What to Put on Your Resume When You Have No Relevant Work Experience


There are many reasons someone might apply for a job for which they have no relevant experience: a career change, being fresh out of college and starting a career or finding a once in a lifetime opportunity that you can’t pass up.

Whatever the case may be, it’s challenging to know what to include on your resume if your experience doesn’t directly relate to the job posting qualifications. If you find yourself in this situation, here’s what you can do instead.

Transferable Skills

Not all skills that you pick up at a job or during your life pertain to a specific job or career path– many are transferable. For example, if you’ve worked with employee scheduling software as a manager at a restaurant (to learn more about smart scheduling, click to start your free trial now), it may be beneficial when moving to a sales position in a wholesale company that struggles with scheduling. General life and career skills, like strong communication and the ability to analyze data, may not be listed on a job posting but could give you a competitive edge even compared to someone whose application fits the bill.

Truth be told, you don’t know what hidden talents a hiring organization is looking for. Just because your application doesn’t necessarily match the requirements they listed, including the right combination of skills may highlight a problem within an organization that you could help solve.


Volunteer Experience

Having volunteer experience not only highlights your capabilities as a socially-minded individual, but it also identifies skills and experience you’ve picked up outside of a work setting. Assisting with the organization of fundraising events speaks to project management and working within a budget. Doing door-to-door collection campaigns takes strong sales skills as you compete against other non-profits and an individual’s expenses to be successful.

Having volunteer experience listed on your resume gives hiring managers insight into who you are and what you value. This gives them a strong idea of how you would fit into the company culture and often acts as a conversation point or common ground.


While crafting a resume and cover letter, make your enthusiasm for the job apparent. Don’t make the focus all about you; talk about why you want to work for this company specifically. Use relevant information about accolades the business has received and talk about what drew you to this organization.

In the workplace, attitude is everything. Hiring managers like to see candidates who aren’t just looking for a job but looking to bring their skills to a business so that they can grow with it. If there’s not a lot of relevant information on your resume, don’t highlight the gaps. Instead, create such a compelling document about your enthusiasm that your lack of relevant experience is an afterthought.

Great References

Incorporate reference letters that tell hiring organizations why they would benefit from having you as an employee, regardless of your skill alignment. In this case, it’s better to have physical letters attached rather than the “references available upon request” standby. Reach out to people you’ve worked for in the past, professors and mentors, and former employers who valued you as a worker.

Creating a resume when you lack relevant work experience is all about presenting yourself in the best possible light. Highlight your skills and let a business know why you should be at the top of their candidate list.

Technology and Your Career

No matter where you are in your life, it should be no surprise to hear how impactful technology can be to your career. Technology is a crucial part of any aspect of business, and if you’ve been out of the job search market for awhile, there may be some things you need to learn. The lessons that can be taken from companies that did not keep up with technology can also be applied to an individual’s personal career path. There are plenty of other candidates ready to fill your shoes if you can not learn to adapt.

1. Don’t Remain Stuck In Your Ways
The world is a constantly evolving place. The failure to try new avenues will only stall you in your own personal development. Not only are jobs posted on LinkedIn but it is a great tool for reaching out to people in your industry who may be able to provide useful advice to you. There are numerous other social websites that provide the same opportunities but you will never learn about them unless you branch out as well as accept that technology is a crucial component in the world of business.

2. Seek Guidance From a Pro
Chances are you have a friend or coworker that is already active in the world of technology. Seeking their guidance may be the quickest way to learn the benefits of certain social media sites over others. If you don’t have any tech-savvy friends, you will quickly learn that reaching out and asking questions on forums, blogs, etc. is a quick and easy way to receive a lot of valuable information from other users.

3. Determine Your Goals
After familiarizing yourself with the different paths of the world of technology, it should be easy to come up with some goals related to technology that will help you progress in your career. Perhaps you want to contact career mentors of yours via Twitter and see if they have any advice to offer related to your career. If you are in the job hunt, you may consider making it a goal to apply for jobs in nontraditional ways such as LinkedIn or a job board.

4. Stick With It
Regardless of what your goals end up being, the best way to start is to get your hands dirty. Browsing sites and doing research are the best ways to learn how you can start using technology to benefit you. Not to mention, the more often you use these tools, the quicker they will become habit.

5. Be Current
With the Internet at your fingertips, staying current on the latest news in technology and specifically how it relates to your job or industry, is especially easy. Staying ahead of the curve is essential in today’s rapidly growing business world. If something is tried and true, it is still not necessarily the best way. Continue experimenting and exploring as it is oftentimes the case that there is a better solution out there just waiting to be found.

In any career, networking is key. Technology has made it easier than ever to connect with people from both your past and present. Choosing to ignore this great opportunity is a missed opportunity. Technology will always be around, so learning to embrace it and use it to its full potential is a skill that will be learned over time with practice and persistence.

Resume Up to Date?? If Not You May Miss an Opportunity of a Lifetime

Ever gone out with a friend who impulse buys, and then that leads to you spending money that you don’t have?  Ok I will turn around if you want to raise your hand.  Sure we have all done it but sometimes we spend too much and do not have enough for that bill that is due at the end of the week.  While I do not generally advocate for this type of behavior but I hope you have learned your lesson.  Go out and get a loan to make sure that you have adequate cash flow to pay your bills.  Wait what?  Did I hear that right, a personal finance site advocating a short term loan to cover your expenses?  I said it because I feel that taking out a short term loan, while the interest rate and fees may be high; I think they are lower than what you would pay in additional interest or penalties for missing a payment.

