Building your first résumé, or your first professional résumé, can be a daunting task, especially in a world where “not enough experience” has become the unofficial millennial tagline.
Often times, you can list all of your work experience from your part-time babysitting job in 10th grade through your semester-long internship your senior year of college and still find that you don’t have enough work experience to meet the “three to five” standard most jobs ask for. Luckily, if you feel that your résumé is lacking, there are a lot of ways to boost it with valuable skills and relevant experience.
Try these four easy ways to make your résumé more competitive.
Take an online certification course
Websites like Hubspot Academy offer free online certification courses in topics like email marketing, sales, and design. The courses are between five and nine classes long and can take anywhere from two to thirteen hours to complete.
Taking one of these classes can give you a valuable skill to put on your résumé and give you experience to discuss when you finally get that interview.
Volunteering is an easy and time-tested way to gain work experience for your résumé. Not only does it show that you care about your community, but it also demonstrates that when you are job hunting or home for the summer, you are still committed to growing as a professional.
While washing dogs at the local animal shelter or sorting clothes at Goodwill might not add much to your résumé, non-profits offer a variety of other positions. VolunteerMatch is a website that allows you to search for causes you care about or skills that you have. Here, you can find available fundraising, blogging, marketing, and social media positions that you can take on from the comfort of your own home.
List club roles and leadership positions
If you held a leadership position in a campus club, don’t be afraid to list it as experience on your résumé. Being president or vice president is a distinction you will want to put under an “Accomplishments” section, as it shows your ability to give direction and take on a leadership role.
If you were recruitment director for your sorority or editor of your school newspaper, these are also valuable skills that can be useful in many fields and can be listed under “Work Experience” on your resume. For example, organizations like Girl Scouts might want someone with experience recruiting volunteers and many jobs look for candidates with strong writing and editing skills.
Take an independent study
Many university campuses offer students the opportunity to take an individualized attention or independent study course. This gives you the chance to design a course that you are interested in and conduct research or create a large term project.
If you are looking to go into graduate school, taking an independent study could give you additional research experience–and even get your published–which will help you stand out from other applicants.
If you are going to enter the workforce after college, having an independent study can provide you with a specialized education other people might not possess. Being able to complete large amounts of work on your own schedule, without meeting with a professor multiple times a week, can also show important skills, like the ability to work efficiently on your own.