We work with many clients who are new to the job market, including recent high school graduates and university students. We are often asked “what can I put on my resume when I have no experience?”.
The good news is, there’s lots you can do to stand out with a strong entry-level resume (you can even get us to write it!).
Include education and educational achievements
For university and high school students, we often recommend including a list of the subjects you have completed in your courses, particularly if these are related to the field of work you’re looking to go into. You can also go further than this by elaborating on these, including any high marks you received and any relevant projects you may have completed. Subjects often include projects where you need to apply practical skills such as those that may be requested in employment settings. Projects where you worked in a group, had to undertake research or were able to work with real-world situations are often a good place to start.
Include extra-curricular achievements and involvement
Including hobbies and interests is not usual practice in advanced resumes these days. However, in student or new graduate resumes, they can be a good opportunity to show an employer a bit about yourself and to highlight what you are good at and what you enjoy. There are often transferrable skills hidden within these activities, too. For example, involvement in sporting clubs can demonstrate your teamwork and resilience. We recommend including activities like sports and clubs, volunteer work etc.
Include part-time or casual work
That part-time job might not have been your dream role, but it’s likely that you learnt some valuable skills throughout this time that employers would be keen to hear about! Focus on skills you may have developed that will be relevant to the role you’re applying for. For example, many students work part-time in retail or hospitality – they will likely have developed relevant skills such as the ability to work in a team, deliver strong customer service, resolve conflicts etc.
Include awards and recognition
If you have received any awards and recognition during your schooling or study, now’s the time to remember them! These will make you stand out for all the right reasons. Awards for leadership, teamwork and perseverance all help show the skills and qualities employers want. As with any resume, it’s important to SHOW the employer what skills you have, rather than just telling them. Awards and recognition are a perfect opportunity to do just that.