Now that we have gotten that out of the way and we are looking at our pay check wondering how we are going to pay back that loan.  We realize that we do not like our job and would be much happier doing something else.  It is more important than ever now to make sure that you have your resume up to date as you never know when the next great opportunity will cross your path.  Imagine you are out with your friends and you come across a gentleman, who you engage in conversation, come to find out his company is hiring.

Have you engaged yourself to sit down and hash out your resume recently?  What about making sure that the keywords that you used in the resume are still relevant?  Do you know when the last time that you glanced over your resume to make sure that it was still up to date?  If you answered no to any one of the questions this post is talking to you!

If the thought of updating your resume is daunting, then there are resume services out there that will help you.

Sell your passion

Make sure that your resume conveys your ideal career target.  Exactly what type of position you are looking for in your next job.  Ie. Objective or summary statement.

Keywords up to date

A few years back the buzzword may have been synergy but not any longer.  Keeping your resume current with the latest buzzwords and keywords is important to be found by potential employers.

Professional Development

Have you done any professional development lately, taken a course or training at a local university.  Make sure that it is included in your rework of your resume.

Edit, Edit, Edit your resume

Make sure that once you have completed the resume that you edit it over and over until you feel that it is absolutely flawless.  Read it at a few different times during the day to make sure that you have a fresh set of eyes looking at it.

Just make sure that it is up to date, relevant, and descriptive.  Remember you are selling yourself.

Moral of the story, keep your resume up to date to ensure you are in a profession that you love earning the Benjamin’s so that you can responsibly spend your money when you go out with your friends.

Photo by: ThompsonRivers

DIY Resume or Use A Resume Service? Which do you choose?

This that and the mbaIf you have been a loyal reader for some time now you probably have looked through the archives.  One of my first posts was on marketing yourself with a magnificent resume.  We have all had that first job with the cookie cutter resume that we got online somewhere.  It seems like every day there is a new article about new buzzwords to include or not include on a resume.  Or maybe an article about top tips from a hiring manager for a Fortune 500 company.

How much do I charge?

Regardless whatever the reason, there is someone out there trying to make money off your job search.  I just did a quick search of how much it would cost to prepare a resume and I got some staggering numbers.  I couldn’t believe that someone would actually pay money to write a resume for them, and on top of that the fees that some were charging to do the work.  They ranged from $39 up to $1,500.

For me personally, I don’t know anyone that knows what I did at my job better than myself, so how someone else can write it is beyond me.  I guess job descriptions are pretty vague and there is room for interpretation on what tasks were actually performed.  Some may see value in paying someone to write the resume for them.

Is there value in a resume writer?

For the sake of this post, I am going to assume there is value in having someone else write the resume for us.  What value can we attach to it?  Would you pay $600 for an executive level resume?  How many hours/days would it take you to construct your resume?  You can calculate a Resume Return on Investment (ROI) on with the increase in salary of switching to a new position.  Assuming your new position pays you $15 more an hour it will have taken you a week’s work to recoup those costs.  After the analysis, if I were in a position to make that additional rate, I might consider it.  Until then, I will be working on my resume.  If you have any questions on resumes or just want to bounce some ideas off me, drop me a message under the contact section.  I have helped numerous friends with resumes and have extensive knowledge of resume writing.

If you take the route of using a resume writer, just remember with all things that you get what you pay for.

Have you ever used a resume service?  What was your experience?

Photo by: karola riegler photography

How to Market yourself with a magnificent resume

While I haven’t disclosed much personal information yet, bits and pieces will come out as we delve further into this blog about How to Market.  I am an accountant/financial analyst that works at a local non-profit organization in Market who receives much of its funding from state and federal governments resumes.  Recently it has been discussed merging with another non-profit in the area which is teaching to people How to Market yourself.  They organizations are still in the very infancy stages of seeing if something like this is even plausible.  But I could be one day without a job because they will not need 2 finance departments for the organizations.

All of a sudden come the what-ifs.  What if I were to lose my job? Should I start looking now?  It creates a different level of stress from the day to day stress.  When planning for the future you need to take into consideration these what ifs.  One of them as is the emergency fund (insert link from the other post).  The one I want to focus on is having your resume up to date.

Your resume is your own personal marketing tool. There are a lot of resume builders online and sometimes they are very helpful, but if you plan to try one look for a review from a site such as Consumers Advocate so you can compare them. As you are working in your current job you should always have your resume updated with your most recent skill set and your job functions. You never know when you are going to run into someone that may have the opportunity of a lifetime. They may just ask for your resume and you better be able to produce. Why keep it up to date, while you may think you have your dream job now you never know what might happen. This is not the old times when you used to work in one or two jobs your entire life. According to Forbes, employee/employer loyalty has shifted and attitudes have changed. The economic climate has changed and you really have to focus on yourself and make sure you are prepared for the uncertainty.

Personal finance is a large spectrum and sitting back and taking a back seat approach is going to get you nowhere fast.  This is the approach that I had taken in years past but this blog is helping myself and my wife set our sights straight.

As with everything you do, put your best foot forward and leave nothing at the door. That is a great idea which you can use in the marketing of your magnificent resume.