What to include in a resume when you don’t have any work experience

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Once you find a job you would like to apply for, identify the qualities you’ll need to demonstrate on your resume to secure that role. Take time to learn about the company and the role to help select your most relevant experiences.

Your soft skills can help set you apart from other candidates.

Your soft skills can help set you apart from other candidates. Credit:ThinkStock

Your soft skills are often a key area of focus for employers considering candidates who don’t have previous work experience. These include communication, ambition, drive and passion, and many other skills that can help set you apart from other candidates.

Fortunately, you can use your extra-curricular activities at school to demonstrate your soft skills to potential employers. But make sure to explain the reasons why you engaged in those activities, how you developed, what you learned and how you can apply these in a work environment.

Remember, anything you include on your resume needs to show the recruiter or hiring manager how you’re likely to perform and grow within the role.

Jay Munro, head of career insights at Indeed.

Jay Munro, head of career insights at Indeed.Credit:

If you’ve ever volunteered for mentoring or coaching responsibilities, these can offer valuable insights into your leadership capabilities while demonstrating dedication and communication skills. Some examples might include coaching junior sports teams, teaching music or tutoring.

When a job seeker has limited employment experience, employers are often swayed by candidates who show they’re self-starters. So don’t hesitate to include examples of how you might have helped a family business or project and always explain your involvement in voluntary work or programs such as the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Scheme.

Calling the recruiter or hiring manager after you send your resume could also help you stand out from the crowd – especially if your resume is up against other candidates who have worked before.

Before contacting a recruiter, ensure you’re prepared to make a strong impression by crafting a personable introduction and identifying one or two experiences from your resume which you can use to highlight your suitability and passion for the role.

When crafting your first resume, it’s important to be very selective about what you include. That might mean leaving out some of your hobbies such as dog walking and listening to music. But take care not to miss out on non-work experiences which could catch the eye of a recruiter. What’s important is that you clearly explain how you expect to apply what you learned in these experiences to the job.

This column was produced in commercial partnership with Indeed

Send your questions to asktheexpert@indeed.com

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