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Write a Killer Resume Without A Lot of Experience

April 9, 2015

For many entry-level job seekers their professional resume can lack a long job history. It often leaves people with a deep sense of anxiety when they have a less than extraordinary resume. What’s so interesting is the hiring experts at constantly talk about how resumes that include items outside of the traditional job history can dramatically boost a candidate’s chances of receiving a request to interview. So if your resume is light, here are a few non-traditional items that can bulk up your resume and even make it stand out.

Should someone include any involvement in non-profit organizations on their resume?

An expert from ManpowerGroup, Dana, said this, “Include your unpaid roles or activities, too. This could include volunteer events, your affiliation with various clubs or councils, etc. There are valuable skills you may have learned, and valuable experiences worth sharing with prospective employers. Being involved with non-profits or other service organizations is a huge plus, and many companies really prize this type of experience tremendously.”

Whenever you place any kind of volunteer work on your resume it demonstrates that you are willing to go above and beyond the call of what’s expected of you. It shows your dedication to your community, as well as your willingness to help others without receiving a direct benefit. These experiences on a resume illuminate deeper truths about your character to a recruiter, which is what you want. It’s wise to consider utilizing any of your volunteer experience on your resume.

For some students there is a strong culture around their college athletic teams. Many students camp out to get tickets for their school's big games. If a former student helped lead some of these efforts should it go on the resume?

John from Textron responded this way, “I think this would be a great way to answer the inevitable question that you will be asked by so many employers surrounding group work and the role you played in your group. This is a very unique example to use which will interest the interviewer. I would advise you to “show-case” this on your resume. It shows you like a challenge and succeed at organizing a group to work all together.”

Remember, whoever is conducting your interview is a person too. They hear a lot of the same examples, responses, and similar job histories. If you decide to put something that is not typically seen on a resume make sure you’re ready to talk about it in the interview. While this question focused around college athletics it could apply to a myriad of different situations where you may be leading or organizing a non-official group of people.

Sororities and/or fraternities can have a very negative connotation to some people. Should someone include any leadership positions they’ve held in either type of organization?

Paula, from Cigna, had this to say, “Yes, I recommend placing any involvement in a student organization on your resume, especially if you are in a leadership position. It shows you think analytically, can manage financials and have strong communications skills.“

While there may be a negative connotation associated with sororities or fraternities, if you were in a leadership position it can showcase many positive aspects and experience about you. Not to mention you never know when a recruiter will have had a similar experience while they were in school. As Paula said, if you’re in a leadership role then it’s vital for you to include this on your resume because it demonstrates you can handle a diversity of roles while also attending class.

Your job skills are more than just a summer camp you worked at, or the winter break when you hustled through the holiday season at a retail job. When you write a resume your whole life is available to be used to showcase your experiences and, most importantly, you as an individual. The key is choosing which experiences to highlight.

Remember, the resume isn't designed to get you the job. The resume should be designed to interest the hiring manager enough to invite you in for an interview.

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