5 Tips for Writing Your First Resume

It’s never too early to start putting together a resume! In fact, the earlier you start on this, the better off you’ll be when it’s time to job search. So check out these tips from Zakiya Harris at University Language for how to craft the perfect first resume!

Sometimes the thought of putting together a high school resume and even a college resume can be a bit daunting, but it doesn’t have to be!

Here are some tips for putting together your very first resume.


1. Know yourself.

Before you sit down at your computer and start hammering out all of the things that make you look good on paper, take some time to sit down and really ask yourself what you want. Are you seeking a scholarship that relates to community service? Are you trying to get a part-time job on weekends? Or are you looking to supplement a college or scholarship application?

The answers to these questions will guide you when it comes time to start writing your resume, and they may even help you write an objective statement to get things running. Potential employers, admissions officers, scholarship judges and anyone else who looks at your resume will greatly appreciate a highlighted focal point in your resume instead of having to look for one themselves.


2. Know your audience.

Once you have an idea of what you want and start writing your resume, it’s easy to begin jotting down all of your credentials and forget that you’re writing your resume for an audience.

Take some time to research the scholarship or company to which you’re applying. For scholarships, look into the funding organization as well as past recipients of the award. This might give you a better angle from which you should approach writing your resume.

Do the same when you’re applying for jobs or for colleges that accept resumes from applicants as supplementary materials.


3. Evaluate your experience.

What have you accomplished so far? Make a list of all the things you’ve done that demonstrate your skills and your passions. Include anything that consists of leadership, communication and servicing others as well as awards and recognition.

Now, go back to that list and put a star next to all of the things that best fit the position or scholarship, to which you’re applying, with the aid of the information you learned from your research. Pay extra attention to the experience that demonstrates consistency, like an extracurricular activity you were involved with for a number of years in high school—it suggests reliability.

Remember, it’s completely fine if you haven’t had a “real” job yet! Maybe you shoveled neighborhood sidewalks when it snowed, volunteered at a local soup kitchen or started a Relay for Life team. If worded suitably, the seemingly little experience you’ve accumulated over the years can, in fact, be very impressive. Don’t sell yourself short!


4. Speaking of suitable wording—spice up your resume.

If you can help it, be sure to begin your sentences with an assortment of vibrant verbs such as  “created” and “facilitated” instead of vague ones such as “made” or “did.” Also try to avoid using the same verb more than once in your resume—particularly in the same section.  Using diverse, dynamic verbs as opposed to overused, drab ones will keep your readers interested and set you apart from other applicants.


5. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.

If you’re a student, chances are you’re surrounded by a slew of resources. High school guidance counselors and university career services are always willing to help you tweak your resume and give you feedback on what works and what doesn’t. A fresh set of eyes is also great for catching typos you might overlook yourself.

Don’t let the thought of writing a resume scare you! Just remember producing a quality resume that showcases your qualifications and your skills can be easy to do with careful planning and tactful research.


This post was written by University Language.


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