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First Job Resume: Samples, Template & Guide for Beginners

First Job Resume: Samples, Template & Guide for Beginners

Kick-start your career with a professionally written first job resume that steals recruiters’ hearts—even if you’ve got no work experience to show.

Whether you’re just looking to earn a few extra bucks or taking your first step towards your dream career, getting your first job comes with a catch.

 

You see, before you actually get your first job, you need to apply to it. And applying to jobs means writing resumes. And writing resumes is outright scary. At least that’s what they say.

 

But don’t listen to them. In fact, writing your first resume can be as easy as following a straightforward 7-step process. No writer’s block. No guesswork. No complicated templates. Just follow our guide and your first job resume will be ready in a matter of hours.

 

This guide will show you: 

 

  • A first job resume example better than 9 out of 10 other resumes.
  • How to write a first job resume that will land you more interviews.
  • Tips and examples of how to put skills and achievements on a first job resume.
  • How to describe your experience on a resume for a first job to get any job you want.

 

Want to save time and have your resume ready in 5 minutes? Try our resume builder. It’s fast and easy to use. Plus, you’ll get ready-made content to add with one click. See 20+ resume templates and create your resume here.

 

Create your resume now

 

first job resume example
first job resume example

Sample resume made in our builder—See more templates and create your resume here.

 

Sample First Job Resume

 

Rick V. Lamon

Social Media Manager

613-546-1810

rick.lamon@eemaill.ca

linkedin.com/in/ricklamon8741

 

Summary

 

Motivated business administration student (GPA 4.0) with proven social media marketing skills. Authored Facebook campaigns that helped 20 shelter cats find new homes. Eager to increase sales and customer retention by promoting Homebake’s products and services on social media and building an online community of loyal customers.

 

Education

 

Bachelor of Business Administration

University of Toronto, Toronto, ON

2021–current

  • GPA 4.0
  • Excelled in Consumer Behaviour and Advertising coursework
  • Member of The Marketing Group (TMG) at the University of Toronto

 

Ontario Secondary School Diploma

Heydon Park Secondary School

Graduated in 2021

  • Won the school’s science fair three years in a row
  • Member of the speaking club
  • Regular contributor to the school’s Facebook page, writing posts that have 20% more likes than the school’s other posts

 

Experience

 

Volunteer

Helping Paw Cat Shelter, Toronto, ON

March 2021‒current

  • Helped 20 cats get adopted by writing viral Facebook posts about their personalities
  • Assisted in planning fundraising events that brought $5,000 in total

 

Skills

 

  • Creative thinking
  • Facebook Business Manager
  • Canva
  • Writing skills
  • Time management skills
  • Reliability
  • Flexibility
  • Eagerness to learn
  • Teamwork

 

Courses and Certificates

 

  • Social Media Marketing Certification Course, HubSpot Academy, 2021
  • Facebook Social Media Course, Coursera, 2022

 

Hobbies

 

  • Photography
  • Creative writing

 

Looking good?

 

Now, let’s go through your resume step by step.

 

1. Structure Your First Job Resume Like a Seasoned Pro

 

Your resume doesn’t have to look like a mess just because it’s your first attempt. Get the structure and the layout right, and you’ll totally stand out against all the other rookie job-seekers.

 

Let’s take a closer look at structuring your resume.

 

Each resume starts with a header. It contains your name and your contact information: email address, phone number, and social media profiles if you think they’re relevant. For example, if you’re applying for a job at a bakery, it’s a good idea to include a link to your Instagram profile where you post your home-baked masterpieces.

 

Remember that you shouldn’t add photos to your resume. If your future boss wants to see what you look like, they can check out any social media links you’ve included or just invite you to a job interview.

 

After the header, your resume should include the following sections:

 

  • A resume objective (we’ll explain this later on)
  • Education
  • Experience
  • Skills
  • Extra sections (Languages, Certifications, and so on)

 

Maybe you’ve noticed that most people’s resumes list their work experience before their education. After all, most resumes follow the so-called reverse-chronological format: they start with the most recent jobs and go on to describe earlier experiences.

