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What to Put on Your Resume if You Don’t Have Any – or the Right Kind – of Experience

RESUME WRITER: Krista H.
CATEGORY: Build a Better Resume
POSTED: July 2, 2013 at 8:03 am

 

by Krista H, ResumeEdge Certified Writer -

No experience? The wrong experience? No problem! If you feel as though you can’t win against the competition, review these tips to improve or revise your resume, cover letter and Linkedin profile. There are many times in your life when you may feel that you have  “little to no experience”. These include:

  • Switching industries with only unrelated experience
  • Reentering the workforce with outdated experience
  • Graduating with a new degree, but no industry experience

The worst thing you can do on a resume is lie, so take the advice from professional resume writers and boost your chances with hiring managers by following these tips.

Editors Note: Countless studies have shown that professionally-written resumes get more interviews. Compare Resume Writing and Resume Editing to see which of our services is right for you.

Use More Headers

You probably have experience but it may be unrelated or irrelevant to the intended position you’re seeking. Fix this by creating two separate headers: one titled “related experience” and another titled “additional experience”. For example, you worked at a pizza parlor and now want to move into retail.  If you define your ability to do the job with the skills you have without trying to sugarcoat it for hiring managers, the details will get read. When you list your responsibilities at the pizza parlor, you can use terms like “customer service”, “scheduling”, or “team leadership” that would also apply to a retail job. It makes you appear as a well-rounded person rather than an inexperienced college student. Using different headers on your resume can also allow you to list any part-time or internship experiences.

List Volunteer Experience

Another way to change your resume headers is to use the word “experience” instead of “employment history”. Then you can create headers in which you list your unpaid efforts. Stating how you influenced the community and donated your time tells hiring managers three things about you. One, you’re a hard worker. People like to work with other people that are passionate about what they do. Two, it is not always about the money for you; it’s about learning new skills. And three, you’ve acquired and applied valuable skills in helping others that you can’t always get on-the-job. Volunteering shows that you actually are experienced!

Give Coursework Details

Even if you only have a high school diploma, your education is worth more than that single sheet of paper with your name on it. You might not have “real world” experience, but you are a fast learner and eager to apply your textbook knowledge to something that matters. List out course titles of the highest level of study you did. Write down the group projects you worked on. If you have any senior capstone projects or thesis-sized papers that you are proud of, include them in your resume! If you have a link to an online project you completed, nothing says more than a visual portfolio that the hiring manager can look at.

Add a Skills Lists

A skills list is one of the most powerful additions to a resume in the Internet age. Because each word you put on your resume is searchable, the keywords that match a job description are very important if you are to get past the hundreds of other resumes submitted for the same position. Make a list with your applicable soft skills and technical skills. Again, it is a good idea to sort your skills with different headers.

Remember the Bottom Line

The best advice is to always focus on the impact and results of your work rather than the task. Showcase how your efforts saved a company money or made it money, rather than simply writing down what you did. Companies are looking to hire someone who is influential and will contribute to their bottom line. Show the hiring manager that you understand and care about their success and you will be the type of applicant they seek.

Krista H.

Krista has a background in engineering, business, and technical writing. Krista has a passion for helping others gain the confidence they need to advance their career.

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My editor used a lot of what I like to call "pow" words. Sometimes people find it difficult to say great things about themselves, and I really appreciated the way she made me look--even if I have little experience in the current field I'm going for.

— Tammy L.
Healthcare, Practitioner and Technician
North Carolina
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