Looking for your first job can be intimidating. You need to submit a resume, but you have nothing to put on it. How can you possibly get a job without any experience? The truth is that you probably have more than you realize. Here are some experiences that you can include on your resume even if you’ve never had a steady paying job:
Volunteer work. The value that you get out of volunteer work will greatly depend on the type of work that you are doing. Volunteering can give you the opportunity to get some experience working in your field, show your sense of community responsibility, make connections for your network, and get a professional reference. Even though you don’t get paid for volunteer work, you still get valuable experience.
Extracurricular Activities. Were you involved in any teams, clubs or committees while you were at school? Did you hold a leadership position in any of these clubs? An involvement in extracurricular activities shows that you are both well rounded and responsible.
Odd jobs. Even if you haven’t yet had a steady job, if you have been paid to do anything, then you do have work experience. Have you ever babysat for a friend? Did your neighbour pay you to shovel their driveway or walk their dog? Does your uncle ask you to work in his shop sometimes? This is all genuine work experience and can be included on your resume as casual work.
Educational or Professional Training Courses. Have you recently taken a course or completed a training session? Employers like to hire candidates that show that they take their education seriously by working to develop themselves. Also, the skills that you gain may give you the edge that you need over your competition.
Many first time job seekers make the mistake of underestimating the importance of their experience. After adding it all in, you may find that your resume looks a lot more impressive than you expected. Keep track of everything that you do and remember that any experience that you can relate to your target position is valuable.
(Written by: Karen Bivand)