9 Tangible Steps To Improve Your Resume When You Can't Seem To Get A Job

by Shannon Ullman

Getting a job in the real world is WAY harder than I thought.

I got my bachelor's degree in liberal arts (that may have been a mistake) and when I realized my degree, 3-month internship and waitressing experience didn't mean all too much, I started experimenting with a few ways to boss up my resume.

And, it's actually working.

If you are having trouble finding employment, here are a couple of ways to improve your resume and start scoring interviews.

Do some volunteer work.

Volunteering looks great on your resume! It says a lot about your character, which is important to employers.

Doing any kind of volunteer work both internationally or locally will be beneficial but choosing something in your field is best.

Are you trying to be a veterinarian? Volunteer at an animal shelter. A teacher? Volunteer to teach English in a foreign country.

Go traveling.

Going on vacation while you are essentially jobless isn't that great of an idea.

However, taking some time to travel and experience other cultures can look great on a resume.

Try pairing your travels with something specific, like working on a farm in Arizona, doing a meditation retreat in Thailand or taking a multi-day trek through the jungle in South America. It will show your independence and willingness to try new things.

Take specific courses.

You shouldn't stop learning after college.

Plus, there may be skills employers need that you never had the chance to learn while you were in school.

Take some of your free time and use it to take courses and gain marketable skills. Take classes at a community college or try free online courses on a platform like Coursera.

Join professional groups.

Get out there and join some professional groups that pertain to your career path.

You can put these groups on your resume and use them for networking and learning opportunities.

Earn some certifications.

Get certifications that can help progress your career.

Certification in ESL teaching can be beneficial for teachers, even if they don't intend on teaching English abroad.

There are also affordable courses, like those through Coursera that allow you to get certifications in various subjects like journalism.

You will have the chance to learn via the coursework and then boost your resume without shelling out big bucks for college courses.

Publish some of your work.

In the age of the internet, it is easier than ever to get written or visual work published online.

Whatever subject you are most knowledgeable about, try writing a useful article on it and then pitching it to relevant websites or magazines. It will show that you have some authority in the field, can write, and gives you something physical to show potential employers. [Editor's note: That's meta.]

Create back-up documents.

Sometimes, sending a cover letter and resume aren't enough.

Creating a more detailed explanation of your background can serve as back-up for your resume. You can also send along your portfolio, and letters of recommendation to supplement the basics that job applications ask for.

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Make your own website.

Having your own website is nearly essential these days.

No matter what profession you are seeking, a website can show off your work. Use it to post photos, write articles about subjects that matter to your field and highlight your accomplishments.

Do more internships.

Just having one short internship on your resume may not be enough.

Warner Bros. Pictures

Check out independent internship sites online that can help you narrow down your search. Once you have a list, start applying for both online or in-person internships.

And good luck!