It's difficult to write a professional resume if you don't have any work experience, which is why it is so important to start thinking about your resume as soon as you enroll in college. What you do in the next few years determines how strong your professional resume is when you graduate and need to find a job. Fortunately, there are several ways to learn valuable professional skills while you are still in school.
If you qualify for the federal work-study program, apply for jobs on campus that match your career interests. You'll get paid for participating in the program, but you'll also have a chance to develop professional skills and make valuable connections in your field. Once you start working, keep a record of the tasks you complete so you don't have to rely on your memory when it's time to create a professional resume. Be sure to document new skills, achievements and awards so you have all the information you need to create a powerful resume that convinces recruiters to interview you.
Completing an internship is a great way to build your resume, so check with the career services office at your college to see if any local employers offer internships in your field of study. The best way to gain valuable work experience is to ask your supervisor for additional responsibilities once you have proven yourself an asset to the company. If you are completing a marketing internship, for example, ask your supervisor if it's okay for you to come up with pitch ideas, write website content, coordinate promotional events or conduct marketing surveys. You can later include all of these skills on your professional resume, giving you an edge over college students who do not have any experience in the field.
If you are not able to find a work-study job or internship related to your major, volunteer for your favorite nonprofit organization while you are in college. Many organizations rely on volunteers to interact with donors, plan special events and raise money, giving you many opportunities to gain experience that you can add to a professional resume.
The best way to gain valuable experience is to volunteer for an organization with a mission related to your career plan. If you want to become a veterinary technician, volunteering at an animal shelter can provide opportunities for you to develop skills related to the veterinary field. If your volunteer position is not directly related to your field of study, don't despair. You'll still have the opportunity to learn new skills and make professional contacts.
Participating in the work-study program, completing an internship and working as a volunteer are all great ways to develop new skills and gain confidence as you prepare to enter a competitive job market. Documenting the entire experience helps you create a professional resume that gets results.
Photo courtesy of phasinphoto at FreeDigitalPhotos.net