4 Ways to Bulk Up Your 'Thin' Resumé

Written for CMANXT.ca by Tracy Reese, an instructor at New Brunswick Community College (NBCC).

As you begin your marketing degree or diploma program, and you may already be thinking about applying for your first position as a marketing professional. You may feel a bit overwhelmed, particularly if you have a thin resumé.

I often receive questions from students on how to beef up their resumés when they have little or no work experience — or in other words, they have a 'thin' resumé. Luckily, there are a few steps you can take to offset a 'thin' resumé before you kick off your job search.

Make use of your course outlines

As you progress through your classes, save all your course outlines, or ask your professors or instructors for a copy.

When modifying your resumé for each job posting you are applying to, pull keywords from your course competencies that align with the key skills noted in the job advertisement. This strategy will help solidify that you possess the key skills that the employer is looking for.

Create a skills-based resumé

Building off utilizing key competencies from your course outlines, creating a skills-based resumé rather than a chronological employment-based resumé will allow you to highlight the abilities gained throughout your marketing program.

As noted above, matching your soft and hard skills learned throughout your program to a job posting will let a potential employer know that you possess the skills they are looking for despite not having on-the-job experience.

Check out this article to learn more about creating a skills-based resumé.

Make volunteer work count

Noting volunteer work on a resumé can show the reader that you're community-minded, but for a student with a 'thin' resumé, you can get a lot more mileage from volunteering with the following approach:

Seek out volunteer opportunities that not only align with your personal values but will also allow you to practice the skills you're learning in school. For example, if you are passionate about helping our local animal shelter, offer to help with creating a marketing plan, writing social media copy, or planning and promoting events.

Plenty of charitable organizations would welcome the opportunity to have a student perform marketing tasks that would help raise their profile in the community. Future employers will gladly accept relevant volunteer experience in lieu of work experience.

Take advantage of experiential learning opportunities

Experiential learning opportunities provided through your coursework are a great way to show your skills in lieu of employment on a 'thin' resumé. Experiential learning projects with an external partner will allow you to complete a marketing skills-based project with a business or charitable organization. This type of project work will help showcase your skills in a measurable way, so don't forget to note them on your resumé!

You should also inquire if your college or university utilizes experiential learning platforms like Riipen or Orbis. These platforms connect organizations that have course-specific projects to complete with students. The bonus for students using these platforms is the opportunity to network and showcase their skills with a potential employer when completing a project.

Good luck on your job applications! Check out CMA NXT, and get involved!

Get more good advice from CMA NXT