No work experience, no problem. Everyone is life starts off somewhere without experiance. Use the following resource to prepare a resume that will get you a job.
I have not been in HR but have been a hiring manager for many years. I have seen a lot of resumes from young folks with little or no job experience. There was a handful of things that I really looked for when experience was lacking. The key is to highlight strengths. Employers know that young folks fresh out of school will lack experience. They will be looking for those they can train, depend on to complete tasks and for folks who are driven. They will want to see that you are engaged.
First off, make sure to look over the job description closely. You want to address as many requirements as you can in your resume. You may have to alter your resume a bit for different jobs, one size does not fit all.
Varied and exciting language is helpful. Make sure that it doesn’t read like a checklist. You can’t expect someone to get excited about you if you are not excited about sharing your accomplishments. Use action words: As team captain, I pushed my team mates to break 10 school records I smashed the school 100 meter dash and hurdle records. You also want to try to speak efficiently, work to eliminate unnecessary language. Keep the sentence structure to the point. It makes the resume easier to read and creates more space for more attributes.
Are you a producer? Are you a doer? Have you led teams or groups in projects? If you are looking for a job that requires you to produce, engineer or IT for instance, you want to focus allot of space on projects, deadlines met, expectations exceeded. If you are looking for something in management you want to use more space discussing projects where you’ve planned, delegated and seen through execution. Mixing all sides of attributes is useful but space on a resume is limited so it is important to focus as much as possible on your primary strengths that match the job description.
A lot of experience and personal aspects are overlooked by resume writers. Are you well organized, can you handle multiple projects and deadlines? How do you handle pressure, do you become overwhelmed or do you attack the work load to get it done? Do you take on new/unfamiliar challenges methodically with gusto or do you prefer more familiar tasks? Are you a self-starter? Have you found more efficient way to do something and implemented a streamlined process? Do you pick up new ideas and processes quickly? Are you a team player?
As you compile info for your resume, consider all the things you’ve done. There is likely allot of hidden experience and skills that an employer will find useful.
Mention any software experience that is relative to the job. Any functions/events that you’ve organized can be helpful. Did you organize charity events? Start, lead and pass on a chess club at school?
Accomplishments are often neglected on a resume. Do you have rewards from academics, sports or somewhere else? I’m talking attendance awards, valedictorian, any recognition that illustrates outstanding performance and attitudes.
A hobbies section can be seen as helpful or possibly just a space filler. Bike riding is a great hobby but how can you use that hobby to illustrate a useful attribute to the employer? Maybe you are a competitive bike rider, driven to compete in tour de france. If you list a few hobbies make sure to find a way to link it to a relevant skill or a desirable personal attribute.
The layout of the resume should be clean, easy to read. Bullet points are useful, paragraphs should be limited and kept brief. Rule of thumb is to keep your resume on 1 page. Sometimes folks have multiple pages but that is like engineers or architects listing the many projects they have worked. It is best to try to get it on one page, HR folks will see allot of resumes and may simply reject a bulky or hard to read document. Spelling is very important, make sure to go through it with a fine tooth comb. Word does pretty good but it will miss some things. Have a couple of people proof read it to see what they find. Sometimes we overlook errors or rough phrases when we have spent allot of time on it.
Once you have your resume, there are allot of online sources for the job seeker. They are helpful to find those places that are hiring but they will blow your email up! Be prepared to do allot of filtering. Linked In and Facebook are good resources for job seekers.
As you work on your resume there is nothing wrong with getting your indeed, monster.com etc profiles worked up. You can always update them. It will be helpful to look at some of the stuff that pops up. Sometimes you can send a resume through the job seeker website, sometimes it directs you to the company website. Most of them will allow you to update things so if you do see something you like don’t be gun-shy about applying. You can always send the current draft or log back into it again a day or two later to upload a draft and update things.
When you mine the job sites, there are some jobs that you probably don’t want. For instance, if I work in sales and if I have worked with the same company for a few years I will look for other opportunities here and there. I see a listing for sales folks for Terminex, Cintas and a few others EVERY time I look. This tells me that the turnover for them must be astronomical. There is a reason they are perpetually listing positions and its highly unlikely company growth in my region is the reason. Poking around the job sites will help you to identify any of those companies that seem to be always trying to fill a position.
