with appropriate keywords and formatting increases your chances of passing through ATS filters.
  9. Documentation of Achievements: Over time, your first job resume becomes a record of your career progression, showcasing your accomplishments and skills developed throughout your working life.
  10. Networking: A first job resume can be shared with mentors, career advisors, and industry professionals during networking opportunities, aiding in career guidance and potential connections.
  11. Confidence Building: Crafting a first job resume boosts your self-confidence by helping you recognize your strengths, skills, and achievements, providing reassurance during job searches and interviews.
  12. Personal Branding: Your first job resume is an essential component of your personal brand. It defines how you present yourself to potential employers and sets the tone for your professional image.

In summary, a first job resume is an indispensable tool for young individuals embarking on their career journeys. It not only helps you secure your first job but also guides you in career exploration and personal development. By investing time and effort into creating a compelling resume, you position yourself for a successful transition from education to the professional world.


In conclusion, a first job resume is more than just a document; it’s a crucial stepping stone into the world of work. It empowers young individuals to articulate their potential, skills, and aspirations to prospective employers. Crafting a well-rounded and polished resume is not just a rite of passage; it’s an opportunity to begin building a strong foundation for a rewarding career journey. By recognizing the value of this initial step and continually refining their resumes, young job seekers pave the way for future successes and embrace the exciting challenges of entering the workforce with confidence and determination.

Frequently Asked Questions about First Job Resume

  • Do I need a resume for my first job if I have no work experience?

Yes, having a resume is still valuable even if you have no formal work experience. You can use your first job resume to highlight relevant skills, education, extracurricular activities, volunteer work, and personal interests that demonstrate your qualifications for the job.

  • How long should my first job resume be?

A first job resume is typically one page in length. Since you’re just starting your career, it’s important to keep it concise and focused on the most relevant information.

  • What should I include on my first job resume if I have limited experience?

If you have limited work experience, emphasize your education, relevant coursework, skills, volunteer work, and extracurricular activities. Highlight transferable skills such as communication, teamwork, problem-solving, and leadership that are applicable to the job you’re seeking.

  • Should I include references on my first job resume?

It’s not necessary to include references on your first job resume. Instead, you can state, “References available upon request.” Be prepared to provide references separately if an employer requests them during the hiring process.

  • How can I make my first job resume stand out to employers?

To make your first job resume stand out, focus on tailoring it to the specific job you’re applying for. Highlight relevant skills, experiences, and accomplishments. Use action verbs, quantify achievements when possible, and ensure your resume is error-free and well-organized. Additionally, consider incorporating keywords from the job description to increase your chances of passing through applicant tracking systems (ATS).

These frequently asked questions provide guidance on creating a strong first job resume that effectively presents your qualifications and maximizes your chances of landing your first job opportunity.

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