Ask Vicki: How should I structure my resume if I have limited experience?
In this answer on Quora, Monster career expert Vicki Salemi offers resume tips to help highlight your skills, no matter what job you're after.
Each week, Monster’s career expert Vicki Salemi—a former recruiter who utilizes 15-plus years of experience in recruiting and human resources to empower job seekers—answers user questions on Quora. We’ll be republishing the answers here. If you have a question for Vicki, send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Q. How should I structure my resume if I have limited experience?
A. There are two answers to this question without knowing if you’re an entry-level or experienced candidate.
For entry-level candidates, structure your resume with your education on top; then, in chronological order, list your experiences. While your work experiences and skill set may be limited, you can expand upon other areas: volunteering experiences, awards you’ve achieved, study abroad programs you participated in and more.
For experienced candidates, go with a functional resume. Unlike chronological resumes that list your job history in date order, functional resumes focus more on skill sets. Functional resumes highlight your abilities, such as hiring, managing or coaching. You'll still need to summarize your work history, but this is usually done at the bottom of your resume.
With limited experience in a new area, you need to look at job descriptions for the roles you’re pursuing and really drill down to get at which skills and experiences are coveted most. These skills are usually listed in priority order, with the most important ones appearing at the top.
Next, see if you have any transferable skills. If you’re in marketing and oversee a $1 million budget, your skills at managing a budget are evident, regardless of your industry. That’s what you need to highlight. Focus on the skills and experiences you already possess to demonstrate to new employers you have the chops to get the job done well, even when you’re new to the field.