What Resume Format is Best for Student With No Experience?

Here’s a question from Jason, a student who has skills but no paid experience to put on his resume. He wants to know what resume format he should use. Yana Parker answers Jason’s question by giving him a few options. Although she wrote this years ago, the essence of the answer still stands.

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What resume format is best for a student with skills but no experience?

Dear Yana,
I am a student who is graduating this spring. I’m primarily a computer animator but have web design and other multimedia skills. I have no professional experience in my area but I have a page full of technical skills and programs I am experienced with.

I have looked for a template for formulating a resume but have yet to find one that fits my needs. In fact I’m even more confused now than I was when I started. Could you give me an outline of how I should approach my resume or direct me to some sources that have this information?
Thanks for your time.

Dear Jason,
Well, first of all, “the medium is the message.” If you’re applying for work doing web design, you could create a web page that SERVES AS a unique resume, a page that DEMONSTRATES your web page design skills. That could be more interesting to your “reader” than a text-based resume. Then you could send an email to the potential employer providing the web address of your resume, and request that they look at your website.

If you’re applying for a computer animator position, again consider how you could DEMONSTRATE your skill in lieu of the standard resume. Could you do a website that included animation? Could you send (or OFFER to send) a disk with an example of your animation work on it?

BUT, if you decide to stick with a text-only type of resume, DON’T WORRY about finding a standardized template. The only RULE in resume writing is that the COMMUNICATION WORKS for both parties — you get your points across, and the reader gets the information he needs and makes him WANT to interview you. You can be pretty creative about HOW that information is presented, since you’re in a creative field. Think about how YOU’D like to see the info presented, if YOU were the hiring person! Trust your gut feeling on this. Make it clear, make it interesting, and don’t worry about format.

Of course, DO be traditional at the TOP where your name needs to appear on the first line, your address and phone number beneath it, your email/website info beneath that, and then your OBJECTIVE (what position you’re looking for). That should all go at the top.

After that: BE CREATIVE, write about examples of what you can do (whether you’ve been paid for it or not), and choose the content of your resume with the INTERESTS and AGENDA of the recipient in mind (i.e., what’s their product or service? How can YOUR skills promote THEIR agenda?)

Best to you in your new career!