You need to write a resume, but you have no “real” work experience. However, without any work experience, your resume can’t stand out. For someone like you who has no idea where to start, what to list, how to structure, and doesn’t have any references, writing your first-ever job resume can be frustrating, and I feel you.
Worry no more! In this article, we will walk you through the steps of writing a resume with no experience, and the strategies of where to focus if you have nearly nothing to list. With resume tips and examples included in this article, you will learn the techniques and apply them to your first job resume.
Table of Contents:
When writing a resume with no experience, the most important thing is to de-emphasize your inexperienced situation and shift focus to your strengths and motivation. Any first job seekers -- fresh graduates, students, internship applicants, high school teenagers, or those applying for colleges -- should keep this strategy in mind. The hiring manager knows you are inexperienced, but the lack of experience can be complemented by your skills. As a result, you need to show your competence by connecting your extracurricular activities and skills with the job role.
A resume header is one sentence that briefly introduces your professional identity. It concisely announces your personality and specialization. As a first job seeker, make sure your resume header is confidently connected to the role you are applying for!
The objective and summary section recapitulates your experience, strengths, and qualifications for the position. It gives you an opportunity to write a short narrative and allows the hiring manager to understand you better, to decide if you are right for the role. Your first job resume objective should not only describe what you want and need, but also why you fit the job. Therefore, your resume objective should connect to the job role. Be specific and use examples of previous events to catch recruiters' attention.
💡Pro tip: A resume objective explains a candidate’s prospects, while a summary is a short version consisting of the candidate’s best achievements and skills. Both should be no more than 4 sentences! For most applicants with no job experience, resume objective is a good place to start with.
When writing a resume with no work experience, education is a key section. For freshers or students looking for an internship, this resume section requires more of your attention. This part is the main selling point that gives you the chance to promote yourself.
Here’s what to include:
Taking the opportunity to list relevant coursework shows your understanding of the techniques and processes, even if you have no job experience. Nevertheless, you should skip the basics in the resume and only include the essential course related to the job position.
The skills section is another highlight that can show your prominence, only if you list it right. For applicants with no job experience, your skills in the resume have to transfer into relatable qualifications.
For your first job resume, hard skills are crucial to justify your competence for the job role. List your hard skills by referring to the job requirements, incorporating the exact skills keywords used in the job requirement. This way, even if you are writing a resume with no experience, it can still speak for your qualification. On the other hand, if you list several soft skills, make sure you have examples or experience to elaborate on further.
Your relevant experience fills the gap of no job experience in the resume. There are three things to mention:
If you have completed an internship or apprenticeship, include it in your first job resume. Internships are the very beginning of your professional career, so list your internships like how you do it with job experience in the resume. List your position title, and under it list the company name, location, and duration.
Additionally, use several bullet points to describe your achievements and abilities. Numbers and quantified results are ideal tools to measure your accomplishments, so apply them if you can.
Here’s how to write your volunteer experience: connect it with the job description. For instance, if the position requires communication across departments or establishing relationships with customers, try blending it with your volunteer experience. This is how you can make your resume with no experience look attractive instead of looking like a novice.
5.3 Extracurricular activities
Likewise, extracurricular activities such as holding events or being a club leader are more valuable if you can tie them with the essential skills for the job in your resume.
Finally, you have finished the main sections of your first job resume. Before submitting your application, here are other materials that you can add to the resume.
For computer science students with no experience, adding side-projects in the resume can help demonstrate your passion and effort.
Certifications are hard proof of your technical knowledge. Taking an extra time to earn a certificate license can be beneficial for a resume with no work experience.
6.3 Honor & Awards
For students or graduate freshers, listing honors and awards in your first job resume is undoubtedly helpful. These awards add value to your ability and can make you stand out immediately.
6.4 Language skills
Language skills can also be a personal advantage. If you speak fluently in Spanish, Chinese, Indian, or any other language, make sure you indicate your proficiency level at the end of your first job resume.
6.5 Hobbies & Interests
Listing hobbies and interests is not a must, but if you are applying for an energetic and young company, adding interests to your resume without experience can create a connection and spice up a bit.
Using the right format has several benefits. Firstly, it makes your first job resume look neat and organized. Secondly, it shows forth your strengths and makes your weaknesses low-key. A nice formatted template can be a valuable time saver for your resume with no experience, so you can fill in the information without having to worry about the sequential order.
📚 Further reading: Mastering Google Docs Resume Templates [w/ 10+ Essential Tips]
When writing a resume without work experience, the education section becomes a highlight. As a result, your education section needs to be insightful. In addition to listing the institution name, attended year, and your major, you can also use honors to show your hard work or add relevant courses from your studies.
