Apr 17, 2017

No work experience? Here’s what to write on your resume


Writing your first ever resume can give rise to all sorts of negative feelings – uncertainty, doubt and even anxiety. After all, who wants to hire someone with no prior work experience, right?

The lack of relevant working experience is a very common problem among newbie job hunters especially those who are fresh out of college. Your lack of work experience may feel like a disadvantage to you and you’re missing out on a large part of the job market that is looking for experienced individuals.

In reality, however, you shouldn’t really feel that bad about your lack of work experience. Everybody started at some point and even some of the most successful people right now started out as novices who were absolutely clueless about the workings of the professional world.

The lack of work experience isn’t really an obstacle when finding a job, even less so when you’re trying to write a resume. After all, many hirers do understand the lack of work experience when it comes to hiring fresh graduates.

The resume basics


You first ever resume should be built on a strong foundation. That means, for the most part, getting all the basics right. From including your complete and updated contact information to listing your educational background, make sure that all the basic information that should be on a resume is in yours.

Also, don’t forget to include your most relevant skills both personal (or soft skills) and technical. Be wary, however, of overdoing this part of your resume. Some candidates tend to overload their resume with details that they think is necessary but is actually the opposite. Your birthday, your height and weight and the primary school where you graduated from are things that hirers don’t want to see and are not even remotely interested in knowing.

Candidates tend to really undermine the importance of getting the basics right which is always a big mistake. And it doesn’t really take much to get it right. Just a quick search on Google can give you all the information you need to build a decent resume.

While it’s hard to sift through the tons of information and advice available on the internet, the basic structure of a resume is always the same. Try your best to get the advice you need in building the framework of your resume. Once you get the basics right, you can take it up a notch and start customizing it to make it your own.

The two-sentence pitch


Some of the older resume writing advice out there will tell you to include a ‘Career Objective’ section towards the beginning of your resume. For a long time, candidates, especially the new and inexperienced ones, consider the ‘Career Objective’ section as an important part of their resume as it expresses their real intent for applying to a job.

It was only in the past few years that the popularity of ‘Career Objective’ in a resume has declined and some resume writing professionals even considering it as redundant. After all, the mere act of applying for a certain position at a certain company already shows what your intention is. The decline in popularity and use of the ‘Career Objective’ section has given rise to the inclusion of resume summary statements.

A resume summary is a two- to three-sentence long statement that features your most critical and relevant professional qualities that make you the best person for the job. If the candidate is the product and his or her resume is the marketing brochure, then the resume summary is your personal branding statement.

For years, the resume summary (also called profile summary by some) has only been included in the resumes of more experienced professionals. However, there has been an increasing use of resume summaries among newbie job hunters. Even with your lack of work experience, the resume summary is a good way for you to catch the attention of the hirer immediately and position yourself as an ideal candidate for the job.

Pre-professional experience


Internships, part-time jobs, volunteer work and leadership opportunities – don’t make the mistake of thinking that these cannot be considered as actual work experience.

Your ‘pre-professional’ work experiences, which can be included under ‘Relevant Work Experience’ in your resume, are a significant factor in determining if you are fit for the job. Companies that are offering entry-level positions may not be necessarily looking for real working experience but your past internships or part-time jobs you had are quite relevant for hirers. Any volunteer work that you did can also help boost your chances of getting hired.

When writing down your relevant work experiences, make sure that you list them in a chronological order. More importantly, include the nature of your work experience (title or position) plus the organization your worked for and the date or duration. You can also add a line or two detailing what exactly you did a.k.a. job duties.

The relevant working experiences you include in your resume, together with your list of soft and technical skills will give hirers a very good idea as to whether or not you’re a good match for the position they are offering. So try your best to recall and mention any past experience – even if it’s school- on your resume.

Putting it all together


Sometimes the most challenging aspect of creating your first resume is putting it all together. Filling out your basic details, coming up with a good resume summary and listing down your relevant work experiences may come easy because part of it is simply recalling everything. The more difficult task of making a cohesive document out of all the information you have will determine whether or not you succeed in writing your resume.

Putting your resume together is not all about writing everything down and make sure that everything is bulleted, in chronological order and condensed into just a single page. Of course, those things are still part of it, but they not as vital as maintaining cohesion in your resume.

Every resume should tell a story. Your resume’s story is highly dependent on your skills, the experiences you had as well as the job you are applying for. Even with the lack of significant working experience, you should know how to leverage all the qualifications you have – no matter how few they are – into crafting a narrative.

You are a newbie in the professional world so no one is asking you to create an earth-shattering, dragon-slaying story on your resume. Stick with simple narratives. Who are you? What have you done? Where are you headed? How do you plan on getting there? Maybe you’re an inexperienced job seeker with an infinite potential, a candidate seeking to challenge himself or someone trying her luck in a new and unfamiliar field.

Knowing what your story is and putting together your resume in such a way that makes your story apparent, will instantly pull everything together and make your resume cohesive. Remember, hirers only have a few seconds to read your resume. Cohesion is what will convince the hirer to take more time to read your resume in its entirety.

Source : Jobstreet
Image source: Freak Sense

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