How to Get Hired Without a Resume

So you’re about to enter the world of work. You’re ready to get in front of hiring managers and secure a job you’re passionate about. But there’s just one problem: your resume is seriously lacking.

Maybe your major was so challenging that you didn’t have time to intern or participate in extracurricular activities in college. Or maybe you’re switching career paths, and your past experience isn’t relevant to the new gig. Whatever the case, you can still get hired without a resume –- it just takes some honesty and drive on both your part and the employer’s.

It’s often a lot easier to test candidates in the throes of battle than it is to see their qualifications on paper. At 2U, we want to recognize a candidate’s passion and effort, and sometimes, seeing them work alongside us on a project as an intern or consultant can tell us a lot more than a resume.

In fact, 2U’s vice president of IT and the vice president of software development were both hired without turning in resumes. They helped me to complete some work first, like managing my email and setting up computers. Based on a few conversations over lunch, I learned enough about them to know they were people I wanted on my team, people who could be at the nucleus of our technological success. Since 2U’s founding in 2008, we’ve grown exponentially this way -– from just a few employees to 400 in offices around the globe.

Hiring without a resume benefits the company because, instead of judging a book by the cover, I get to read a chapter before I buy. It gives me a chance to hire the right people for 2U’s culture and mission.

Want to get hired without a bursting resume? Here are some tips.

Focus On Personal Projects First

At 2U, we often work with technology so advanced that it’s impossible to find someone who’s already gained experience working with it. For instance, we built one of our learning tools with AngularJS, an open source Javascript framework. Because it’s relatively new, we opted to hire someone who didn’t have that particular skill but was interested in building smart solutions, someone who’s a fast learner.

Any employer should be willing to teach new hires the skills they need.

Get your hands dirty on your own first, then use that work to pivot into a companyor use it as a replacement for a resume when speaking to hiring managers and employers.

Complete a public project for yourself or contribute to an open source project, and make your work available online. We, for example, source a lot of candidates through GitHub.

Just Be Honest

One of 2U’s current employees came to us after doing nonprofit work for free. He told us that even though his prior experience was in a different field, he’d been doing tech work for free because he really liked it, wanted to learn and was ready to take on the challenge.

If you don’t have lots of experience, you don’t have to hide it. All you have to do is explain that you’re very interested in what the employer is doing and that you see your career path meshing with their needs. Point to your schoolwork, personal projects or experience in another job that’s given you transferable skills to succeed.

Perform To Rise Through The Ranks

Rising through the ranks can happen more quickly than you’d think. Many of the senior members of our team rose from being interns.

They showed they cared to work and were interested in what we did. They acted as a sponge for information, learned what they could and ended up with compatible jobs. One of 2U’s interns transitioned to a full-time employee after just three months. Nine months after that, he became a lead developer managing others on complex projects.

Often, our resume-less intern hires come to us by way of referral. If you know someone working in the field you’re interested in, get in touch and see if they’d be willing to recommend you to any key players they may know. Attend meetup events, use social media, or offer to start as an intern or temporary employee. Networking can be a great way to get your foot in the door and ultimately rise through the ranks.

You don’t have to have tons of experience to do great things in your career. All you need is intuition, drive and true passion about what the company has to offer.

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