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7 Resume Writing Tips for Those Without Prior Job Experience

By

Nurin Eznieka

12th May 2020

4 min read

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Be it applying for your first job or internship, preparing yourself life’s next big adventure may seem intimidating. While browsing through job sites, you notice that almost every ad requires one to have a long list of achievements or years of job experience.

resume writing tips

There, there.

How can a fresh graduate like yourself land a job if you have no job experience at all? Here’s where a killer resume plays a role. You can still land a rewarding job related to your course with these seven resume writing tips for those with no job experience.

1. Choose the right resume format

There are a few types of resume formats to suit your job applying experience, namely chronological, functional, and hybrid which is a combination of the two previous formats. For jobseekers with little to no job experience, you can still opt for the chronological or hybrid format as most employers prefer it that way. Below is a summary of the seven resume writing tips:

  • Include contact details at the top of your resume.
  • Write a brief resume objective statement.
  • Elaborate on your education and relevant skills obtained.
  • Highlight your achievements and awards.
  • Include internships, extracurricular or volunteer activities.
  • Highlight the keywords and tweak your resume accordingly.
  • Write an impressive cover letter.

2. Include a resume objective

Writing your career objective at the top of your resume has become quite old-fashioned. Instead, you can include your resume objective or summary as another alternative. This is where you emphasise transferable skills from your related coursework succinctly in about 2 to 4 sentences. For example:

A recent architecture graduate from one of the top universities in Malaysia. I managed to obtain outstanding grades in my coursework. I am seeking opportunities to leverage my talent and start my career by growing with Global Architect.

3. Focus on your education and general skills

The next resume writing tip is to focus on your education and skill sets that you have obtained during your years studying. Afterward, relate it closely to the job description in the specific job ad you are looking for. Look for keywords used by the employer and incorporate them into your writing. Ask yourself these questions for reference:

  • What are the skills that can be useful to the hiring company?
  • What can I contribute to the hiring company?
  • Does my coursework help prepare me for the work?

4. Include a ‘specific skills’ section

Within your resume, be sure to highlight the specific skills you have for a particular job. Although you lack previous work experience, you can tailor your skills accordingly to the job listed – but avoid lying! List down all your hard and soft skills on a piece of paper and choose those that are relevant to what the employers are seeking in a candidate.

resume writing tips

Feel free to leave some out

5. Mention any and all work-related experiences

Having a full-time job is not the only experience that you can incorporate into your resume. Think about internships, part-time jobs, and even freelance jobs that can pass for job experience. Unless it’s ridiculous or from too long ago, something is better than nothing. If the hiring company seeks particular requirements, and the job is worth fighting for, then why not gain additional qualifications? There are multiple online courses like Udemy or Coursera that yo ucan take to improve your illegibility.>

6. Include an ‘other’ section

A prospective hiring manager is going to look through tens if not hundreds of resumes. There are only so many qualifications and skills out there. Eventually, every resume is going to start looking the same. That’s where an ‘other’ section can set you apart from other candidates. This section will help highlight your more human side to show the employer what you could offer beyond just paper qualifications and previous positions. Some of the things that you can include are:

Volunteer work: Think about all of the volunteer work that you have participated in during your study years. It counts as work experience as well, and depending on the position being applied for, can show you in a better light. Imagine if you and the hiring manager turn out to volunteer for the same type of cause. There’d be an instant positive reaction towards you.

Certifications: For a fresh graduate like yourself, it is beneficial if you can include each certification that you find relevant to the job posting as it can help showcase your skills. Did you win a public speaking competition when you were in secondary school? Put that in and show them without having to tell them that you are a confident speaker.

Hobbies and interests: This one is optional, but somehow can help showcase the human side of you. Think about what impression certain hobbies can make. Which hobby sounds more outgoing: football or chess? Of course, neither actually means anything, but what matters here is the perception it creates. Again, don’t lie! This may be of help when deciding what to include.

Languages: Can you write or speak more than one language? Instant bonus points! Include it in your resume as well.

Awards and appreciations: Include all the awards and appreciations that you had received in college or university in your resume. Nothing earlier than this, please, unless it’s really relevant to the job. Employers are unlikely to be impressed by your kindergarten achievements.

7. Don’t forget to attach a cover letter

Not many candidates realise that a cover letter can be the difference between being dismissed and getting called in for an interview. A cover letter is necessary as, being the first thing employers see, it determines what kind of first impression you make. An impressive resume would not be as impressive without a cover letter. So, don’t forget to put just as much effort into the cover letter as you do with your actual resume.

resume writing tips

Or else! (We’re being dramatic but you get the idea)

Ultimately, it can’t be denied that previous work experience is a huge help to getting more job offers. However, millions of people before us have secured that dream first job while being in our exact same position. You don’t need to have decades of job experience for you to write a good resume, especially if you’re a fresh graduate. You can use these resume writing tips as a reference. Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below, and head over to Jobstore for career insights, job opportunities and more!

Republished with permission on Leaderonomics.com

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