One of the most common questions asked of me by first time job seekers is what to put on their resume. Most people feel that they have nothing that they can put on their resume when they have no experience and possibly little in the way of qualifications.
Let's look at how to write a resume when you don't have any work experience. You can also apply this same process to leaping over to new careers or making a leap up.
Time: 30 minutes
Work out your personal qualities
One of the things that everyone brings to a workplace is their personality and other personal qualities. Think about the ideal person for the job you are applying for and work out what qualities you possess that go with the job. Alternatively you can start with your personal qualities and try and find a job that matches.
For example accountants and bookkeepers tend to have high attention detail and ability to focus on work, while sales people tend to be outgoing, friendly and enjoy helping people.
Work out your immediate and long term goals
Both your short and long term career goals matter. If you want to work in computer support it makes sense that you might start in a lowly call centre position. The Chief Financial Officer of nearly everyone organisation probably started as a bookkeeper.
So include both your immediate job goals and also explain how this links to your future career. Because if the employer believes that you consider this position to be more than just a job then they know you will put more effort into it.
Don't forget all the other things you have done in your life
It is amazing how much knowledge and experience people have prior to their first job or if they are changing careers how much their previous experience can relate to their new career.
Maybe you have participated in a relevant school, college or university project, perhaps you have volunteered somewhere, even for a day, or maybe you have a hobby or interest that is relevant.
A friend was applying for a job with the Department of Foreign Affairs yet didn't believe that she had any relevant experience for cross cultural communication (which was part of the job application). Except she had spent many years as a volunteer organiser for events in the Vietnamese Community and her lowly administration job often required that she translate for Vietnamese clients who didn't speak English.
Many people have found their first job based on their hobbies such as photography, webdesign or even writing.