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How To Write A Resume When There’s Nothing To Put On It

How To Write A Resume When There’s Nothing To Put On It

So, you want to find a good job. The job of your dreams, actually. But there’s a small problem: you need a resume that will impress your potential boss and make them want you as an employee.

Resume writing is not difficult. We all know many tricks to writing a resume worth checking and reading. Many blogs and websites share the secrets of building a good resume. HR managers are happy to share various tricks on resume writing and teach you some hooks for making your resume look professional. But none of them works when you haven’t got anything to put on your resume!

How could you come to be in this situation?

  • Are you a graduate with no on-the-job experience yet?

  • Are you a worker without an official job?

  • Is your job experience not professional enough to share when you write a resume?

  • Your professional experience doesn’t fit a job position you apply for, does it?

  • Do you consider your achievements unworthy to mention in your resume?

Sometimes you can find up to 10 common resume problems, but no question mentioned above can be considered a reason to feel defeated and put an end to your new career before you start. Because you always have something to put on your resume and make it work. Check these out!

1. Pay attention to structure.

HR managers need less than 30 seconds to take a look at your resume and decide whether it is worth further reading. That’s why structure plays a quite important role here: your task is to write a resume that will be clear and easy to read.

Your structure should not be distracting. You should combine neat intervals with flat margins, and do not neglect paragraphs. If you need a printed version of your resume, print it with the help of the best laser printer you can find, so your text will look more presentable.

Make your resume readable, and do not forget to proofread it. Don’t trust spell-checkers: as we all know, they can miss even the most obvious spelling mistakes.

2. Put on more information about your education.

When graduates start their job searches, they usually have a lack of experience to put on their resumes. So, if you don’t have enough practice, your task is to persuade a recruiter that you know enough theory.

Mention all courses you’ve finished during your years at university. You can also write the topic of your last thesis or dissertation, and do not forget to mention any languages you speak.

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3. Remember that you do have work experience, even when you think you don’t.

If you still don’t have any professional experience, it doesn’t mean you do not have any work experience at all. When you write a resume, mention all probation or manufacturing practices (if you had them); don’t forget about volunteer programs you participated in, part-time jobs you probably had (even if you worked as a waiter for example), and your organized social activity during your college life.

This information will tell a recruiter many more facts about you than you think. It may show your leadership or organizational skills, and tell about your character and the talents you have.

4. Get some references.

Great references can really help you when you are a young specialist and you do not have enough experience yet. Keep in mind that your former bosses are not the only ones who can give you a reference: it can be your college professor, a leader of your volunteer organization, or a manager of some projects you took part in as a freelancer.

Don’t forget about the Internet, either. Your references do not necessarily have to be printed and signed: some positive comments on LinkedIn or other professional and authoritative networks can help you greatly with your job search.

5. Mention all your achievements.

You shouldn’t be too arrogant or boastful when you write a resume, but this doesn’t mean you should hide information about your achievements and positive traits.

Mention that you have a driving license for example, write about your readiness to learn something new and improve your skills, hint about your leadership qualities and ability to find an approach to different people. What traits do you have that could help you in your career? Are you communicative, open minded, stress resistant, ready for constant deadlines? Put them on your resume when you build it.

6. Use lists to write a resume.

Write a resume as a list. You can use such a format to mention your educational courses, your achievements, traits, and expectations from the job you apply for.

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First of all, it will be much easier for a recruiter to read this type of resume and quickly pick out the information they need. And such a trick will help your resume look very informative and solid when you don’t have many hard facts to mention there.

7. Write a resume for every job opportunity.

The ideal variant is to have resumes for every separate vacancy. As you can understand, some of your achievements may work well for one company but prevent another one from hiring you. Moreover, a recruiter for McDonald’s will hardly need information about your trait of taciturnity, for example. (Though we doubt if you need to mention this in your resume for your perfect career, either!)

Anyway, you’ve got the point, haven’t you? Each vacancy has particular requirements, and there is no need to send them a resume with information they do not require. HR managers are busy people, and they will hardly want to read about how good you are if you don’t have anything in your resume that would fit their expectations.

8. Don’t make your resume too long.

Make sure your resume is no longer than one side of an A4 page: that’s enough to mention all the important and essential information about your education, experience and other achievements. And it will be more comfortable for a recruiter to read it and see everything they need in order to understand whether or not you are a good candidate for them.

Some extra tips to improve your resume:

  • Use short phrases, and remember that if you use some specific terms, make sure that non-specialists will understand them as well.

  • Do not use abbreviations. Big chances are, HR managers will not know the meaning of them all.