 

However, this only applies to people who already have some relevant work experience. In your case, education should go first.

 

How do you place these sections on a page?

 

Set the page margins to 1 inch on all sides and change the line spacing to 1.15.

 

Then, pick a classic resume font like Times New Roman, Arial, Helvetica, or Cambria (if you can’t decide, the standard font in your text editor will do). Make sure the headings are bigger than the rest of the text.

 

Add some white space around the sections so that your resume doesn’t look like a big boring wall of text.

 

While you’re working on your resume, make sure you’re saving it often. It will save itself if you work in Google Docs, but you’ll need to hit the Save button from time to time if you use Word or Apple Pages. When you’re done with your resume, save it as a PDF file. Other formats can look weird when opened on another computer, and you don’t want your resume to look weird.

 

However, some employers specifically ask for resumes saved as Word (DOCX) files. In this case, follow the employer’s wish.

 

In the following sections, we’ll go through all the sections of your resume. We’ll leave the resume objective out for now, but don’t worry—we’ll get to it later.

Find out more about resume formatting: Resume Layout: Best Examples (also for Your First Job) 

2. Make Your Education the Highlight of Your First Job Resume

 

Since you don’t have work experience yet, you have to make the best out of the education section of your first job resume. So you can’t just mention the name of your school and move on.

 

Instead, provide a few bullet points that describe your most relevant achievements. It’s a good idea to start each bullet point with a powerful verb. Also, if you can specify your achievement with a number, go for it. Numbers make your resume much more believable.

 

Resume for a First Job: The Education Section

RIGHT

Bachelor of Business Administration

University of Toronto, Toronto, ON

2021–current

  • GPA 4.0
  • Excelled in Consumer Behaviour and Advertising coursework
  • Member of The Marketing Group (TMG) at the University of Toronto

This candidate uses the education section of their resume to show three academic achievements that are relevant to the job ad. This approach creates the right impression: our student presents themselves as a promising young professional.

WRONG

Bachelor of Business Administration

University of Toronto, Toronto, ON

2021–current

  • Took a class on advertising
  • Passionate about social media
  • Member of a chess club on campus

This education section doesn’t prove anything about the candidate’s potential as a social media marketer. Being passionate about something doesn’t mean being good at it. Neither does taking a class—you can enrol in a class and sleep through most of it.

 

So the recruiter will probably just roll their eyes and invite the candidate who wrote the previous sample.

 

Hey, wait. Both samples come from the same candidate.

 

Point of the story: even if your current resume looks more like the wrong example, you can easily rewrite it and make it awesome. Just focus on relevant, specific, measurable achievements.

 

Well… what if you’re not a college student yet?

 

Here’s how to put your high school achievements on your resume.

 

High School Education on a First Job Resume

RIGHT

Ontario Secondary School Diploma

Heydon Park Secondary School

Expected graduation date: 2022

  • Won the school’s science fair three years in a row
  • Member of the speaking club
  • Regular contributor to the school’s Facebook page, writing posts that have 20% more likes than the school’s other posts

This candidate must have outstanding communication skills: they’ve obviously succeeded in presenting their science projects, they practice their speaking skills, and they’ve already written successful social media posts.

 

So hiring them to write more social media posts is a no-brainer.

 

Of course, the achievements that you choose to mention depend on the specific job you’re applying to.

 

For example, if you’re applying for a job as a package delivery driver, you might want to mention that you play sports. This will show that you’re physically fit, so loading and delivering all those heavy boxes won’t be a problem.

Learn more about writing a high school student resume: High School Student Resume: Guide for First Job (+ Example)

3. Create Your Experience Section (Even if You Don’t Have Work Experience)

 

When you’re done with the education section, it’s time to write about your experience.

 

Experience? Aren’t we talking about a first job resume?

 

Yes. But notice that we didn’t write “work experience”.

 

There are many ways to prove that you’ve got what it takes to be successful at a job. And work experience is just one of them.

 

So look at your experience in broader terms.

 

Do you sometimes babysit your neighbour’s kids? That’s proof of some serious communication skills.

 

Have you volunteered at a dog shelter? That proves you’ve got valuable qualities like responsibility and empathy.

