Are you an undergraduate student looking for an internship but you have no relevant experience?
If you are reading this blog, then most likely that answer is yes!
The age-old problem: “How can I get experience if I need experience to land the job?” In this blog, we’ll give you important tips on what to include in your resumé to help you increase the odds of landing that internship! How? By convincing a prospective employer you have skills they need.
Key Strategy – Focus on Transferrable Skills
When you have no previous relevant experience to fall back on, your overarching strategy should be to focus on your transferrable skills, which signal to employers that you're aptly qualified for the job.
What are transferrable skills? Transferable skills are either soft or hard skills that are not necessarily specific to one job or field. Examples include:
- Solid communication skills - Excellent time management
- Ability to collaborate with people - Strong numeracy skills
- Excellent salesmanship - First-rate research skills
How to Show Transferrable Skills on Your Resumé
The first step for any student is to carefully read the job description and note which of the required skills you possess. Take the time to look back at your life and experiences at school, extra-curricular activities or part-time jobs that demonstrate these skills. Then, write them down.
Once you have a list of relevant skills, you’ll need to include them in these four primary areas of your resumé:
- Personal statement
- Extra-curricular activities
- Part-time jobs (if applicable)
This is the statement located under your personal details that describes your strengths as a potential candidate. The personal statement is especially important for students as it gives the recruiter or employer insight about your goals and chosen career path.
Emphasize what you desire in a career as well as your long-term objectives. This shows your interest and dedication to your particular career path – things that companies want to see.
Briefly give a synopsis of why you’re qualified and your skills that apply to the role.
Don’t make your personal statement overly long or verbose. If your statement takes up half of your resumé then it is too long!
Don’t rattle off a list of buzzwords that sound good but don’t really apply to you. Be thoughtful in what you include in your personal statement. The more of a true fit it is, the more your statement will make an impact.
List your education first after your personal statement. This is the most relevant part of your experience to date, particularly if you are looking for an internship in the same area as your studies. Besides listing your degree, institution and graduation date, you can include the subjects you studied if they are applicable.
Don’t get bogged down with minutiae - Spotlight only what is relevant and shows off your skills.
Extra-curricular activities can be another good way to show transferrable skills. Perhaps you captained a football team? This can highlight your people management skills. Or maybe you raised several thousand euros for a charity? This demonstrates both sales and project management skills.
List the most compelling extra-curricular activities you participated in.
Don’t make your extra-curricular list too long. That means do not include every activity you participated in since age 6.
What if you have a part-time job such as working at Starbuck’s during your studies. Should you include this? The answer is it depends.
When you are a student, the key thing to remember is relevance and how well the job brings your skills and assets into focus.
If you have no other internship experience that is relevant and your job at Starbucks was for a reasonable length of time such as 6 months or more, then list it. Why? Because this job can highlight transferrable skills like customer service.
If you have no part-time jobs to include, then focus on your personal statement, studies and extra-curricular activities.
Don’t list a job that you held for a very short amount of time like when you spent two weeks babysitting at 16. Although babysitting demonstrates responsibility and skills like knowing how to care for children, they are not the skills that employers are looking for unless you are applying for a job at a child care center – Again, think relevance!
What to Remember
Recruiters and employers alike look at a candidate’s history to gauge their potential success. The best way to show you’re a safe bet for the job is to highlight your achievements, which can be anything from an academic commendation to organizing a highly successful event. The point is to prove that you’re a go-getter and have what it takes to excel in your desired career.If all of this sounds confusing, then you may want to take a look at GeoWord. We take the time to understand your unique experience and achievements so we can accurately pinpoint and describe your transferrable skills. The result is a an English resumé/CV that gets you noticed!