Disguising a lack of experience
I'm fresh out of school, how do I make it look like I have some experience without lying?
No one is ever happy with their resume, are they? Too much experience, not enough experience, too long at one company, not long enough at the last company. The problems with resumes are endless because our anxiety about being deemed acceptable is endless. So I promise to answer all your resume questions, as long as you promise to stop obsessing about your resume and start networking. Deal?
Okay, now to your question. Unless you haven't worked or volunteered a day in your life, you have something to put on your resume that speaks to your suitability as an employee. Whether it was paid or not, it all counts as "experience" and that's where I would put it, for now: under the "Experience" section of the resume.
For each thing that you have done, tell a couple of short stories, in bullet form, about how you did the job. If you started a baby-sitting referral service, say that, and talk about how many sitters and clients you had by the end. If you waited tables every summer, discuss becoming the one trusted to train new employees and given your pick of shifts. You are a young professional and no one expects you to have managed a staff of six and a budget of $100,000. What they want to know is how you handle a job--are you responsible, committed, creative, driven, cool in a crisis?
In most cases, the names of the companies will be more impressive than your title, so list those first. If the stints where short, you can say "Summer 2008, Spring 2009. The employer will get that it was probably a semester-long gig.
The biggest decision you need to make is where to put education. Education listed first on the resume, with some exceptions (CV's, legal resumes, science and engineering resumes, art resumes) usually announces "Here's someone fresh out of school!" Since you are trying to look more experienced, that location defeats your purpose. You may want to put your education at the end, after the "experience" section.
At the same time, you have earned, and you and your parents have paid for that degree for a reason, so if it's a good one in your field, go ahead and list it first. Just move it to the bottom of the resume as soon as you have some work experience to highlight.
Karen Chopra| June 24, 2010; 6:03 AM ET | Category: Job Search , Resumes , Young People Save & Share:
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