It’s approaching that time when the schooling year will soon come to a close. And with this annual event comes a flooding of new blood to the job market. Secondary school and university graduates will raise their hand to express their interest in taking up a position in a company they see a future with. As they prepare for their next rite of passage, they begin to shape their resume. Or do they? How many soon to be graduates are looking at a blank computer screen?

Yes, the assembly of a resume can be quite daunting when you have never before held a job. And with no working experience to showcase, you need to call upon some creative thinking to demonstrate why you are the best candidate for the role. As kids, we participate in a multitude of sports, volunteer our time for the benefit of a cause we are passionate about, and join different clubs at school and within the community. Guess what? These are the extracurricular activities that teach you very important life and professional skills.

Predominantly employers are looking for someone with a positive attitude, strong work ethic and an affable personality. They’re also seeking somebody with a propensity to learn the complexities of the job quickly. So set the scene early. Pen a professional summary that provides the hiring manager with a broad overview of your background, interests and abilities relevant to the role for which you are applying. For example, if you are an aspiring author, your resume may lead with a statement of this nature; Bachelor of Arts graduate with a passion for writing and designing children’s books for pre-schoolers and believes the imagination should be explored and expressed in a manner that takes the reader on a journey. A highly driven lover of the English language with a strong instinct for exciting literature, I am inspired by Ronald Dahl, JK Rowling and Beatrix Potter. This first time job seeker has captured my interest.

The objective of your resume is to demonstrate that you will be a valuable addition to the hiring company. Review the job description and respond directly to the skills and attributes it highlights. Do they ask for time management, communication and organisational skills? Great! As a baby sitter of your neighbour’s kids for the past four years, you mastered the art of interacting with different age groups and coordinating baths, homework, dinner and bed schedules. Experience is an invaluable source of development and can also be gained through personal projects. Perhaps you are an aspiring mechanic and have spent your weekends in the backyard building and tweaking engines for your competition race car. This has required discipline, problem solving, perseverance, self-motivation and analytical thinking – an impressive set of characteristics that successfully translate into the work place.

Of course you should highlight your education and academic achievements. List your degree and field of study, academic honours or classes you took such as German, advanced mathematics and physics. Perhaps you were in a leadership role as school captain, were a regular in stage performances or an outstanding track and field athlete. Maybe you were a on the debate team and have developed strong public speaking, critical thinking and research skills. Along with awards and accomplishments, these experiences tell your prospective employer a story about you and what drives you. From this, they will make an assessment about what type of employee you will be in their team. For clarity, you may choose to outline a summary of soft and hard skills, qualifications and achievements.

Writing your first resume is a key step in commencing your professional career. To market your value to a potential employer you want to share that you are capable of learning skills and processes. Subsequently, do not discount emphasising attributes gained through personal interests. When you dissect your past experiences and passions, you will reveal a host of personal qualities that employers love. Love to hire that is. For help bringing your first resume to life and how to tweak it to suit different job roles, give the experts at SJ Personnel a call on 03 528080…our passion is connecting you to your future.

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