January 09, 2023 2 min read

Tracy Reese, an Instructor at New Brunswick Community College (NBCC), shares her tips for adding substance and experience to a thin resume.

Thin Resumes

As you near the end of your marketing degree or diploma program and begin to apply for your first position as a marketing professional, you may be feeling a bit overwhelmed, particularly if you have a thin resume. I often receive questions from graduating students on how to beef up their resumes when they have little or no work experience, or in other words, they have a ‘thin’ resume. Luckily, there are a few steps you can take to offset a ‘thin’ resume before you kick off your job search. 

Make Use of Your Course Outlines

Hopefully, as you have progressed through your classes, you have been saving all the course outlines. If you have not saved your course outlines, ask your professors or instructors for a copy. When modifying your resume 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 Resume

Building off utilizing key competencies from your course outlines, creating a skills-based resume rather than a chronological employment-based resume 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.

Thin Resumes with Tracy Reese

Make Volunteer Work Count

Noting volunteer work on a resume can show the reader that you are community-minded, but for a student about to graduate with a ‘thin’ resume, 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 are 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

Tracy Reese

Experiential learning opportunities provided through your coursework are a great way to show your skills in lieu of employment on a ‘thin’ resume. 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 resume. 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. 

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