Before I started my career as a resume specialist, I remember I was struggling to write a resume for my first job. I had done a few internships but did not have any real working experience. For hours, I searched online to look for a guide that could point me in the right direction only to get disappointed in the end.
Finally, I had no option but to go ahead with an average resume. The result was predictable as hell, I had missed the opportunity to get an interview call.
Today, the times are different. There are various resources available online such as resume templates and samples that can help you through the process.
So, after years of experience of writing and reviewing resumes, here is how my expertise can be helpful for you to make an impressive student resume. So that your fate turns out to be different than mine when I tried creating a resume with no experience.
Writing the profile title
One thing that I have found most common in a resume is that candidates often have an ill-constructed headline. It is often written as “CV” or “resume”, which I believe is a completely redundant practice. You should write a profile title in a way that is in line with your major/certification.
For instance, after graduating when I started applying for my first real job, this is the one thing that I mastered correctly. I assigned it as “Business Management Post-Graduate”. Try to think along similar lines and update your profile title.
Write work experience section
I have seen students struggle with this question a lot and they often say that they did not have any full-time job so they cannot include anything here. It is not true.
For instance, apart from my internships, I had plenty of other things to write in this section. Even during my college years, I worked as a teacher’s assistant and dorm room coordinator/manager.
Further, when you write these profiles make sure you use a reverse chronological order because recruiters want to look at your recent skills and profiles.
The biggest mistake I made with my first resume is that I used the same resume everywhere. Every job post I came across, I used the same resume even though the requirements were a little different for each.
To me, it didn’t seem as if it would matter. But later on, I came to know the importance of including job-related keywords in a resume. So, make sure you do not replicate my mistake.
Also, there is one entity you are trying to please while sending your resume, the ATS (applicant tracking system). It is a software that helps companies shortlist resumes based on important keywords.
You can pass this system if you include these keywords and beat this software.
Include an objective statement
After writing and reviewing thousands of resumes, here is what I have come to found in terms of an objective/summary:
- Most candidates do not have a resume summary and the ones that do have this section write it with a first-person perspective.
- It is often the case that it is written in a bullet form without any pointers in terms of degrees/certification.
A few months ago, I went back to my old resume and re-wrote the objective. Check the sample below:
My advice to struggling students
When I was updating my old resume, I came across a few pointers that will significantly improve the value of your resume.
- Use action verbs: I cannot make this clear. Most of the points I found in my resume had weak verbs such as “using/working”. It is not ideal to use such words when you are writing points in your resume, instead you should use action verbs.
- Avoid references: This practice has long been grandfathered; I would suggest that you do not include references in your resume. My resume had references from my tutors, managers from a few places I worked as an intern, it was a mess. So, if the recruiter specifically asks for a reference only then you should provide. Otherwise, avoid including it in your resume.
- 6 seconds test: In my first resume, I had written information in long paragraphs which is not ideal if you have just 6-10 seconds to impress the recruiter. So effectively highlight information in your resume. Keep the points limited to one line and bold important information.
- Make subheadings: You should assign subheadings to 3-4 relevant points. For instance, I worked as a teacher’s assistant, revolved around evaluating assignments, and helped with lesson planning. I can assign a subheading that is in line with the mentioned skills. For example, “Assignment Evaluation & Lesson Planning”.
I understand it can be a daunting task to write a resume with no experience. However, what you need to understand is you are in the same boat as everyone else. So, whatever skills and attributes you have, incorporate them correctly by using the tips described in the article.