Ask Amber: How to quantify your resume when you have little formal work experience

By Amber Alarid, JVA Consulting

These days, resumes need to be more detailed and more professional than ever to stand out from the pack. One of the ways job seekers are setting themselves apart is by quantifying their resumes, showing employers just how successful their endeavors have been. However, this can be tough for a recent graduate or someone changing careers. Don’t fret, there are ways to accomplish this no matter what stage you’re at in your career. For examples of how to quantify accomplishments and the advantages of doing so, click here.

As I have said before, never underestimate the value of volunteer experience. If you have donated a significant amount of your time (whether it be hours or full days/weeks), quantify that relationship to demonstrate your commitment to a particular organization and your zest for the cause. If possible or relevant, quantify the number of people you personally served (e.g., delivered nearly 100 meals) or the number of relevant items you contributed (e.g., gathered 12 auction items for annual fundraiser).

Relevant internship experience is also something quantifiable and resume-appropriate. Include the approximate time you held the internship in either hours completed (if tracked) or the months/years you were there. Think of the tasks you did and how those can become tangible examples of your work. Report the number of fundraisers or events you helped organize, the board meetings you attended and the proposals to which you contributed (these are only a few examples of experiences you should include).

If your work has ever been published, this is a great accomplishment to share with potential employers. Share the number of articles or blogs that were published through an internship, volunteer opportunity or at any other point. Having your work recognized speaks volumes and says to a potential employer that you are a competent writer.

Attending conferences not only builds your knowledge of the sector and your network, it also shows a personal commitment to professional development. If you have regularly attended a particular conference, communicate to employers how often the conference is held (annually, biannually, etc.) and how many times you have attended. Being asked to speak at events or conferences is an accomplishment that should certainly be included as well.

When you are crafting the ideal resume, the most important thing is to use concrete numbers, while also being creative. Though you might be new to the sector, there are still ways that previous experience can lend itself to the job to which you are applying. Any activity in the nonprofit field has the potential to open doors for you if you can demonstrate your accomplishments during that time and show how you can help achieve similar goals at a new organization.


This entry was posted in Books and articles you want to read, College graduates and nonprofits, Gen Xers, Human resources, Jobs/economic development, Millenials, Trends and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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