  • Do not boast: be restrained, talking truthfully about your achievements.

  • Be accurate: avoid general phrases. Use exact names and titles.

  • Do not use too many different images, graphics, tables, frames, etc. Your resume should be clear and simple.

  • If you have such an opportunity, create a portfolio and make it work for you.

Even when you think you have nothing to put on your resume to make it look professional and competitive, there is always something in you that makes you special. Put it in your resume, and your perfect job will definitely find you.

Featured photo credit: samplemails via farm4.staticflickr.com

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Published on March 20, 2019

How to Write a Powerful Mission Statement for Your Business

How to Write a Powerful Mission Statement for Your Business

Have you ever felt lost in the minutia of your job?

As a business owner, I can relate to getting bogged down in the day to day operations of my business. Things like inventory, payroll, scheduling, purchasing and employee management take up the bulk of my day.

While these things are important and need to get done, focusing too much on the details can make you lose sight of the big picture. This is why having a good mission statement comes in handy.

What is a Mission Statement?

Put simply, a mission statement is an internal document that provides a clear purpose for the organization. It provides a common reference point for everyone in the organization to start from.

In other words, after reading your company’s mission statement, managers and employees should be able to answer the question “What are company’s main objectives?” For example, Southwest Airlines mission statement reads:[1]

“Southwest Airlines is dedication to the highest quality of Customer Service delivered with a sense of warmth, friendliness, individual pride, and Company Spirit. We are committed to provide our Employees a stable work environment with equal opportunity for learning and personal growth.”

In this single statement, Southwest conveys the company’s goals of providing the highest level of customer service as well as providing a good working environment for their employees.

Mission Statement VS. Vision Statement

While the mission and vision statements are related, there are subtle but distinct differences the you should be aware of.

First of all, a mission statement is designed primarily as an internal company document. It provides clarity and direction for managers and employees.

While there’s nothing wrong with sharing your company’s mission statement with the outside world, its intended audience is within the company.

While a mission statement provides a general framework for the organization, the vision statement is usually a more inspirational statement designed to motivate employees and inspire customers. Going back to Southwest Airlines, their vision statement reads:[2]

“To become the world’s most loved, most flown, and most profitable airline.”

This statement inspires good feeling from the customer while motivating the employees to achieve that vision.

What Does a Good Mission Statement Look Like?

When coming up with a mission statement, it’s important to take your time and do it right. Too often, people (especially entrepreneurs) just write down the first thing that comes to mind and they end up with worthless or (worse yet) a generic mission statement that is utterly useless.

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Remember, a mission statement should provide a common framework for everyone in your organization.

When writing a mission statement, you should always try to incorporate the following;

  • What we do?
  • How we do it?
  • Whom do we do it for?
  • What value are we bringing?

Now, you can see how tempting it is to just come up with something generic that ticks off those four boxes. Something like “We provide the best widgets available online for the consumer.”

After all, that did check off all the boxes:

What we do? Provide widgets.

How we do it? Online.

Who do we do it for? The consumer.

What value we bring? The best widgets.

The problem with this mission statement is that it could apply to any number of companies producing the same widget. There is nothing to distinguish your company or its widgets from any of your competitors widgets.

Compare that mission statement to this one:

“We provide the highest quality widgets directly to the consumer at an affordable price backed up with a 100% satisfaction guarantee. If our clients aren’t 100% satisfied, we’ll make it right.”

What’s the difference?

Both mission statements answer all the same questions of what, how, whom and value. But in the second statement, they are differentiating their company from all other competitors by answering the question “what makes us unique”.

Another way to read that is, “Why you should buy from us.” In this example, it’s because our widgets are of the highest quality and we stand behind them 100%.

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You might have noticed the statement didn’t say that we sell widgets at the lowest possible price. That’s because we are emphasizing quality and satisfaction over price.

A different company’s mission statement may emphasize selling widgets at the lowest possible price with little to no mention of a guarantee.

Hallmarks of a Good Mission Statement

1. Keep It Brief

Your mission statement should be no longer than three sentences. This is not your company’s magnum opus.

You should be able to distill the what, how, who and why questions into a succinct message.

2. Have a Purpose

A company’s missions statement should include the reason it even exists.

Make clear exactly what the company does with statements like “We strive to provide our customers with …….”

3. Include a “How”

Take this as an opportunity to differentiate your company from its competitors.

How do you provide a product or service that’s different or better than how your competitor provides it?

4. Talk About the Value You Bring to the Table

This is where you can really set yourself apart from the competition. This is the “why” customers should buy from you.

