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College Students' Guide to Writing a Resume With Little Or No Experience  
You've served your time in college, putting all your efforts into school and only have a few internships or weekend jobs under your belt. As you approach all the pomp and circumstance of graduation, you panic, realizing that you don't have much to put down on a resume. What should you do?

 

College Students' Guide to Writing a Resume With Little Or No Experience
By Claudia Samuels Newton

 

 

You've served your time in college, putting all your efforts into school and only have a few internships or weekend jobs under your belt. As you approach all the pomp and circumstance of graduation, you panic, realizing that you don't have much to put down on a resume. What should you do?

Believe it or not, you do have enough to develop a resume. You will want to start this critical document by directly emphasizing your objective such as "A career in the field of Human Resources." This is especially important if you are targeting a specific career path.

Next, you will want to "show off" your degree to your prospective employer. If this is your first job out of school, your education section is an essential element and will be a decisive factor in the hiring selection process. Include your G.P.A. if it is worth bragging about.

The axis of your resume is the Work Experience section. Naturally, if you went straight from high school to college, you will have less work experience than others who went directly into the workforce. All hope is not lost. You may have to dig deep to draw out experience. Remember, it is the way that you present the information and the quality that counts, not the quantity that you present.

One strategy you can use is to stress your relevant skills and personality. For example, if you were a Peer Minister for your university, write how you developed relationships with the students in the resident halls. Is there a crisis you helped to solve while in that role? One student talked another out of committing suicide by using negotiation skills. The manner in which you show these accomplishments on your resume can present you as an efficient problem-solver.

How about that position performing clerical work in one of the college administrative offices? Did you use customer service skills that could benefit your prospective employer? If you worked with the soccer team, did you help to promote the groups' events by creating fliers etc.? What promotion techniques did you use? This would be relevant if you are applying for a marketing position.

Do not count out your summer work, internships, and volunteer experience at church or charities. Use a work sheet to take inventory of the skills you used in all these capacities. Even though unpaid, it is the experience that counts! You may be surprised to uncover the skills you have acquired mowing the lawn and working (entrepreneur/self-starter) or at fast-food restaurants (multitasking). Do not down-play your experience because you do not have a fancy title. The heart of your résumé is the skills you have acquired that can be transferred to subsequent jobs.

You should not make light of your outstanding academic background. Your ability to do well in school with a variety of courses show you can be a fast learner for the organization. Highlight your successes in the academic courses that relate to the job requirements you are applying for. Did you make the Deans List every year? Were you the commencement speaker? Make sure you mention these achievements as selling points on your resume.

Include an Honors section where you list any awards, memberships in honorary societies, and special awards. An Activities section should show your activity in various organizations or clubs during your time in college. Did you hold a leadership role? Including these roles show your prospective employment your involvement and dedication to these groups.

Show your enthusiasm in your cover letter. Usually, employers like the can do attitude that young people bring. While you want to sell yourself and appear confident, you don't want to exude arrogance. Emphasize your willingness to learn and go the extra mile.


Everyone deserves a chance to be hired. Think of the resume as a marketing tool and you as the product. Sell, Sell, Sell your skills. If you market well enough, someone will make the purchase. You may not start where you want to be but you don't have to stay where you started. Remain confident and upbeat. If you do not get a response from your resume, try and try and try again.

Master Resume-writer and Resume Strategist Claudia A. Samuels Newton is the President and CEO of Rewarding Resume Services (http://www.rewardingresumes.com). Claudia has a Masters of Management in Human Resource Management degree and a Bachelors of Science degree in Business Administration. With over 20 years of industry experience, she has served hundreds of satisfied clients. Her speaking engagements include being a featured guest on WLTX TV in Columbia, SC and serving as a resume-writing consultant for higher education institutions in her community. Samuels-Newton provides online instruction in Communications as an Adjunct Faculty member for the University of Phoenix Online. She also serves in a management role at BlueChoice HealthPlan, a subsidiary of BlueCross BlueShield of SC.

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