In writing about our personal experiences, we sometimes mention products or services that we use or recommend. This page may contain affiliate links for which we receive a commission.
When you’re looking for a job and handing out resumes, it’s important to highlight that you have a wide range of skills and experience on your resume.
Most importantly, you want to show that you have specific experience that the jobs you’re applying for require.
Nothing is more frustrating than having 4 interviews and all of your references called and you’re sure there is an offer coming — but it doesn’t. This happened to me.
The reason? I lacked specific non-profit fundraising experience even though I was applying for a director of marketing position.
Even more frustrating? They didn’t end up hiring for the position at all — so I’m better off — and I learned something about relevant work experience.
What if you don’t have a lot of experience in the field you’re pursuing yet? It may seem like you have no other choice but to go back to school — but if you’re willing to be creative, there are a few other ways to pad your resume and make yourself more attractive to potential employers in the field you want to work in.
Here are the 4 best ways to improve your resume that don’t involve returning to college.
There will always a limit to what your existing job experience can do for you. So it’s wise to do whatever you can to gain more experience no matter what line of work you’re pursuing.
But if you’re trying to break into a new field, then you have even more to gain by doing one or more of these things:
#1 – Take MOOC Courses
The easiest way to bypass the hassle and expense of going back to school is to take MOOC courses that complement your job experience or are relevant to the field you want to enter.
MOOCs — Massive Open Online Courses offer:
- Free video courses put forward by major universities throughout the world.
- Curriculums created from real course lecture material.
- Diverse subject matter to learn about practically any topic.
These courses, which have become very popular with independent learners over the last several years, can also be used to learn skills relevant to in-demand career fields, including engineering, cyber-security and social media marketing.
#2 – Work As A Freelancer
No amount of education can prepare you for a job in the same way as having real experience in that job.
For that reason, freelancing can be a great way to prove to prospective employers that your skills are both developed and valuable.
Not all job fields lend themselves readily to freelance work, but there are many careers that will allow you to work on your own before taking the skills you gain to a larger business.
Working as a freelancer also adds to your resume by demonstrating entrepreneurship and business skills, which are highly desired by modern companies seeking out the most competitive and innovative candidates.
I used freelance website design and content editing to pad my resume for a marketing position I was interested in and I had proprietary rights over my content so I didn’t need permission to use it.
#3 – Find Volunteer Opportunities
One of the best ways to gain knowledge about new career fields is through volunteering.
Like freelancing, volunteer work won’t be available in every field, but there are still many careers for which some form of volunteering can develop applicable skills.
If you can find an organization that offers charitable services related to the field you want to get into, you can develop new career skills while helping others in the process.
#4 – Consider A Transitional Job In A Related Field
One of the best ways to improve your resume to match your career goals is to find a job that is somewhere in between your present position and the one you want.
If you’re a salesman or service provider and you want to break into the field of marketing, a possibility for you is finding a transitional job in billing. You’ll gain insight into business logistics and how money is made from the efforts made by marketers and salespeople.
If you’re creative, you can find a transitional job between almost any two fields that will help you develop your skills and land the job you really want.
So there you have it — adding more experience to your resume clearly doesn’t mean you have to go back to school.
Taking MOOC courses, doing freelance work, volunteering, and working in transitional fields are 4 of the best ways to improve your resume in order to make it suited to a new and exciting line of work.
Resources To Improve Your Resume & Job Opportunities
- Overqualified? Should You Dumb Down Your Resume To Get A Job?
- How To Differentiate Yourself From Other Applicants
- How To Land Your Dream Job
- 3 Ways To Make Your LinkedIn Profile Stand Out
- How To Find The Best Online College For You
I’m a health nut, a frugal mom, a dog lover, a DIYer, and a gadget girl. Personally, as a post-divorce, working single mom on a budget I have a lot of experiences that I enjoy sharing so others can learn from the things I wish I knew earlier! Professionally, I’ve worked full-time in a variety of marketing, sales, and editing jobs. You can always find me at the corner of Good News & Fun Times as Managing Editor at The Fun Times Guide (32 fun & helpful websites).