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Ready to start your career? You might be about to complete a degree, or you may be attempting to find a job during your collegiate years to help add more experience, but how do you translate all those efforts onto a resume? Making inroads to your desired career is both exciting and a tad intimidating, but you don’t have to do it all on your own – Ethan Allen is here to help!

The best place to start your job search is with a well-crafted resume. While there are many details to incorporate and templates to review, we wanted to provide a big-picture overview on what to include. Here are our top five tips on how to write a resume for your first job, one that will stand out and be noticeable to prospective employers.


1. Create a Captivating Story – Everyone enjoys a good story, right? And while this may not be the first element that comes to mind when you consider how to write your resume, starting from this perspective can make all the difference. At the top of your resume (the beginning of your story), succinctly describe who you are as a professional and how you plan on building upon your experience to shape your future career.Let’s say, for example, you volunteered at an after-school program for the last few years. You got to know the students and invest in their daily You learned the importance of relationships on a practical level. So, whether you are interested in teaching, social work, supporting individuals through healthcare, or several other possibilities, your real-life experiences are shaping the career path you want to pursue. Therefore, you may start your resume by stating something like the following:

Personable professional with three years of experience investing in the lives of middle school students. Proven track record of developing relationships to help individuals improve and succeed in both their academic and social circles. Experienced in creating programs and activities that help peers engage well with one another to support initiatives set out by their teachers.


2. Mention Your Metrics – At first, you may not think you have many metrics to share, but that is not the case! With each experience (clubs/leagues, internships, volunteering, etc.), explain the highlights and lead with your strongest skills.

When giving advice to Harvard graduate students, the Ivy League school emphasizes leading with the skills that are most marketable to the target company, highlighting the connection between your past experiences/accomplishments and the job you want.

For example, you may want to apply for an entry-level marketing assistant position with a local business. You don’t have years of experience in an ad company, but you likely have relevant experience. Did you oversee the social media content for the admissions department at your school? Did you successfully increase followers on different platforms or manage a campaign that brought several people to an event? Those examples are precisely the type of metrics employers want to see. They demonstrate your ability to apply yourself and lead projects.


3. Demonstrate Your Flexibility – In the last few years, regardless of industry, businesses have been reminded of the crucial need for flexibility. Any worker who knows how to be flexible and can pivot when needed is a significant asset to the organization. Every job will have unforeseen challenges, whether that’s regarding the inner workings of company processes or the outside changes in the industry.When you highlight your metrics, as mentioned earlier, think about the times you accomplished something because you created a new plan for a project or event. Maybe through the pandemic, you helped your after-school program discover ways to connect with others from home during the lockdown. Perhaps you participated in a group project for a class where a peer had to drop out last minute, and you led your team through a new plan. Those examples show resilience and creative flexibility to follow through, even with unexpected changes.


4. Clarify with Excellent Formatting – An essential element of any captivating story is well-constructed and relevant details. A story’s climax only resonates with the reader if the details bolster the storyline. The question is, how do you accomplish that feat on a resume?

First, be cautious about overdoing the bullet points for each section. Don’t write a laundry list of every responsibility but include a summation of your skills and accomplishments. Try not to exceed three to five points per position.

Second, don’t be afraid of white space. Have clear headings and enough space in between those headings and positions so that each section is easily read. Don’t try to overfill the page!


5. Wrap up the Story with a Cover Letter – Not every application requires one, but it’s still worth including. Why? This is your big chance to personalize. Why do you want this job and why do you want to join this company? Do a little research – zoom out to see the big picture accomplishments of the company that impresses you – to provide your answer. Then zoom in to see what attracts you to the specific department and role you want.If possible, have someone proof your cover letter as well. This may be the first impression you give to the company, and you want it to intrigue them (not make them roll their eyes because you made a careless typo).

A well-crafted resume is worth your time. These five areas give you a foundation of how to write your story professionally. Take your time to consider the important details that paint the picture of your experiences. And if you have more questions on what to include or not include in your first resume, we would be happy to lend our support.


Simply look at our job seeker page. Here we talk a little more about how our Ethan Allen team is in your corner and ready to help you find that perfect position.


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