Having little or no experience can be challenging when creating a résumé that stands out. Fortunately, there are ways to craft a great résumé, even if you’re just starting. Your education and any relevant internships, part-time jobs, and volunteer work can all highlight your skills and demonstrate your ability to perform. This guide will cover how to create a great résumé with little or no experience.
Detail Your Education
For many recent college graduates, their only experience is in school. Some individuals may have had a part-time job in retail or an internship. Education is an important factor for employers when considering a candidate, as it demonstrates your knowledge, skills, and formal training. While many employers prefer to have job experience, detailing your education on a résumé or cover letter can be beneficial if you are lacking in this area. It shows that you still can understand an entry-level position, especially if it falls within your area of study.
When detailing your education, include the university’s name, years attended, and courses related to the job. This provides employers with additional information and areas they can ask questions. For instance, if you studied accounting in college and then applied for an entry-level staff accountant position, the employer may ask about your proficiency in Excel and other computer systems.
During an interview, strive to use industry-related terminology. For accounting, that means words such as accounts payable, balance sheets, assets, liabilities, and more. This helps illustrate your educational background. What you lack in experience, you have in education.
Highlight the Experience You Have
Another tip for creating a great résumé with little or no experience is to consider the things you have done. There’s always something, but you may be overlooking it. There are countless opportunities in college for you to show leadership and collaboration—it’s easy to forget. For instance, did you participate in a club or organization? Did you work on projects with your peers? Joining extra-curricular activities can demonstrate to employers that you have a strong sense of collaboration and time management.
Being a part of clubs or the business side of Greek life allows you to dip your toes into the work world. If you joined the club your freshman year and led it by graduation, you have ambition and leader-like qualities. Rather than sit back and continue following everyone else, you took the initiative, self-advocated, and convinced others to pick you as their next treasurer. In this position, you had to balance funds and note club spending. This is an incredible experience to have and can transfer into your job.
Some career paths require students to take internships during college, and sometimes, students do so voluntarily. It should go on your résumé that you worked an internship, regardless of why. Similar to a part-time job, note the top four things you did in this job as they relate to the position you’ll apply for.
Explain Professional Responsibilities
Whether it was a part-time job or internship, you had a list of tasks each day. Jot these down in three to four bullets on your résumé below the job title you held. This shows employers what you did on the job and gives you credibility in claiming this title.
Likewise, have a bullet point on your résumé discussing any projects you worked on and times you showed leadership. If you had to train new employees after one year on the job, you held some authority, and clear communication became more vital.
Let’s say you had a part-time job in a café throughout college. At first glance, you were responsible for taking orders, making beverages, and offering quality customer service. However, you also had to balance the cash register daily, check inventory, and clean up the establishment. All of this shows that you have experience in customer service, can likely think on your feet, and are trustworthy.
Explain Acquired Skills
In the above example, we talked about the skill you had to have, but this also relates to the skills acquired from the position. While a retail job may not seem related to working in accounting, the learned transferable skills will help you.
Several examples of transferable skills include:
- Communication & Active Listening
- Attention to Detail
At that first part-time job, you likely learned how to improve several skills to take to the full-time position. Best yet, these are characteristics that employers love seeing in job candidates.
Have a Summary of Qualifications
A well-crafted summary of qualifications serves as concise statements highlighting your most significant skills, experiences, and achievements relevant to the job position. Recruiters spend an average of six seconds per résumé before deciding whether to move on or give applicants a chance. Ideally, your summary should go at the top of your résumé to grab the employer’s attention. Keep each bullet point detailed yet brief, and try not to go beyond one line.
A summary of qualifications can catch their attention and persuade them to look deeper at your application. Moreover, it can help you stand out in a pool of candidates with similar backgrounds and qualifications.
By including a summary of qualifications, you demonstrate that you’ve taken the time to showcase your strengths and tailored your application to the job requirements. It’s also an excellent opportunity to emphasize your unique selling points and explain how they align with the employer’s needs.
Putting This on the Résumé
We’ve brought up a few examples, so let’s bring them together to show how to best explain your qualified skills. Our imaginary candidate worked a part-time job at a café, led a club in college, and just applied to their first full-time job as a staff accountant. Their qualified skills may include the following:
- Utilized superb time management, balancing clubs, work, and classes.
- Demonstrated leadership as treasurer of The Local Artists Club.
- Collaborated with coworkers as a Gourmet Café team leader.
Strategically starting with key verbs such as “utilized,” “demonstrated,” and “collaborated” grabs the employer’s attention. It also allows you to show your qualifications rather than tell them.
Work With Recruiters
A recruiter can be your best asset when you don’t know how to craft the perfect résumé. One of these experts can help you highlight all your experience, plus your educational background. Additionally, they can help you tailor your résumé to each position you apply for so you appear as the perfect candidate.
Burnett’s Staffing is your top choice for an employment agency in Dallas–Fort Worth, TX. One of our professionals can help you create the ideal résumé and search for open positions as you prepare to join the career world.