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How to Make a Resume If You've Never Had a Job

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Many people think of a resume as a listing of previous job experience—a challenge for someone who's never held a job. Nevertheless, many potential employers request a resume along with your job application. If you've never held a job, your resume should focus more on what you know than where you've worked. This kind of resume, known as a functional resume, highlights experiences and skills that will enable you to do the job for which you're applying.

Make a list of your strengths. You'll want to emphasize these in your resume and focus on past experiences that highlight these strengths. For instance, if your strength is being able to work independently, you could highlight your experience in an independent study program at school. If you work well with the public, you could talk about working as a campaign volunteer with a local politician or heading up a fund-raising drive for your child's parent-teacher organization.

Brainstorm a list of all your past experiences. At this point, don't worry about if they're relevant to the resume or not. You're looking for raw material you can use when composing your resume. Sheldon High School suggests you consider volunteer activities, work with organizations, clubs and communities groups and classes you've taken which taught you specials skills, such as a second language or specific computer programs.

List your name address and contact information, including your home phone, cell phone and email address, in the top left-hand corner of the page.

Write your employment objective. The University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire Career Services says this step is optional. If you do decide to list an objective, tailor it to the specific job for which you're applying.

List your qualifications for the job. These are three to five skills or strengths needed for this particular job that you posses. Match the list of strengths you made earlier with the job requirements in the advertisement for the position or the job description. Pick several of your strengths mentioned in the ad or job description.

Write down two to four types of experience you've had that are relevant to the job. For example, if you're applying for a job as a clerk in a retail store, you might choose the topics "Working With the Public" and "Organizational Skills".

List specific examples to highlight the experiences you listed in the previous step. These could be volunteer positions, participation in clubs, classes you took or anything that demonstrates your capability in that particular area.

Write a section detailing your educational background. List your most recent schooling first, followed by other schooling. Include special courses you took to learn skills applicable to this job. You don't need to list schooling prior to high school.

Prepare a separate page listing three or four references. List the person's name, contact information and your relationship. Choose people who can attest to the skills you listed in your resume or who worked with you on some of the projects or volunteer activities your resume mentions. Contact these people beforehand and make sure they agree to give you a reference.


Cynthia Myers is the author of numerous novels and her nonfiction work has appeared in publications ranging from "Historic Traveler" to "Texas Highways" to "Medical Practice Management." She has a degree in economics from Sam Houston State University.

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