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Resume Writing for First Time Job Seekers

Writing a thorough resume when you don't have professional experience can be a challenge. But keep in mind: If you’re applying for an entry-level job, chances are many of the other applicants will be entry-level as well.

First, you’ll want to brainstorm what you’ve brought to the table in previous jobs, internships, extracurricular activities or volunteer positions you’ve held. Even if these positions aren’t necessarily considered “professional experience,” you may have still learned valuable skills in which you can carry over to your professional career.

While writing your resume, you’ll want to think about the following:

Leadership: Employers want to know that you’re not afraid to take initiative.  Whether it be taking charge during a class project or organizing a group of peers for a volunteer event, don’t hesitate to brag about any and every time you have taken a leadership role.

Responsibility: It’s OK if you haven’t had an internship. What about that summer when you babysat the neighborhood kids? Or when you helped your friend and his dad remodel their house? What responsibilities did you take on in these jobs that could carry over to the one in which you are applying?

Innovative Ideas: Let your creative juices flow. Not only is it a good idea to highlight innovative ideas you have brought to past projects you’ve been involved with, but also think about any unique ideas you have for the companies in which you apply to in your job search.

Honors or Awards: Whether it be a study abroad scholarship or an award for good grades, think back to any time you’ve been recognized for above-average work. Employers want to know that you’ll go above and beyond what is asked. They want to see a record of your achievements whatever they may be.

Course Experience: What classes in your major provided a skill set that will aid you in this job? Since you don’t have tons of professional experience to fill your resume, include a section for related coursework. You can simply list the name of the course or go a step further and explain why that class was valuable.

Extracurricular Activities: Even if you didn’t play sports in college, think about any other organizations or groups you were a part of. And while extracurricular activities are great to include, even working as a waiter to pay tuition is admirable. Obligations outside of coursework illustrate time management skills and responsibility.

Eagerness: How much do you want this job? Let your eagerness come across in your writing. Many applicants will include an objective statement towards the top of their resume, which is a great idea. It helps convince employers that you are familiar with the field, certain about your goals and eager about the job.

Most importantly, be specific in your resume writing! Cite examples throughout, show enthusiasm and exemplify that you are a great fit for that job.