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.

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Retail Sales Associate Resume Sample and Template
Customer Service Representative Resume Sample and Template
Hostess Resume Sample and Template
Server Resume Sample and Template
Retail Sales Associate Resume Sample and Template
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Overview

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.

Don’t:

  • 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!

Teamwork

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.

Retail Sales Associate Resume Sample and Template
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