Do you offer the lowest prices? Fastest delivery? Exceptional customer service? Whatever it is that sets you apart and gives your particular products, services or company an advantage talk about it in the mission statement.

5. Make Sure It’s Plausible

It’s okay to shoot for the stars just to settle for the moon, but not in a mission statement.

Being overly ambitious will only set you and your employees up for failure, hurt morale and make you lose credibility. You will also scare away potential investors if they think that you are not being realistic in your mission statement.

6. Make It Unique and Distinctive

Imagine if someone who knew nothing about your business walked in and saw how it was operating, then they read your mission statement. Would they be able to recognize that mission statement was attached to that business? If not re-work it.

7. Think Long Term

A mission statement should be narrow enough so that it provides a common framework for the existing business, but open enough to allow for longer term goals. It should be able to grow as the business grows.

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8. Get Feedback

This is very important, especially from managers and employees.

Getting their input can clarify how they currently see the company and their role within the organization. It’s also a good way to get people “on-board,” as studies show that people are more likely to go along with an idea if they feel included in the decision making process beforehand.

9. Review Often and Revise as Necessary

You should review the missions statement often for two reasons.

First, as a reminder of what the essence of the company is. It’s easy to forget when you are in the day to day grind of the business.

And two, to make sure that the mission statement is still relevant. Things change, and not everything can be anticipated at the time a mission statement was written.

For example, if a mission statement was written before the advent of the internet, a company that use to sell things door to door now probably has a website that people order from. You should always update the mission statement to reflect these changes.

The Value of Mission Statements: Why Go Through All of These in the First Place?

It may seem like a lot of work just for a few sentences that describe a company, but the value of a well written mission statement should not be discounted.

First of all, if you are an entrepreneur, crystallizing the what, how, whom and value questions will keep you focused on the core business and its values.

If you are a manager or other employee, knowing the company’s basic tenants will help inform your interactions with both customers and colleagues alike.

Strategic Planning

A relevant mission statement acts as a framework for strategic planning. It provides guidance and parameters for making strategic decisions for the future of the company.

Measuring Performance

By having the company’s mission in a concrete form, it also allows for an objective measurement of how well the organization is meeting its stated goals at any one time.

Management can identify strengths and weaknesses in the organization based on the criteria set forth in the mission statement and make decisions accordingly.

Solidifying the Company’s Goals and Values for Employees

Part of a well run organization is nurturing happy and productive employees.

As humans, we all have an innate need for both purpose and to be part of something larger than ourselves. Providing employees with a clearly defined mission statement helps to define their role in the larger organization. Thus, fulfilling both of these needs.

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Now I’m not saying that a mission statement can overcome low pay and poor working conditions, but with everything else being equal, it can contribute to a happier and more productive workforce.

To Hold Management Accountable

By creating a mission statement, a company is publicly stating its highest values and goals for the world to see. By doing so, you are inviting both the public and your employees to to scrutinize how well the company lives up to its ideals.

So if you state that you only provide the highest quality products, and then offer something less, it’s fair for both the public and the employees to question, and even call for a change in management.

If management doesn’t take the mission statement seriously, no one else will either; and the legitimate authority that management rely’s on will be diminished.

To Serve as an Example

This is the opposite side of the coin from the previous statement. If the highest levels of management are seen taking the mission statement seriously and actively managing within the framework of the statement, that attitude filters down throughout the organization.

After all, a good employee knows what’s important to their boss and will take the steps necessary to curry favor with them.

Finally, use the company’s mission statement as a way to define roles within the company. You can do this by giving each division in the company a copy of the mission statement and challenge the head of each division to create a mission statement for their respective departments.

Their individual mission statements should focus on how each department fits in and ultimately contributes to the success of the company’s overall mission statement. This serves as both a clarifying and a team building exercise for all parts of the organization.

Final Thoughts

Developing a mission statement is too often just an after-thought, especially for entrepreneurs. We tend to prioritize things that we perceive will give us the biggest “bang for our buck.”

Somehow, taking the time and effort to sit down and think seriously about the what, whom, how and value of our business seems like a waste of time. After all, we got in the business to make money and become successful, isn’t that all we need to know?

That mindset will probably get you started okay, but if you find yourself having any success at all, you’ll find that there really is such a thing as growing pains.

By putting in the time and effort to create a mission statement, you are laying the groundwork that will give you a path to follow in your growth. And isn’t building long term success what we are really after?

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Featured photo credit: Fab Lentz via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Southwest Airlines: About Page
[2] Fit Small Business: 10 Vision Statement Examples To Spark Your Imagination

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