So you’re applying for your first job.
You decide to write a resume with no experience.
After starting your application, you begin wondering what you could talk about. You think back on your life experiences to see if there’s anything related to corporate work.
Then the doubt creeps in…
“I’ve never actually worked before. What should I say? How do I tell the hiring manager I have no work experience? Is there any point in applying?”
There’s good news and bad news.
The bad news is that it puts you at a disadvantage compared to those who do have experience.
But the good news is that you still have a shot at securing the opportunity, even if you don’t meet all the ideal requirements.
Many of Rezi’s candidates and student users have a limited professional background. However, it didn’t stop them from landing interviews, placements, internships, and jobs at their dream company.
In this guide, we’ll teach you everything you need to know about how to write a resume with no experience step-by-step.
What to Include On Your Resume for Your First Job
It’s a common struggle not knowing what to put on a resume.
One thing to look at is your transferable skills. This means the skills you developed in the past which would be useful for the role you’re applying for.
Here are a few more points you could talk about:
Extracurricular activities in particular are your best friend. They imply you’re a self-driven person with the willingness to learn since you took initiative to do these things in your spare time.
How to Write a Resume with No Experience: 11 Tips
Whether you’re applying for an entry level resume tips or not, it’s common to go through imposter syndrome. At some point in your career no matter how much experience you have, you might not feel good enough to apply for the role you’re considering.
Be confident in yourself and use what you know.
I know it’s easier said than done but everyone starts somewhere.
We’ve laid out the steps you need to take to write a great resume for your first job. Afterwards, we’ll show you how to do it in less than 5 minutes with more than a 50% chance of landing an interview. If that sounds too good to be true, then keep reading on to find out how it works!
1. Select a Resume Format
In this scenario, one of the ats resume format to use would be the skills-based resume.
This type of resume focuses on your skills. Rather than making your employment history the main highlight like a chronological resume format, your knowledge and abilities are the sections that are emphasized.
Unless you have any experience to talk about, combination resumes are another option.
Rezi’s bold or alternative resume format is also worth considering. These are designed for those of you with less or no professional experience.
2. Complete the Resume Header
This section only needs to be one line long. Any more than that is a waste of space.
All the employer needs to see here is your contact information. This includes your personal details such as:
- Full name
- Phone number
- LinkedIn (optional)
When applying for jobs in the creative industries, you can include website links to your portfolio too if you have any.
Here’s a resume header sample:
For both the ATS and human readers, this is the first thing they should see. Resume icons are acceptable for improving the readability as long as they’re subtle.
3. Use a Resume Summary Section
Your resume summary section is where you’re going to talk about the future aspects of your career. In other words, your professional objectives. However, it can also be used to highlight other things such as:
- Areas of interest
- Goals and objectives
- Passions and interests
It creates a strong impression when the first thing employers notice is that you align with the company values. This is why it’s important to do the background research to how to tailor your resume to a job.
Moreover, it implies you’re self-motivated and genuinely interested. Here are two examples of good resume summaries from candidates with little to no experience:
4. Include Your Education
Your education could go as the first section of your resume instead of your work experience.
This outlines your academic background via your qualifications like a Bachelor’s degree. You may also include your grades as long as you have a GPA above 3.0. These are indicators of discipline, competence, and work ethic.
The only general rule of thumb is to list in reverse chronological resume. That means starting from the most recent date to the oldest.
Here are a few examples:
5. Mention Relevant Work Experience
Unfortunately, it can’t completely be avoided.
The what to write in a resume for work experience is a part of your resume that all employers usually expect from applicants. Even if you have none in a professional environment, use this section to focus on one of the alternatives below:
- Volunteer experience
- Internships and placements
Each of the above is acceptable to focus on under the work experience heading. As you go into detail, outline the job duties and responsibilities you carried out. If you have results to showcase, don’t forget to mention them as well as the skills you’ve learned or developed.
Here are a few examples, including one that got a candidate an interview at the University of Oregon.
6. Make a List of Key Skills
You’ll need to include the hard skills required for the job. If you have other attributes or abilities that are applicable to the position that enables you to perform better, include those too.
Here are a few different types of skills:
- Hard skills
- Soft skills
- Communication skills
- Technical skills
- Transferable skills
Some of the top skills to include on a resume are:
- Effective written and verbal communication
- Efficient at managing time
- Problem solving
- Learning new skills quickly
- Taking initiative
- Proficiency with software tools
The most competent candidates have a diverse range of skills. However, it doesn’t mean the more you list the better. More importantly, are they relevant to the job you’re applying for? Can you use those skills to a high standard?
Here are some examples of how you could approach your skills section:
7. Use Keywords to Match the Job Description
HRnews reported that 99% of Fortune 500 companies use software to filter out qualified applicants.
It’s not surprising since recruiters and employers usually receive a large volume of resumes. To save time and identify those who are a good match, they’ll use software to review applications faster.
So without using resume keywords, you won’t make it past the first stage of the hiring process.
The keywords can be found in the job description itself. It’s the things employers look for to confirm at first glance whether or not you’re capable of the role.
But the easiest way to find them is by using Rezi’s resume keyword scanner. See the short clip below to see how it works:
8. Additional Resume Sections
The main sections you need are your work experience, education, and skills section. This applies to professionals in the workforce at all levels, i.e. entry-level up to executive.
