It's the perennial "chicken-and-egg" problem: How do you get a job without experience? And how do you get experience without a job? Professional resume writer (and book author) Louise Kursmark has some ideas of where to look to find evidence of your abilities for your resume when you haven't had a related, paid, professional job. Here are her thoughts, taken from her book, Best Resumes for College Students and New Grads.
Before starting to write, think about the sources you might consider in searching for this evidence. Your recent educational experience, of course, is a prime source for relevant material. But don't stop there! You've had many opportunities to develop and demonstrate specific skills, and you'll want to consider a wide variety of sources when compiling your proof.
Keep this list handy as you start writing. It will help jog your memory and give greater depth to your resume than if you concentrated only on your most recent college experience.
- Education (degree, major studies, class/team projects, theses, case studies, areas of concentration, research
- Academic honors and awards
- Other honors and awards (leadership, contribution, peer recognition)
- Extracurricular activities (clubs and organizations, varsity and intramural sports, fraternities and sororities)
- Internship or co-op experience
- Employment (during the school year, summer jobs, prior professional experience if you're a nontraditional student)
- Volunteer activities (high school, college, community)
- High school (academic honors, significant activities)
- Family background
- Special skills and interests
In addition to searching your memory, you might find evidence of your abilities in any of the following:
- Performance reviews from your various jobs
- Letters of recommendation from teachers, friends, and employers
- Your college application materials and application essay