Not sure how to write a resume with no experience?
Perhaps this is the first resume you’re writing for your first job. You just need to take a different approach and consider your options since you’re at a slight disadvantage compared to the other job seekers who have experience.
The good news is, there are other things you can highlight to show you’re still more than qualified for taking on the responsibilities of the job vacancy.
Note that you’ll want to make the most out of your strengths and everything you have.
In this guide, we’ll be showing you step by step what you can do to defeat the odds so you can secure your dream career.
What Do I Put On My Resume If I Have No Experience?
It’s a common struggle for students and graduates when starting out in their careers. But, it’s not the end of the world. Some of the other things you can put on your resume despite not having the work experience required include:
You’ve also got internships and extracurricular activities to mention if you have any.
The main goal is to show the hiring manager you have other strengths to demonstrate why you’re qualified for the job position.
To close the gap, we recommend sending a cover letter along with your resume.
While you don’t have all the desirable requirements of the company’s job description, that doesn’t stop you from being the ideal candidate. For instance, when your background and traits are a strong cultural fit to the company, employers may see you having potential and more value in the long run.
There are other advantages too for not having any work experience such as:
- You have no habits yet, so they can mold you into their own
- You’re more likely to be creative and introduce new ideas as you have a fresh perspective of the industry
- Candidates tend to be more passionate and interested in their profession
- It’s more affordable for recruiters and can lead to bigger profits in the future
How Do I Write a Resume For My First Job With No Experience?
Many applicants face the obstacle of not knowing how to write a resume for their first job. The lack of experience makes it more daunting and can affect our confidence in applying for our dream careers.
That shouldn’t stop you. Even so, you can still write a powerful resume application. We’ll show you how.
1. Choose The Right Resume Format
In this scenario, the best ATS resume format to use would be the functional resume.
This type of resume emphasizes your skills. Rather than making your employment history the main highlight, your knowledge and expertise come first.
The combination resume won’t be as effective because you won’t have any work experience to highlight. If you did use this format, you could accidentally end up highlighting your lack of experience instead.
2. Complete The Resume Header
This section only needs to be one line long. Any more than that is a waste of valuable space.
Here, the employer needs to see your contact information. This includes your contact details such as:
- Full name
- Phone number
- LinkedIn (optional)
When it doesn’t take too much room as it’s only a single line, it’s easy for both the ATS and a human reader to read. As you create your resume header, you could also use minimal resume icons so that it stands out.
Here’s a resume header sample from Rezi:
3. Consider Using a Resume Summary or Objectives Section
Resume objectives and summaries are generally optional.
But, when you have no experience, you’ll want to make the most out of what you can. Therefore, we suggest including one. With this section, introduce your reader by talking about what your career objectives and goals are. Do the company research, then align this with their mission and values.
It can show your prospective employers you’re passionate and self-driven.
Recruiters will want to hire someone who is genuinely interested in what they do and continuously working on developing their skills.
4. Write Down Your Education and Qualifications
When you have no experience, the education section tends to come first.
Your qualifications can show you’re qualified for the job position as you’ve been acknowledged by respectable institutions, e.g. from university. If you have a good GPA (minimum 3.0), it also gives the hiring managers insight into your work ethic too.
5. Include Any Relevant Work Experiences You Have
That means volunteer work, internships, extracurricular activities, or any relevant training you’ve been involved with.
Your work experience section is the main part of your resume that employers expect in every application from candidates. At the very least, you should try to include something in there which makes sense.
As you probably don’t have much results to show, you can focus on highlighting the skills you’ve learned and developed.
If you do have any achievements, use them to your advantage! Mention it and include examples, as well as any data or statistics to make the statement credible. The more specific you are about any of your accomplishments, it can show the employer you have the skill and capability, which can catch their attention as they’re skimming through your resume.
No matter what position you’re applying for, whether that’s entry-level or executive, all resumes should be listing down their work experience in reverse chronological order.
That means the most recent previous position goes first, working down to the oldest.
Later on in this guide, we’ll look at how one graduate got hired by Sony using their corporate education for their work experience section.
