Write your first resume, with this strength-focused template
At some point, every student needs to write their first ever resume. It might be the first time you are going for a job or need to submit an application for a course you’d like to study. It could be a mentoring program that you are wanting to enrol in, or your entry application for University.
But what do you put on a resume if you don’t have any former experience and haven’t even left school yet!? How do you stand out from the crowd and show that you’ve got what it takes?
Below you’ll find a simple guide to writing your first compelling resume.
TIP #1: Keep it short and simple
Your first resume has a simple task: provide a quick overview of who you are and why you are great. Even if you have no experience and are progressing through school, you still have many ways to show your strengths, why you are interesting, and how you would be a good person for the role you are applying for.
Keeping it to a single page and write short, simple statements.
Tip #2: Write your Top 5 strengths clearly
Employers want to know who they are considering. Be bold and tell them what your strengths are! If you’ve taken the MyStrengths Assessment, then use your Top 5 Strengths and include the one-line description so that the employer can see that you are clear and confident on your strengths. The different qualities are a fun and interesting way to show your best side. These may also provide a great discussion point in your job interview as you share examples of how you use these strengths in related work or study.
Tip #3: Use a template
There are hundreds of great Resume Templates online. You can create something amazing and beautiful through Canva, or perhaps using one of the standard Word Templates. The problem with most templates is that it focuses on your “experience” in other jobs or the “qualifications” you’ve obtained that make you a good candidate. So for your first resume, you may want to change the “Experience” section and write your “Strengths” there.
Great things to include on your first resume
We’ve provided a Strengths-Focused Resume Template attached (Word) that can get you started.
At the top of your Resume, share a few lines of text to sell yourself. Use 45 words or less. Tell the Employer why they would be lucky to have you.
My Top 5 Strengths:
Including your strengths is not just “filler”… these are really strong characteristics and provide a clear way for someone to know great things about you. Include the one-liner so these make sense and have some foundations. You could add that they come from the MyStrengths Assessment to add a little clout.
Most Employers want to know a bit about you. If you do surf life saving, then tell them! It’s impressive and shows commitment, dependability and application. If you are the captain of your footy team, then include that detail. If you go the gym, put it there. It helps someone to know that you are energetic, a leader and motivated. Your Interests help create a broader idea of who you are and what make you great.
Write down 3-4 skills, tasks or work you are good at. This is essentially the section where you tell them relevant things you can do. If you are going for a job working in a cafe, then tell them that you already know how to cook and make your way around the kitchen; if you are going for a job on the cash-register, then show that you are good at Math and are in the top 10 at school. Think creatively! It might be that you got your scuba diving license or that you can ride a motorbike. Anything that shows coordination, skill and application.
Writing one or two achievements shows that you can apply yourself to a task and finish it. These do not have to be formal achievements, though you may have some like sporting awards, music
A reference or referee is someone who has seen you at your best. Again, without any past employees, you may struggle to come up with someone who can vouch for you. Start with your Year Advisor or a teacher at school who has got your back. Ask the teacher if you can use them as a reference/referee, and include their email address. You might be in a youth group where you could ask a Youth Leader to be a reference, perhaps a mentor or counsellor you’ve had, or even your sporting coach. Anyone who can say that you are reliable and competent.