As you apply for more jobs and look over job requirements you often find more of your own skills and attributes that employers will like. Treat the resume as a living thing while you search, update it and continue to improve it.
Use all of your contacts. Let people know you are looking. Reach out to folks and ask if they know of something where they work. Talk to people you know when you are out shopping. If you see a posting at someplace and know someone that works there reach out. Getting your foot in the door can be very difficult. We get hundreds of resumes in a short time when we post an opening. HR filters them down to 8 or 10 for me to see. Knowing someone on the inside gives you a leg up, allot of times they can get a copy of your resume directly to the hiring manager. Use any advantage you have to get the interview.
Finally, when you land interviews, don’t stop looking for more interviews. The interview is not a job offer, if you stop looking and don’t get the call back it sets you back. Also, you may find yourself in a situation where you have more than one offer. That is a good place to be!
Best of luck in your search!!
Tip 1: Use a work appropriate email address.
How: Your email address will be at the top of your resume, making it one of the first things a potential employer will see. If your email address is listed as IHatePeople@LeaveMeAlone.com, your resume will be passed over. If you need to create a new email address, there are free services that offer this option such as Yahoo, Hotmail, and Gmail. A good design to follow is to create a new email for employment that revolves around your name. An example would be SusanQSmith1985@gmail.com.
Tip 2: Include transferable skills.
How: Transferable skills are skills that you have gained in your life activities. If you have been a single mother for the past 10 years, you have 10 years of money management, problem-solving, scheduling, time management and so much more. Think creatively about your life and figure out what skills you have learned along the way. You have become skilled at more than you think.
Tip 3: Use a qualification template vs a chronological template.
How: If you do not have work experience, you do not want to use a work experience template. Chronological templates are used mainly for people who have extensive work history Instead of basing your resume on years, base your resume on what makes you qualified for the job. This could be your classes from schooling, or even your own personal, relevant accomplishments. Tip 2, above, will help you think along those lines. A qualification resume is just as important as a chronological resume. The only difference is in the way you are presenting your skills and qualifications.
Tip 4: Make sure that your resume looks neat and clean.
How: A lot of tips will help you keep your resume neat. Evened out spacing will help make your resume easier to read. The use of single spacing or double spacing will depend on the length of your resume. Try both and see which one you like better. Resumes should be kept to a single page when possible. Your name, address, phone number, and email should be centered at the top of the page and be the largest boldest items on the page. These should be written in a slightly larger, yet noticeable font size than the rest of your resume. You want them to easily see your contact information, as well as read your name. Another thing that will keep your resume neat is headings. Include bold headings for all of your topics such as Qualifications, Education, and Skills. Your ultimate goal is to make a potential employer pick it up and read it.
Tip 5: Explain blank gaps in your life on your resume if possible.
How: If there is a gap in your life that is very obvious on your resume, do not omit it and hope that it goes unnoticed. Instead, explain the gap in transferable skills. If you do not have any transferable skills to place in that gap, it is ok to leave the gap visible and explain it in your cover letter. Do not leave the employer to speculate their own ideas of your life circumstances. If you feel that the situation should not be discussed in writing, you can place a sentence or two in your cover letter that explains that there is a gap and that it will be explained at the interview.
Tip 6: Include certificates, accomplishments, and classes you have taken.
How: If you have been in school long enough to show a major gap in your life, then most likely you have accomplished some resume-worthy things. Include your accomplishments such as honor roll, member of the chess club, Student of the Month March 2018, bandleader, basketball player, etc. Be proud of your accomplishments and show them off. Don’t forget to include dates. If you are unsure of dates, it is ok to give it your best guess. Listing your accomplishments shows a potential employer that you have character and are a well-rounded individual.
Tip 7: Follow up with the company after you have submitted your resume.
How: One or two days after you have submitted your resume, call to ask if it was received. If you have received a confirmation of your resume being received previously, do not ask this again. Instead, this time you would want to ask if your resume was reviewed. Another way to accomplish this is to say that you are calling to find out the status of your resume. If you get an interview, it is always nice to send a thank you card afterward thanking them for the opportunity to interview. Thanking them for taking time out of their day to meet with you is also appropriate. All of the techniques in this last tip will help to put your name in the back of their mind, making it slightly familiar to them. This will help you compete against other applicants who may have more work experience than you.