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Lack of experience is not uncommon for new college graduates. If you are a recent grad, don’t let this discourage you from applying for the job you want. Here are some tips on how to write an effective resume, even if you feel like you don’t have enough experience.

Start with a summary

The summary at the beginning of your resume is your “elevator pitch”. Tell your potential employer who you are and what you have to offer. Since you don’t have much work experience, you may want to highlight your education and skills. Be concise.

If you have a long list of skills, don’t list them all. Instead you should look at the job posting you are applying for and emphasise those that are mentioned in the job description and are relevant to the employer and role you are applying for. You can also check out job ads for other vacancies in the same industry and come up with a list of common skills required for these jobs.

Having the skills an employer is looking for will get you a step closer to an interview. However, it is not recommended that you lie about what you know or have experience in, as it is likely that you will get caught out at a later stage. 

Tackle the experience section

For a new college grad, this section can be a challenge, but not one that can’t be overcome. Obviously you can’t leave it empty. How about filling this section with all your babysitting experiences? Well, don’t do that unless you are looking for a job as a babysitter.

Instead of focusing on work experience, which you lack, change the focus to your skills. Look back at the skills you put in the summary section and elaborate on each skill. Be sure to explain how you utilised each skill, for example, how did you apply these skills in your coursework? 

Did you acquire any such skills in extracurricular activities?

Did you have any volunteer work experience? How did you apply these skills?

Even though you may not get paid for volunteer work, they are still valid experiences that you should include in your resume and it is likely that you developed valuable skills and experience that will benefit you in your future career. For example, project management or leadership skills could be ones to mention, if you were involved in planning or organising activities among a team during a volunteer project. 

List your work history

If you have interned or volunteered at any company or organization, you can include the dates and positions in this section. Here you can give a brief explanation of the role you took on and what your responsibilities were. 

However, since you have already listed your experience in the above sections, there is no need to repeat the same information here. If you have no work experience at all, it is ok to leave this section out of your resume and place more focus on your personal skills and attributes.

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About Sophie Deering

You can follow Sophie at @SophieDeering.

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