It is not uncommon to have entry-level applicants or school graduates worried over getting a job when they have little or no experience. If this is your situation, you are not alone. There is hope. You have just the right tools to not only get called for the job interview but also to ace it and get the job.
In your hunt for a job when you have little or no experience, what you should never do is panic. It is true that to get a job, you need some experience. It is also true that to get some experience, you need a job. And this leaves you frustrated.
Here is a little secret, though; what you need isn’t some experience to get a job. Instead, you need relevant experience – and this makes all the difference. Here, you will see firsthand what to include and remove from your resume even if you think you have no working experience whatsoever.
So, how do you write a resume with little to no job experience? Here’s how.
Include relevant personal details. Right at the top of your resume, you should include your full name, professional email address, mobile number, home address, and optionally, your LinkedIn profile URL. Except the hiring organization specifically said to put any other information outside this, you should avoid it. Don’t include your passport photograph, age, gender, nationality, or any other irrelevant information. If your recruiter needs this, you will be asked in the interview.
Construct a professional summary statement. A professional summary statement is your chance to impress the hiring manager or recruiter first hand before checking your experience. Gone are those days when you write an objective statement showcasing your career goals. In writing your summary statement, put together in a few sentences that describe how your skills and expertise can help the organization realize its goals and objectives. Convince the reader – here, the recruiter – that you are the right candidate for the job. To understand the mind of the organization as touching the role you are applying for, you should go through the job description. Having done that, you will be able to tailor your summary statement to the pain point of the hiring organization.
Decide on the right resume format. There are essentially three popular resume formats when writing resumes today. They are chronological, functional, and hybrid. The chronological format focuses on the candidate’s work experience and lists it in the reverse-chronological order. The functional format, on the other hand, highlights the candidate’s skills and achievements rather than the work experience. And as you must have guessed, the hybrid format combines the features of the first two formats. Now, what is important is to stick to one format all through your resume. Once you decide to use the functional format, let your resume reflect that all through.
Write down your achievements and activities. Whether you have little relevant working experience or none at all, you probably received some commendations, achieved lovely feats in the past, or even won awards. List all of these in a separate place. You won’t need to put all your achievements in every resume you write, but ensure to put all the relevant ones. Resumes today are written to meet the specification of each job role that you apply for. That means, each time you plan to submit your resume, you have to edit to fit the job description, especially if they are different roles. So, pick the achievements and recommendations that fit into the job role you are applying for and insert them logically in your resume.
Focus on your education and skills. Indeed, you don’t have working experience, but you can use your education and relevant skills you have acquired over the years to your advantage. Did you partake in a program while in school or a course that relates to the job role? Do you have an excellent CPGA and have you won several awards for your academic excellence? Showcase all of this. This will do one thing for you – tells the recruiter that you have what it takes to excel in the job role even without substantial working experience.
Add internships. Internships are shortcuts. They help you acquire relevant experience, form connections, and help you get jobs in the future. So make sure to include any internship you completed in your resume and showcase your duties there. If you also have volunteering experience and other extracurricular activities that seem relevant to the job role, you should include that in your resume too. If you don’t have any, then it’s time you start looking out for one to be involved in and take up internships that put you in the right direction for your career.
Use relevant keywords and add a cover letter. Most employers now use an Applicant Tracking System (ATS) to sort resumes. This helps them to weed out resumes without relevant keywords and reduce their workload. So, how do you ensure your resume beats the ATS? Check out the job description for keywords used by the hiring organization. Then, include them logically in your resume. It does not matter if a cover letter is not specified in the instructions. You should write a short one that introduces you and showcases your achievements and why you should be chosen. This creates a first impression. If you wrote the cover letter well, you would have created a great first impression.
By the time you are done putting all that we have discussed together, you will have a resume that will beat other candidates (with or without experience). Before submitting the document, however, ensure you proofread and edit. If you are not sure of your editing skills, give it to someone you trust. You can enter the workforce with confidence, and your little working experience won’t be able to stop you.