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Are You a Fresh Grad with No Work Experience? Here’s How You Can Build an Impressive Resume

A lot of job positions require some sort of experience for candidates to be considered. This is bad news for many job seekers who have just graduated from college and might not have had a ‘real’ job yet.

If you’re facing a similar dilemma, don’t worry. You can still impress prospective employers with a sparse resume as long as you include this one thing in your application.

What Employers Look For

stockfour/Shutterstock — It’s preferred if you come in with a list of your references already prepared

According to Lionbridge Technologies recruiter Mike Ruggiero, having professional references or being able to get them quickly is what really matters. These would help them find out more about you as a person and as an applicant other than just what you’ve put on your resume.

References from people who have worked with you in the past would shed light on your work ethic and skills you excel in.

Who to Ask — Professors you had for more than one course are better equipped to give an evaluation of your character

So, who should you ask for references? It can really be anyone as long as they can vouch for your abilities.

It can be one or two of your professors from college, a coach, or a former boss you had during a summer job. Just make sure that the person you ask actually had a professional type of experience with you.

That said, don’t make the mistake of using a family member or a neighbor as a reference like many others have made.

If you’re unsure of what kind of references a hiring manager is looking for, you can ask them directly. For example, having one from a former coach would be great if they’re interested in knowing how well you can work with a team.

According to Ruggiero, recruiters love applicants who were sports players as they tend to be dedicated and have the ability to stay focused on training.

How to Get References — Contacting people via email may be the most convenient way to ask for references for former bosses or professors

Depending on your current relationship with the person, you can ask them for references in person, on the phone, or via email. Make sure that they remember you first and then be upfront about what you need.

Be respectful about your request and ask them whether they can spare five minutes to vouch for you for a prospective job since they’re highly respected in their industry. Ruggiero recommends this approach as it offers the person a compliment while also respecting their time.

Keep in mind though that some of the people you contact may be busy and may not be able to get back to you immediately. You can follow up on them but be sure to be considerate and thank them during every step of the process.

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