Writing a resume can be a challenge to most of us, even for those of us who feel we have much to express on our accomplishments and abilities, our willingness to do a job. This is particularly true when preparing Resumes for Freshers. We are concerned about which statements to select, since we can’t write everything, and how to put it all together in a way that appeals to the reader. We are told to be succinct and clear, to have adequate “white space.” Formats are important and conventional wisdom often prevails.
But what about for individuals who feel that they don’t have enough to say, those fresh out of college, or housewives re-entering the workforce after a number of years? What do these folks write onto a resume when they feel they have little to no actual “work experience”? How do they present themselves on paper that causes one reading it to want to speak with them and pursue them for a position?
The first thing —and many of us miss this critically important fact—is to ask yourself what you want to do, what attracts and motivates you, what type of work do you feel you might not only like to do but something in which you can excel and from which you can derive a measure of satisfaction at the end of the work day? Do you already know what you would love to do but have second guessed yourself away from the idea, thinking that you do not possess the type of educational background, the experience, the talent? Have you discounted something for whatever reason, referring to it only as a “dream job”?
The point is that without your heart’s desire as a guiding compass, you can’t hope to do anything but “get a job.” And if that’s all you want, then you will likely achieve the objective without assurance of happiness, success or job satisfaction. I don’t recommend this, as we end up spending an awful lot of our precious time earning a living and if it’s just about a paycheck, I can almost guarantee work for you will always only be a four letter word.
Given you know your target, consider companies and jobs that hire people who do what you would like. Conducting your due diligence, your research is relatively simple these days with the internet as a great resource. Meet with people in your target companies doing the job of your “dreams,” or managing that area. Find out what is needed to come in at an entry level and be willing to take the necessary steps to get in the door where you then have the opportunity to prove yourself, to work your way up to where you want to end up. Consider an unmet need– or better, create a need based on what you can project the boss or the department or the company may or can use—feel free to think ahead and think “outside the box” by offering a job proposal. Identify what you are able and willing to do on a project oriented basis to prove your viability in this position or something related.
Know that part time work counts, even if it has absolutely nothing to do with what you want to do. What can you say about your performance on the job, in a generically appealing way, that can hint to a prospective employer what you can do for them and how well you will do it? This can be as simple as your organizational skills that you demonstrated on a job. So what if you’re speaking of organizing a clothing table at The Gap; the fact that you are organized, specifically if that is highly valued in the target position, matters. Were you on time, prompt, always reliable, dependable, willing to step in and do something that “wasn’t technically your job”? That tells your prospects that you are adaptable and willing to learn; it says that you have initiative, do not have to wait to be told what to do.
Your role(s) at home matters. Running a home involves all family members, so how do you/did you contribute in your family? Are you the one who picks up quickly, makes sure the dog is fed, the garbage is taken out? Are you the planner of activities or meals? If you were given allowances, what have you done with the money—did you save it or give it away in some altruistic sense? Did your parents ever grant you a “bonus” for doing something above and beyond? These all say something about your abilities and willingness —that’s what employers want and need to know.
What you did at school matters and that’s not only about your GPA. What groups did you belong to, what role did you perform within those groups, did you demonstrate any leadership qualities, are you the one who disseminates communications, monitors progress, the one who evaluates and reports it? What have you been told about your performance, in writing or verbally. Others’ comments are great feedback. We often miss the best things about ourselves, awareness increasing only when we are given unsolicited feedback.
As a housewife, consider what you do on a daily basis to run a household–the planning, organizing and controlling. You live within a budget, how do you manage the family finances? What about vacations, how do they even happen? What skills do you call into play to achieve the enormous task of getting 3 to 7 people packed and on a plane, let alone plan daily activities during the course of a week or two, all designed to ensure a successful outcome?
We need to think beyond the idea that writing a resume only has to do with what we did “on a job.” Even those who have been employed for 30 years include their community involvement, volunteer work, awards they’ve won and hobbies in which they excel. Once we are clear about what we want to do, it is a simple matter of applying all that we have done up until this point that can convince our prospect that we have the transferable skills and willingness to do this job. Chances are that if you’re like most of us, you’ve been involved in activity all your life that hints at your heart’s desire, so dig in, make the connection and transfer that in writing your resume!