Most resume guides emphasise placing your work experiences first if you want to stand out and get ahead of the competition.
But what if you’re a fresh graduate looking for your first job or a seasoned adult making a career switch into an industry where you have no experience? Is it impossible for people like you to get selected for the job of your dreams?
Not at all!
Everyone has unique strengths and abilities they can bring to the table—and your CV is the perfect place for you to show off your mettle!
1. What Do You Have to Offer?
The first section of every CV starts with the Executive Summary, but this is often a short paragraph where people show off their work experiences and previous job roles.
But even if you haven’t got any work experience to speak of, there’s still plenty for you to write! The point of this paragraph is for you to give hiring managers an idea of who you are and what your career goals are.
So use this opportunity to tell them what you have to offer. List your skills or passions, then support it with a quick description of your academic achievements or qualifications.
2. What Are Your Skills and Strengths?
Follow up your Executive Summary with a list of your relevant technical and operational skills. If the job you’re applying for requires competency in certain types of software, list these too. Highlighting your abilities from the start is important because these are the biggest assets you have to offer any company.
This also tells hiring managers what you’re capable of doing and whether you can manage the job that you’re applying for.
When listing these skills and strengths, be as specific as possible and include examples if you have any. For example, instead of just saying you have “strong leadership skills”, include the descriptor “in managing large projects” or “led the planning of a school-wide event in 20XX”.
3. Life Experiences Count!
Having no work experience in the industry/job you’re applying for is not an excuse to submit a half-hearted CV. It just means you have to reflect harder on your life experiences and pick out the relevant ones to give hiring managers a better idea of how you’re capable of getting the job done.
Every experience you’ve been through in your life is valuable and has led you to where you are today, so don’t think that because you have not worked in a “proper job” or don’t have formal experience in the field that you’re interested in, you have nothing to offer.
List internship experiences, school projects, personal projects, co-curricular activities, community services and even hobby pursuits that have contributed to your development into a functioning member of society. Describe the roles you’ve placed, the skills and abilities you’ve gained and what you’ve accomplished or achieved—individually or as a team.
Highlight the opportunities in which you’ve developed your leadership, communication and organisational skills because these are the vital skills you’ll need in every job.
4. Who Are You Outside of Work?
Companies and hiring managers these days also pay close attention to who you are beyond what you’re telling them and take this into consideration when choosing candidates for a job.
So before applying for a job, clean up your social media accounts and update your LinkedIn profile and add links to these into your resume to give potential employers a positive image of you.
Other Things To Consider
When choosing your first job, we recommend applying for a job that doesn’t list having x number of years of working experience as a requirement. But if you’re confident you can handle the job or if you’ve worked in a similar capacity before but in a different industry, make sure to tailor your CV to include reasons and examples of why you’re up to the task.
Imbue your passion and interest in the industry into your resume so that hiring managers reading get the feeling that you’re eager and excited just from reading your CV.
But most importantly, keep it short, simple and neat. Remove any information that doesn’t explain your career goals or details that are not required for the job you’re applying for.
Want to apply for your dream job but need some advice about your resume? Consult our HR consultants at People Profilers for help meeting your career goals.