When you don’t have a ton of experience, a resume can fall flat and look extremely blank. In todays rapidly changing job market it is vital for younger job seekers to make the best impression possible. Your resume is the first impression that a potential employer has of a job applicant. Often, hiring managers and recruiters see hundreds of resumes a week so it is imperative that your resume stands out from the others. We have compiled a list of tips to help young job seekers create smart resumes that are ahead of the pack, even with only a little job experience.
Highlight volunteer work / side projects: Chances are during high school you spent some time volunteering or organizing events. Volunteering experience and school activities can be a great way to showcase on your skills, knowledge, and professionalism. Treat these as you would your work experience and list accomplishments and knowledge gained during your time in these roles. This can help fill in your resume where it appears blank.
Remember your purpose: Always understand the purpose of a resume – to be invited for an interview. This means that you need to update and customize each resume you submit for the position you are applying. It is time consuming but trust, this tactic will help you be called in for an interview.
Compensate for your lack of work history: Hiring managers might assume that someone who is coming out of high school does not have much in the way of formal work skills. To compensate, start taking courses to update your knowledge and skills while you are looking for a job and determining what you want to do next. This shows that you took the initiative to update yourself, as well as an openness to learn. List courses you have completed that are relevant to the position you are applying.
Promote your attitude and performance: Employers for basic jobs will be most interested in your work habits and attitude. For example: if you have a perfect or near perfect attendance or punctuality for school or jobs you might include language like "compiled a perfect (or near perfect) record for attendance and punctuality" when describing an experience. This is incredibly desirable for potential employers.
Do not use a functional resume: While functional format resumes are designed to highlight your skills rather than your work history, they are not highly regarded by hiring managers or recruiters (aka the people who can get you an interview). If you feel that your work history is lacklustre consider using a combination format resume. This format combines a both chronological and functional resume formats; allowing you to list skills and qualifications followed by work history.