Writing out your resume might seem like just another unnecessary task to do when preparing to apply for a new job. Although it might not seem important at the time, there is great benefit to putting some serious thought and work into your resume before you start applying for jobs. This will help you stand out from the crowd, as well as help you perform well in the hiring process.
A question we frequently hear relates to the lack of information someone might have to put on their resume. Whether applying for your first job or having a gap because you stayed home to care for family or your own illness, you might struggle to find enough work experience to fill up even a single-page resume.
Don’t worry, you still have options.
4 Areas To Add To Your Resume
In what courses have you excelled? How have you gone above and beyond to help an instructor or fellow students? For what career are you training? What accomplishments and/or awards can you describe?
It is easy to overlook some of what you do throughout your time in school as just something you had to do to graduate but adding those details allows others to see the intentionality you had when completing school and the extra effort you put in.
Even though you weren’t paid, how did you provide value to a nonprofit organization? How many hours did you put in, did you have any leadership roles, or what recognition did you achieve?
Volunteering might be one of the better areas to double down on if you have any experience or time put here. First, it shows that even without receiving anything, you’re willing and happy to help, work, and care for something. Second, it can be a great place to potentially have references because the people who you worked with know how you care for others and about the great work you do.
This might be an opportunity to describe your passion and achievement in a different way. What skills have you developed? How can you explain the results and benefits of your hard work? Is there a possible parallel to a job you are pursuing?
We usually don’t give ourselves enough credit for the many skills we have and have honed over the years. From learning different computer skills to something like wood craftsmanship and the importance of detail allows a potential employer to get a better view of the skills you might bring to the table.
If this is your full-time job without pay, think about your fiscal, homecare, and oversight responsibilities. What are you achieving with your days? What is your objective?
With this being one of the tougher, but also most rewarding, jobs you can have without any monetary reward, it is also one that shows how great you can be. From time management to task prioritization, there are so many built-in skills that employers are seeking.
Do not underestimate your contributions in any part of your life. And if you struggle to describe them on your own, enlist assistance! Talk it through with a family member, mentor, or friend. Sometimes another person can more easily identify your strengths and contributions.
Now when you are early in your career or would like to move into a new field, your past work experience might not help you explain to a new employer why you are a great fit for their opening.
So how do you understand what’s important to employers and how it aligns with your own skills and strengths?
Read Job Postings
Even if the job you’re applying for has a different job title than what you previously did, you might have performed similar duties in past jobs. It can be easy to just look at the title, pay, and location in a job posting, but most employers add in detail to what they are specifically looking for that can help you build your resume for that specific role. Describe your experience in their terms, using their same words in your explanation or on your resume.
Rather than focus on your duties for past jobs and activities, think about what you achieved. Did you take the initiative to make an improvement? Did you receive recognition? Were you leading the charge to accomplish a goal?
Not everything on your resume has to be industry-specific or related. Showing how you improved efficiency or lead a team through a tough time can show more than just listing your hard skills and experiences. Most of those can be taught, but what’s tougher to teach the hard skills? The soft skills that help a team move forward.
Talk to a Close Friend or Family Member
All of this can be too much to do alone, but don’t give up: ask a trusted individual where you are most successful and what you are good at doing. Several years back, I was struggling for hours to figure out my own strengths and skills. I spent 30 minutes with a former coworker and she identified all sorts of things I had missed about myself. The best part? I was more confident after our conversation, which was also helpful in my job search.
Hopefully, with a few of our tips, you can get a solid start on your resume or even perfect it to start sending it out. It’s not always easy to talk about yourself, your skills, or your accomplishments, but it’s important to learn how to do so. This is not only because it helps with finding a new job, but also because it’s true! You have learned many skills and done great things, you deserve to showcase that!