When applying for your first job as a new high school or college graduate, you need to know how to format a resume in a way that highlights your newfound skills and qualifications while minimizing your short work history. Knowing how to format a resume allows you to showcase your educational experiences, successes and achievements and gets you noticed during the candidate selection process.
1. State your full formal name at the top of your resume, in a font size that is at least twice as big as the size used in the rest of your document.
2. State your contact information. Make it easy for hiring managers to contact you when you are selected for an interview. List a cell phone number where you can be reached, your email address, and your home address.
3. Create a resume summary. The resume summary is the modern way to briefly state your qualifications and is an important part of how to format a resume in today’s competitive hiring environment. Your resume summary should provide the hiring manager with an overview of your prior experience. Use a paragraph format to list your relevant skill sets or to discuss one of your valuable personality traits. Including a summary is especially desirable for individuals who are applying for an entry-level position, because minimal work experience is supplemented with other important assets.
4. Describe your education. As a new grad, this section may appear longer than your employment history. State the name of the college you just graduated from, along with your major of study, the year of your graduation, and the degree you received. If you participated in any relevant internships or campus organizations that developed your skills in a relevant field of study, feel free to list these in the education section.
5. List any honors that you received during your studies. This can include the dean’s list, honor roll, fraternal honors, departmental achievements and other awards. Also, provide a list of any civic awards you achieved during this time.
6. List any special scholarships that you received as a part of your education. Explain if these were competitive scholarships, such as those from the American Legion or from another group. You may also list private and university based scholarships that you earned through a competitive process.
7. Describe your employment history. Include any work study jobs that you held as an undergraduate or graduate student. If you did any student teaching or tutoring, list these experiences here as well. Other paid work should also be listed, such as jobs you held in high school. Begin with the most recent position you held and work backwards from there. For each job, name the position you held, the dates of your employment, and the location of the position.
8. Detail any additional skills you have as long as they are relevant to the position. For example, if you’re applying for a position as a lifeguard, you’ll want to feature your CPR certification. If you’re interested in applying for a position in retail, use the skills section to list other language you speak.
9. List any volunteer work that you have done. This could include volunteering for local and national groups such as Habitat for Humanity, as well as private groups through your religious organization. When learning how to format a resume, be sure to note volunteer activities that relate the position for which you’re applying. If you volunteer at a library and reach with children, include this information if you are applying to be a nanny or teacher.
On LiveCareer, you can find additional information about how to format a resume for a new graduate. You will find helpful details about how to highlight your educational and volunteer experiences as well as how to write a clear resume summary.