When it’s time to apply for the job you want, you’ll want to show why our perfect for it with a sparkling résumé. But what if you don’t have work experience? How can you show that you have what it takes to do the job and do it well?
The important thing to remember is that your résumé is meant to sum up your qualifications—why are you the right person for the job? Use the résumé to state your career objectives and how your education and things you’ve done make you a good candidate. Experienced workers will use their time and responsibilities in other positions to show that, but you can use experience that you’ve gained in other ways, too.
For example, did you play any sports? Did you join any clubs or, even better, were you elected to leadership? Were you in student government? Have you done volunteer work? Any of these can be used to show leadership, skills development and a great attitude.
Here are some must-have elements for a great résumé even if you don’t have work experience:
- Your objective. State clearly what you want in a career and why you’re a great candidate for the position. Knowing what you want and how you feel you can get there shows maturity and the ability to plan.
- Your education. Even if you haven’t earned a credential or postsecondary degree yet, the education that you have can show your interests and willingness to challenge yourself.
- Your activities. These can show how the things that interest and motivate you connect to a career, and they can show your skills and growth.
- Your achievements. If you’ve already had success, chances are that you’ll be able to have success on the job, too, and that’s a very attractive trait for employers.
- Your abilities. List software, processes and methods that you’ve learned or are studying. Show that you already have or are working on key job skills that can qualify you to do the job in question.
By focusing on what you have done and what you can do, you can present yourself as a quality candidate for the job even if you don’t have work experience yet. If you can, tailor your résumé to the specifics of each job and use industry-related keywords to show even more why you’re the right person for the job.