6. List Down All Of Your Relevant Skills
Aside from the required skills for the job, all the relevant skills you have that show you can do your job better should be mentioned here.
The types of skills you can talk about are:
- Hard skills
- Soft skills
- Technical skills
- Transferable skills
- And more...
The more competent candidates will have a diverse range of skills while the less competent candidates have a smaller range of skills. What that means is, the more relevant skills you have the better.
7. Match The Job Description Using Keywords
You need ATS resume keywords throughout your resume, especially within the work experience section and skills section.
Without including these, you won’t reach the hands of your hiring manager. It was reported by HRnews that 99% of Fortune 500 companies use HR software to filter out qualified applicants and to quickly identify who’s a match to what they need.
If you don’t meet the criteria, you won’t beat the applicant tracking system and make it past the first stage of the hiring process.
8. Use The Other Resume Sections
The main sections you need for your resume are your work experience, education, and skills section. This is for every job seeker’s application at all stages in your career as these will indicate you’re capable of getting the job done to a good standard.
The other resume sections you can use include:
- Relevant coursework
- And more...
These should be appropriate and aligned with where you’re currently at in your professional journey.
9. Customize and Tailor Every Application You Send
Don’t send the same application to every company you apply to. Even if the job position is the same, every company’s job description is different.
That means all resume applications you send need to be customized specifically each time.
Having zero personalization is a common resume mistake. Do the research, then implicate the company’s job board posting and cultural values in your application.
10. Stick To a One-Page Resume
Even if you have 1-3 years of work experience or more, we would recommend for all job seekers and employees to stick to a one-page resume. It’s more readable for both a human reader and the ATS.
They tend to leave a stronger impression too as it’s more relevant and concise. Plus, it’s easier to skim through and identify key details, which can make them more effective.
11. Write a Cover Letter
Cover letters help you make up for the lack of work experience and desirable requirements set by your prospective employers which you may not have.
But, they’re not always necessary.
The biggest reason though is that it can add more value to your application. You can explain in more detail the things you’ve mentioned on your resume and show why you’re the best fit.
Unlike a resume, you can get more personal and show how your traits make you the right person.
12. Use Rezi’s AI Resume Builder
Rezi has helped students and graduates land their first job. We’ve also helped candidates secure a position in the most competitive companies such as Facebook, Spotify, and Amazon!
Building a resume with Rezi is simple, here’s how it works:
Rezi’s AI Keyword Targeting Tool
Have you tried Rezi’s AI keyword targeting tool? It gives you a list of all the words your resume needs to include to get past the robots and reach the hiring manager!
Watch the video below to see how it works (it takes less than a minute!):
Resume With No Experience Example
Let’s breakdown Rezi’s corporate rotational graduate resume template below:
They’ve followed the steps in this article. The main resume sections are there and they’ve included their extracurricular activities under the projects section. For the resume summary, they’ve highlighted their strengths and interests. More notably, they’ve focused on each of their years in corporate education in the work experience section.
With this, the candidate has shown all their relevant skills, education, and qualifications. It’s more than enough to show employers that they have the ability to get the job done.
🔥 Browse through Rezi’s 189 ATS resume templates!
How Should a Teen Write a CV?
Focus on the other aspects of your professional background. Alongside your CV, send a personalized cover letter that goes into more detail. It gives you the chance to explain further why you’re the best person to hire for the job.
Don’t worry if there is a lot of white space than you expected on your resume. It can be a tactical move as it’s more readable and easier to skim.
The main thing you need to do though is add as many relevant details as you can.
Make the most of what you’ve got and focus on your strengths, as well as the skills you’ve developed.
Good job, you’ve made it until the end!
Despite sending a resume with no experience in the corporate working environment, it doesn’t stop you from sending a powerful application. Follow the steps we’ve discussed and highlight your strengths.
For a shortcut, consider using Rezi’s ATS resume builder.
We’ve helped applicants get a career at the most competitive companies including Amazon, Facebook, Sony, and Spotify.
This article's author, Astley, is an avid content marketer who specializes as an SaaS copywriter. Learn more at Minimalist Copy