8 Ways First Time Job Seekers Can Beef Up Their Resumes

8 ways first time job seekers can beef up their resumes

katy doyle, recruiter


Getting a job for the very first time requires some song-and-dance to get over the starting hurdles. One of the biggest challenges in landing that first job is writing a resume. Your resume is supposed to be a detailed list of your previous work experience, but what do you do when you don’t have any, or not enough to impress anyone yet?

Here’s where first-time position hiring should be considered. The person hiring you probably knows this is your first (or almost first) job, and they’re not expecting the resume of a 10-year pro. They’re expecting the resume of a student just stepping into adult life. So, to fill out your resume, give them what they really want: A look at the type of student you are – someone whose current experience and skills could be the stuff of a great employee.

1. List your GPA and Education Level (If Good)

Start with your header information. If you’re a good student and it would reflect well on you, include your GPA along with your current level of education (school and year). Technical entry-level employers, especially those who offer inline training, like to see a high GPA. It says you’re smart with an aptitude for learning and following directions.


2. Functional vs. Chronological Resume Designs

Most resumes are chronological – written in order of when each item occurred. But you can also write a functional resume – grouping your experiences and skills based on category. For example, you can have a category of technical skills vs. a category of managing experience. People with very little experience to quantify and those with too much experience to list both tend to favor functional resume design. 


3. List Relevant Classes and Training as Experience

Because you are just starting, the specific classes or unpaid training you’ve undergone will make up the majority of your relevant pre-job experience. So, list it! If you took Webmastry and attended computer-based summer camps in school, list them as part of your application to a tech job. If you did job training classes in high school and college, list those as experience. If you went through specific training or certification, be sure to list these as well. 


4. List Unpaid Internships and Volunteer Experience

Just because you weren’t paid doesn’t mean you don’t have job experience. If you have done volunteer work for charities or businesses, mention both what you did and what you learned. If you served as an unpaid intern, these positions were designed to fill out a young person’s resume. Employers love to see if you already have one foot in the door as an employee in professional work environments.


5. Bullet-Point the Details

For each class or internship you list, include a few bullet-points that enumerate what your duties were, what you achieved, and possibly something important that you learned from the role. These bullet points will look good, read better than a paragraph, and make your resume look longer on the page.


6. Define the Software You are Proficient With

Software proficiency is a big deal in the modern job market, even for entry-level positions.  Fortunately, most young first-time professionals have a long list of software they are already great with. From graphic design to social media to business software to industry-specific programs – list what you’re good at and give a rough indication of your skill level. Anything you’re a pro at, list it first and include a few bullet-points on what you can do/have done.


7. Include Student Sports and Extracurriculars in a Separate Category

If you’ve done sports, art, and other extracurricular activities, mention them near the bottom of your functional-design resume in their own category. Though this information isn’t strictly relevant, it shows that you are a well-rounded person who likes to stay busy. 


8. Mention Special Academic or Performance Achievements

Finally, mention your achievements. Suppose you won the science fair, your choir went to a state-level competition, or your school gave you an academic achievement – whatever the achievement, list that on your first resume. This shows that you pursue your talents with success. Employers are always keeping an eye out for new hires that strive to push past average.

Not sure how to write your very first resume? It doesn’t have to be an intimidating experience. We can help you quantify your real-world experiences so far and build them into a resume that will get you hired. If you have any questions, contact us today. We look forward to helping you win that very first professional role in the workforce.





Katy Doyle is a Recruiter at Lutz Talent with over nine years of experience in the recruiting industry. Her primary responsibility is placing candidates for Lutz Talent clients, as well as assisting with filling internal roles at Lutz. Doyle specializes in search and staffing for accounting and finance positions.

  • Recruiting
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