You want your first job resume to be as meaningful and attractive for the hiring manager as possible, so including relevant experiences are important. Be strong but concise when describing these experiences, such as any extracurricular activities or a developed side-project.
Another major section to compensate for having no job experience is projects or portfolios. Listing projects and portfolios in your resume with no experience allows the employer to take a look at your actual work. Moreover, by demonstrating your project’s process, the outcome, and what you’ve learned in your resume, the hiring manager can also understand how you think and work.
Why write a cover letter if you have no experience? In addition to a resume, a cover letter provides an explanation of these dimensions:
In short, you can use the cover letter as a vehicle to impart your enthusiasm and answer why you are a great fit other than your resume (even with no job experience).
Still nervous? Here are some resume tips for first job beginners like you. Keep them in mind to help you write your first job resume!
The most important thing is to make sure everything you write is related and connects to the job description. If you are applying for several job roles, be sure to tailor each resume for each job position. Tailoring your resume for each company, although more time-consuming when you have no experience, increases your chances of being noticed by targeting the specific company.
Selecting the right format for your first job resume makes a huge difference. Use format to draw the hiring manager’s attention to the most remarkable and relevant achievement. It could be a project you’ve accomplished or an event you’ve organized. Place them at the forefront to capture the hiring manager's attention and enhance your resume, especially if you lack experience.
Before you upload or send your first job resume, you should proofread it and get rid of any mistakes -- that includes grammar mistakes, typos, or name spellings. As an applicant with no experience, you definitely don’t want your resume to look floppy. Find a friend or someone you trust to read it through.
The hiring managers are also unsure about your competence. Therefore, showing your confidence in your first job resume conveys the message that you are capable of managing the job. When describing your achievements, your confidence can add a little boost and help your resume stand out.
As a first job seeker, it’s understandable to freak out a little bit. You might want to list every single experience you have just to see a silver lining. Nevertheless, filtering out the unrelated experience can make your resume with no experience looks more qualified. For instance, there’s no need to list a babysitting experience on a marketing job role, since babysitting can hardly connect to marketing.
Your resume should be hitting the bull’s eye, so leave out the confounding distractions and make your resume as pertinent as possible.
For students, focusing on your education in the resume without experience can be a great idea. Including achievements such as a high GPA or outstanding works in class to show your prominence. Also, since students have limited work experience, when listing extracurricular activities, try to translate the experience into soft skills instead of plainly describing your duties in the resume.
Moreover, leadership experience can be a plus to demonstrate your ability to lead a team. Be sure to include them and relate back to the job qualifications.
For freshers, having a little experience is a boost. To show you’re not just a random rookie, getting a related certificate or authorized license may be useful for your resume with no job experience. Another thing to do is to add your LinkedIn profile, but only if it’s well managed and updated. Adding a LinkedIn profile shows that you have a passion for the industry and are eager to learn and connect.
To get a good call center agent job, you need more than experience talking on the phone. To write a good call center agent resume, even with no experience, you have to deliver your customer service skills.
Read the job description carefully, select the keywords such as “listening”, “positive attitude”, or “stress management” and incorporate these into your call center agent resume. With no experience, consider doing a temp job in a call center for one day or two. You’ll get the idea of how to write the skills for a call center agent in your resume without job experience.
For new teachers without experience, pay extra attention when you list your tutoring experience, technical skills, and any instructional material you have prepared. The tutoring experience you have in high school or college shows that you are patient and comfortable around students.
Skills, on the other hand, is a great chance to showcase your adaptiveness to technology and how you can blend instructional materials with technology. Let the hiring manager know you are tech-savvy.
An instructional material to demonstrate to the hiring manager can bring valuable insight and advantages for new teachers who are writing a resume without experience.
Anyone can get a data entry job, right? Well, only if you have a good data entry resume.
A data entry clerk’s resume has to focus on accuracy, especially if you have no experience. To prove your detail-oriented attribute, get a screenshot of your type speed result on your LinkedIn. Enter type contests to prove your data entry precision. In addition, list only the computer skills that are related to data entry in your data entry resume. For junior applicants with no experience, focus on how your qualifications match the position.
4463 Thompson Drive, San Francisco, CA
Independent and creative Marketing graduate at University of Pennsylvania Wharton School (GPA 3.9). Eager to join Hooli as Marketing Consultant to assist with marketing strategies and optimize current online campaigns. Strong theoretical background in marketing strategies, consumer behaviors, and A/B testing.
Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, 2018 - 2020
B.S. in Marketing
2020 Dean’s List achiever
Relevant coursework: Consumer Behavior, Social Media Marketing, Creative Marketing, Integrated Marketing Communications
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--- Originally written by WuChaoMin ---