A Guide to Drafting Your First Resume

Part of growing up is being on our own and learning how to look after ourselves, hence “leaving the nest.” One of those adult things we must conquer is learning how to work and save money. Adulthood can be scary with lots of ups and downs, rejection, bills and little free time. What comes before all of this, however, is applying for jobs and putting yourself out there before you land your dream career. Scoring a job can be tough as you are faced with a lot of competition and people with varying experience levels and degrees. There is, however, a perfect formula for writing your first resume, a job application must and something to impress your interviewer with. Read on to learn the best ways to present yourself on paper and get your dream job.

Basic Formatting

A resume should be clean, simple and free of any typos or errors. An important tip for making your resume look crisp and professional is to keep the font and font color consistent and legible. Use either Times New Roman font, Arial font, or something similar that makes your resume readable and keep this font the same all throughout. Make all of your font black, too, so your employers are not distracted by bright colors. When listing the dates of your positions or education, arrange them so they appear on the right side of the page so they do not get lost in the titles of your previous positions or company. Also, if you are applying for an entry level position, are in high school or have just recently graduated college, keep your resume one page with the most important information about yourself and most pertinent work experience. There are many ways to format a resume based on preference and style. Some list skills, education and certifications on the left side with a line going down separating them from work experience. You can also include pastel or light shaded boxes to separate text but do not go too overboard with the color. Some people like to add little accents to their resumes that compliment the job they are applying for like putting a hanger at the top of a resume when applying for a job in retail. Employers typically on average only glance at every resume they receive for about five seconds anyway. 

A Guide to Drafting Your First Resume

Your Header 

The header on your resume is the first thing your employer will read and the most important information for reaching you after the interview. Your Header should include your name in bold, black font at the very top. Below your name should be your phone number, address, email address, LinkedIn if you have one, separated by dots or dashes. 

A Guide to Drafting Your First Resume


Below your header will be your education section. Here you will want to put your college or university aligned to the left of the page and the year you intend to graduate or have graduated aligned to the right of the page. Below your college or university name put all of your majors and minors, you can also put your GPA but it is recommended not to list it if it is below a 3.0. Below your GPA you can put your involvement in school like your clubs, organizations or any special awards or certifications you have received.

A Guide to Drafting Your First Resume

Employment/Work Experience

Now for the meat of your resume, the employment/work experience section. Here you will list all your previous or current work experience starting with your most recent to your earliest job. A typical listing should look like the company name in bold, black font at the top, followed by your position underneath in italics. Directly aligned to the right of the company name should be the years or year that you worked in that position. Underneath your position you should write three to five bullet points that describe your work experience, always beginning with a past tense or present tense verb. Include all work experience on your resume that is pertinent to the position that you are applying for. For example, you may want to put that you worked at a flower shop if you are looking to intern at a technology company. Tailor your resume each time you send in or hand your interviewer the document. Also, keep in mind the one page rule so only keep your most important work experience.

A Guide to Drafting Your First Resume

See Also


Underneath your work experience section you should have your skills section that lists all the things you want to highlight about yourself to your employer. You can write things like areas you are proficient in like Microsoft Word, for example, or excel. You can also highlight your team skills like “collaborative,” “creative” or “overcomes adversity.”

A Guide to Drafting Your First Resume

Licenses and Certifications

Another section you can add to your resume is one with licenses and certifications where you can highlight the projects you have worked on or the awards you have received. Certifications are similar to the skills section but make things more professional or official. 

Resumes do not have to look all the same but should be uniform and consistent on their own. Be sure to keep the font and font color the same all throughout but you can get creative with the style, design and formatting of your resume. There are many templates online that help you draft a resume for you to tweak with different color and style. Some may like a more modern looking resume with text boxes and sleek font and others may opt for a more traditional resume that may be versatile for many jobs they are applying for. The keys to writing a solid resume are to keep your content, fresh, current and relevant to the position you are applying for. Put your most recent experience at the top and highlight the skills, certifications and positions that will be pertinent to your interviewee. Keep the document short (one page), concise and clear cut. Go into your interview or treat the job application process with as much confidence as you can. Do your research, keep your head high and believe in yourself.

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