Write Your First Resume

No previous work experience? No problem.

Stever Robbins
4-minute read
Episode #83

Or, maybe not. Just like someone with more on-the-job experience, your resume is telling a story. If you can turn your Rocky Horror excursions into a credible demonstration of leadership prowess, go for it. Just make sure to present it so it builds a strong case.

  • Organized and motivated 12-person cast to attend fifty weekly performances. Resolved conflicts in the group, helped match people to the role that best utilized their skills, and provided Mapquest directions to the theater when Bernice lost them for the thirteenth time.

One skill set worth exploring is your technology skill set. We’re in a unique moment in history where the younger generation “gets” technology in a way that the older workforce doesn’t. If you can find a way to present those skills in a way that’s valuable to someone over 30, you just might be able to use that for a foot in the door. As an experiment, see if you can get 5,000 of your friends to start listening to this podcast. Then call me. The word “internship” springs to mind.

Emphasize Qualities as Well as Skills

Employers want more than just skills. They say you can train people for skills, but not character and values. Though resumes are mainly about skills, you can also sell an employer not only on what you can do, but who you are.

Qualities like:

  • commitment to hard work

  • an ability to learn

  • a problem-solving orientation where you fix things and don’t just wait for others to fix them

  • patience, and

  • a willingness to work for cheap while you learn might all be qualities a future employer could appreciate.

I taught Junior Achievement, and a high school junior showed so much initiative on his team that I hired him as my intern. I knew he didn’t know how to do what I needed; but his willingness to be proactive and take responsibility impressed me. Back when I was an intern, long ago, I worked for very little money, but asked to sit near the CEO to learn what his daily job was like. Little did I suspect that years later, I would end up writing articles on that very topic. (The URL is in this episode’s transcript.)

I hope this gets you started. Rather than organizing your resume around jobs, you’ll organize it around skills. You’ll scour your schoolwork, volunteer work, social life, and just about everything, to find the skills you have that an employer could use. Then create a resume that tells the stories of a skillful person with the character to take those skills and do Great Things for that employer.


This is Stever Robbins. Leave questions at 866-WRK-LESS (866-975-5377) or email getitdone@quickanddirtytips.com.

Work Less, Do More, and have a Great Life!

Young Businesswoman image courtesy of Shutterstock


About the Author

Stever Robbins

Stever Robbins is a graduate of W. Edward Deming’s Total Quality Management training program and a Certified Master Trainer Elite of NLP. He holds an MBA from the Harvard Business School and a BS in Computer Sciences from MIT.