 

Do you have lots of subscribers on TikTok? Hey, that’s social media management.

 

Now, how do you put all of this on your resume?

 

  • Re-read the job ad and make sure you understand what skills and qualities the employer wants to see
  • Look back on your life and think of any gigs, volunteering activities, and hobbies that prove you’ve got these skills and qualities
  • List them in reverse-chronological order if possible. In other words, start with your most recent experiences and go back in time
  • Focus on your achievements rather than your responsibilities
  • If you can describe your achievement with a number, go for it—numbers make your resume much more believable

 

OK, that looks like a lot of info to digest. To make it easier, let’s look at some examples:

 

First Job Resume: How to Write a Beginner Resume with no Experience

RIGHT

Volunteer

Helping Paw Cat Shelter, Toronto, ON

March 2021‒current

  • Helped 20 cats get adopted by writing viral Facebook posts about their personalities
  • Assisted in planning fundraising events that brought $5,000 in total

While this candidate hasn’t had a “real” full-time job yet, their resume shows they’ve got what it takes to become a marketing pro. They’ve got real, measurable business results—and that’s exactly what hiring managers want to see.

WRONG

Volunteer

Helping Paw Cat Shelter, Toronto, ON

March 2021‒current

  • Maintaining the shelter’s Facebook page
  • Helping out with fundraising events
  • Cleaning litter boxes

Based on these bullet points, can you figure out if the candidate is actually good at their job? Simply “maintaining” a Facebook page doesn’t automatically mean doing it well.

 

Oh, and cleaning litter boxes is simply irrelevant when applying for a social media job. Make sure you only include achievements that have something to do with the job ad.

 

There’s one more reason why it’s so important to stick to the job ad when writing your resume.

 

Many companies use so-called applicant tracking systems (ATS) that automatically weed out irrelevant resumes. To make sure your job application passes through ATS filters, it’s important to sprinkle keywords from the job ad throughout the entire resume.

 

When making a resume in our builder, drag & drop bullet points, skills, and auto-fill the boring stuff. Spell check? Check. Start building a professional resume template here for free.

 

When you’re done, Zety’s resume builder will score your resume and tell you exactly how to make it better.

4. Show You’ve Got The Right Skills for Your First Job

 

The skills section of your resume is just a list of 8–10 bullet points. Sounds straightforward, doesn’t it?

 

Well, it really is straightforward. Here’s how to pick the skills that should go on your resume:

 

  • Read the job ad once again and identify skills-related keywords
  • Decide which of these skills apply to you
  • Put those skills on the resume using the same words as in the job ad

 

When you’re done, take a quick look at the education and experience sections of your resume. Could you squeeze some more skills-related keywords into the bullet points that describe your achievements?

 

This will make your resume more ATS-friendly (we’ve talked about ATS in the previous section) and more relevant.

 

If you’re wondering what those skill keywords look like, here’s a general list of skills you might find when applying for your first job.

 

First Job Resume Skills: Bucket List

 

  • Creative thinking
  • Communication skills
  • Problem-solving
  • Multitasking
  • Quick learning
  • Eagerness to learn
  • Active listening
  • Customer service skills
  • Teamwork
  • Organization skills
  • Time management skills
  • MS Office
  • Strong work ethic
  • Thriving in a fast-paced environment
  • Reliability
  • Math skills
  • Handling heavy loads

 

Resume For First Job: Sample Skills Section

RIGHT
  • Creative thinking
  • Facebook Business Manager
  • Canva
  • Writing skills
  • Time management skills
  • Reliability
  • Flexibility
  • Eagerness to learn
  • Teamwork

As you see, writing the skills section is as simple as borrowing a bunch of keywords from the job ad.

 

5. Add Extra Sections to Your First Job Resume

 

Is there anything else you’d like to tell the recruiter about yourself?

 

Maybe you speak a foreign language or have an interesting hobby. Maybe you’ve completed an online course and got a certificate.

 

Whatever it is, make a section for it and go ahead.

