No Work Experience to Include in Your Resume? Here’s How to Tackle That Problem

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Improve Your Resume or CV

You may want to change careers or simply need to find a job. Maybe you’re fresh out of college, or maybe you’ve taken several years off to raise your children. The problem you now face is that you may not have experience in your new field. How can you possibly expect to get a job with little to no experience? 

Don’t despair—it’s certainly possible. It just requires a particular strategy for your resume to maximize your appeal to hiring managers despite your sparse work experience. If you can’t seem to figure out how to make this work, reach out to a resume expert

Let’s now explore how you can put together a winning resume even if you lack experience. 

Your resume format

It’s easy to overlook formatting because it may not seem important, but it absolutely is! Deciding how to format your resume is crucial to how the hiring manager reads it. What should be highlighted? What should not be as prominent? To some degree, you can control how the hiring manager reads your resume by choosing the right format. Bolding the right keywords will draw the eye to the information you want to be seen and can be an important way to make a positive impression.

Not only does a good resume use a format that highlights the necessary qualifications, but it is also free from errors. You lack experience and your resume is full of typos? You can say goodbye to that job. It’s exceedingly important to review your resume to make sure it contains no grammatical, spelling, or punctuation errors. The little details can make the difference between having your resume discarded and getting an interview, so don’t just brush proofreading aside as pretentious nonsense. 

Your professional summary

Who are you as a professional? What defines your career? These are questions you want to consider when drafting your professional summary statement. Sure, you may be changing careers (or just entering the world of work), but that shouldn’t affect your professionalism. 

Your professional summary statement is meant to entice the hiring manager to read more about who you are and what makes you so capable. This summary can be powerful because it’s your chance to tell the recruiter what you most want them to know. You want to bring your A-game to the professional summary.

Your education and skills

Since your work experience may not help you much, you may need to rely more heavily on your education and skills when putting together your resume. Is anything in your education relevant to the job you’re pursuing? Did you take any classes that equipped you with the knowledge to do it? Do you have any skills that demonstrate your ability to deliver as expected? 

You may have to spend a little extra time thinking through your education and skills sections, but they’re very important. Whether you’re fresh out of university or have taken classes to facilitate your transition into a new career, your educational background can take you far. Don’t forget that formal classes aren’t the only place you can learn—if you’ve acquired relevant skills on your own, list those, too. 

Your extracurriculars

If you don’t have any relevant work experience, you may also need to rely on extracurriculars. These could include internships, volunteer work, or hobbies. Even if the internship doesn’t have anything to do with the job you’re applying for, list it anyway since it’s considered work history.

The skills and experience you include in your resume don’t have to be paid, either! Volunteer work is a great example. Add any you’ve done, especially if it contributed to learning skills necessary for the job you want.  Other extracurriculars could be hobbies or clubs you participated in while in college and acquired useful skills as a result. Consider what skills are necessary for the job and think outside the box to come up with ways to prove you have them.

Helpful hints

As you construct your resume, you may be unsure what to add, remove, or update. Let’s take a look at how you can be certain you have everything you need for a successful resume.

What to avoid

Stay away from unprofessional email addresses. If you don’t have a professional email address, create one. Some of the most popular services are Gmail and Outlook—don’t use Hotmail or other domains that aren’t associated with a professional image. The best practice is to use your name, and if that’s already taken, you can experiment with adding your middle name or your job title. 

Also, avoid including any information the employer hasn’t requested. Giving away too much too soon can be a bad thing, especially if you don’t get the job. Just wait and provide information when the hiring manager asks for it.

What to add

One important thing you should always add is a cover letter. A cover letter sets the stage for what a hiring manager can expect to see when they look at your resume. Not all recruiters read cover letters, but simply going to the trouble of including one can put you ahead of your competitors. 

In addition, a cover letter gives you a chance to explain why you’re a good candidate for the job. This is critical when you don’t have any experience because you can elaborate on why you can do the job despite lacking experience. Take the time to craft a strong cover letter to complement your stellar resume. 

Another thing to add is keywords. Look through the job description and pull out words that demonstrate your knowledge of the job. It’s important to use keywords if you want to get past an applicant tracking system (ATS)—a software program that many modern companies use to weed out irrelevant job applications. Since ATSs generally work by scanning for keywords, if your resume doesn’t contain the right ones, it may never be seen by a human. Instead of using empty buzzwords, fill your resume with keywords that directly relate to that specific job.

What to update

All your information—that’s what you should update. You should constantly be evaluating your resume and refreshing the information in it as necessary. If you acquire a new skill or accomplish something new, add it to your resume. Make it a habit to update your resume monthly or so.

Not only should you keep your information up to date, but you should also tailor your resume to each job you apply for. Using the same resume for different types of jobs is lazy, and you’ll never make it far in the hiring process—recruiters can see right through that. Instead, customize your resume to show potential employers that you truly want the job. 

The best resume is one that gets you the job. Even if you don’t have any experience, you can still show employers that you can meet their requirements. However, it takes work and careful planning. You have to know what to avoid, add, and update to craft a stellar resume? Still need help perfecting your resume? Get in touch with a resume expert for assistance.

Improve Your Resume or CV