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What To Do If You Just Can’t Fill A Resume

May 28th, 2008 · 3 Comments

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Yesterday, I had a quick post about the one page resume myth.

But what happens if you can’t even fill one page? Usually, you’d only encounter this situation if you a) haven’t had much work experience or b) held only one job for a long period of time.

There are solutions for these problems.

If you’re a student or recent grad, and you don’t have much work experience, the solution is simple: just load up on your grades, academic achievements and other activities. An employer will understand that a young person might not have an extensive career history. They know you’re just starting out. You just need to show them you have something on the ball and are eager to gain experience. Listing grades, courses taken, clubs, sports, activities… that’s the sort of thing you will fill your resume with. It shows you have a pulse.

If you have held only one job, you just need to get creative. Don’t be afraid to be wordy about all the different facets of your job. Go into all the different responsibilities inherent in what you do and try to group them into different categories. A secretary, for example, doesn’t just take dictation. There are Office Management, Administrative, Client Relations, Public Relations, Scheduling, IT Support, Human Resources Management, Scheduling and Inventory Control aspects of that single job that could be expanded upon.

If you’ve been in the workplace for a while, but you just can’t seem to come up with enough info to fill a resume, then I’d go ahead and try to emphasize things like personal activities, volunteering, clubs and that sort of thing. Usually, I’m completely against putting too much personal data in your resume. I think a resume should be a professional career document, and not read like a personal ad (“I enjoy boating and fishing.). But in this case, putting anything down is better than putting nothing down.

Finally, you can always get a bit creative with fonts and text size to gain a bit of space. If your resume’s font size is 10pt, go ahead and increase it to 12pt. But no bigger than that! You could also increase the font size of category titles like Career History and Professional Profile… that sort of thing. And don’t be afraid to pick a page design that makes use of indentation and margins. For example, look at how this resume design takes up a bunch of page space without looking like it’s fudging.

Related posts:

  1. Busting The One Page Resume Myth
  2. Resume Tip- 4 Quick Ways To Make Your Resume Stand Out
  3. Ask Brian- Best Resume Tip
  4. Old School Resume Hack- Snail Mail
  5. Don’t Include These Skills On Your Resume
  6. What A Resume Is For- If You Don’t Understand This, You Won’t Land A Job

Tags: Resumes

  • Thomas Murphy

    If you don’t have a lot to say, the best way is to “sell” your self as a hard working person and as a friendly one too. That will make them feel like you are the person the’re looking for.

  • zdomain

    I try to encourage my students to do something outside of the classroom. It works great for resume filler. As mentioned, class projects or elective coursework works well. I advise against listing courses that are standard for the degree program, such as calculus or circuits for electrical engineering students.

    One thing students neglect to put on their resume is their past work experience. Don’t show all of the details, especially if it was a very low level manual labor job. But show that you can come to work and follow instructions and hold down a job for a time. Why would anyone pay you $50k/year if you might not know enough to show up every day ready to work?

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