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How To Write a Resume (When You Have No Job Experience)

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A resume can make or break you in your search for a job and it can be particularly difficult to write one that shines when you have little or no work experience. Here we show you what to include on your starter resume.
Difficulty: Average
Time Required: A few hours.

Here's How:

  1. Select a simple and standardized format, nothing too fancy. Try one of the examples given at jobsearch.about.com.
  2. Use heavy weight plain white or off-white paper and avoid flashy fonts or scented sheets (You’re not Elle from Legally Blonde)
  3. Make sure your contact information is accurate and up-to-date. Include a primary contact number, and a cell phone number and email address if you have them. Note: if your email address has a nickname or an overly cutesy name consider opening a free email account with some variation of your actual name, nothing ruins a resume faster than a name like superstud1993@freemail.com in the contact line.
  4. Include an introductory paragraph of 2 or 3 sentences telling the employer about your strongest and most desirable personality traits. Tailor this to highlight those traits most applicable to the job for which you are applying. This is sometimes called an Objective Statement.
  5. If you truly have no work experience don’t try to flub, instead list your volunteer work or community activities. If you’ve done work experience through a course at school make note of it here. If you’ve had odd jobs, or done things like baby sit or yard work for neighbors list it here and if at all possible get letters of reference.
  6. Next list course work at school that you feel is relevant to the job. Make note of any academic achievements or awards. Explain how you think your excellent performance in these areas would benefit the employer or enhance your ability to do the job. If you can, get a letter of reference from a teacher of one of the courses you mention.
  7. List your extracurricular activities of a non-volunteer nature such as sports, church or youth groups, school committees, etc. If you have a position of authority in any of these groups make note of it and describe your duties as if they were a job.
  8. Finally, sell yourself by making a list of your skills, special talents, or positive personality traits.

Tips:

  1. When writing your first resume never pad it or make it longer than a page; employers aren’t expecting a long work history from a first time worker.
  2. You may see a lot of things on this list that appear as “don’ts” on resume and job hunting websites but remember that this is your first resume and the rules change once you have some work experience or career oriented education.
  3. Don’t lie and always be true to who you are. Any deception will be very obvious to an experienced interviewer and will cost you the job.
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