How To Make a Resume for Your First Job (With Example)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated December 30, 2022

Published August 6, 2018

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

When applying for your first job, it's important to prepare a resume to show employers the skills, training or education you have for the role. By emphasizing your relevant qualifications, you can convey why you're a good candidate for the job. Knowing how to prepare a resume and what information to include can help you advance in the hiring process and get your first job.

In this article, we provide an example resume, describe how to make a resume for your first job, offer a template and answer other frequently asked questions to help you enter the workforce.

Example resume for a first job

Review this example to help you prepare a resume to apply for your first job:

Amanda Jameson
Los Angeles, CA | 203-493-2940 |
Highly motivated and driven marketing student with demonstrated knowledge of social media marketing and search engine optimization techniques. Two years of volunteer experience preparing marketing copy to encourage new visitors at a local art museum. Honors student with a 3.8 GPA and relevant coursework in marketing research, consumer behavior and advertising strategies.
Los Angeles Regional University
Bachelor of Arts in marketing
Clearwater Art Museum, Volunteer
May 2021–Current
  • Write communications for email and social media about new exhibits to attract visitors
  • Greet and proactively assist 10–12 visitors daily in a timely, professional manner
  • Guarantee prompt delivery of incoming mail to appropriate recipients
  • Streamline processes to track, order, and maintain inventory
  • Collaborate with other volunteers to maintain exhibits and answer visitors' questions
LARU Marketing Club, Board Member
September 2020–May 2022
  • Contacted area businesses and marketers to secure sponsorships and featured speakers for on-campus marketing events
  • Created targeted social media ads for marketing students, contributing to a 12% increase in membership
  • Participated in biweekly board meetings to make decisions about the club's mission and objectives
  • Marketing strategies
  • Social media marketing
  • SEO
  • Email marketing
  • Customer service
  • Communication
  • Communication
  • Leadership

Related: Student Resume Examples (And How To Create One)

How to make a resume for your first job

Follow these steps to write a resume for your first job:

1. Research keywords

It's helpful to research keywords in the job description to help you align your resume with the position to which you're applying. Many employers use applicant tracking system (ATS) software to review and sort applications based on keywords. When you use the same keywords from the job description in your resume, your resume may pass the ATS software, which means employers may be more likely to review your application.

Keywords vary between jobs and industries, so carefully review the job descriptions that appeal to you and note common words and phrases. You can often find keywords under specific sections, such as "key qualifications" or "job responsibilities." Highlight or write down those keywords to make sure you use them on your resume.

Read more: How To Use Keywords and Phrases in Your Resume

2. Choose a resume format

When applying for your first job, choose a resume format to emphasize your skills and education. Use a common resume format to help employers review your qualifications quickly. Typically, you can structure your resume using one of these formats:

  • Reverse-chronological: This resume format lists your education and relevant experience, such as volunteer work or internships, in reverse-chronological order. It helps you share your recent accomplishments and experiences with employers.

  • Functional: A functional resume focuses on the skills you have for your first job, such as communication or time management. You may use this format if you've recently graduated or you're reentering the workforce with gaps in your employment history.

Read more: Chronological vs. Functional Resumes: What Is the Difference?

3. Provide your contact information

At the top of your resume, provide your contact information so employers can identify your resume quickly. In a bold font, list your first and last name. Below your name, provide your phone number, email and location, including your city and state. Make sure to use a professional email address, such as a combination of your first and last name or initials.

Related: How To Write Contact Information That Gets Your Resume Noticed

4. Write a professional summary

A professional summary describes your relevant skills, education and experience for a position. It's usually two or three sentences at the top of your resume to attract employers' attention quickly. In your summary, highlight the skills, education or training you have for the role. It's helpful to describe your accomplishments to show employers your value. Here's an example of a professional summary for your first resume:

Detail-oriented honors student with lifeguard certification and training. Proven record of caring for young children by taking responsibility for younger siblings and cousins. Knowledgeable about first aid and CPR.

Read more: How To Write a Stellar Entry-Level Resume Summary

5. Describe your education

On a resume for your first job, the education section may be more important to the employer than other experience. In this section, list your highest degree or diploma and the name of your school or college. Provide your graduation date if it's within the last three years. If you're currently in school, provide your expected date of graduation.

