What Should I Add to My Resume Without Experience?

Find creative ways to stand out and create your opportunities

Felix Cabrera
Aug 20 · 6 min read
Photo by Glenn Carstens-Peters on Unsplash

Before you pass on that internship or job opportunity, read this …

Do you feel that you don’t have anything to offer to a tech internship or job because you don’t have any experience?

No worries, I understand where you are coming from. Maybe you are a computer science student finishing your degree, or you are learning to code by yourself and you are getting started.

Thus, you don’t have a lot of experience on your resume. That’s okay. I was in that position too when I started my professional journey.

So, today, I will share some things I did when applying and landing my first internship. Things that you can start doing right now and add to your resume that may help you land the internship you desire.

Also, I will share some insights I have gained through the years, of changes you can make to your resume.

The idea behind the strategy I am going to share today is to find ways to stand out from other candidates.

In my experience, when applying to tech-related internships and jobs, such as in the areas of mobile and web development, there can be hundreds or even thousands of applicants for the same position (depending on the company or organization you are applying to).

Thus, finding ways to stand out is essential; this way, you draw attention to your application and can get started in the interviewing process.

On the other hand, in my experience, I have learned that the primary concern of the company or organization that is going to hire you is that you can deliver results and add value to their team.

Hence, another part of the strategy I am sharing here is to find ways to show the potential employer or internship provider that you can deliver results and value with your talents. Also, show that there is a high probability you are going to be successful if you are hired.

Another critical factor in this strategy is to use the fact that you don’t have much experience and transform it into a strength. In other words, to find ways where you can create your experience and exhibit your skills.

Without further ado, let’s get started.


Add Side Projects

Side projects are a great way to add new skills to your resume, as well as showcase your talent and skills.

What I like about side projects is that they are a tangible product of your work. That is, side projects are a result of the skills you have acquired in your career up to that point.

One thing you can do is host your side project somewhere online. Or, you can add it to the Google Play or iOS App Store (if it’s a mobile application).

Then, you can choose a URL and add it to your resume next to the project name. This way, the internship or job recruiter can see the project if they desire.

Also, you can talk about the project during your interview if the topic comes up and have the URL as a reference so you can explain why you chose to work on that side project.

You can explain why you decided to use the tools you chose to develop the application. You can also talk about the problem you aimed to solve.

Another great thing about side projects is that you can start your own or go on activities like hackathons. With hackathons, you can work on a project with other developers (or by yourself, depending on the hackathon) and add it to your resume.

What I like about side projects that are done in groups is that you can explain your role in the team and talk about the experience working with others. I believe that having this experience to talk about is great because you may work as part of a team.

Hence, having this group experience may benefit you and showcase your teamwork skills.

Also, another tip regarding side projects is to make them as unique as possible. This way, you can catch the attention of the recruiter and stand out. If you are working on coming up with side projects ideas, focus on them being unique.

Try to showcase personality; I believe this helps. Furthermore, if you can add side projects that are made using the programming languages or tools that the company is looking for, I think this can work in your favor, even if you don’t have experience.


Skills You Have and Companies Need

A common thing I see with the students I work with, is that they add all the skills they have worked on in the past, including non-technical skills.

What I did and worked for me is to include only the skills that are required by the potential employer or internship provider. These are the first skills I would add.

I believe that including only the skills that are relevant to the position makes it accessible for the recruiter to see the skills that they need when going over hundreds or even thousands of resumes. Also, this may help you stand out from other candidates that don’t have these skills.

For instance, if you are going to apply for a front-end developer job or an internship related to front end, I would add skills like HTML, CSS, and JavaScript.

I would also add any skills required by the employer (that I had up to that point) stated in the job description.

Then, I would remove all the other skills that are not related to the job description or do not help you in any way. Also, I would relocate these skills to the top of the resume where they can be seen easily.


Create Your Opportunities

If you would like to start getting experience, here’s something out of the box.

If you are a college student, you can ask the administration, such as your department director, if they need help with their website or any other project.

See if there’s a paid opening, if not, offer that you can help for free. The only thing you ask for is a reference or a recommendation letter, which you can submit as part of your application to the internship or job of your choice.

I know that working for free may not sound very appealing. However, this is to get you started and add some experience to your resume. I believe this is a win-win situation. You help the department as well as gaining experience.

The reference is precious when applying to jobs and internships as they can give an excellent impression of your work. Similarly, the recommender can write about your overall performance if you did an excellent job and may work in your favor when submitting your application.

Remember, the idea is to look for creative ways to stand out.

Creating your own opportunities can help you gain experience and be achieved by thinking outside of the box.

No worries if you are not a college student, you can reach out to a local non-profit and see if they need help with something. Of course, the things you can help them with by using your technical skills. The strategy is the same, regardless.


Conclusion

Just because you don’t have any work-related experience, it should not be an obstacle to get the internship or job you want.

Find creative ways to stand out and create your opportunities. Also, find ways you can show that you can add value to the company or organization you are applying to.

There you have it, things I have done in the past when working on my resume, as well as things I have learned through the years, along my journey, that I wanted to share with you.

You can get started and apply to the internship that you want, even if you feel you don’t have much experience.

Come on. You can do it!

I hope this helps!


Results may vary. These tips and advice are based on my experience and opinion as a former undergraduate computer science student, tutor, teacher, and software developer.

Everyone is different, so the advice shared in this article may or may not work for you.

Better Programming

Advice for programmers.

Felix Cabrera

Written by

A.k.a. Felix The Dev. Software Developer. Programming teacher, tutor, and coach. youtube.com/c/FelixTheDev yadielcabrera.com

Better Programming

Advice for programmers.

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