Whether you're a new entrant to the workforce or simply don't have a lot of work experience under your belt, having a thin resume can hurt your chances of obtaining an interview and landing a job. While it might be tempting to stretch the truth to catch a potential employer's attention, this is inadvisable and can reflect badly on your professionalism. Fortunately, there are a number of ways you can highlight your skills to fill in gaps and improve your resume -- while remaining honest about your experience.
Write a Strong Personal Statement
Forbes reports that most employers skip over job objective sections entirely. So instead of wasting time adding one to your resume, compose a strong personal statement that is specific to the job you're applying for. Write a quick summary of your personal attributes and values, as well as a short sentence or two about why you're an ideal candidate that stands out from the competition. This will minimize empty space while providing the opportunity to capture a potential employer's attention as soon as he starts reading your resume.
Use the Functional Format
The functional resume format lets you stretch your experience while remaining truthful, and will force a potential employer to look at your relevant skills before judging you based on your limited experience. This format is useful because it makes your skills the focal point of your resume rather than the jobs you've held. You'll lay out your experience by creating headings for each skill, followed by specific examples of duties and accomplishments that helped you develop them. Toward the end of your resume, you'll list your work history.
Include Volunteer Work
If you've ever volunteered in your community or abroad, list that experience on your resume. While Forbes states that volunteer experience doesn't necessarily guarantee an applicant an interview, it can be beneficial in terms of demonstrating your self-motivation, leadership capabilities and compassion. Additionally, volunteer experience could help account for gaps in your employment -- particularly if you volunteered full-time or outside of the country -- while giving you more to write about to fill in empty space on your resume.
Highlight Your Accomplishments
Devote an entire section toward the end of your resume to your accomplishments and achievements -- both work-related and non work-related. Include degrees you've earned, certifications you hold, awards you've won and accolades you've been given. Forbes notes that formal vocational education and computer training can greatly increase an applicant's odds of scoring an interview, so don't leave these accomplishments out if they apply to you. Not only will this section help you finish out your resume, it will also help showcase what makes you special and different from other candidates.
- Forbes: Toss Out Your Old Resume
- Depaul Univeristy: Entry Level Resume Guide
- Forbes: Trying To Find a Job? Here Are The Top Entry-Level Resume Characteristics For Obtaining An Interview
- Forbes: The Only Resume Advice You'll Ever Need
- U.S. News: Resumes 101: Swap a Stale Objective for a Fresh Branding Statement
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