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How College Students Can Write a Successful Resume With No Work Experience

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So you have no job experience, and you’re about to write your first resume. First off, congratulations on getting to this point. Second, there’s no need to fear. Even if all you have is experience in academia, there’s still lots you have to offer to a prospective employer if you present yourself the right way.

One thing to remember, though: you’re going to have to rewrite and adjust your resume to the job you’re applying for. So if, say, you’re applying to a job that involves writing, you’re going to include the English classes that you took and the editing work you did for the school newspaper, and so on.

Keep it short

This is a pretty lengthy list, but don’t bother compiling a three-page document about everything you’ve ever done. Ideally, a resume should take up one page. Your reason for writing it is showing to employers the way you can be useful to them, not showing them everything you did over the course of your life. Considering the fact that an employer will spend 30 seconds looking at your resume (and only if they’re interested), do try and make it short and sweet.

Master an objective statement

Your first step is writing an objective statement, otherwise known as the summary. Don’t be vague or long-winded in this section. A few short and to-the-point sentences work best. Write who you are (student), what you qualifications are (blogger) and what you’re looking for (writing work). This is the first thing on your resume, and the first thing a prospective employer will look at, so work hard on refining and perfecting this section. It should be direct and tailored to the specific position you’re applying for.

Write about your education

Next, your education. If you have no work experience to speak of, this is going to be the biggest part of your resume, so don’t be shy on details. Start by writing about your high school, include the clubs or societies you were part of. I knows it seems a little silly to write about being part of the AV club five years ago, but to an employer this means you have technical skills. If you participated in putting together the school newspaper, this means you have writing and editorial skills, and so on.

College matters

Now write about college. Include any classes you took or are taking that are relevant to the job you’re applying for. Again, include the clubs and societies you were part of. If you feel the need to embellish, don’t. It might seem like a great idea now and that it will for sure get you the job, but what happens when you shop to work on your first day and can’t perform? Just be detailed about the stuff that’s true.

Work, actually

Typically, what would come next is the section about your work experience. Write about an internship you might have had, or if you did some volunteer work. If you had a leadership position at any of those clubs, write them here, and be sure to include the relevant work you did for them.

List your skills

Write a skills section that includes the skills you’ve gained throughout your education. Some might seem as a given in this day and age, like computer skills, but don’t be so general! Instead of writing “computer skills”, say “proficient with Microsoft Word and Power Point”. It looks more impressive already! Leadership skills, language skills, it all goes here. If you don’t have any work experience whatsoever (even volunteer work) and your college isn’t an Ivy, this is the section your employer is going to look at to see if you’re the right fit for them.

Describe your hobbies

Include a ‘hobbies’ section where you highlight what you can bring to the employer based on your interests outside of school. When writing this, be sure to write things you did with your interests, not just things that you like. So, instead of ‘I like movies’, say ‘blogging about cinema’. Instead of saying ‘I like surfing the internet’, say ‘I enjoy engaging with online communities dedicated to…’. Since everyone around you is on Twitter, it might seem like a redundant thing to write, but to an employer, this can be an asset.

Well, there you have it. Hopefully, you picked and chose the right things to put on your resume, and crafted a winner. Good luck on your job search. Just remember, if you don’t have any working experience, that doesn’t mean you can’t be an asset at someone’s company. And the most important thing of all, don’t lie! The point of a resume is landing a job interview. That’s when the pressure is on to impress.