The economy has yet to completely recover from the recession of 2008, and unemployment rates in some parts of the country are still in the double digits. If you’re one of the millions of job seekers out there, it’s important that you present yourself in the best possible light. What happens, however, if you don’t have relevant work history? Is it possible to stand out among hundreds of other applicants when you must write a resume without job experience? Yes, it is, and here are some tips on how to do it effectively.
- Start with what you have – On your resume, list all of the skills, experiences and education that make up your “curriculum vitae,” or life story. Don’t leave things off assuming that the employer is looking only for employees with direct work experience. A full and well-rounded resume without relevant experience can be more impressive than a sparsely populated one with it.
- Accentuate the positive – You may think your missing job leaves an ugly hole in your resume, but, remember, most people look where the light is shining brightest. Focus your resume on the jobs you have successfully completed and the skills you learned while doing them. Many job skills transfer readily from one profession to the next and they should all be part of your professional resume.
- Connect the dots - Never make assumptions when you’re preparing a resume. If, for example, you want a job as a preschool teacher and you believe that your experience as a swim instructor qualifies you for the position, carefully spell out the connection. Did you work with young children at the pool? Point that out to your potential employer. Don’t assume that everyone understands all the details of every kind of job. Be ready to point out how the skills you learned at one job are relevant for another.
- Don’t forget volunteer work – Simply because you have never worked in a paid position does not mean you don’t have the experience required for a specific job. Volunteer work can include all kinds of marketable skills: bookkeeping, sales, computer literacy, landscaping, you name it. If you performed any work that is relevant to the job for which you are applying, be sure to mention it on your resume. If the organization you volunteered for can back up your claims, all the better.
Never let the lack of relevant experience stop you from applying for a job. Simply let your well-written resume fill in the gaps.