For military spouses, having a resume with little to no experience is more common than you may think. Although many adults deal with blank resumes when returning to the workforce after being a stay-at-home parent, or after finishing a degree, military spouses have the additional layer of frequent moves to contend with.
There’s no need to give up! You can still land a great job even with little to no experience. Learn how to draft a resume with no experience below!
1. Focus on Your Skills
While your corporate world experience may be lacking, your skills are certainly not. When researching how to do a resume in general, you will see all recommendations point to listing your skills, but when working on a resume for your first job, you should emphasize your skills. People learn new skills every day and sharpen their existing ones even more frequently. Before you start writing your resume, sit down and take stock of all of your skills. Even if something seems small or insignificant, write it down anyway. At the end of this exercise, you will have a list of at least 100 skills that you can now sort through and choose the best ones to highlight on your resume.
When selecting what skills to highlight, you will want to choose the ones that are the most applicable to the job, while still ensuring you’re only referencing ones that you’re comfortable and confident with. At the end of the day, hiring managers want to know you can do their job, they’re not as concerned with the jobs you used to do.
2. Translate Your Experience
Oftentimes people think they don’t have experience, when in fact they do; writing a resume always requires some extra thinking and creativity. To understand how to do a resume, you must master the art of translating experience. For example, if you were a stay-at-home parent, you’ve probably mastered time and schedule management, budgeting, and conflict-resolution. While that experience may not have been in the corporate world, it’s still relevant, so it should be listed on your resume.
Volunteer and academic experience can provide value to your resume as well. Whether you managed a committee of 15 or mastered the use of Google Slides in your statistics class, you should add those skills and experiences to your resume. Remember – employees are concerned about what you know, not necessarily how you know it.
3. Write a Summary
Your summary should be a brief explanation of who you are, what you’re hoping to get out of your career and how this job would help you get to your goals. It can be as short as a single sentence, but since we’re interested in filling up a resume, feel free to make your summary as long as four sentences. You will want to use your summary to identify yourself and your career goals. This will give the hiring manager a quick glimpse of who you are, and why you would be a good fit for their open role. Your summary also gives you a chance to reevaluate if the job you’re applying for really does fit into your career goals.
4. Draft a Cover Letter
What your resume can’t say, your cover letter should. Cover letters give you a chance to share a little about yourself and explain your background and skills in a way that resumes cannot. You will want to start your resume by addressing the hiring manager by name, and briefly introducing yourself. Use your next couple of sentences to explain your career goals and why this job suits them.
The rest of your cover letter should be filled with a high-level overview of your skills and experience. There is no need to get too detailed – that’s what your resume is for. While there is no required cover letter length, you won’t want to make it so long that hiring managers won’t want to read it. End your letter with a formal letter closing like sincerely or regards and your name.
5. Add Your References
Although the job application may ask for the names and contact information of your references, with a blank or thin resume, you have the room to add your recommendations directly on your resume. While you don’t want to add entire letters of recommendation, adding small paragraphs or snippets that showcase your skills or character can be beneficial to hiring managers. Make sure you’re still listing the reference’s contact information below the recommendation, just in case the hiring manager wants more details.
When adding your references to your resume, make sure you organize and lay them out in a way that is easy to read and digest. You want to avoid large blocks of text as they can be confusing and dilute the message you’re trying to portray.
Hopefully, this post has helped you brainstorm some creative ways to add content to your previously thin or empty resume! Don’t forget that highlighting your skills and ambition are going to go a long way with the hiring manager and potentially make up for any lack of corporate experience. You’re now ready to interview – if it’s a video interview, take a look at these tips!