This post is going to be the first in a three part series on professional development. I got the inspiration for this post when I was still in college! This post is all about how to create a killer resume even if you don’t have experience! I was a Fashion Merchandising/Apparel Design major and was required to have a 12 credit hour internship course in order to graduate.
That was a very daunting thing at the time and I KNEW I needed to work on my resume in order to secure an internship I loved. My internship had to be AFTER I finished all of my fashion classes though so sadly my previous summer internship did not count (because I still had two fashion classes the following semester).
The good news? I was taking a Professional Seminar class that would teach me everything I needed to sell myself to companies! In this class I was able to learn to build my portfolio and how to best prepare myself for jobs in the industry. I hate that many people say “no experience” though because you can have experience from various places, you just might not know it yet!
This whole post will help you realize all of your skills and how to add them into a resume. This will help you put your best foot forward when it comes to interviewing and securing the job you want!
How To Create A Killer Resume (Even With No Experience)
The first, and most important, item on your resume is your header. At the top of your resume, always have your name at the top and in BOLD. I also generally make it at least three sizes larger than the rest of your fonts. I mean you want people to remember you right? Although with a name like “Amanda Johnson” I have to do a little bit more to catch their attention.
Below your name, add your address (also optional but I suggest not to). I said this is optional because have had professionals in the industry tell me they have seen people who have been passed up for interviews because of the county/city they live in. Leaving this detail off of your resume also makes it seem more likely that you’re in the vicinity of the job OR that you’re willing to relocate.
Another option I’ve seen and heard people use is that in place of having an address, to add “Willing to Relocate.” That way they know you’re serious enough to move to their location and you are more likely to be considered! Underneath your address, be sure to add your email and phone number. If you submit your resume online, you want the recruiter to easily locate how to reach out to you for an interview!
Here is an example of a header:
A good suggestion is to list your education at the top below your header! That way employers can see where you went to school and what degree you obtained. This is how it should be for anyone who is about to graduate, or has recently graduated. Once you have moved into the workforce and established a career, it’s best to list your education at the bottom below your experience.
As a student, it’s also true that you don’t HAVE to add your GPA to your resume. However, if you’re proud of it, definitely add it on there! I would say to add anything over a 3.0 GPA because that shows you’ve achieved pretty great marks throughout your time in school. The best way to format it is to just have the word “GPA” and then whatever your GPA number out of a 4.0 is.
In the section of your education, make sure to add any courses/certifications your received, any internships/co-ops you had, and/or any awards/scholarships you have received during your time in school! If you were the president of a club or sorority, here is the place to put it. Also make sure to highlight certifications because they can show additional skills to potential recruiters.
Here is an example of an education section:
You will always want to list your actual job experience first! This shows that you have interviewed before, that you can work on a schedule/budget your time, and that you wanted to gain experience in something (especially if related to your industry).
A big suggestion here is for people who currently are not college seniors is to GET AN INTERNSHIP/JOB IN YOUR INDUSTRY! This is so so important because a lot of companies want interns who have already been interns elsewhere or at their company. I had an amazing internship the summer of 2018 in New York and even though it didn’t count for credit, I knew it would open so many more doors for me.
Sidenote: Another thing to add here is if you’re in a more creative field, make sure you have a portfolio! A lot of social media/communications/graphic design internships ask for one during the original application process. I made one on Wix that showcases the pages of my portfolio that a recruiter could click through. A fun and modern twist is to add a QR code that links to it on your resume!
Experience that might not seem like it is actual experience:
- Volunteer Experiences
- Clubs/Extracurricular Activities
- Positions you hold/held for your sorority/fraternity
- Certifications/Courses you completed through school
These are all various examples of “experience” that might not have immediately come to mind! These are great alternatives to actual jobs/industry experience and can show employers that even if you have not worked before you still spend your time trying to improve yourself, your skills, and/or the world around you.
If you have actual jobs, it’s a good idea to actually add those first; however, if these above are all that you have definitely list them in order from most recent to least recent and only add the ones relevant to the position you’re applying to!
Just because the job title isn’t related to the industry you’re applying to, if the EXPERIENCE and the SKILLS you have gained from this position are relevant list them! For example, I was a Leasing Agent at my apartment complex and I am definitely not applying to jobs in this industry; however, I did a LOT of communicating with residents and a TON of Marketing on campus/social media.
Here is an example of an experience section:
So there are two kinds of skills: Hard and Soft! Both are very important when applying to jobs. What I have learned and also what I’ve been taught in my classes is that you should list HARD skills in their own section and SOFT skills in the descriptions of your jobs/experiences. It’s a good idea to add all of this onto your LinkedIn profile too! To find out more about utilizing LinkedIn, check out my post on How to Get the Most Out of LinkedIn (here).
- Market research
- Social media strategy
- SEO and/or Google Analytics
- Web content development
- Proficiency in a foreign language
- Microsoft Word/Excel/Powerpoint
- Adobe Creative Cloud/Illustrator/Photoshop
- Work Ethic
- Customer Service
- Time Management
Here is an example of a skills section:
I hope this post helps you write a killer resume even if you previously thought you had no experience! Resume’s are the most important part of applying to a job/internship because it’s the first thing a recruiter sees! Making sure that they are correct and have the proper grammar can set you apart from the rest of the workforce.
I do have other professional development posts that you can read! There is one about How to Ace Your Interview and Get the Job which you can read (here). If you DO get the interview I also have a post on Where to Shop for Affordable Work Wear too that you can read (here)!
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