How to build a resume when you have zero work experience

Fresh graduates face the daunting task of building a compelling résumé that can help them land their dream jobs. But how can you accomplish this if you don’t have any work experience in the past? Open Access BPO, a call center in the Philippines, explains how.

With so many helpful tips and lessons coming from job search experts and peers, writing your résumé after you graduate won’t be that difficult for you. Templates and sample résumés that you can pattern your own résumé after can be downloaded with just a few clicks. If you’ve never written a résumé before, these online resources can guide you as you build your first one.

But how can you be confident with your résumé if there’s nothing much to brag about? How do you prove your prospective employer that you deserve to get the job when you have no work experience at all? Here’s how you can still write a compelling résumé despite being a fresh graduate with not enough professional experience.

1.     Widen your definition of experience

Just because you’ve never been employed before doesn’t mean you have no experience to write about. Did you complete a job internship in college? Did you participate in any volunteer projects? Have you done any freelance or part-time job? All of these can be considered as relevant experiences that can describe your work ethics and how you approach new and challenging tasks. Therefore listing down all your experiences where your skills were exhibited can be helpful in improving your résumé.

2.     Talk about your academic achievements

Fresh graduates have the license to highlight achievements they gained while studying. The exceptional performance you’ve shown in your college years can say a lot about your potentials. They can be a proof of your hard work and dedication. Whatever you lack in practice can be compensated by how much you have learned and achieved while studying. Show your prospective employer that you understand your field of interest well.

3.     Pay attention to your résumé’s layout

The structure and formatting of your résumé can create a good initial impression that can distinguish it from the rest. Make it easy to read, and avoid making statements longer than they should be just to make it appear as if you have many things to say about your previous job experiences. If there’s nothing much to say, use bulleted lists. Outline your strengths, skills, or job expectations. Lists can help employers go straight to the relevant information that they are looking for.

4.     Gather reliable references

Since you haven’t had an employer in the past, you can ask other credible individuals to vouch for your qualifications. Professors and organization moderators are examples of these. If you did a freelance job before, you can ask some of your clients to be your references. Fellow volunteers in previous projects can also testify to your work ethics. Go back to the network you built over time and look for individuals who have seen you accomplish tasks and responsibilities.

Having no work experience is not a reason for you to lose that desire to land your dream job. If zero work experience was indeed a problem, then no fresh graduate would have been employed by now. It’s all about perspectives. Highlight other areas that can prove your worthiness, even if these areas aren’t necessarily talking about formal career experiences.