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How to write a resume without any work experience?

By: Zahin Tasnin

A well-written resume can help someone with no employment experience stand out and make a positive impression on potential employers. If a job seeker lacks professional experience, a resume is one of the few tools to demonstrate their skills, talents, and potential. Since the purpose is to get a new job opportunity, instead of a heavy "work experience" section, the resume will focus on relevant skills acquired over time and other experiences that showcase work ethic.

A good resume will showcase an individual's academic achievements, volunteer work, extracurricular activities, paid or unpaid internships, and any applicable skills or certifications. It can also indicate their ability to communicate effectively, manage information, and present themselves professionally. It is the key to overcoming the initial obstacle of a lack of work experience.

However, writing the first resume can seem like a hassle due to the need for more resources and familiarity with the writing process. Below is a list of five things you should know if you are writing a resume for the first time with no work experience:

  • Highlight your education: While writing the first resume, it is crucial to highlight your educational background. Your academic history showcases your ability to overcome challenges and learn new things in a competitive and fast-paced environment. This section includes GPA and honors, relevant coursework, projects, and certifications. It is recommended to list your GPA if it's at 3.5 or above. Listing any academic awards is also a great add-on. List any courses that seem relevant to your job requirements. The list can also include courses that teach soft skills such as communication in English or writing.

  • Add relevant experience: When creating a resume for the first time, it might seem like you didn't have any unpaid work experience previously. However, you might be able to dig up some relevant experiences that showcase work ethics, interests, and professionalism. The relevant experience section can include volunteer experience, part-time jobs, and extracurricular activities. It is easy to overlook the importance of these activities in the professional workplace. However, such experiences demonstrate many appealing skills. For example, volunteering experience characterizes your community involvement, and part-time jobs showcase your specific industry-related skills.

  • List your skills: Even without any work experience, many students have numerous skills. While applying for a particular job, look through the job description for required or preferred skills. You may be proficient in a few or all of these required skills. In addition to these, you can add any other relevant skills you possess to the resume. These skills fall into one of two groups: hard and soft skills. Hard skills refer to measurable skills that demonstrate specific capabilities and skill sets. While required hard skills depend on the opening position, a few common ones are Microsoft Office products, coding languages, foreign languages, and social media. On the other hand, soft skills, also known as interpersonal skills, demonstrate your personal traits and work ethics that often enhance your hard skills. Some soft skills include communication, listening skills, leadership, creativity, teamwork, adaptability, and more. When adding skills to your resume, start with the job-specific hard skills, followed by the soft skills.

In addition to having all these achievements on your resume, make sure it is concise, persuasive, professional, and demonstrates your interest. Before submitting your resume for a job application, always make sure you proofread it multiple times. You may also ask a friend or a mentor to look at it. Adjust your resume whenever you apply to a new job to meet the requirements and relevancy. A typical employer spends less than a minute reading one resume, so make sure it is brief but compelling.

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