A smiling woman is looking at a man holding her resume in an office setting.

Make a first impression that counts with these expert tips from Toyota and The Coca-Cola Company on how to create a resume that stands out to recruiters.

First Job? Here’s How to Create a Resume That Will Shine

Looking to land your first job and show off your skills? You're not alone! 62% of Club kids feel confident they have the skills needed to be successful in a job.1 But here's the reality: recruiters can go through hundreds, even thousands, of resumes for one job opening. With so much competition, applicants must have a resume that shines.

We reached out to two of our national partners, The Coca-Cola Company and Toyota, to get the inside scoop on how to build a resume that stands out among the rest. Chase Simpson, University Recruiting Leader at The Coca-Cola Company, and Sherry McCaskill, Employment Branding Manager at Toyota, shared important insights and resume writing tips to help young professionals demonstrate their abilities, confidence and qualities.

Here are some top tips on how to make a resume for your first job.

Review the Job Description First

When you’re thinking about how to make a resume for the job you want, the first step is reviewing the job description to see if it’s the right fit for you. What kind of skills does the job require? Does your skill set match them? If so, be sure to include examples of how you’ve shown these skills in previous experiences, whether it’s through a class project or a summer job.

If you don't have every skill listed in the job description, don't let it deter you from applying! Think about experiences where you might have relevant transferable skills. For example, if you're applying for a job that asks for "customer service experience," and you haven’t had a customer service job before, you can talk about how you’re skilled at working with people and helping them. At school, you might have been the go-to person that classmates turned to for help with assignments or questions. This shows your willingness to help others and your communication skills, which are essential qualities for customer service.

When you match your resume with the skills and requirements mentioned in the job description, you show the hiring manager that you are qualified for the position. “We’re in this rush mentality, where we feel we have to apply the minute we see the job, but it’s important to take the time to read the job description and then actually alter your resume to apply to the job description,” said Chase.

So, take a moment to understand what the employer wants, and use that to create a focused resume that shows your best qualifications for that specific job.

Sherry McCaskillSherry McCaskill, Employment Branding Manager at Toyota
Chase SimpsonChase Simpson, University Recruiting Leader at The Coca-Cola Company

Highlight Relevant Skills and Experiences

When creating your resume, share real examples of what you achieved in previous jobs or school projects and the results of those efforts. “Remember, everything on your resume should match the position you're applying for,” Sherry said. “Highlight the projects you've worked on, and explain both what you accomplished and how it was beneficial.”

For example, if you worked a summer job as a cashier at a local restaurant, did you help manage the cash register during the busiest season they had? Did you take on extra responsibilities to help out the rest of the team? Use measurable achievements to demonstrate your impact.

Besides pointing out technical abilities and contributions, Sherry stressed the importance of soft skills. “While you can learn technical expertise on the job, soft skills like communication, teamwork and time management are not as easy to teach. These skills are essential for your success and how well you work with others, and that goes into account in the hiring process.”

Speaking up: 9 in 10 (87%) Club teens feel they can express their thoughts and ideas clearly.1

Here’s how to create a resume that shows off your soft skills:


  1. Volunteer Work: Mention any volunteer experiences where you worked with a team, communicated well, showed care for others or took on leadership roles. Participation in community service programs like park or road clean-ups and other kind actions helps demonstrate compassion and leadership to prospective employers.

  2. School Projects: Share teamwork examples where you worked well with others, came up with creative ideas and finished tasks on schedule.

  3. Club & Extracurricular Experiences: Talk about groups you joined, projects you helped organize, or times you guided a team through a tough situation. “If you've held positions like sorority membership, club treasurer, or student council involvement, these stand out to me,” Sherry said.

  4. Internship Training: Describe internships where you learned fast, worked with different groups of people or gave updates to supervisors.

  5. Customer Service: Share experiences where you served customers well or showed empathy.

These resume writing tips help provide concrete evidence of your soft skills in action. Even if you don’t have a lot of work experience, your soft skills show that you can lead, help others and create a positive impact. "Think of ways to show that you're not just a student, but a fantastic one who's a great leader and all-around person who employers would love to hire," said Chase.

Did you know? 89% of Club youth say when they are the leader of a group, they make sure everyone feels important.1


Optimize Your Resume’s Format

Today, most Fortune 500 companies (over 98.8%), along with 66% of large companies and 35% of small organizations, use applicant tracking systems (ATS) to scan resumes.2 Improving your resume's layout not only makes it look nice but also ensures ATS can easily read it. If you want to know how to build a resume that’s ATS-friendly, follow these tips:

  1. Customize the introduction by personalizing your objective or summary to the specific job.
  2. Use relevant keywords from the job description, such as specific skills or systems.
  3. Prioritize recent experiences and put them in chronological order.
  4. Label sections of your resume clearly, like “Education” and “Skills”.
  5. Stick to common fonts like Arial, Helvetica and Garamond.
  6. Choose the right resume file type, like .doc or .docx, based on the provided formats.

“A clean and simple resume is easily scannable, boosting your chances of landing your dream job and opening up future opportunities,” advised Sherry.

Go Beyond the Resume: How to Create a Lasting Impression

Beyond having a good resume, networking is essential for your job search. Don't hesitate to reach out to hiring managers and industry professionals via email or LinkedIn. Chase stressed, “Be proactive and reach out about potential opportunities. Don't wait for others to do it for you. Embrace the initiative and network with professionals in your field. It can lead to job offers and helpful advice.”

A generation of go-getters: 93% of 11th and 12th graders know what education or training they need for the career they want and 91% know the costs to expect.1

But, keep in mind that as you make connections, you also have to do your homework. Recruiters are often swamped with a flood of applications, and many resumes are scanned by ATS first. This means it’s important for job-seekers to take charge of their research and if you reach out and don’t get an initial reply, don’t be discouraged. Give it some time and reach out again.

“As recruiters, we love connecting with people, and we want to help applicants find the right job and connect them with the right people. However, it’s important that they come prepared to discuss specifics. If you reach out to a recruiter, let them know what job positions you’re interested in and what people you want to get connected with and why,” explained Chase.

By doing the legwork, tailoring your applications, and aligning your strengths with company needs, you not only stand out in the crowded job market but also demonstrate self-advocacy and commitment to finding the best fit for your career journey.


Building Job Confidence Starts Here

To prepare young people for tomorrow’s workforce, they need safe places, caring mentors and work experiences today. Boys & Girls Clubs provide opportunities that help kids and teens develop both soft and hard skills, explore their interests and cultivate a positive sense of self (all elements that translate to a great resume!). Discover how Clubs prepare today’s youth for success in college, careers and life.

The Coca-Cola Company and Toyota are founding partners of Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s Life & Workforce Readiness programming.

1 2023 Youth Right Now Survey

2 Over 98% of Fortune 500 Companies Use Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS)

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