A resume is necessary for applying to jobs, no matter your level of experience. A solid, thoughtful, and clean resume can go a long way in helping you stand out as a candidate and increase your chances of getting a job. Of course, for those who have a lot of work experience, a great resume is easy to compile. But what about those who don’t have any experience and need to find work?
Whether you’re a recent graduate or you’re just starting your career with little or no experience, putting together a resume might seem overwhelming, confusing, or even impossible. What should you emphasize? Is it even worthwhile to do if you’ve got no work experience to include?
Not only is it worthwhile to have a resume, it’s imperative. And while it’s going to look different than a resume with lots of experience, you can still create a standout resume without any actual work history to rely on.
Crafting a resume with no work experience
First, you’ll want to create a great header for your resume. This typically includes your name and a statement underneath that highlights your attributes and the things that make you a great employee. It should be brief and focused on the key traits that you feel will help you stand out. It’s also important to include as much contact information as possible, preferably in the top corner of the resume.
When creating your resume, you’ll want to really take the time to highlight your education. Given that you don’t have practical work experience, emphasizing your education is crucial. List your areas of study and expertise, and make sure you provide detail about what aspects of your studies you excel in.
Internships are also great things to include in your resume, especially if they relate to the job you’re applying for. An internship is meant to provide you with hands-on experience that can help you break into the field you’re interested in, so including any internship experience on your resume will go a long way in showing that you’re familiar with your industry of choice and that you’ve seen the work up close and personal.
Selling yourself as a potential employee is key to landing a job, especially without previous experience. List any skills you have, hard and soft, and make sure you articulate them as well as possible. You’re relying so much more on passion, knowledge, and a desire to land the role than someone who can lean more heavily on experience in a job search, so you’ll need to ensure that you’re putting yourself and your skills out there as well as you can.
In the end, if you have the drive and determination to land a role, that will shine through on your resume. Exude confidence and an understanding of the job you’re after, and you’ll stand out among candidates with more practical experience. We all have to start somewhere, and a thoughtful resume is perhaps the best place to start.
— Article by Sean Kelly. In addition to being an analyst researching the latest industry trends for College Recruiter, Sean Kelly also co-founded a nonprofit local news publication in Savannah, GA called The Savannahian.