Sitting down to create a resume is a daunting task. It is especially difficult if you don't have any work experience related to the role you are seeking. Maybe you are fresh out of school and really don't have anything to show on your resume. Or, you are part of the 2021 "Great Resignation" and are switching careers to a completely new field. How do you handle the lack of work experience in the area you are applying to? Let's examine some options job-seekers have when creating their resume.
Re-evaluate Your Lack of Work Experience
Do you really have NO work experience? Or is it just not "relevant" work experience? If you have been previously employed, include it. For recent grads, this includes jobs working at a fast food restaurant, grocery store, or in retail. Although the experience may not relate to the job you are seeking, it still shows you are capable of holding a job and staying employed. It answers the simple questions hiring managers have, such as:
Will this candidate show up on time each day?
Can the candidate handle direction from a superior?
Do they stick with a job for more than a few days?
If you held the position for a year or longer, be sure to include the specific dates on your resume so you demonstrate longevity in a role.
Including unpaid work that is relevant to the job you are applying for is a valid and welcomed approach. For example, listing your volunteer treasurer role for the local PTSA demonstrates financial skills on your resume and can be helpful if seeking a job in a similar field. If you held an officer role for a club or group, you can demonstrate leadership by including the role on your resume. Really think through all of the volunteer positions you have held in recent years. Do any of them relate to the job you are seeking? If so, be sure to include the volunteer role.
Did you complete a project for school recently that relates to your new field? If so, include it. Utilize the experience to demonstrate your strengths. Did you use computer programs that would be used in the field you are applying to? If so, highlight those programs. You may need to examine the project from a different perspective to determine how it relates to the job you are seeking. It is worthwhile to spend a few minutes considering because you may be able to use the project to demonstrate your capabilities on your resume.
Have you engaged in any self-learning? For example, LinkedIn Learning offers options in a variety of different subjects. If self-learning is something you have achieved, include that accomplishment on your resume. Self-learning demonstrates self-motivation and a desired for continued knowledge growth.
Generally we advise people to not include hobbies on their resume. However, if the hobby is directly related to the field, then it is acceptable to fit it in. For example, if you are seeking a job in cybersecurity and have done programming work as a hobby or participated in a recent hackathon, you can include it. Both demonstrate an intrinsic interest in the subject which may appeal to hiring managers.
Revision Resume enjoys getting to know our clients and their full breadth of experiences. We know to look beyond just previous work experience but instead to see if other aspects of their lives (volunteer work, hobbies, self-learning and more) demonstrate skills relatable to the job they are seeking. We are proud to help showcase clients strengths and capabilities to prospective employers. Contact us to learn how we can assist you in your job search.
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