Do you have limited or no professional experience, but want to create a resume that showcases potential employers your strengths and skills?
It may seem daunting at first or even impossible, but with careful thought and planning, you can create an effective resume that showcases your skills and qualities.
Here are some tips to help you create an effective resume with no professional experience.
Step One: Determine The Best Format For Your Resume
In light of the fact that you have no work history to provide on your resume, it’s safe to assume that you have little to no expertise with resume writing. Fear not, though; it’s simpler than you may imagine.
To get started, the first thing you need to decide is the best format for your resume The format you select should be based on the job you are applying for, your experience level, and the content of your resume.
A combination format that highlights both your skills and accomplishments is a popular option, while a chronological format is great for highlighting career progression. For most people, the chronological format will be the best option.
Additionally, a functional format is best for showcasing specialized skills and highlighting a career change.
Regardless of which format you choose, you’ll also want your fonts and font sizes to be consistent, with the most important information emphasized.
The last thing you want to do is make it difficult for a hiring manager to quickly assess and evaluate your suitability for the job.
You should include the following information in your resume:
- Contact Information
- Professional Summary
- Work Experience
- Certifications/Additional Experience
Step Two: Include Education On A Resume
Maybe you’re a high school junior drafting a resume before you graduate to prepare for scholarships and college. Or maybe you just recently graduated college and you’re looking for your first job in the professional world. In either case, your education should always be included in your resume.
In the education section of a resume, you should list the name of the school, where it is located, and the degree or certification that was earned.
It’s easy to get carried away and start writing everything down. However, you must remain focused on the specifics of the employment offer. For instance, if your minor is not directly relevant to the position for which you are applying, don’t put it on your resume at all.
Step Three: Highlight Any Applicable Experience Or Activities
Employers are solely interested in one thing: finding and hiring the best possible person for the job. And what’s the best technique to evaluate potential employees? Look at their prior actions!
The past can help provide some insight into the future. However, your past cannot dictate the future, so you’re still given the opportunity to show how you’re uniquely qualified for the position.
Your relevant experience will be invaluable at this point. If you don’t have that experience, that’s okay. Acquiring new skills is possible in a variety of settings outside the workplace.
Taking a thorough look at the job posting is the first step in figuring out how your skills and experiences match up. After that, you need to figure out what skills and abilities you have gained through your formal education, volunteer work, internships, part-time jobs, and other activities outside of school.
You could instead list your experience as follows:
Internships allow you to gain practical experience in your field by working with experienced experts. The earlier you start looking for internships, the better your chances of getting a good job after graduation.
If you have completed an internship, you may include it under “Work Experience” or create a dedicated “Internships” section. Working in an internship provides valuable hands-on experience and can also give you insight into how a job functions.
There are few better ways to round out a resume than with a few years of volunteer work. You can choose to donate your time to one of the hundreds of charities and non-governmental organizations, each of which provides a unique experience that not only enriches the organization but can also help you find fulfillment and hone your skills in new areas.
Investing your leisure time in worthwhile pursuits can be very beneficial. Most students have many options available to them, including free clubs, groups, and organizations.
You could also think about attending some conferences.
Or write pieces for a school newspaper.
Or participate in scientific investigations and side projects.
There are so many ways to get involved in a variety of activities while attending school to help further one’s educational experience and career opportunities. Participating in extracurricular activities and learning experiences can be beneficial to a student’s overall academic performance and provide opportunities to explore a variety of topics in-depth.
Writing for the school newspaper can help students learn more about their community and the world around them. On the other hand, scientific investigations offer students the chance to explore a specific field of study, develop critical thinking and research skills, and gain insight into complex topics.
Every event provides an opportunity to learn something new.
Step Four: Make Use of Resume Keywords
In detailing your past work experience on a resume, be sure to make good use of resume keywords.
The applicant tracking system (ATS) is used by many businesses nowadays. For the purpose of determining if an applicant has the necessary skills, ATSs scan resumes for certain keywords. Recruiters save time by not having to vet through as many applications after this preliminary vetting.
It is important to research what keywords the hiring organization might be looking for and ensure that these are included in the resume so as to ensure you have the best chance of success.
Step Five: Highlight Your Most Relevant Skills On Your Resume
With limited experience, you need to be sure to highlight your skills. The most effective way to do this is to tailor the skills listed on your resume so that they match the job requirements that the employer has posted and include relevant keywords from the job description to ensure that your resume has the best chance of matching keyword scanners.
You should make sure that you have a comprehensive list of your most relevant skills and use them as a tool to demonstrate why you are the perfect fit for the job.
Step Six: Include Extra Sections
To further demonstrate why you are a great fit for the position, you may need to include extra sections on your resume.
You should absolutely flaunt your language skills if you possess any. If applicable, certificates should be listed on a resume. Do not be shy about including extracurricular activities on a resume if they demonstrate cultural compatibility.
If you want to make your resume stands out despite your lack of experience, you should include everything you can think of that is related to the position in question.
Step Seven: Make Your Resume Summary Stand Out
When writing a resume summary, be sure to make it as specific as possible, focusing on the value you can bring to the position you are applying for.
A resume summary for someone with no experience should highlight any skills and qualities that are relevant to the job, such as interpersonal skills, problem-solving ability, communication ability, or a willingness to learn.
The perfect resume should highlight these qualities. Also, be sure to:
- Carefully examine your resume and select up to three achievements you’d like to highlight.
- Introduce yourself by listing your best qualities. Instead of just throwing something together, be sure to check out the job posting to see what’s required.
- Make sure to tailor your resume to the specific job posting by mentioning the organization by name.
- Describe your desired contributions to the company and include a job description that will detail the duties expected of the successful candidate.
- You should highlight your strengths and list a few of your most notable achievements.
Step Eight: Make Sure Your Resume Is Easy To Read
Making sure your resume is easy to read is an important step in the job application process. Proofreading your resume and ensuring that it is clear, concise, and free from errors is essential in order to make a positive impression.
Step Nine: Write A Cover Letter
A cover letter is an important tool when applying for a job.
Roughly half of all job seekers include a cover letter with their submission. Since your resume is lacking in relevant work experience, a strong cover letter will increase your chances of getting an interview.
In developing your cover letter, be sure to include key details about your background and qualifications, such as the skills you have gained through academic and extracurricular activities, any previous job experience (paid or volunteer), and how your educational background has prepared you for the position. Highlight how you can use these strengths to benefit the employer and make a positive contribution to their organization.
Nothing in your cover letter should be repeated word for word from your resume. Make use of it to elaborate on your resume’s weak spots, explain your intentions, and sell yourself as the top choice among others to the hiring manager.
Before you submit your resume and cover letter, read through both documents to make sure they match and complement each other by illustrating the qualities you have to offer and why you’re the best fit for the role.
Even without experience in a given field, there are ways you can show that you’re a great candidate, so make sure that each section on your resume emphasizes your transferable skills, qualifications, and relevant accomplishments.
Fortunately, once you have experience and need to write a new resume, you can use the same basic structure to focus on the qualifications and experience that have changed since your last resume.
Read more on how to write a great resume.