Applying for Jobs When You Have Negligible Work History

Robert writes:
How if possible can I with a nonexistent (besides work done without pay) work history but some college along with some time spent not working successfully
complete an employment application? Any suggestions?
Be mindful that I have no criminal background. Thank you for your time.

The Career Doctor responds:
I am on a big marketing kick right now because
a job-seeker has to have some basic marketing skills in order to best showcase his/her abilities.
Let me stress again to you doubters out there that applying some general marketing principles
to job-hunting does NOT mean lying or stretching the truth. I think of marketing in job-hunting –
polishing the resume developing better interview answers researching prospective employers
developing an effective elevator speech networking — in the same vein as someone selling their
house spends a little time and effort on increasing its curb appeal.
For example in your case you need to stop downplaying your volunteering experience. Volunteer
work counts as work experience! And for you students so too does work-study class projects and part-time work.
Your challenge is to pull relevant accomplishments and skills from your volunteering and college
classes that fit to the requirements of the jobs you seek. You may need to gain additional training or
experience and you will need to have an explanation of the gaps spent not working.
In terms of a traditional job application complete it as best you can marking “will explain in interview” in
areas where you have gaps. Whenever possible attach your resume to any employment application.
A great new tool for all job-seekers — to help you take your career to the next level — is a free
career branding tutorial that is
now available on Quintessential Careers.
Finally for help with your job application please go to:
A Job-Seeker’s Guide to
Successfully Completing Job Applications
800-652-8430 Mon- Fri 8am - 8pm CST
Sat 8am - 5pm CST, Sun 10am - 6pm CST