It’s the age-old riddle: which came first, the chicken or the egg? Without experience, it’s hard to get a job, but it’s hard to get experience without a job first. When your resume is looking a little bare, it can feel like you’re not qualified to do anything, but you’re not completely out of luck. These four tips on how to make your resume look good without having a ton of experience will shoot your resume to the top of the pile, and help you score your dream job.
- Include Everything
When you don’t have job experience to put on your resume, you have to beef it up with anything else that makes you look like a solid candidate. Include any internships, extracurricular activities (sports give you a great competitive edge), volunteer experience (if you don’t have any, it’s time to get some!), and any awards you might have received. Use your education history as much as you can, and any special skills you’ve honed like computer skills and language. If you’re lacking inspiration, use a resume template to keep yourself organized and to find great ways to structure your resume.
- Check the Details
The devil is in the details, especially when it comes to resumes. Pore through your resume several times for spelling and grammar and have a second or third pair of eyes look at it just to be safe. A spelling mistake can cause a hiring manager to toss your resume straight in the trash, especially if they have a stack to get through. Make sure your address, correct phone numbers, and email address are on your resume—ensure your email address is a professional one with just your name. When you don’t have a ton of impressive experience to distract a hiring manager, your resume needs to be flawless.
- Customize for the Job
You should be customising your resume to each job you apply to, or at least to each position. Job postings come with tons of great clues and buzzwords that you can use on your resume to make yourself sound perfect for the job. This will also help in case the company uses software to automatically scan and sort for the best resumes using keywords. It’ll take you longer to do, but it can be way more effective than just sending out 100 identical resumes.
- Include a Cover Letter
While it might not be a requirement, adding a cover letter to every job submission is important. Not only does it show that you’re thorough and methodical, but it also gives you the strategic edge of being able to sell yourself. You get more than just a few bullet points to tell the hiring manager exactly why you’re the best fit for this job, which isn’t always easy to spell out in your resume. Even if it’s not required, skimping on the cover letter could automatically put you behind another candidate who took the time to craft one. Find more resume writing tips here to help you create your best resume yet.