A good resume that highlights your experience is key to getting a good job.
But wait a minute … what if you don’t have any experience?
What if you’re just graduating school and applying for jobs but lack a solid work history?
It may seem like you’re starting out in last place, but that’s not the case. With a little creativity and some strategic thinking, you can create a resume that moves from the bottom of the pile to the top.
Here are some tips from HR professionals to help you write a strong resume with no experience.
1. Stand Out With a Summary Statement
Objective statements are out of date. These days, a simple summary statement is what you need.
“Simple” doesn’t mean it should be generic, though. In fact, the opposite is true.
A creative summary statement can help you catch the recruiter’s eye and stand out in a mass of resumes that lack this feature.
To write an effective summary statement, keep it short but attention-grabbing.
Read more about summary statements and see some examples to get you inspired here.
2. Highlight Your Education
For most people, the reason they have no experience is that they are coming right out of college. They have a degree but no work history.
When this is the case, your education is part of your qualifications. Use your resume to highlight that. Go into detail about what you learned in school and what subjects or sources you excelled in.
You may have some certifications that are relevant to the job. Listing those certifications will certainly improve your chances of landing the gig.
If you are a lifelong learner and have degrees in a variety of fields, tailor this to the job that you are applying for. Find a way to let your potential employer know how your degrees can lend themselves to the job in question.
3. Include Non-Paid Experience
It’s important to note that jobs aren’t the only way to gain experience. If you’ve ever volunteered or completed internships, you probably learned a lot, even if you weren’t getting paid.
Many internships are designed to mimic real-life work situations. You should list your internship responsibilities on your resume, just as you would a former job.
Often, when you volunteer, you learn new skills like leadership, work ethic, communication, and team-building. These are valuable traits and the person reviewing your resume will be happy to know you possess them. So, make sure to list your experience as a volunteer on your CV.
4. Include a Relevant Skills Section
Throughout your schooling, unpaid gigs, and life in general, you no doubt gained many skills that can be used to complete the job you are applying for. These include technical skills, but also soft skills.
Soft skills, such as problem-solving, adaptability, and time management, are traits that many employers look for.
These skills are intangible and harder to measure, but they’re greatly valued by headhunters. Don’t leave them off your resume.
5. Write a Rockstar Cover Letter
Along with a great resume, you should have an engaging and personalized cover letter.
Your cover letter is an opportunity to make a good first impression. This is where you can give your application a personal touch and highlight what makes you unique and valuable.
Since you will be applying with a no-experience resume, having a rockstar cover letter is even more crucial. A good cover letter can outshine a less-than-perfect resume.
6. Dot Your I’s and Cross Your T’s.
Once you’ve written your resume and cover letter, it’s time to do some nitpicking.
You need to carefully proofread them for typos and grammatical errors. Do this once yourself, then ask at least one other person to proofread for you.
Along with misspellings and grammatical errors, look for cases of passive voice and replace them with action verbs. This will make your resume sound more confident and convincing.
7. Pass the ATS Check
No longer can you walk into a building and present your resume to whom it may concern (unless you know someone, of course).
To make the employer’s job easier, most companies have begun using applicant tracking systems (ATS) to weed out unqualified people.
Essentially, these systems scan every resume submission and search them for relevant keywords. If a resume doesn’t contain the keywords the company is looking for, the application gets discarded.
To improve your odds of passing an ATS check, you should use keywords that are in the job listing. These are usually industry-related terms that apply to the job in question. The inclusion of these words shows your recruiter that you have at least a basic knowledge of the industry.
Of course, don’t copy the listing verbatim, as that will only send a red flag to your employer. But, keep these words in mind as you tailor your resume to the job.
When you don’t have any hard evidence to prove that you’re a good employee, applying for jobs is nerve-wracking.
But, you should know that you aren’t the only person trying to land their first job. Plenty of other applicants are in the same boat as you!
And even as a beginner, you have qualities and skills that can be an asset to employers. If you can highlight these in your resume, you’ll find yourself with a job in no time!
Dominique Daniels leads the property management team at Autumn Vista.