Work Matters: How to write a winning resume without work experience
If you’re a graduate from a university looking for a job in Trinidad and Tobago, you’re clearly excited to venture into the real world in pursuit of a successful career. However, if you have little or no experience in your chosen field, how can you create a resume that shines? After all, work experience is a big part of a resume…right? Not necessarily. Recruiters seeking new employees know that a lot of the applicants are graduates with a relative lack of experience. If you want to stand out and get an interview, follow these 6 tips.
CREATE A FUNCTIONAL RESUME
The traditional ‘chronological’ resume is of no use to graduates with a lack of experience because it focuses on work history. A functional resume, on the other hand, emphasises selling your transitional skills first with details of previous employers of secondary importance. The reader of this type of application has a much easier time recognising your suitability and strengths in relation to a certain job.
BEGIN WITH A PERSONAL STATEMENT
Lack of work history can make it difficult to complete two A4 pages, and the last thing you want to do is ‘pad’ out your application with useless information. You can bypass this problem by creating a personal statement. Experts recommend that you keep this section short; 150-200 words will suffice. The best personal statements succinctly answer the following questions:
Who are you?
What do you offer?
What are your career goals?
One way to create a high-quality personal statement is to write it in bullet point form. If you’re having problems thinking about what to write, read through the job description for ideas. For example, if the opening specifically asks for candidates with outstanding analytical skills for business, you could write:
“Experience of strategic business analysis with a detailed and innovative problem-solving approach.”
While you can write the personal statement in any person or tense, make sure you remain consistent throughout. Take your time when writing a personal statement as it is your opportunity to stand apart from other candidates; even those with a greater level of experience.
HIGHLIGHT YOUR BEST QUALITIES
Since your resume is essentially your own personal sales letter, make sure you include all of your best qualities related to the job opening. We can’t emphasise the bolded text enough. Adding in irrelevant qualities is a complete waste of space. Consider the things you excel at and analyse how they fit in with the job description. To help you out, here is a list of the most commonly sought-after skills:
1. Verbal Communication: The ability to clearly and confidently express your ideas and opinions orally.
2. Teamwork: The capacity to work with a group of employees.
3. Commercial Awareness: Knowledge and understanding of the commercial opportunities and challenges facing the company and its industry.
4. Analytical Skills: Also known as ‘problem-solving’ skills. Employers want staff with the ability to show the intelligence, initiative, and confidence to find a problem and present a workable solution.
5. Self-Motivation: Also known as a self-starter; such an employee can identify opportunities and act without having to wait for guidance.
FOCUS ON SKILLS
As you can’t focus on previous roles, you need to emphasise your skills. You don’t necessarily need to work in a corporate role to gain the skills required to become a success in the corporate world! Rather than talking about the summer job where you stacked shelves in a shop, focus on your customer service skills for example.
A remarkable amount of applicants in Trinidad and Tobago completely forget about ‘obvious’ skills. For instance, do you have a driver’s license? Are you proficient in the use of software? Do you speak a second language? Graduates routinely leave out such skills because they believe they are generic or routine. However, you’ll be surprised how useful your knowledge of a computer program is when applying for a job.
EXTRA-CURRICULAR ACTIVITIES ARE NOT A WASTE OF TIME
If you performed volunteer work, why are you leaving it out of your resume? It is entirely possible to learn some useful skills and gain valuable experience through volunteering. Take a closer look at your volunteering work and give it the same attention as you would to any relevant work experience.
Include the length of time you worked, the nature of the work and the skills you gained. Extra-curricular roles often have greater merit for graduates than casual labour. For example, it is much better to include the time you worked for the college newspaper than details about your role at a burger bar.
MAKE SURE YOU HIGHLIGHT YOUR DEGREE
Without the requisite work experience, your degree is the jewel in your resume’s crown so make it sparkle. Not only can you show your intelligence and dedication with a 1:1 or 2:1 Degree, you can also use it to add important transferable skills to your application.
For example, if you had to give nerve-wracking presentations in college, include ‘presentation’ skills in your resume. If you worked on a group project, you’ve displayed teamwork skills, and if you had to write a lengthy dissertation, your research and analytical skills are clearly on display. In other words, your degree is capable of making up for any perceived shortcomings shown by a lack of work experience.
PACK YOUR RESUME WITH USEFUL INFORMATION
Don’t be put off applying for any role in Trinidad and Tobago just because you don’t have much in the way of work experience. The majority of employers understand that graduates don’t have the specific experience they need just yet. Your job is to pack your resume with useful information regarding your education, skills, and personality. Sometimes it is useful to go back to resume basics to tailor yours as well as possible. If you can show that you’re a good match for the opening despite a having a limited employment history, you stand an excellent chance of being called in for an interview.
More Resume Writing Tips on CJ Website -
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