Writing a resume for the first time can be a daunting task, especially if you have no work experience relevant to the position you are seeking.
However, you are not alone. Everyone has to start their career somewhere, at a point when they have no job experience. Whether you are a fresh graduate or a career changer, you can leverage non-job-related skills and use a couple resume-writing tricks to present yourself in the best light possible.
Here are a few tips on how to write an impressive resume, even when you don’t have any work experience:
The first impression matters
When you are fresh out of school, starting your resume with a clear objective is a great way to make a positive first impression, as it shows that you are focused and clear about your goals. If possible, try to tailor your objective to what the employer would be looking for in a specific industry or position.
Show your skills
Think about the skills you possess that qualify you for a job. Are you a great communicator or a Photoshop expert? Can you use Microsoft Excel, Microsoft Word, and/or PowerPoint? Have you mastered the art of using social media? Even if you have no professional experience, these are great skills that would make you eligible for job openings in various industries.
List your experiences gained outside the cubicle
For your “fresh start” resume, think about the experiences that you have gained outside the traditional workplace. Did you hold a part-time job? Have you volunteered or worked on a research project during your college days? Just because these are not mainstream jobs doesn’t mean that they are any less valuable. The skills you used to perform these tasks are broadly similar to the capabilities desired from a new recruit.
Now that you have made a list of skills and experiences gained outside the cubicle, the tricky part is to filter these to fit into a resume. Try to get to the point quickly and prioritize the various skills you have. Hiring managers generally have low attention spans, so it important to send your core message as soon as possible. Give details about the skills and accomplishments you are proud of, and explain why these are significant in the scope of your overall career.
Add details about your personality
If you feel that your resume is still lacking some substance, you could add a section titled “Interests and Hobbies”. Use this area to discuss your extracurricular activities, such as sports, music, dance, or any other interests you may have. Although it may not be related to your target job position, your interests give the recruiter a unique insight into your personality. In fact, you might be surprised to know how many job interviews (of non-experienced candidates) revolve around the Interest and Hobbies sections. You never know which hobby of yours could help make a personal connection with an employer.
References are optional
As a recent college graduate, the hiring managers do not expect you to provide references from your college professors on your resume. Employers do not ask for this information until you have been selected for a position, and they expect that you will provide it when asked for.
Maintain a level of professionalism throughout your resume. Keep the word tense, style, and font consistent. Proofread repeatedly to check for grammatical errors and typos. You can also seek help from a professional resume writer or use an online resume builder to help create the best possible resume for your job search.
While writing your first resume, it is important to remember that experience is not everything. Employers hiring fresh graduates won’t expect you to have much experience, as your career is just beginning. What they are looking for is a committed, passionate individual who has a genuine interest, a broad skill set, and can grow professionally in their role.
By promoting your skills and achievements, even without work experience, you can show employers that you are a perfect fit for their company, and encourage them to invest in your future.