I teach college juniors and seniors, and every spring, like clockwork, I have panicked students come to me with wide eyes asking, “What do I put on my resume if I have no work experience?” They belabor the fact that most of the job postings they’ve seen request previous experience or job-specific skills.
Like many of you fellow instructors, I strive to impart practice skills that can be leveraged throughout my students’ careers. These skills are great resume builders.
So, my answer to that common student question, “What do I put on my resume if I have no work experience?” is “Include the skills you’ve learned throughout my course and others.”
For example, I teach digital marketing analytics. I share the resume builders that are shown below with my students on the first and last days of the course. I tell them these are items they’ll be able to include on their resumes if they fully engage in the course. The resume builders make the course a foundational step in the students’ job search.
Digital Marketing Analytics Resume Builders
- Knowledgeable about digital marketing analytics implementation using Google Tag Manager
- Competent at using Google Data Studio to visualize data and build dashboards
- Proven digital marketing analysis execution using Google Analytics, SEMrush, Mailchimp, Facebook Analytics, Social Searcher, and Google Trends
- Experienced using Excel and its features for data analysis (conditional formatting, IF functions, pivot tables, linear regressions, and Solver)
Notice that these skills are highly specific. As a former interviewer, specific skills are much, much more believable and impressive than generic skills such as “proficient in Excel.” If I had a dollar for every resume I read that listed “proficient in Excel” — but I digress.
These outlined resume builders are applicable to each student who has completed all assigned activities and fully engaged in my course. If presented at the beginning of the semester, these resume builders help motivate students to earn these valuable skills for their resumes.
Identifying Resume Builders for Your Courses
Talk to employers in your field to understand in-demand job skills. Once you have a list of these skills, compare them to your course for overlaps or adjacent topics. Add and enhance the instruction of in-demand skills based on employers’ feedback. If employers all mention a new, frequently used technology, incorporate a lesson and assignment into your course on using that technology.
Reshaping my digital marketing analytics course with the above resume builders in mind significantly enhanced my course and student engagement.
Identifying resume builders while planning your course helps shape the course to be a valuable part of a student’s future career.
Thinking about what a student will be able to include in her resume after taking your course forces you to incorporate practical skills and technologies.
Reshaping my digital marketing analytics course with the above resume builders in mind significantly enhanced my course and student engagement. It was so impactful, I worked with Stukent to create a turnkey e-textbook for other teachers to impart these digital marketing analytics resume builders to their students.
I’d loved to hear your thoughts on incorporating resume builders in your courses. Do you include resume builders in your courses? If yes, what specific skills do your students gain for inclusion on their resumes?
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Nathan David is passionate about teaching and serves as an adjunct faculty instructor at Marquette University. He has 10+ years of digital marketing and business analytics experience and has driven results for a range of businesses from Fortune 500 companies to large health systems including Cleveland Clinic. He is the founder of Meta Impact and has worked as a consultant at Publicis Sapient.