Get Inspired

Looking for your first job? Here are 6 resume tips if you have no experience

We get it—trying to get your first job or internship is intimidating. It can seem like you *need* to have prior experience to even get hired in the first place (which makes no sense!). It can be hard to get started with your very first resume, especially when you feel like you have nothing to list. But with a little bit of practice, effort and our 6 resume tips, you'll be well on your way to your first job or internship!

1. Look at what you do outside of the classroom

If you've never had a formal job before, no worries. Extracurricular activities such as babysitting, volunteering at your local food bank, writing for your school newspaper, and playing on your club soccer team all show your experience, commitment and hard work. Briefly describe your responsibilities and accomplishments in each activity using strong action verbs (e.g. coordinate, organize, collaborate).

2. Add applicable hobbies

Applying to work at your local bakery? Then be sure to mention how you bake birthday cakes for your family and help out at bake sales! If you have any hobbies that you spend a lot of time on and are relevant to the job position, don't be afraid to include them. 

3. Include relevant accomplishments/awards

We know it can be challenging to talk about your accomplishments sometimes, but it is super important to celebrate what you've succeeded in and share that with others. If you've received academic, leadership, service awards or even created an influential fan account, you should totally include these to show another demonstration of your skillset. Make sure to include key information, like what the award/accomplishment was for, how many people were involved and how you were selected.

4. Identify your soft and hard skills

Finding a balance of your soft and hard skills to list on your resume is super important. Hard skills demonstrate your knowledge on tangible, teachable abilities. For example, knowing how to speak a foreign language, code Python and edit in iMovie would all be hard skills. Soft skills are your natural attributes that would be used in a workplace. Strong communication, organization and time management are all examples of soft skills.

5. Ask an adult who knows you well for a reference

The people who know you best can give you a killer recommendation and help highlight all the qualities that make you shine! A recommendation could be from a teacher, coach, mentor or anyone who has seen you work hard. A super important tip is to let your recommender know what the job or application is for, so that they can cater their writing to relevant skills they've seen you demonstrate. It can be super intimidating to reach out to someone for a recommendation, but finding the right person can totally prove your skills on your resume. 

6. Keep it short and neat

Avoid colorful, busy templates on the Internet—we know that they're *so* much more visually appealing, but the truth is that employers don't want to take the extra time to navigate a resume that isn't simply and clearly laid out. Stick with clean and minimalistic templates that have space for your contact info and divided sections for each category (e.g. extracurricular activities, awards, skills). Be sure to list your activities in chronological order, with your most recent experiences at the top. Along the same vein: Keep. It. Concise. It's shocking, but on average, employers only look at each resume for six to seven seconds, so don't go over one page.

Extra resources:

List of 185 action verbs for your resume

Online feedback on your resume

Have any more resume tips to share? Let us know @girlslifemag!

Slider image via @legallyblondemovies
All GIFs via GIPHY


by Jinny Kim and Jasmine Robinson | 10/11/2021