If you have no experience to offer a potential employer in your resume, how are you supposed to create a resume at all? This is a common question of those who are either newly graduated from school, or perhaps, have decided to change careers. In both of these scenarios, there are some helpful tips to know about, so that you can create a resume that makes you look like a qualified candidate for a position; despite the fact that you may have minimal experience.
Focus on Skills
The best place to start when building a resume if you have little experience working in the field, is with what you do have: transferable skills. Employers are always on the lookout for applicants who may have transferable skills-meaning skills gained in your other areas of experience-that can be applied to the position that you are seeking to get with your resume. These could be communications skills, leadership skills, organizational skills, teambuilding skills, etc etc. Brainstorm what skills you may have, and include details in bullet points on where you might have shown achievement or development in these skill sets. It is not enough to simply say you have certain skills-especially if you don’t have experience either-but you must also show an example or proof of these skills, by citing an incident or specific achievement for an employer to consider.
Identify Yourself as a Learner
Another must have action for someone building a resume that has little experience on it, is to approach the employer as someone who is a “quick learner” and someone “motivated to learn”. While you may think that these terms will immediately signal your lack of experience, employers will soon learn that you lack experience without using these terms, so why not state it in a positive light from the get go? In your cover letter and your resume, you should identify yourself as someone who is motivated, a quick learner, and someone passionate about working in that field and for that company-and perhaps, that you want to learn the right way, from this industry leader. This way, an employer knows that you will work hard to gain this knowledge to get you the experience in this position quickly, so you can start offering them the benefit of your hard work and a return on their investment.
Answer Only Entry Level
One of the most integral things to understand if you are a recent college grad or someone who is changing careers is that you cannot start anywhere but at the bottom-since you have no experience. You may have a solid education, other work experience, and valuable work skills; but if you have yet to prove this in the application of these skills and education in your field; you cannot begin a career without doing so. This said, you should only to positions that are entry level and/or internships in your field. These employers will much more likely to consider your resume, as they are looking to train employees their way, and to begin, at a salary savings.
Use the Right Resume Format
In building your resume for success, it is wise to use a resume that focuses less on your lack of employment experience; and more on your skills and achievements-as noted above. You can do this in what is referred to as a functional resume format, which does just this-highlights achievements and skills in your past experiences that translate to transferable career value in your present career goals. Meanwhile, this kind of format underscores the chronology of your employment history, which is most often accentuated in a chronological or standard resume format.