Tis the season of college graduations. Eager younger adults with diplomas in hand are in hot pursuit of jobs that will let them put their years of education and training to use. However, they are still competing with more experienced professionals and the job market is fierce. Having a strong resume is a must to stand out.
But what do you do when you’re a new graduate with no experience to your name? You didn’t complete an internship and haven’t held a job in your desired field. What does that mean for your resume? You can’t just leave the work experience section blank.
Have no fear; there are plenty of ways you can build your resume with relevant skills and experience.
Don’t Overlook Volunteering
Did you volunteer on your own time or were you part of a community service organization on campus? Did you serve in a leadership role on a committee or as part of a club? Write it down. While you didn’t get paid, it’s still experience and you likely built transferable skills. Think about the projects you worked on, the difference they made, and the part you played.
If you did work on your own time helping a friend launch their business or create a website, writing articles for the local paper, or developing marketing materials for a non-profit, that counts too. Consider this being self-employed. You were putting your skills and education to use, just not as a formal employee of a company. Highlight the projects you took on, the skills used, and results achieved. Ask clients if they’d be willing to serve as a reference for you if need be.
Leverage Previous Jobs
In some cases, the seasonal jobs you held over the summer or on breaks can also provide relevant fodder. Consider what skills you developed that also apply to the type of role you’re seeking. Don’t underestimate how much you’ve learned from working in customer service or helping to run a summer day camp.
Start Building Experience
There’s no better time than the present to start accumulating job experience. As you’re searching for a full-time job, see if you can find an internship or volunteer position. Start making connections in your field and look for ways to keep refining your knowledge and skills. Take classes to learn new technology or advance your training. Adding these types of activities to your resume shows employers that you’re committed to bettering yourself and your abilities, and even though you don’t have a full-time job yet, you’re not sitting idly by.
Sometimes creating your resume requires you to change your thinking or perspective. If you’re stuck on what to write, ask friends or family members for suggestions. They may be able to see experience you have a from a different angle and provide helpful insight.