Your resume summarizes your career for employers to gauge if you should get an interview. But a resume is more than just the sum of your work experience. This is especially true if you're looking to land your first job, whether you want a summer job during high school, a part-time position to get you through college or your first job after you graduate. See how to craft a resume that gets results.
The order of your resume is important because an employer reads the document from the top of the page down to the bottom. Your contact information goes first, followed by a brief summary of what type of position you want. If you're still in school, state your current year in school and your educational aspirations, such as the year you plan to graduate.
If you don't have a lot of work experience to showcase on your resume, your education is your next best asset. State your grade point average, academic achievements and your school name. In terms of professional references, you might ask a trusted teacher or two to vouch for your personality and work ethic.
Rather than employment experience, highlight extracurricular activities, volunteer experiences, leadership positions and any clubs to which you belong. Feel free to say you're the president of the chess club, shortstop for the varsity baseball team, treasurer for the herpetology club or attend regular meetings of your school's stamp collecting society. The possibilities for getting involved are endless, and the faculty or school sponsor can vouch for your attendance and leadership abilities.
Follow an easy-to-read format when crafting your resume. Find a template in a word processing program, customize it with a font that's easy to read and leaves enough white space between letters, and make the template your own. When you customize a format, even just a little bit, a resume stands out from others. Don't forget to tailor your document to each position. A job at a restaurant looks for a different set of skills versus a job taking care of pets or babysitting.
Proofread your resume for grammar, spelling and punctuation errors. Get help from your teachers, professors or parents who can read over your document and help correct any typos. An error on your vital paper can sink your chances because an employer likes someone who pays attention to details.
Update a resume when something important changes, such as your GPA when the new semester starts or if you were elected to a leadership position in your organization. Maybe you volunteered at a food pantry over the winter holidays and your volunteer coordinator knows how well you worked with others.
You do not have to send in an entirely new resume that has just one or two minor changes. A quick note to the employer, usually through email, suffices when you have new information. Make sure you also update any information on your references if their contact information changes during your job search.
Your resume offers much more information than your practical job experience, especially if you're seeking your first job. Don't be afraid to include relevant skills from your life at school that showcase how your personality is a perfect fit for a job.
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