Writing your first resume can be daunting.
It can feel like the paper gets larger and larger as you try to fill it up with nothing. It’s whole lot different than what to do after losing your job or how to get a promotion at work fast. When you understand that writing a resume has more to do with explaining who you are than what you’ve done, it becomes a whole lot easier. But first you have to know who will be reading the resume, before you start to write it.
Identify 10-20 great companies where you’d like to work
You actually have an advantage.
When someone loses a job or is looking for a promotion at work, they are tilted towards poor job searching habits. You, on the other hand haven’t learned any of these bad habits because you don’t have any experience.
People usually start their job search by looking at jobs boards, classified ads and sites like Craigslist. The jobs that are posted there are jobs nobody wants. Start with a map and identify 10-20 great companies close to you, or if you work remotely, 10-20 companies where you’d like to work.
Great companies are always hiring great people. Most of the best jobs never make it to Craigslist because the friends and family of the people who work there snag them up before they go public! You are about to be one of those people.
So make a list of the places you want to work and forget about the help wanted signs!
Get a great cover letter and resume design template
When it comes to your resume you need to know three things.
- Have a cover letter.
This isn’t optional. I have watched as hiring managers literally throw out all the resumes without cover letters because the applicant, “wasn’t willing to put in the work” to write a cover letter.
Don’t let this little detail stop you from your dream job. Imagine the next 20 years being stuck right where you are because you weren’t willing to spend an hour writing a cover letter.
Do your best and you’ll have the best.
- Design is king.
After the hiring manager throws out the resumes with no cover letter, the next step is to grab their attention.
Did you know the color blue expresses reliability, trust and integrity? This is a great color to flash in front of the hiring manager, but in moderation. Don’t send a blue paper with blue fonts and blue headers.
It won’t work.
Our free cover letter/resume template incorporates the right amount of design and psychology to “help” the hiring manager to choose you.
Want a resume and cover letter template that will "help" the hiring manager choose you?
We put all the psychology of fonts, colors and designs into this matching resume kit, and you can have it for free!
- You have skills, highlight them.
Throw out the old, dusty resume your parents used to get boring jobs for 40 years.
That world is gone now.
You don’t have to have your address at the top, followed by your objective, followed by the chronology of your work history followed by uncontrollable puking from boredom.
Explain that you are trustworthy because you handled all the money for your local bloodworm gathering fundraiser, (I’m just guessing.) Talk about the times you developed the infographics that went viral for your local Rip Stick gang (full-patch member.)
You have done interesting things. They just may not have happened under the banner of a job or company. Show people how valuable you are, regardless of where you learned that value.
Tell the truth
Above all else, don’t lie.
Saying you were the director of communications and distribution to describe your paper route isn’t clever, it’s lying. There is no need to lie about your experience because most hiring managers aren’t looking for experience.
They want people with character.
Prove that you have character by being honest and explaining the best parts about the truth of who you are. The people reading your resume aren’t stupid. In fact, a lot of them are probably pretty smart. Instead of spinning your paper route experience into a lie, explain that when you had a paper route you were incredibly dependable, that you worked the early hours and daily routine without exception and you made sure every paper was easily accessible for the homeowner.
By the way, what were you doing with a paper route?
You do know this isn’t 1958 right?
Find a unique way to get your resume in front of the decision makers
Don’t be annoying here but, a resume printed on a pizza box goes along way!
I’ve known people who have pulled weeds in the parking lot of the company where they want to work before someone asked what they were doing.
If you aren’t sure about how to get in front of the decision makers, take a look at this article on the best way to get a job with no experience. It will give you some great ideas.
Prepare for the interview
The average person spends around $95,000 on a college education and then gets beat (interviews are competitions, make no mistake) by someone who prepares better than they did!
The trick to interviews is preparation.
You need to know what questions they will ask and how you will answer them. You need to know what your body language is saying while you speak. You need to know how to speak well. This is the stuff that gets you hired, not macro-economics 101. You can do this on your own or check out this job interview course. It’s a whole lot cheaper than $95,000!
Don’t be intimidated by your apparent lack of experience. You would be surprised at how many hiring managers want “new blood” in their organization. Your perspective and ideas are really valuable.
It’s time to put them to use.