 

Here’s what the extra sections of your first job resume could look like:

 

What to Put on a Beginner Resume: Extra Sections

RIGHT

Certifications & Courses

  • Social Media Marketing Certification Course, HubSpot Academy, 2021
  • Facebook Social Media Course, Coursera, 2022

 

Hobbies

  • Photography
  • Creative writing

What hobbies should you mention in your resume? Ideally, they should have something in common with the job you’re applying to.

 

This candidate chose to include photography and creative writing because they want to be a social media marketer.

 

But if they were applying for a job at a DIY store, they’d probably list a hobby like woodworking or upcycling furniture.

 

A word of caution: don’t lie on your resume. If you know nothing about a hobby but list it on your resume because it makes you look good, the recruiter will find this out very quickly.

 

6. Craft a Catchy First Job Resume Objective

 

Remember how we skipped the very first section of your resume and jumped straight into your education?

 

Now’s the time to get back to it.

 

This first section contains your resume objective, a short and catchy text that tells the employer what you want to do for them and why you’re qualified for the job.

 

The basic formula for a resume objective looks like this:

 

Adjective + Job Title + Years of Experience + Achievements + Skills + What You Want to Do for the Employer

 

Here’s what it looks like in practice:

 

First Job Resume Template: Beginner Resume Objective Examples

RIGHT

Motivated business administration student (GPA 4.0) with proven social media marketing skills. Authored Facebook campaigns that helped 20 shelter cats find new homes. Eager to increase sales and customer retention by promoting Homebake’s products and services on social media and building an online community of loyal customers.

This resume objective is clear and concise, just like it should be. Note how it focuses on measurable business results like sales and customer retention metrics.

WRONG

College student looking for my first job in marketing. I’m motivated and eager to learn, and I absolutely love your bread rolls.

Sorry, but being motivated and eager to learn doesn’t automatically qualify you for running a bakery’s Facebook page (no matter how much you love their bread rolls).

 

7. Give Your First Job Application an Epic Boost with a Cover Letter

 

Even experienced job-seekers are often scared of writing cover letters. In fact, many don’t even try to write them—which is a huge mistake. Many employers automatically reject job applications that come without a cover letter.

 

Fortunately, there’s a quick and painless way to write cover letters. This simple method works for everyone, from rookie candidates like you to top-tier professionals, so learning it now will make your career goals a lot more achievable.

 

Here’s how to write a cover letter that will boost your chances of getting your first job:

 

  • Follow best practices for business letter formatting
  • Start your cover letter with a header that includes your address, the date, and the addressee’s name, title, and company address
  • Craft an opening paragraph that grabs the reader’s attention and makes them read on
  • Give specific proof of your achievements and skills
  • Explain why you want this particular job at this particular company
  • Ask the reader to schedule a call or a meeting with you
  • End with a professional sign-off and (optionally) an intriguing P. S.

 

Your cover letter doesn’t have to be long. Even 200 words will be enough—if you want to learn more about cover letter length, check out our separate guide.

 

A great cover letter that matches your resume will give you an advantage over other candidates. You can write it in our cover letter builder here. Here's what it may look like:

 

See more cover letter templates and start writing.

Key Takeaways

 

Congratulations, you’re ready to apply for your first job!

 

But before you hit Send, let’s recap all the steps and double-check that your resume isn’t missing any important parts.

 

So, here’s how to write a resume for a first job:

 

  • Format your resume according to modern standards
  • Show your educational background and highlight a few relevant achievements from college or school
  • List your experience (volunteering, freelancing, etc.) with a focus on achievements rather than responsibilities
  • Add a list of relevant skills
  • Consider adding some extra sections to show off your language skills, hobbies, or anything else
  • Crown your resume with a compelling resume objective
  • Write a cover letter that will prove you’re absolutely worth hiring

 

Thanks for reading my guide! Now I’d love to hear from you: 

 

  • What are the biggest challenges of writing a resume for a first job? 
  • What part do you struggle with the most? 

 

Let me know. Let’s get the discussion started!

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Jamie S. Marshall
Jamie is a career expert who has worked with job-seekers from all walks of life. At Zety, he helps readers write successful job applications and land their dream jobs.

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