Is Your Sparse Resume Stopping You from Applying for a Job?
There is no doubt that if you are just starting out in your career, you are going to have a potentially sparse resume. It is a Catch- 22 – employers will not hire you without experience, but you cannot get experience without being hired. The good news is, that there are ways to fill up the blank space on your resume. And that is even when it seems like you do not have much to put on there in the first place.
Firstly, we would strongly recommend a robust one-page cover letter to accompany your resume. This is not something everyone puts on their resume, but it can be particularly valuable when you are just starting out. A cover letter offers you the opportunity to articulate your strengths, your personal qualities and your ambition for the future. It gives the employer a glimpse into what you can bring to their company. What is lacking in experience, can be countered by personal characteristics, showing the hiring manager precisely the qualities they are seeking.
Some Practical Strategies to Fill Out Your Sparse Resume
When it comes to your resume proper, there are numerous ways you can use the space sensibly and constructively. Many people feel that unless they have a degree, any secondary education they have experienced is not worth putting down. This is not true, any training courses do hold some merit, and there are many job advertisements that specifically say, ‘some college experience required’.
Do not undervalue any of your experience, even if it is not yet complete. It shows commitment to professional development and that in itself is a positive. What you lack in actual work-related experience, your education section can act as a replacement. It is all about how you brand yourself, and how you can sell yourself. Even if the hiring manager recognises what you are doing, they will recognise that you are adding value to your proposition.
Highlight your relevant skills in a compelling and persuasive way. Typical resumes will contain a section for you to highlight any relevant skills you possess. This section can really be the spot where you turn your sparse resume into a standout one. Previous experience is simply a way for an employer to judge your qualifications for the current job opening. If you can prove your attributes in a way other than through work experience, it is just as valid. Instead of making a list, state a useful skill you possess and qualify your experience and the positive outcome that resulted from it. For example, if you say that you have self-taught computer hardware skills, give an example of something you have worked on. It is really a simple concept, but most employers are willing to look past the slim employment history if you are able to showcase the needed skills.
Be as Objective-Based as Possible
Your objective is the first part of the resume an employer will look at. So, make it clear why you are applying and what you expect to get out of the position. Make sure you describe what your unique offering is. With a sparse resume it is vital you underline what the employer will benefit from employing you. It makes sense that this is a detailed, and thorough explanation. However, many people make the mistake of writing a vague and unclear statement. A specific reason for why you are applying makes you look determined as well as committed to your chosen industry.
Seeking employment with a sparse resume can feel demoralising, but it is certainly not impossible. Before you throw in the towel, try different ways to play to your strengths and showcase your strengths. It takes time and patience but remember – everyone has to start from scratch. Employers realise this, so try not to lose heart.