It’s an issue everyone faces at some point: being unable to find your first job, as all jobs require past jobs and work experience. You have the required skills, but your resume is blank aside from them and it seems pointless to even try.
However, as a new grad, there are probably plenty of things you’ve already done – and many you can do moving forward – to fill up your resume and secure that first job. If you don’t already have some of this under your belt and are starting from zero, you’ll learn a lot about yourself and your future field while taking these first steps into the workforce.
1. Academic Achievements
This could be any number of things from your academic career that are standouts – your GPA if it’s high, awards and scholarships you’ve won, any relevant courses that you excelled in. Just consider which parts of your academic past make you look best, and which would be most helpful for each job you apply for.
If you don’t have a lot going for you in this area, take the time to get certified through online courses. There are plenty of free ones available on websites like HubSpot. Not only will these certifications allow you to grow in your field and pad your resume, but they’ll show employers that you’re interested in learning on your own time – a huge positive.
Remember to only use academic achievements from the last period you were in school – if you’ve finished university, for example, don’t use high school achievements.
2. Extracurricular Activities
Any extracurricular activity you’ve participated in can impress an employer. Extracurriculars show that you are an active person taking the initiative to better yourself. Not only that, but a lot of soft skills can be surmised from seeing that you’ve participated in extracurriculars. If you’ve been on a sports team, for instance, the hiring manager can easily infer that you work well with others.
This section will reflect even better on you if you’ve ever taken a leadership role in an extracurricular activity. Sure, being the president of the art club may not directly relate to the managerial position you want, but it does prove you’re capable of being in charge.
3. Volunteer Work
If you don’t have work experience, volunteering is the easiest way to rack some up fast. Look for volunteer opportunities in your industry – you may find that some apply to your future career path and offer plenty have opportunities to learn different skills. It also reflects positively on you overall that you’re willing to offer up your spare time to an organization you care about, especially if it’s a charitable one. Volunteering is a rewarding experience overall, and will give you a lot to talk about in your job interview.
These things might not be work experience, but keep in mind that everyone starts somewhere, and these three possibilities give you positive things to include in your resume. If anything, an employer will be excited to see that, despite no past work experience, you’ve filled your time well and improved your skills at the same time.
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Emily Morrison is a media professional with passions for writing, film and popular culture.
Feature Image: Adobe Stock