How To Maximize Your Resume When You Have Minimal Experience

Does your resume look a bit empty? Here’s how to fill that white space so you can fill the position you’re applying for.

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In most cases, you’ll need experience to get experience. Unless you have an inside connection to the company, you may find it impossible to get a foot in the door for a job because of one thing: your resume.

A resume for a student or a recent college graduate can be hard to fill due to a lack of experience. Luckily, it’s not impossible to beef up your resume as long as you follow a few simple tips. Once you finish applying them, you’ll be surprised at how hirable you look.

1. Look at your experience through a different lens.

Even if you’ve never worked at a formal job, you probably had some experience that translates into desirable skills.

For instance, if you babysat your neighbor’s kids and have no other experience, list it in your resume. When you do, however, list the skills or responsibilities that the task required.

By hiring you as a babysitter, someone trusted you with their blood. A parent wouldn’t leave their children to just anyone, so even that is a point in your favor.

Have you only done side gigs in the past? If that’s all you have, list them as well. The same holds for any volunteer work, experience studying abroad, and so on.

Beside each entry, list the skills that you used or learned. Just make sure they’re skills that can translate to the workplace.


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2. Add numbers.

If you only had one job, make the most of it with details. There are no better details than numbers, so if you had specific sales quotas you surpassed, for example, list them.

3. Include relevant keywords.

Some larger companies use an applicant tracking system (ATS) to scan resumes. If your resume is lacking specific keywords related to a job, a company may skip over it automatically.

To prevent this, take a closer look at the job you’re applying for. Use similar language to the job listing, and inject relevant keywords naturally into your resume.

Don’t use more than 15 keywords in your resume when applying for a job. Excessive usage will seem too forced.

4. Be concise.

Why do some companies use the ATS to scan resumes instead of actual eyes? To save time, which is why it’s crucial to be concise with your resume’s length.

Try keeping your resume to a one-page max. This shouldn’t be an issue if you’re new to the job market, so if you have fluff that’s putting it over one page, clean it up.

5. Link to your LinkedIn.

If sticking to one page seems too harsh, linking to your LinkedIn profile at the end of your resume can help. Do this instead of using the old “References available upon request” line.

6. Stick to a simple format.

You don’t have to overwhelm yourself when it comes to formatting. Just follow this standard setup when crafting your resume, and you’ll have all the necessary parts:

  • Contact information
  • Skills
  • Experience
  • Education

Keep the font simple. Use white paper. Avoid flashy graphics and photos too. The substance is what should catch the employer’s eye, not the style.

7. Proofread.

Submitting a resume with grammar or spelling errors could lead to immediate rejection. If you’re not the best in this area, use software to help correct any mistakes.

Once your resume is error-free, you can then send it out to employers.

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