Writing a resume while you are searching for your first career position can be a real Catch-22. You might feel like you have nothing to write until you get your first job, but you need to get your first job in order to have something to write.
The truth is that your first no-experience resume is an extremely important tool to get that first job. You just have to use the space you have effectively and tell the right story.
Introductory opening paragraph
Most resumes have a summary section at the top. This is usually a couple of sentences that describe your level of experience and the type of position you are looking for. When you have little or no experience, you have an opportunity to expand this section to tell potential employers about yourself. You can tell people what you studied in school and what your GPA was. You can personalize this section by mentioning the company you are sending the resume to describe why you are excited about the prospect of working with them. You can make the introduction slightly longer than you would with a summary section and really grab the attention of the person reading it.
Have a detailed Education Section
Your career as a student is relevant to your job search. You can really expand on what you have studied and how it is relevant to the position you are applying for. Give your reader the information they need to know that even as a student, you were looking forward to getting to work and everything you did was to prepare you for this very opportunity.
Add your internships and even your part-time jobs as long s they are relevant
Relevance can mean different things. If you held a part-time job for several years through school, then you can focus on your loyalty to your company. Employers love to know that you are going to stick around for a while, mainly since most entry-level positions include a significant amount of training.
Also, even if your part-time work was not related to your career position, individual items can be relevant, such as experience with customer service or the ability to work with a team toward a common goal. Communication skills and being sociable are skills you can learn in any position and have them be relevant for your new career.
Use active keywords
It’s one thing to say that you took an IT Certification Course. It is quite another to say that you successfully completed a certification course on the principles, processes, and technology related to the area of Computer Desktop Support.
Active and descriptive keywords help to tell the story you are telling through your resume. These active words also help companies that are using some form of scanning technology such as an applicant tracking system to streamline their search for a qualified applicant.
Add additional sections to tell more of the story
You can add a section on skills that lists skills that an employer is looking for. It might not be too important to add that you are fluent in Microsoft Office since, at this point, most everyone is. You can add fundamental skills you have developed through school or part-time work, such as creative thinking, analytical, interpersonal, and written and oral communication skills. These are the “soft skills” that do not require a long professional resume to learn. Many of these skills are taught and can be fine-tuned while you are still in school.
If you speak more than one language, add it to your resume. If you completed any certification courses, add that as well. Even if you are looking for your first career position and you have no experience, you have enough in your past from High School or College along with any part-time work or internships that you can mine to complete a full-page resume without relying on embellishing or using an extra-large font. You have to think outside of the box. And once you have done that, you can add that to your resume as well.