Putting together a resume is hard enough to begin with, but when you are a high school or college student with limited experience, it can be quite the challenge. When you’ve only had a job at the local grocery store, it will take come creativity to make your resume shine.
So in this rundown, we will go through three steps to amp up your resume with no work experience necessary.
Make the simplest of jobs look amazing
The whole point of a resume is to show what you are capable of doing and how the skills you possess will make you the best candidate for the job. So when you are describing a previous position, think beyond just what your duties were; write about what qualities and skills you gained from taking on each duty.
For example, I worked at DSW during my summers off from college. When I added it to my resume, one of the duties I listed read:
Provide exceptional customer service in fast-paced retail environment
This says so many things in one small statement:
- It shows that I not only have customer service experience, which is applicable to almost any job, but that I provided exceptional customer service. This means that I took my job seriously and performed the best I could.
- These skills were also applied in a “fast-paced environment” which shows that I can handle pressure and work in a timely manner.
Let’s be real, I was a cashier at a shoe store – it wasn’t rocket science. But, it allowed me to gain valuable skills that should absolutely be showcased when applying for a job.
Plus, it is way better than saying:
Ring up customers
Think about the work you have done and what strengths you can take away from it that will apply to the jobs you are looking for.
What not to add onto your resume
With all the different templates and resume samples floating around the Internet, what to add and what not to add can be confusing. Ultimately, you want the recruiter to be able to understand your best skills and abilities as quickly and easily as possible. So here are some elements that can be left out.
Your objective is to get hired, that should be a given.
A list of skills
Unless you are certified in something really fancy and prestigious, forget it. Too many people know Microsoft Word and beginner-level Spanish to make it worth putting on your resume.
More than one page and lengthy sentences
Don’t try to hog up space just because you don’t have that much experience to put. Maintain everything on one quality page. No recruiter is going to read any more than that so pick what is most important and keep it short and sweet.
No experience? No problem!
So you only have that one measly job at the grocery store as your work experience. No worries! There are many things you can do on your own that can count as valuable experience to potential employers. Here are some of my favorites…
Start a blog
Okay, I may be a little biased on this one!
Maintaining a blog showcases many skills and abilities that are valuable to employers. Here are some examples…
- It shows that you can commit yourself to publishing posts on a regular basis.
- It shows you are passionate and knowledgable about something enough to write about it.
- It displays your writing and creativity skills.
- Depending on how advanced it is, your blog can display your coding, graphic design, or photography skills.
Blogs are basically fun little part-time jobs that can really take your resume to the next level. Believe me, I know! In almost every interview I have been on, the interviewer has asked me about Glamorously You before they have asked me about school or other jobs. Blogs are golden.
Become a student ambassador
Okay, so writing is really not your thing, I get it. There are plenty of brands and organizations out there that offer ambassadorships, like Victoria’s Secret and Amazon. These often come with a heavy workload but can be extremely rewarding (some offer trips or tons of free swag) and look great on your resume.
Take advantage of summers off
Summer is a great time to take part in conferences, seminars, or volunteer programs. Showing that you attended a conference in your field of study during the summer, for example, shows your passion extends beyond the classroom!
Join clubs and organizations
This one should be a no-brainer. Colleges often have an array of clubs you can take part in that usually come with more opportunities within them. Many college clubs participate in community activities or hold on-campus events, both making great additions to your resume.
Does your school not have a club that interests you? Start one! It depends from school to school but normally it only requires a good idea, a teacher to serve as an advisor, and a dozen or so students to start.