Every job seeker starts their career in the same place, without any real experience in their target field. This leaves many wondering how best to manage their resume to ensure it is effective, allowing them to connect with the hiring manager in a meaningful way and score a coveted interview.
Luckily, having no real experience doesn’t have to hold you back. There are a number of approaches that can help you demonstrate your level of competency, even if it wasn’t all acquired in a traditional manner. Here’s how to get started.
Use the Professional Summary Section to Your Benefit
When you have no professional experience, it may seem you have to bypass the professional summary section often featured on a traditional resume. However, that simply isn’t the case and, when used wisely, adding information in this area can increase your odds of catching the hiring manager’s attention.
To do this, focus on important accomplishments or skills that apply to the job, no matter where they occurred or how they were acquired. If you have relevant education and training, you can also highlight that point in this area. Either approach can help you extoll your virtues quickly, enticing the hiring manager to keep reading.
Explore All Your Experience
Just because you gained experience outside of traditional employment doesn’t mean you can’t list it as part of your “work history” on your resume. For example, volunteer positions, community involvement, and certain extracurricular activities related to your education can qualify as real experience, even if you didn’t get a paycheck.
Additionally, personal or school projects may also be relevant, particularly if they related directly to the job to which you are applying. So, look outside of the traditional employment box and see if your other experiences can show that you would be a valuable addition to the company.
Move Education and Training to the Top
In cases where you find yourself struggling to identify relevant experience, but you have education or training related to the field, consider listing that information closer to the top of your resume. This gives you a chance to show where your knowledge came from, making it easier for the hiring manager to see why you are right for the role.
You can also go beyond simply listing your degree and school by adding bullet points that highlight the skills you gained that relate to the job. Not only does this give you a mechanism for showcasing your competencies, but also spotlights that you had the dedication to complete your education, which a hiring manager will appreciate.
When you lack experience, it’s often tempting to exaggerate the truth. But, if your embellishing is discovered, you’ll likely lose the job, and might be blacklisted by the company or hiring manager for future positions as well. In the end, being honest is essential, but you can work to keep the conversation focused on what you have to offer, instead of what you lack.
If you are interested in finding a new position or would like more information about creating a strong resume or overcoming your lack of real experience, the professionals at TempStaff can help. Contact us to learn more about our services today.