In a world that rewards work experience, breaking into a job market just out of college can be a daunting endeavor. Your resume is your first chance to sell your abilities to your potential employer, which means you need to make it the very best it can be. This can be challenging without work experience, but everyone starts out with no work experience.
These 5 tips will help you create a fresh graduate resume that sells, showcasing your talents, knowledge and passion for your chosen field.
1. Focus on the Future
Without a work history in the past, your hopes and plans for the future are the next best thing. This is where the goals and objectives section of your resume comes into play. Use this area to talk about what you hope to achieve in your career and how that can help your prospective employer. A fresh graduate resume really needs to include this section. Do not be afraid to infuse your resume with your own personality; it helps set you apart from the dozens of other applicants you are likely competing with.
2. Emphasize References
Hopefully you have had the chance to acquire high quality references throughout your college career. If not, take the time now to contact professors and peers who have practical experience with you in the career of your choice. Work study, volunteer opportunities and even classroom performance are excellent additions to your resume. Sometimes, what your references say about you can be more telling than line item work history entries on a resume.
3. Highlight Education
The fresh graduate resume naturally focuses on education, because at this point in your life, education is your greatest asset. Where applicable, address specific topics, knowledge and both classroom and life experiences that have given you the education that led you to apply for this job. Elective high school courses, if they are very career specific, can be included here as well.
4. Include Related Extracurricular Experience
If you are applying for a programming career and have spent every weekend since you were 13 writing your own programs, by all means include that on your resume! Similarly, any volunteer experience or hands on experience at church or another organization can help make a compelling case for why an employer should hire you. If it ever helped you become better at what you do, include it on your resume.
5. Choose a Format that Deemphasizes Work History
Not all resume formats are alike. There are some that put heavy emphasis on work history, which will certainly not help you. Other, less common formats can help you highlight your particular selling points without making it glaringly obvious that you do not have work experience. Look at resume templates online to get an idea of how to present your skill set in the most flattering way. Presentation is a large portion of what it takes to get your resume a second glance.
Being fresh out of college with no formal work experience is not the deterrent it may seem. With the right presentation and proper attention to the skills, education and life experiences that have aided in your knowledge of your particular field, you can create a winning resume that garners second glances and interview requests.