So you put in your time and are now a proud recent graduate, pounding the pavement, resume in hand and ready to land that first dream job, right?
Welcome to the real world, full of rejection, way lower salaries than Sallie Mae allows you to take and the swift realization that you can’t get a job because even entry-level ones ask for experience, which makes no sense because well, they were going to be your first actual job experience.
So what do you do? After stress eating and temporarily considering becoming a top drug kingpin or dancer, snap back to reality (or not…we don’t judge here) and follow some of these below tips to help you land that first job.
1. Include relevant and translatable skills
Since most resumes begin with relevant recent work experience, yours may off the bat fall short, as you may not have any. So instead of just putting any and all work experience you may have (this would be a great place to put relevant internship experience as all undergrads SHOULD have had at least 2 internships, but that’s for another article), you can focus on the skills you have that would make you a great fit for the position.
Are you a strong writer? Great with numbers? Creative type with out of the box ideas? Here’s the place to detail it, with some relevant concrete examples of times you have used these skills. When you think about it, job experience is basically just skills learned on the job, so this can still be a great way to help recruiters understand how you would be able to contribute in the position and what you can offer the company.
2. List related projects
Were you President of the Marketing Club in school? Did you organize a great fundraising campaign for a local organization? Create a “Projects” section on your resume and list any activities you have led or been a part of that show responsibility, show accountability and again show relevant experience. For example, if you are applying for a job at an accounting firm, including that you were student body Treasurer would be a great way to show you have skills and experience similar to what the position entails.
3. A Passionate and Well-Tailored Cover Letter
This won’t actually be on your resume, but can be just as important, if not more important than your resume. This is in large part because a resume is a summary of your skills and a cover letter is an inside glimpse into you as a person. It’s a great opportunity to detail show how passionate you are about the position and show the company a bit about yourself, which can help them determine if you would be a good fit personality-wise. In addition, a well-tailored cover letter that is specific to each job you apply for, can really help you link your unique experiences and skills with the needs of the job, thereby providing the recruiter with an even clearer idea of how you can help fit the needs of the company and why your lack of experience is actually not a bad thing at all.
Stay tuned for more job hunting tips and let us know if these help!
*Article originally appeared on The Daily Muse.