What a difference two years makes! This week, one of the most trending topics on LinkedIn is the summer job boom. In stark contrast to this Harvard Business Review article, new post-secondary and secondary graduates are actually joining the workforce in an ideal time. As previously mentioned, this really is the perfect time to be looking to make a switch in a job or enter the job market because of the vacancy saturation. With this said, you may have many vacancies to pick from, but that doesn’t mean you still don’t want to “wow” your future employer. After all, when your resume is scarce, every position you take on counts. So, how do you make your first job resume stand out among the crowd? Let’s start with the foundation.
Writing the Right First Job Resume
Resume writing can be a long, tedious process, but all that work is not for no reason. Every employer you apply to is looking for something different. So, it’s important you always edit and revise your cover letters and resumes to match exactly what each posting asks of you. First of all, this shows that you’re paying attention to a specific posting and aren’t just copying and pasting your resume everywhere. Quality over quantity wins in this case every time. Secondly, it shows that you fit the bill perfectly without the employer having to do any work into making you that perfect candidate. You want to frame your experience and skills so that hiring you seems like a no-brainer.
In addition to your resume content changing with every posting you apply to, you’ll also need to take into consideration the resume format. That is, some career fields favor certain resumes over others. For a creative position, you want to showcase your personal style and artistry. For a technical job, you’ll want to make all of your credentials stand out to show that you’re qualified and trained in the way that the job may demand. Novoresume has some great tips for knowing which format might be best for you, so check their article out to make sure you’re writing the right kind!
Making Your First Job Resume Work for You
You should never feel like you have to lie or exaggerate on a resume to feel worthy of being considered for a job. Be confident in what skills and abilities you already have. Focus on what specifically makes you unique and particularly well-suited for this job, even if you don’t have tons of workplace experience, yet.
1. Self-assessment Results
Self-assessments are a truly underrated tool for what they offer job seekers and employers alike. In many cases, self-assessments will ask you about your work habits and personality to determine what positions and career paths might be best for you. And sure, you could pay over a hundred dollars (!) for a self-assessment from an employment agency. But you could also take Workwolf’s very own career assessment called Packfinder online for free here! After all, what better way to show you’re the right person to hire than test results that show you are?
2. Verified Credentials
You may not have already worked at Google or The New York Times, but you might have worked at a start-up or for the government during your summers. You can list these experiences in your resume and wait for an employer to run background checks to confirm your claims, or you can verify this yourself! Verifying former employment history and even your degree or diploma can prove to your future employer you have the necessary credentials for a job. As well, verifying your credentials before you apply can save employers time and money when on-boarding, so hiring you might just be the smartest option!
Internships are hard to get through (they’re often unpaid and require lots of grunt-work). And all that work will not be for naught! Get your internship manager or coworker to vouch for you in your job search by asking them to be a reference. Like credentials on your resume, references can either be done the old-fashioned way or the efficient way. Workwolf now offers the ability to request and save references from former employers or supervisors, so you only have to ask once and save their words of praise for all your job applications. This way, you don’t have to let your former employer know every time you apply for a job that an employer might call them.
4. Extracurriculars and Volunteer Work
You might even forget how some of the regular habits you’ve had for a while might offer you some very valuable skills and experiences. So, never forget about your extracurriculars! Your volunteer hours at a school, for example, shows you’re good with children, interested in education and literacy, and work well in leadership positions. Your engagement with creative and entrepreneurial projects, on the other hand, show you’re determined, innovative, and hard-working even on your own terms. Whatever your extra time is taken up by, make sure you’re showing how you’re always working to improve yourself and/or your community. This will always make for a good employee!
5. Hard Skills and Coursework
Don’t forget to feature the skills and knowledge gained in all your training and coursework. Whether you take courses on your own to advance your career or your coursework at school has a good cross-over with your future workplace, make sure to showcase the hard skills you’ve gained. This might include fluency in different languages, experience using certain programs or tools, writing techniques, or coding experience. In some cases, resume reading software will filter out all who do not include certain keywords. So, make sure to use keywords and proper nouns (software titles, tool names, etc.).
Building Your Presence beyond Your Resume
Don’t forget: especially when you’re applying online, your resume is just one of many crucial steps for preparing for the job market. Make sure your social media accounts are all made private or are appropriate enough for you to be okay with if a future employer stumbles upon it when Googling your name. (Yes, it happens!)
Show off your Packfinder results and your Workwolf verified credentials in your LinkedIn profile, and update your headshot and banner image. Make your personality shine through your profile and resumes. And when you inevitably land that interview you’ve been waiting for, we have you covered!