There’s no denying that it’s difficult to get a job when you have no experience. Still, it’s something that can be done. After all, everyone who has a job has once been in the exact position. So, how do you do it? It all starts with a great resume.
Yes, you can write a compelling resume without experience. Just follow these seven helpful steps. Don’t miss the bonus tip at the end!
1. List Any Skills or Experience That Might Be Valuable
You may not have work experience. That doesn’t mean you have nothing to bring to the table. Before you work on your resume, create a three-column list. Your columns will be Skill, Level of Competency, and Proof. Those are the things that hiring managers will want to see.
Your list might look something like this:
Level of Competency
High School Athletic Boosters
Concession Stand Volunteer
Built and Maintained Spreadsheets to Track Expenses For Boy Scout Troop
Completed Online Course in iPhone App Development
Ideally, every skill you list will fit somewhere on your resume. If you can further prove skill or experience with a link to a portfolio, that’s even better.
2. Focus on Professionalism
You don’t need the experience to demonstrate professionalism on your resume. Follow these tips to show hiring managers that you are detail-oriented, and make good decisions:
- Use a professional-sounding email, preferably some version of your first and last name
- Choose a professional font
- Check your spelling and grammar ruthlessly
- Choose professional phrasing
- Don’t include pictures, writing samples, or personal information
There are some tools and resources you can use to help you ensure your resume is error-free and there are even resume templates you can use. There are plugins like Grammarly to help fix any mistakes. You can also order resume writing and get professional resume editing help. Of course, you can also have someone you trust to read your resume. Ask them for honest feedback. Does my resume seem professional enough?
3. Use a Career Objective
More experienced people will use a professional summary. That details what their accomplishments are, and what they bring to the table. Since you lack experience, use an objective. That will go at the top of your resume. There, you can write about your goals, the positive traits you have, and your interest in the field. Here’s a brief example:
“I’m an early childhood education student interested in starting my career as a preschool assistant teacher. In this position, I hope to make a positive contribution by implementing techniques I have learned in school, and through several volunteer positions working with this age group. I also hope to gain valuable skills, and learn more about Montessori learning techniques.”
4. Choose a Functional Resume Format
A functional resume is designed to emphasize your education and skills. It’s perfect for someone without work experience. You can vary the sequence of your functional resume if you wish. However, this is the basic outline:
Write a few sentences about your interest in the field, what you have done to gain experience and your goals.
Provide a table or bulleted list of relevant skills you have. It’s okay if you’ve learned things through internships, volunteering, or hobbies. Don’t forget ‘soft skills’ like good communication, teamwork or working independently.
List your education starting with your most recent. Include the name of the school, dates attended, and degree or diploma received. Add any awards or other positive accomplishments. Include online learning, apprenticeships, etc.
You may have more to include here than you know. It is perfectly okay to use internships, work-study, research, and volunteering here.
Hobbies and Interests
This section is optional. Only include it if there is something relevant to your career search. For example, if you learned mechanic’s skills through a hobby of building and repairing small engines.
5. Use Power Words
What is a power word? They are eye-catching, descriptive words and phrases that pack a lot of punch. Use them in your resume to show that you are capable, dynamic, and self-starting.
Which power words should you use? That depends. Think about the job you want. For example, if you want to work in a computer lab you might use:
6. Focus on Results
Remember that future employers are going to be most interested in your accomplishments. Consider using some strategies to create a results-oriented resume. This means you use numbers and other information to show that you were successful in some way.
Instead of writing:
- Worked as a volunteer counselor at City Art Metro youth camp
You might write:
- Designed and taught 3-dimensional art to more than 200 inner-city youth
Instead of making task-oriented statements, consider summarizing them to showcase an overall achievement. This is especially helpful when the individual tasks aren’t so impressive on their own. Consider this list of duties from an internship:
- Placed clothing on display racks
- Kept floors on sales floor swept and mopped
- Replaced light bulbs in display and dressing areas
You could replace that with:
- Provided a safe, well-lit area that was visually appealing to create an ideal shopping experience for customers.
Bonus Tip: Provide Links
You can’t include samples or images in your resume, but you can link to them! Do you have a portfolio, blog, or website? What about GitHub if you’re a budding coder? If it’s professional, and relevant to the job you want, add a link in your contact information. Don’t forget to add your LinkedIn profile as well. Even if you don’t land the job, you could gain an important professional connection.
Pursuing a job with no experience is a daunting task. Just remember, you aren’t alone. There are companies happy to hire first-time employees. You simply have to present yourself as a responsible, enthusiastic candidate who has great potential. Use the tips above to maximize the skills you have developed, and create an attention-grabbing resume.
Author’s bio. This blog is written by Jessica Fender. Jessica is a professional writer and independent blogger. She is passionate about wise team management and self-development as a leader and is featured on Forbes and Addicted2Success. You can connect with Jessica on LinkedIn and Twitter.