How To Write Your First Resume

By Andrew

OMG - I have no work experience! What will I put on my resume to get a Christmas job???

1. Don’t freak out

If you are applying for Christmas roles, a lot of people are in the same boat - they have no work experience. So employers expect that.

2. Keep it short

Don't try to fluff out a resume with wordy paragraphs that are just trying to make your resume look longer. You are just wasting the employers' time. They have a huge pile of resumes and the longer the resume, the less they will read it. One page is fine. Bullet points are great.

No one reads a three page resume. No one.

3. Don't forget any of the basics at the top

  • Name
  • Email (one you will actually check)
  • Mobile
  • Date of birth
  • Citizenship/Work rights E.g. "Australian citizen"

4. Availability

People often forget this one.

But when you are looking for Christmas or part time roles this is really helpful to the employer and shows that you are thinking about them.

If you have very limited availability, maybe don't add this section. But if you are very available to work, that is a BIG PLUS to an employer. So add a paragraph like;

Example:

"Availability: I am available 7 days per week from November 15 to January 28, for day or night shifts. After January 28, I am available weekends and Thursday nights."

4. Education

Where have you attended school and what are you studying?

5. Work experience

Even if it is baby sitting (which shows responsibility) or lawn mowing (shows willingness to do hard work), or helping at your uncle's shop unpaid (helps show retail experience). You might be able to add volunteer experience here if it was work-related.

6. Achievements

Do you have any? In any area? Have you won any competitions? Any academic achievements? It doesn't matter if you came third in a school juggling competition, put it here as "Finalist, High School Juggling Competition".

Do you lead anything? Captain of a sport team? Church group leader? Assistant to the scout master? Anything! Put leadership roles here.

Have you done any volunteer work?

Have you participated in any community events? E.g. "I completed the City-To-Surf Fun run in 2019 in a personal best time of 1:23mins"

7. Hobbies

This actually says a lot about you. Which of these people would you employ for a retail job dealing with people;

Ben: Hobbies: Reading, playing chess and solo rock climbing. Jen: Hobbies: Netball, choir, Scouts.

One applicant has lots of team and people hobbies, the other applicant enjoys non-social hobbies. It's a sign that maybe Jen is better for a "people" role.

8. Photo or no photo?

If you are handing out your resume to shop managers, I would include a photo so they remember you.

If you are doing online applications and they ask to upload a resume, a photo is not needed. If you do add a photo, make it black and white and... not weird.

9. DO NOT FORGET THIS STEP - Spell check & proof read.

It's an instant "in the bin" moment when you see a spelling mistake on a resume. It tells you that the applicant makes mistakes and isn't detail focused enough to use spell check! When an employer has 300 Christmas casual applicants for 10 Christmas jobs, the easy way to sort resumes is to bin the resumes with spelling mistakes!

Lastly, please get someone else to proof read your resume. It's so easy to skip a word and your brain puts it back in when you read your own work. Get someone eslee to prof read.

That's it. Everyone's first resume is short. Just dive in and have a first go!

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