When you enter the workplace for the first time, and you have no experience, how do you showcase your potential? You may not realize that there are details you can include to construct a comprehensive resume that will kick start your future career.
If you don’t have experience, there are other ways to demonstrate your value as an employee and show employees why hiring you would benefit the company.
Include any relevant experience – volunteer work, internships, etc.
Many recruiters today look for more than just work experience. Most employers want employees with a combination of soft and hard skills. Soft skills, like communication and active listening, are just as important as hard skills, such as proficiency in industry-related software.
If you don’t have any work experience, it is important to share how you’ve built the skills that are relevant to the role you want to apply for. If you did volunteer work, an internship, or a summer job, this can help to demonstrate how you built up the skills employers are looking for.
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Customize your resume to the job opening
Check out the listing for the position and see what specific skills the employer is looking for. You can see if your skills align with the needs of an employer. They don’t want to know about your job stacking shelves at a local supermarket unless you can demonstrate how you developed skills relevant to the job opening. If you’re applying for a copywriting role, an employer will be more interested in what you wrote for the student newspaper than that you worked at a local fast-food restaurant.
If you’re applying for a role as an administrative assistant, you could mention your experience as a secretary at the college radio station and how this role helped you to learn how to multitask and develop time management skills. Any experiences that helped you to develop your organizational, active listening, and email management skills could be relevant.
If you want a job as an online marketer, the fact that you wrote promotional texts and professional product reviews for a local technological website will be relevant. You could mention that you helped to develop marketing materials and set up a Facebook page for a local charity to help them sell clothes donated to them.
Highlight your education
If you have no experience, you will need to highlight your education on your resume. Your level of education will show employers your willingness to learn and your commitment to acquiring knowledge.
Lifelong learning is essential today and will continue when you’re working in your first job. Any coursework you completed at university that’s relevant to the position should be included. Completing a university dissertation reveals that you have research skills. If you gave presentations as part of your degree, mention them if they’re relevant. You could also mention what you gained through doing group projects.
You can expand your education section by mentioning any awards, scholarships, or honors you were awarded.
Include extracurricular activities
Any extracurricular activities you participated in, such as clubs or sports, can also highlight certain skills you’ve built. If you participate in sports, it can build many soft skills that are valuable in the workplace, such as the ability to work in a team.
Employers will be interested to know that you captained a sports team because your leadership skills are transferable into the workplace.
Belonging to a club like a debating club will show that you have the ability to express and back up your opinions, think critically and see a topic from different perspectives – a valuable skill in the workplace.
Don’t forget about some “obvious” skills
Graduates may leave out certain skills because they think they are self-evident or unimportant. Include any skill you have that could be relevant in the workplace, such as familiarity with certain software programs, social media expertise, or foreign languages you can speak.
Make your resume ATS-friendly
You may not be aware of the importance of using keywords in your resume. Many large companies still use applicant tracking systems (ATS) to scan for keywords. This helps them to eliminate candidates so they only go ahead with evaluating the most suitable ones. If you make your resume ATS-friendly, you could just get ahead of candidates who may have more experience than you.
Making your resume ATS-friendly involves things like using an easy-to-read resume format and including keywords from the job description. ATS-friendly resume headings include work experience, skills, and education. You can change ‘work experience’ to ‘relevant experience’ but coming up with headings like ‘major abilities’ means an ATS won’t recognize them.
Keep your resume concise and proofread it carefully
Recruiters often have so many resumes to review that yours needs to make a favorable first impression in a short amount of time. It should be easy for them to understand how your education and experience align with the job being offered.
Show your attention to detail by making sure your resume does not contain any inconsistencies or grammar and spelling errors. This could put off potential employers more than your lack of experience. Giving it to someone else to proofread can help as it can be difficult to pick up your own errors.
Don’t make the mistake of thinking you have nothing to write on your resume because you don’t have job experience. The job experience section is simply a way to show how past work experience is useful to a future employer. When hiring for entry-level jobs, employers often value candidates with soft skills because they are harder to teach than hard skills. There’s no reason why you can’t come up with a comprehensive resume that makes employers choose you over candidates with job experience.