Wendy helping a job seeker with his Resume – Photo Courtesy: Gangplank HQ
Entering the job market can be a flustering experience. Whether you are looking for that first part-time job or an entry-level position that will get your “foot in the door” to your dream career, it can be very difficult to land that first interview without much prior experience. After all, experience and results obtained from previous jobs are some of the best indications of how a candidate will perform in the future.
However, if you are lacking in previous work experience, don’t fret. Everyone has to start somewhere. All you need to do is craft your resume in a way that emphasizes some of your other attributes. Let’s take a look at some of them…
For many, the reason they have not had a job until now is because of school. Whether you were in high school, college, or a training program, you probably achieved a certain level of skills and abilities that are reflected by your level of education, and it is important to emphasize this.
List the name of the diploma or certification you possess and mention any relevant courses taken. Try to link everything to the job you are applying for. For example, if you are applying for a job that requires excellent communication skills, mention a technical writing course you received a high grade in. Any scholarships or awards are also worth mentioning as employers are always looking for things that signify you are ahead of the pack.
2. Volunteer Work
Not having any official work experience to put down on your resume does not necessarily mean you do not have any experience in an environment where you work with others. If you have volunteered for any events, non-profit organizations, or institutions, then these are great experiences to list on a resume in place of paid work.
Other than the invaluable experience of serving others and working with people, employers are also looking for people with the right attitude to work for them. Volunteering and giving back to the community is one of the telltale signs that a person is pleasant to work with and has motivations other than making money.
One of the main reasons employers look for previous work experience is that they want to hire candidates who have used their skills to obtain favorable results in the past. However, if you do not yet have a track record for utilizing your skills at a job, you can still describe your relevant abilities in a very detailed manner.
The goal is to link these abilities to the job you are applying for, in order to create a connection in the mind of your employer of how your skills make you the perfect candidate for the job. Anything from typing speed, fluency in other languages, and familiarity with certain computer programs can be brought back to the position you are applying for. Again, the key is to make that connection for your employer instead of listing a number of skills and letting them figure it out.
A good rule for resume writing is to always make it as clear and concise as possible for the person reading. Most companies’ human resources personnel go through dozens, if not hundreds, of applications every hiring cycle, and often anything that is unclear, difficult to read or simply does not catch their eye will immediately be put in the “reject” pile. Ensure that everything you put on your resume has a purpose and is linked very clearly to the job you are applying for. Good luck!
Davis Jackson is a former recruiter and “headhunter” who is now devoting his time to working on his free resume builder tool. Thanks for reading!