You may also choose to add other educational information on your first resume. Additional factors you may include are:

  • Relevant coursework for the position

  • Academic achievements or honors

  • Strong GPA

Related: How To List Education on a Resume (With Examples)

6. List relevant experience

Though you're applying for your first job, you may have other experience you can list on your resume to show employers your qualifications. In your experience section, you can describe volunteer work, internships, projects or extracurricular activities. Consider the experience you have and how it may relate to the position to which you're applying.

When listing your experience, provide your title and the dates of the experience. Include the name of the organization, group or activity. Write bullet points to convey your responsibilities or achievements and the skills you used in the role. Here's an example of including volunteer work on your resume:

Volunteer | April 2020–Current
Food Bank of Illinois | Chicago, Illinois

  •  Distribute meals to people in need in a timely manner to ensure everyone in line receives food

  • Communicate clearly with participants to explain the process and understand their preferences

  • Follow instructions from the group leader to set up a delivery line in an organized way

Related: How To Add Volunteer Work to Your Resume (With Examples)

7. Mention your skills

Create a section on your resume to emphasize your relevant skills and abilities for the position. Aim to include six to 10 skills on your resume. Include a combination of hard and soft skills. Hard skills convey your technical abilities, such as specific software, while soft skills describe your personality traits, such as leadership. Review the job description again to ensure you're including skills the employer wants candidates to have. Some common skills for your first job may include:

  • Programming languages

  • Software

  • Foreign languages

  • Social media

  • Customer service

  • Communication

  • Decision making

  • Time management

  • Teamwork

  • Adaptability

  • Organization

Related: Entry-Level Resume Skills: Definition and Examples

Resume template for a first job

Use this template to help you prepare and format your resume to apply for your first job:

[First name] [Last name]
[Phone number] | [Email address] | [City], [State]

Professional Summary

[Two to three sentences that highlight your experience, relevant skills, education or certifications and achievements as an entry-level professional.]


[Degree or diploma], [Major] | [Date of graduation or expected graduation]
[Name of school or university]


[Title] | [Dates]
[Company or Organization Name] | [City], [State]

  • [Strong verb] + [duty] + [impact]

  • [Strong verb] + [duty] + [impact]

  • [Strong verb] + [duty] + [impact]

  • [Strong verb] + [duty] + [impact]

  • [Strong verb] + [duty] + [impact]

[Title] | [Dates]
[Company or Organization Name] | [City], [State]

  • [Strong verb] + [duty] + [impact]

  • [Strong verb] + [duty] + [impact]

  • [Strong verb] + [duty] + [impact]


[Relevant skill] | [Relevant skill] | [Relevant skill] | [Relevant skill]

Related: How To Write a Resume in 10 Steps

Frequently asked questions

What's the correct length of a resume for your first job?

For your first job, aim to have a one-page resume. This length ensures employers can review your resume quickly. If you have multiple non-work experiences, choose the ones most relevant to the position to include on your resume. You can also make slight adjustments to lengthen your resume to one page. For example, you can adjust the margins to 1.25 or 1.5 inches or use a slightly larger font size.

Read more: How Long Should a Resume Be?

Can I use a resume template for my first job?

Yes, it's helpful to use a template when creating your first resume. Search online or use word-processing software to find professional resume templates. Choose a template that appears clean and professional, without graphics or images, to ensure your resume can pass an employer's ATS software. You can also search for example resumes for a specific job or industry to help you choose the correct format.

Read more: How To Choose the Best Resume Template for the Job You Want

Is it helpful to write a cover letter for a first job?

While not always required, a cover letter can help you describe your qualifications in more detail when applying for your first job. A thoughtful cover letter can demonstrate your enthusiasm for the position and your professionalism as an entry-level employee. In your cover letter, include the following information:

  • Who you are

  • Relevant skills and experiences to the job

  • Your interest in the position

  • Knowledge of what the job entails and how you effectively fill the role

  • Proof that you've researched the company and understand its mission or goals

Use your cover letter to describe how your non-work experiences, such as volunteering or extracurricular activities, have helped you develop relevant skills for the position to which you're applying. Focus on the qualifications you have that align with the company's objectives to show employers your value as a new employee. Similar to your resume, keep your cover letter to one page in length.

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