Resumes can make or break your career. On one piece of paper, you have to convey your skills, work experience, personality, achievements, qualifications, and education…oh, and you only have six seconds to grab the attention of the person reading your resume.
Writing a resume is hard, but it’s even harder when you have no experience in the field for which you are applying. Whether you have just graduated from college or you’re embarking on a quest to find a career in a field different than what you’ve been doing, crafting the perfect resume is no easy task. Here are five resume-writing tips to help overcome the challenge of having no relevant work experience:
- Include an objective. While many professionals frown upon including an objective on a resume (as it takes up valuable space and the answer is rather obvious—to get a job!), this can be a good place for someone switching career fields to explain their reasoning. Why did someone who worked in accounting for 10 years go back to school to get their education degree to become an art teacher? Why is the recent college grad with a business degree looking for a position with a nonprofit? As humans, we constantly grow and evolve, and our interests and values change. Including an objective on your resume gives you a chance to explain that to a potential employer.
- Talk about your transferrable skills. Transferrable skills are things you’ve learned that can be applied to any job, regardless of field or position. Communication, leadership, teamwork, writing, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills are something that every company wants in an employee.
- Mention any extracurricular activities, volunteer work, or mentoring/coaching. This bullet goes hand-in-hand with discussing your transferrable skills. Balancing sports and extracurricular clubs with schoolwork illustrates your time management skills. Serving as a team captain or on the executive board are important things to highlight as well, if applicable. Coaching/mentoring and doing volunteer work shows your dedication to bettering your community and helping others. Having a strong work ethic and moral compass is something any employer will value.
- Include links to an online portfolio. Whether you use LinkedIn, a personal blog, or it’s essential that you establish an online presence, especially if you have little work experience. All of those awards, achievements, and work samples you can’t fit on your resume can be displayed easily on the Internet. There are tons of free and easy sites you can use, such as WordPress, Weebly, and Wix. LinkedIn is also a great place to expand upon your resume.
- Get creative. All of your job experiences have taught you something, even if it doesn’t feel like it. It’s perfectly okay to take that fast food job you held in college and spin the job responsibilities into sounding relevant to your career field; however, you have be careful not to lie or embellish too much. Employers can quickly pick out lies, which will dismiss your resume altogether.
Breaking into the job market is difficult, especially when you have no relevant experience of which to speak; however, it’s important to recognize that any work experience can be relevant experience—you might just have to get creative.