Graduation cap and certificateFor those of you moving from school to the workforce for the first time, you may be wondering, "Now what?" Your first step on the path to work may be writing your first resume. Add these three items to your first resume to highlight the skills and knowledge you have, even if you haven't worked before.

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Your First Resume

Jun 11, 2019

Graduation cap and certificateSummer is almost here, and with it we enjoy the warm weather and celebrating high school and college graduations. For those of you moving from school to entering the job market for the first time, you may be wondering, "Now what?"

The logical next step is writing your first resume. You know that your resume is supposed to highlight your work experience and the skills that you learned from previous jobs. But what if you've never had a job? Today, we'll help answer that question and identify 3 things that you should include on your resume when you have no paid work experience.

Personal statement

Including a personal statement, which states your career goals and briefly explains your experience, is one place to talk about the soft skills you have that make you a strong job candidate. For example, if you coordinated your club's community service project or were involved in campus leadership, you'll be demonstrating desirable and employable skills. You can also use this short section to identify a key achievement that relates to your career goal, such as helping to raise money for a charity or club. The key is to focus on what you can do for the employer, rather than how the employer can help you reach your goal.

Education

In addition to listing where you went to school and when you graduated, you can also expand on the coursework you completed. Looking to become a graphic designer? Include information about classes and projects that you've had and what types of software you've used. Or maybe you've taken accounting and finance classes that can help you in a variety of careers. Show how the coursework you've taken relates to your career goals. Potential employers will look at your educational experience the same way they look at work experience for other job candidates.

Clubs, activities and volunteer work

Just because you weren't paid for a job doesn't meant that you didn't gain valuable experience. Think about the different activities that you've participated in. Many high schools have Key Club or other community service-focused clubs. If you participated in a club like this, think about the projects you helped on. Did you schedule other students and help divvy up and delegate tasks? Did you contact local businesses for donations or help manage a fundraising activity? List it! In addition to identifying skills you've learned, employers may also recognize your interest in getting involved through the types of non-paid activities you've contributed to.

Keeping the right attitude

Applying for your first job can be an exciting time. But it can also be stressful. To help you stay positive, we encourage you to take advantage of available resources. For example, working with a Ticket to Work service provider, like an Employment Network (EN) or your State Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) agency, can offer you resources like resume writing and review, interview prep and, in some cases, access to skills training opportunities. Once you land a job, an EN can often offer you continuous supports so that as you start working, you have assistance adjusting to the workplace.

About Ticket to Work

Social Security's Ticket to Work (Ticket) program supports career development for people ages 18 through 64 who receive Social Security disability benefits (SSI or SSDI) and want to work. The Ticket program is free and voluntary. It helps people with disabilities move toward financial independence and connects them with the services and support they need to succeed in the workforce.

Learn more

To learn more about the Ticket program, call the Ticket to Work Help Line at 1-866-968-7842 or 1-866-833-2967 (TTY) Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. ET. Ask a representative to send you a list of service providers or find providers on your own with the Ticket program Find Help tool.

Learn more

To learn more about the Ticket program, call the Ticket to Work Help Line at 1-866-968-7842 or 1-866-833-2967 (TTY) Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. ET. Ask a representative to send you a list of service providers or find providers on your own with the Ticket program Find Help tool.

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