How to get started on your very first resume
You may have been babysitting for years, maybe you had a paper route, mowed the neighbor’s lawn every week, sat behind a table at the church bazaar or were class president or secretary. Any of these can mean that you have viable work skills to put on your first resume.
Every company with job postings, be it a retail store, a fast food outlet or a bank, wants a resume. And if you haven’t had a job yet that paid you with a paycheck, you might feel a bit intimidated or unable to produce that important document. Do not fear, you probably have enough experience and skills to write a decent one page resume.
Sit down with your parents or someone who knows you well and ask them to help you make a list of all the skills they think you have. Be sure to include skills you have exhibited around the house, in the community or as part of a school team or activity.
Don’t take yourself for granted. Be very introspective and stretch yourself to identify your personal gifts. For example, if you have been babysitting, list all the responsibilities that go along with caring for young children: being attentive, playful, creative, athletic, responsible, and preparing meals.
Once you have compiled your list, create stories about each skill to validate the skill. You are going to use a formula called SAR: Situation, Action, Result. Start with creativity: (Situation) “Regularly babysit(babysat) children of varying ages from under one year to age 11. (Action) I would take the children on walks to look for nature items that we could use to create art projects. The walks got us outside in the fresh air and gave the children a chance to run about and be curious. (Result) We then created the art piece which is quiet time with lots of interaction in a creative environment.”
From this story you extract the Action and the Result and that becomes a point in your resume:
- Took children on nature walks identifying interesting objects and answering questions while collecting artifacts for an art project.
- Organized craft projects for children of all ages to give them a creative outlet while having fun and interacting with others.
Let’s try another one. You helped out at the church or community bazaar selling baked goods and second hand books. Skills: selling, helping people, one-on-one communication, customer service, product knowledge. The Action Result statements would be:
- Provided knowledgeable, friendly customer service to a variety of people at a bazaar to assist them in making a positive buying decision.
- Engaged potential buyers in conversation and made them feel comfortable about our product which resulted in selling every item on the table in record time.
Not all statements have a direct result. Where you can, include a result but some activities require more about HOW you did something than what the result was. For example: Answered telephones in a busy office in a friendly and knowledgeable manner.
Accomplishments in your first resume resume don’t have to be monumental, like saving a company thousands of dollars; they just describe a situation where you used a skill to get a result. They demonstrate your personal accomplishments.
Try not taking yourself for granted as you go through your work life, keep track of your professional achievements and wear them like a badge of honor, no matter how inconsequential you may think they are.
Following your accomplishments add in your Education and any certificates you may have such as in a sport or artistic field.
Include any teams or groups you participated in and the community work you did. Lastly add in 3 or 4 interests – specifically ones that show an interest relevant to the job you are applying for. For a sample of a resume format go to my web site www.colleenclarke.com.
And finally, be sure to have others proofread and edit your resume before you send it out. Employers take a very dim view of sloppy writing or typos in a resume.
Colleen Clarke, Career Specialist & Corporate Trainer
Author of Networking How to Build Relationships That Count, How
to Get a Job and Keep It
Co-author of The Power of Mentorship; The