Maybe you’ve just finished school or are wrapping up your formal education. You’re looking for a summer job or a launch pad for your career. Your resume is a little…sparse, to say the least. What do you do? You write an awesome resume that makes a potential employer want to hire you, that’s what! Even though you’re new to the full-time workforce, it’s never too early to start planning and assembling your resume.
think about skills you picked up in part-time jobs
Don’t worry about not having a lot to say about yourself; once you start brainstorming and thinking about all the work-related experiences you’ve had, you’ll begin to accumulate information about yourself and how you work that will translate well to your resume. Even if they might not quite be in your dream field, trust us when we said they taught you valuable transferable skills.
Did you babysit as a teen? Then you have patience, creativity, and resourcefulness, along with a strong sense of responsibility. Were you a camp counselor? Bet you know how to work well with others, be flexible and take ownership. Did you help with filing for your uncle’s accounting firm? An office environment isn’t completely foreign to you. You’ll show a hiring manager that you know what it means to be dependable and show up on time, ready to work, regardless of the role.
put your education up front
While resumes usually position education near the end, you should start with your education, since that’s where you’ve spent most of your time so far. List extracurricular activities, grants, awards, scholarships, organizations and courses related to the position you’re applying for. Then under work experience, itemize any part-time, seasonal or temporary jobs you’ve held even if they’re seemingly unrelated.
don’t forget about unpaid experiences
Describe any internships, projects or volunteer activities you’ve participated in. Think about the aspects of your experience that demonstrate your best qualities and how you respond to challenges; detail them to show your capacity for leadership, ability to communicate and determination. You’ll have accumulated experience, skills and demonstrated qualities and a work ethic that are easily transferable, regardless of role, level or industry.
are you a student looking for an entry-level job?
find a template that works for you
Do some research into different resume formats and templates and find one that works for you. This will be the basis of your resume. It’ll also help you determine what to include on your resume and give you an idea of the layout. If you need a good basic guide on resume formatting, check out our article on what to include on your resume. Ask friends and classmates to share their resumes with you; it’ll help you format yours properly and trigger information to add or remove you hadn’t yet considered.
ask for support
There’s no shame in needing a little guidance to get your career started. Ask the career or guidance counselor at your school, or book a meeting with a recruiter in the industry you want to work in. They’ll help you determine what to include on your resume and explain what employers are looking for. It’s also important to have someone read your resume, ideally, someone experienced in resume writing and editing. If you have the resources, investing in a professional writer or editor who specializes in resumes is also a good investment, especially if it helps you land a great job.
don’t worry too much about length
Don’t worry about your resume being too short. Better to be short and succinct than full of filler. Any good hiring manager will tell you a brief resume is preferable to a long-winded, overstuffed resume! Hiring managers skim through resumes quickly, so keeping yours short and to the point can actually be a positive, and ensure all the necessary info is right there up front.
If you feel your resume is still too sparse, do research about the organizations you’re applying to and find out whatever you can about the position so that you can fill in the spaces and expand on your experience and education in the context of the role you’re applying for.
The most important thing to remember is everyone has to start somewhere. And there’s no better time than now to begin your work life journey!