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“I have nothing to put on my resume” — Do This!

“I have nothing to put on my resume” — Do This!

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For those with little working experience, few extra-curricular activities, or a shorter educational background, it can be daunting to put together a resume.

The good thing is that this means there is a lot of blank space to work with! How can you format your resume to make you look like a great potential employee?


What should I do if I have nothing to put on my resume?

If you can’t think of anything to write on your resume, consider the following: volunteer experiences, school events, school courses, club activities, personal references, hobbies, etc. Detail what sort of skills they resulted in, and why they should mean something to an employer. 

When reading resume how-to articles, some common advice is to keep it short, keep it relevant, and to cut out the extraneous.

However, for those who do not have much experience these rules can be relaxed. 

You don’t normally include educational experiences such as SAT scores or GPA once you’ve gained experience, but you can certainly do so if you have little else to include.

You might even consider adding a section for your availability

An employer is taking a big chance hiring someone with no professional experience, so be sure to include many impressive feats or experiences which show dedication and drive.

Let’s take a look at some of the best things you can include in a resume that show that you are ready and capable of taking on a new job!

How to include volunteering experiences on a resume

Volunteering experiences can range from one-day events to weekly or monthly stints.

Although unpaid, this experience is akin to working experience and could be put in the experience section on a resume.

This is a great substitute for real working experience when formatting this section! 

Be sure to include the name of the company/event you volunteered at (i.e. the employer name), and the job title. If it’s something less professional such as mowing lawns for your neighbors, only list the job title.

Include the date started and the date finished (or ‘Present’ for ongoing volunteering), and then list the responsibilities of the task. 

When formatted correctly, this would look like the following:


Dog Walker (3-2020 – Present)

  • Took care of and walked neighborhood dogs three times a week
  • Ensured safety and well-being of up to four animals simultaneously
  • Scheduled appointments for meet-and-greets of different dogs
  • Assisted in basic command training

While an experience such as this isn’t particularly relevant on its own, it does show discipline to have stuck with something. It’s a good way to show that you are a reliable person who can complete assigned tasks.


How to include school events on a resume

Consider listing school events such as a school spirit week, a civil rights assembly, a fundraiser bake-sale, or other things which require planning.

The skills gained from the planning, budgeting, and communication required of school events can be very impressive!

Include the event name, the dates you worked on it, and the description of tasks.

This should look like the following:


School Spirit Week Planning Committee  –  (March 2014 – June 2014)

  • Collaborated with students and teachers to plan a week-long event to raise student morale
  • Operated within budget constraints, and documented all purchases and inventory
  • Maintained a school email account and communicated updates to guests of the event, other collaborators, and teachers 


How to include school courses on a resume

Every resume should have an education section on it detailing the highest levels of education you have achieved.

Aside from this, listing individual classes on a resume is a good way to show experience if you have little relevant working experience. 

School courses should be included in the skills section starting with the name of the skill you gained, and then the description of the course.

When formatted correctly, this should look like the following:



  • Took a 12-week course on the essentials of photoshop
  • Created flyer and brochure designs, and utilized photo enhancement techniques
  • Completed a final project consisting of the creation of an advertising campaign for a small business

Of course, when your resume fills up with relevant professional experience, you can shorten this example to simply say: “Proficient in Photoshop”. 

It is also a good idea to include your expected graduation date in the education section if you are including classes on a resume (as in this example).

This is to reassure your employer that you will have more free time in the future, or to let them know that you have some time restraints in the present.

If you have already graduated, list that date in the education section instead.


How to list club activities on a resume

School clubs are things that require daily or weekly meetings, in other words, they are a consistent activity requiring effort over a long period of time.

This is perfect to include on a resume! Club activities are usually put in an “Extra-curriculars” section, but may be put in the “experience section” if that area is particularly empty. 

Include the name of the club, your position in the club (if impressive), and the dates during which you have participated.

Then detail the skills, responsibilities, and achievements you have earned. 

When formatted in the extra-curricular section, club activities look like the following:


Track and FieldCaptain – (January 2019 – July 2020)

  • Led a team of 25 students in track-and-field training three times a week
  • Maintained records of running times, personal bests, and charted them as needed
  • Communicated canceled or postponed practices and meet locations via e-mail
  • Won a silver medal at the state varsity track-and-field meet (February 2020)


How to list personal references on a resume

When listing personal references on a resume, include the first and last name of the person, their telephone number with area code, and your relationship to them.

It is recommended to have three personal references and to not include anyone from your immediate family. 

References are not typically included on a resume for working professionals, but they are important for those with little experience.

This is because there are people willing to vouch for someone’s attitude and work ethic, even though they may not be a boss or a manager.

A references section is usually located at the very end of a resume.

It can be called “Professional References” or simply “References”. 

Good personal references include teachers, coaches, guidance counselors, or volunteer activity directors.

The best references, however, are acquaintances who work within the company you are applying for! 

When formatted correctly, a references section should look like the following:


John Smith      Economics Department Head (555) 123-4567

Jane Doe          Track-and-Field Coach (555) 254-8989

Him Hershall   Volunteer Fire Department Manager (555) 987-6382

If an employer specifically asks, you may include your references’ e-mails in this section. Otherwise, only list the phone number.

Make sure you get permission from your references to include them on your resume, as it is impolite to reference them otherwise. 


How to list hobbies on a resume

Hobbies should be listed in the skills section on a resume. List the name of the hobby in a way that is easy to understand.

Then, list the skills which you have gained from it.

Do not include dates in this section, though it is acceptable to include the number of years practiced in the description. 

For those with little experience, it is perfectly acceptable to use hobbies in place of more “professional” skills as placeholders.

Hobbies are often self-taught skills, and that in itself is pretty impressive.

Think of the job you are applying for, and then consider relevant hobbies. 

Graphic design? You should list art-related hobbies. A flower shop? You should describe your gardening hobby. A restaurant? Talk about your food-blogging hobby.

You shouldn’t just include any hobby that comes to mind, rather you should only include those which may interest someone in a certain field.

When formatted correctly, listing a hobby in the skills section looks like the following:


Food Photography

  • Maintain a popular online food blog with over 5000 followers
  • Capture food while considering zoom, angle, and lighting
  • Had photography included in three different news stories about new restaurants

The restaurant likely isn’t looking to hire you as a food photographer, but having a hobby that is relevant to their field will help your resume stand out among the others.

It also adds a personal touch, and gives you something fun to talk about during an interview!

Let’s look at another example using a videography hobby:


Educational Video Creation

  • Maintain a YouTube channel with over 1000 subscribers dedicated to teaching English as a second language
  • Write lesson objectives, scripts, and create lesson materials to be used on-camera
  • Proficiency in Google Hangouts, Zoom, and other online learning applications

In this case, a school would be very pleased to know a teacher has this sort of knowledge from their hobby.

It also may give the potential employer an idea as to how to grow their company by utilizing these skills.

Hint at the ways you can be useful to an employer, and you’ll get the callback for sure!