We all start somewhere. Every expert started out as a beginner. A lack of experience when starting out is nothing to worry about. Today I will teach you how to write a resume that can help you launch your career.
One thing to keep in mind when starting out is that there is more to a resume than just one's past experiences. A hiring manager is looking for someone who is a good fit for a given position. Another way to think about this is that the manager is looking for a reason to hire you. The key here is that they are often looking for what you bring to the table rather than what you do not.
Setting yourself apart when you don't have experience
Don't worry if you lack previous experience, as entry-level positions oftentimes require little to no prior experience. Additionally, there are still many ways to set yourself apart from your peers.
To start, people often underestimate the effectiveness of a first impression. A first impression has the ability to make or break one’s chances of landing a job and should not be overlooked. Make your resume stand out, but at the same time, not like a sore thumb. Your goal is to come off as interesting and unique without going overboard on colors, backgrounds, and such. In fact, a simple resume can often be a better choice than making an extravagant one. One important thing to remember is that recruiters read resumes every day. While they do like to see something new and unique, they don't want to see your rendition of modern art as a resume.
Moreover, any experience can be useful on a resume, even if that experience is not necessarily applicable to the position to which you are applying. Some examples of experience that one could use are working as a grocery store cashier or washing cars at a carwash. While these may not seem applicable at first glance, you can utilize the soft skills you may have picked up on the job, such as time management, working in teams, and so on. More on that later.
Additionally, you can draw attention to projects you may have worked on in school that are applicable to the position you are applying for. While it is often better to have projects outside of school, having projects that show you have experience working with things applicable to a given job certainly helps you stand out from the crowd.
Skills to display your when you have no work experience
There are two main types of skills that you can display on your resume, soft skills, and hard skills.
Soft skills are generalized skills that relate to how you interact with the work you do. Some examples of this include problem solving, time management, and working in teams.
Hard skills are specific skills that relate to the work itself. Some examples of this include software, accounting, engineering.
If you lack work experience, you may not have any hard skills to show off but fear not as soft skills are just as important. Loading your resume with soft skills can help boost your chances of standing out.
Displaying your education when you have no work experience
Education matters all the more when you have no work experience as it shows recruiters your background and abilities.
What to include in your education section:
- Make sure to utilize the courses you have taken in school that are applicable to show your knowledge.
- Include your high school if need be, especially if you are currently in college.
- Include your GPA if it is above 3.5.
When starting out, your education plays a big part in landing a job.
Experience to display your when you have no work experience
This may sound impossible, as without having relevant work experience, what experience do you have to display?
The answer is that experience comes in many shapes and sizes, as mentioned previously. In fact, I would go as far as to say your entire resume is simply to show your experience. Whether it be your skills, education, or anything in between, you show off your background and experience.
A few things to consider for this section or a section of their own are past jobs (even if not technical in nature) and past and present projects and research endeavors.
In closing, don't let your lack of work experience deter you from chasing your dream job. It may take time for you to get there, but if you put in the time and effort, you can do just about anything you set your mind to.