En Route: A Career Blog

New Graduate with No Experience – How Do You Wow a Hiring Manager?

AUTHOR: Darlene Zambruski
POSTED: June 3, 2010 at 9:49 am

If you’re just starting out in your chosen profession and you’re faced with having little professional experience to offer an employer, there are ways to maximize what you do have.

1. Focus on Academics in the Chosen Field or Relevant Training:

Rather than placing education or training last, as is the case in most resumes, move that section directly beneath the Opening Summary (and before Professional Experience). Within that section, (whether you’re a recent graduate or a seasoned professional transitioning to a new career), list all coursework that is relevant to your new profession. For example, an aspiring Accountant would list tax courses, finance, bookkeeping, and computer proficiency in Quicken, Excel, and Peachtree software. If you’ve excelled academically in your chosen field, and have been granted a scholarship or won a school award, this should also be mentioned.

2.  Choose a Resume Format that will Emphasize Your Skills, Rather than your Lack of Experience:

Although most employers do prefer a reverse-chronological format (that is, your most recent experience detailed first, followed by your next most recent, etc.), there are times when a functional format is best. Functional formats showcase professional skills learned in school (or on the job). These formats can also stress pure academic experience – in the case of an entry-level Accountant that would mean listing coursework taken or specialized training under the subheading of Accounting Skills.

3. Build your Skills List for the New Career by Studying Job Postings from Online Sources (HotJobs, Dice, etc.):

Match up any qualifications the hiring manager wants that you also have learned academically. Then use those matches as proof that you have what it takes to get the job done.

  • Marie

    Thanks for the post. At least I have a little more info on how to write a resume.

Darlene Z.

Darlene Zambruski is a resume writing expert and CPRW (Certified Professional Resume Writer) with more than 13 years of industry experience. She has authored 10,000+ resumes in every industry and at every career level.

» Read Full Bio

Sign Up for the En Route Newsletter

Career articles, resume advice, and interview tips delivered every month!

Propel Your Career

Get to the next level faster with professional Resume Writing or Editing products.

The internet is a strange animal these days, with non-personal contact being the norm. My writer was not only kind and intelligent, but refreshingly pleasant and eager to please. Not only is ResumeEdge an outstanding resource, but they are the best in the business.

— Whitney S.
Retail, Wholesale
New York
» See All Testimonials

We're Busy Little Bees

Resumes Written This Month
Resumes Written Since 1998