An age-old challenge, how do you make a resume when you have no experience?
It can be a difficult cycle to apply for jobs when you have no work experience. You need the experience to get a job, but then you need a job to gain experience. It is not a simple task. But, there are ways to improve your resume to stand out to hiring managers as a great candidate, even without work experience.
Overall Resume Tips for Entry-Level Resumes
While working on a first job resume requires creativity, keep the formatting simple and the resume under one page. Whenever possible, include numbers and data from the other experiences you have. Overall, keep the resume in a reverse-chronological order when relevant.
At the top of every resume should be a header. This header includes a job seeker’s name (in bold and larger text), contact information (such as email and phone number), address, and LinkedIn link.
Applicant Tracking Systems
Before putting a finger to your keypad to begin your first resume on the job search, understand what Applicant Tracking System (ATS) is. This is the key knowledge to have when writing a resume.
Hiring managers or recruiters only look at resumes for 6 seconds. But, to get in the hands of that hiring manager, it usually is sorted by ATS. Therefore, job seekers should understand ATS is the best way to get your resume seen.
ATS looks for keywords. So, the best thing to do is understand industry keywords. Then, sort through the job posting and job description and pick out keywords to include.
A resume summary is at the top of a resume, under the header. It is the elevator pitch for yourself. To begin, use an adjective, title, and how/whom you help.
Example first sentence: “Energetic content creator proficient in social media content planning, creation, and copywriting.”
After that, put in the most important relevant skills and relevant experience that you have. But, with this being the first time resume, the experience will be from volunteering, coursework, and other areas instead of job experience.
For both high school and college students, this is an area to introduce your educational background. Then, the resume will elaborate on the experience that you gained while getting that education.
Resume Template for Education Section
University of Wisconsin – Madison, Wisconsin
Graduated May 2021
3.75 GPA (Optional and only include over a GPA over 3.5)
When having no previous job experience, this is where your experiences will shine through. This is where volunteer work, academic achievements, certificates, projects, clubs (especially leadership positions), and sports involvement goes. Prioritize it to be the most important activities that are relevant to the role and the field.
For each activity completed, use bullet points that begin with action verbs to describe what each activity involved. A hiring manager will know nothing about the activity. So, feel free to go in depth.
Include a healthy mix of hard skills and soft skills. To understand the difference between the two, read more about them here.
To get ideas on skills, begin with thinking about the activities in the last section. Especially prioritize the transferable skills that you have from activities. Do not forget to include languages known. But, be honest about your skill level.
Examples of skills to include are work ethic, Microsoft office, problem-solving, and teamwork.
Then, include a section with relevant coursework that you have completed. These courses can be from a college or other credible educational organizations. However, this is not an area to throw your course transcripts. The courses should be relevant and applicable to the role you are applying for.
Writing a resume with no experience is difficult. It will take time, effort, and a bit of creativity. For more information on resume formats and resume examples, read more on the Scholars blog. For exclusive information on how to get hired as a college student, tune into The Internship Show.