You cannot make a good first impression at an interview without presenting a curriculum vitae (CV) that is convincing. Some believe that a resume with excellent work experience is the key to success, but others know that grabbing the attention of employers is all in the way that you present yourself on paper.
Here are a few tips on how to prepare your resume when you lack paid work experience.
A Breakdown of the CV
A resume is about more than merely writing down your education and experience. Your CV is the only opportunity that you have to sell yourself to potential employers who often place more weight on life skills than work experience and education.
Anyone can score a good job after working hard in school, but not many people can develop critical time management and leadership skills that are essential in every work environment. Your resume should speak for your character from start to finish.
a. The Short Summary
Developing a summary is the first step to establishing yourself as a qualified candidate. Your introductory paragraph should be no more than four short sentences, and every word should highlight your qualifications.
It is best to look at the job description and tailor your summary in a way that directly tells the employer that you are the ideal choice. A sales position that requires exuberance would go well with a person who can influence their friends to try new things.
The work experience section is especially difficult when you haven’t held down a job in the field that you are now trying to enter. You should not let such lack of paid experience inhibit your ability to present a strong section that speaks of your ability to take the lead when necessary and work well under pressure when the situation calls for it.
It is best to use subheadings that clearly define your life skills instead of listing all of your characteristics in one group so that employers will not have to wonder if you are the right fit. Listing any volunteer experience in this section is also ideal as it shows your ability to stick to a schedule.
c. Additional Skills Section
Consider this section as the place for you to further link the skills that you have listed above together. The additional skills section also gives space for you to express a desire to expand your knowledge. Do not come across as too eager to be a sponge as it is important to maintain authoritativeness when selling yourself to employers.
More CV Writing Tips
Are you still confused about good things to put on a CV about yourself? Check out the tips below!
1. Take full advantage of the format
Don’t be afraid to move the sections around so that you can better tell your story. There is nothing wrong with putting the education section right after the summary if you have a graduate degree that best represents your ability to do the job.
2. Use examples in your resume
Those with extensive work experience have the advantage of relying on previous job tasks. You, unfortunately, do not have such benefit, which is why examples are key. Do not merely tell your potential employer that you have leadership skills but show them that you have successfully driven a team to victory. First-time employees often rely on extracurricular activities at school to demonstrate authoritative skills.
3. Shed light on academic achievements and internship rehires
A company that offers you the chance to return as an intern next semester is noteworthy. You should place emphasis on such opportunity and couple it with awards earned at school. Some college graduates go to the extent of sharing their Grade Point Average (GPA) with employers as such number implies a good work ethic.
Sharing your GPA, however, should be discretionary as some employers may view your outstanding academic performance as a potential threat to their overall mission of employee retention.
4. Be concise when writing
It is better to write sentences that are short and concise than produce large paragraphs with little substance. Make sure that every sentence has key information that employers can use to gauge whether or not you are the right fit.
5. Use language that reflects the position
An entry level employee pursuing a job in the food industry may not be expected to use advanced language on paper. A candidate applying for an intermediate position in marketing may want to communicate in a way that speaks to his professionalism in the field.
6. Don’t forget the cover letter
The best CV in the world may be ignored if you forget to include a cover letter. Make sure that your opening page gives employers a sneak peek of what is to come.