No Experience? No Problem! A Guide for New Grads

It’s graduation season again, and if you are  graduating soon, or have recently graduated, you may be feeling pressures associated with the job hunt. Whether you have never thought about how to apply for a job before or you have been preparing during your entire college career, you may not know that you can include more than just work and internship experience on the resume. In fact, adding additional information from your education and organizations can show the employer what you are capable of.

Don’t Underestimate Projects

Whether you participated in a large group project working with a real company or you simply learned important concepts in class, any part of your education is fair game for the resume. To include a project on the resume, first come up with a title. The title does not have to be creative, simply descriptive. Next, describe the context of the project, what your role was, and the outcomes of the project. Be sure to focus on results, not just what the assignment was. What kind of feedback did you get from the assignment? What kinds of conclusions did you come to?

Consider Adding a Relevant Courses List

Courses are not as powerful or specific as your projects, but if you need more relevant information on the resume, courses can be a useful section. If you want to show four or fewer courses, simply include them within your education section. If you list more than four courses, try a column listing – this will take up less space and be more visually appealing. In this section, remember to be as relevant as possible. Stick to upper-level courses that are related to the job posting, and remember not to list too many courses. Avoid basic courses that all of your peers had to take alongside you!

Include Volunteer and Extracurricular Activities

Many students think they cannot include non-paid experience on the resume, but that couldn’t be further from the truth! A good rule of thumb is that if it is related, you should include it on the resume. So go ahead and add in sections based on your experience – you could have Volunteer Experience, Extracurricular Activities, Leadership Experience, Industry Events, Professional Development, and so on. Remember to focus on why these experiences are important and what qualities apply to your job goal.

Weave in Transferable Skills

Regarding experiences that are not directly relevant to your goal, such as part-time work experience, be sure to include transferable skills. These are skills that apply to any position, such as being a good speaker or being able to manage others. Focusing on these skills will show the employer how your prior experience is related to the job you are applying for.

Thinking outside the box with the resume will help you find that dream job. If you have related experience in any area of your life, be a little creative and you will find a way to include it on the resume.


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