A few examples of those other resume sections include:
- Relevant coursework
9. Tailor Your Application
Don’t send the same resume to every company you apply to. It’s a common common mistakes on resumes job seekers make. Even if the job position is the same, it’s likely that companies will have different job descriptions.
All resumes you send should be customized for the organization each time you hit send. Having zero personalization doesn’t position you as the best candidate.
10. Stick to a One-Page Resume (And Use a Template!)
Don’t force your resume to be can a resume be 2 pages. Writing fluff makes your application less compelling.
Despite having 1-3 years of work experience or more, we’d still recommend sticking to a one-page resume. It’s easily scannable by both a human reader and the resume scanners. On top of that, it saves time for both you and the hiring manager.
White space on your resume could be used strategically to highlight certain points. That’s one of its main advantages.
11. Check Your Resume
Check through your resume 2-3 more times before sending it.
At this stage, see if there’s anything else you’re missing. There should be no spelling or grammar mistakes too. This is why it’s vital to how to edit resume.
Examples of Resumes With No Experience
If you’re not the ideal candidate now, it doesn't mean you can’t become the ideal candidate in the near future.
Below, we’ve broken down two examples of a resume with little to no formal work experience.
Corporate Rotational Graduate Resume
In this rotational graduate sample resume, all the main resume sections are filled including their projects.
More importantly, they’ve used the work experience section to talk about their years in corporate education. As they go into detail for each year, the candidate mentions key skills and responsibilities. They’ve also mentioned working as a freelancer and what they managed to accomplish.
This is more than enough for employers to see that the candidate has the potential to take on the role to a good standard.
Student Resume Example
Job applications from students typically have minimal to no work experience. Therefore, it’s worth taking note of how they’ve approached and structured their resume.
The college student who used this policy intern resume example landed an interview at Accenture.
It’s not the professional experience that’s the main highlight. It’s the other sections that help them stand out too. This includes:
Each of these indicates your academic achievements and passions. The projects and certificates also show that they’re genuinely interested in their field of profession.
The Advantages of Having Little to No Work Experience
Despite having little experience in the workforce, it doesn’t mean the managers can’t tailor your skill set for their specific needs. The question is if you’re worth it.
Part of their hiring criteria is to select someone that’s a good cultural fit.
In other words, is there any part of your personal attributes and background that match the company culture? If there is, it can give you a competitive edge over the other applicants on their list.
That said, here are the 4 advantages of having minimal corporate experience:
- You have no work habits yet, so they can mold you into their own
- You’re more likely to 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 and can lead to significant ROI in the future
5 Things to Focus On When Writing a Resume With No Experience
Let’s go into more detail about the most common points to write on your resume when you have no work experience.
1. Your Academic Background
Most people have an academic background to talk about.
This includes your qualifications as well as the institutions where you studied. If you have more formal qualifications than a bachelor’s degree, it might be worth mentioning in the how to list education on resume.
2. The Future
Looking at the past means looking over at all the things you’ve done. For example, your workplace accomplishments and job responsibilities you carried out in a previous role.
Whereas, looking at the future means looking at what you’re aiming to achieve, i.e. your resume objectives.
3. Hobbies and Interests
Another point to mention is the things you’re passionate about.
One reason why this is effective is that it shows employers you’re a match for the company culture. It’s a hiring factor when your values align because it usually leads to committed long-term employees.
4. Side Projects
Side projects may include the following:
- Extracurricular activities
- Passion projects
If it’s something that’s accredited, even better. This can give employers more confidence in your ability.
Any form of involvement you’ve had in a project which demonstrates responsibility would be good to write about. It’s also good to write about the skills you’ve learned or developed from the project you took part in.
5. Cover Letters
Cover letters help you make up for your lack of experience. Think of it as a replacement for not meeting all the desirable job criteria.
Go into more detail about the things you’ve mentioned on your CV and explain why you’re the best fit for your hiring manager. Unlike a resume, you can get more personal and show how your traits make you the right person for the job.
Amongst other reasons, it’s why we suggest sending a cover letter along with your resume.
Build a Resume From Scratch in Less Than 5 Minutes
I mentioned earlier how to create a resume in less than 5 minutes with more than a 50% chance of landing an interview.
No, that wasn’t clickbait.
It’s difficult to do when you’re manually writing and editing your resume yourself. But what if you had a tool that does the writing for you based on the job description? So all you’d have to do is make some tweaks based on what’s been written to complete it.
And following this approach could increase your chances of getting an interview…
Well, it’s made possible thanks to Rezi’s AI writer.
Watch the video below for a live demonstration to see how it works!
Step 1: Sign up for free to access Rezi’s dashboard
Step 2: Click on “Create New CV”
Step 3: Enter your details
Step 4: Fill in the details under each section provided
Step 5: Once you reach the end, you’ll be provided with a complete resume using the details you’ve written as well as a score for your application which gives you feedback
Create a Personalized ATS Resume Today
Rezi’s helped more than 245,000 professionals including students and graduates with no experience to land their first job.
Using Rezi’s AI writer, candidates secured positions in the most competitive companies such as:
And the list goes on…
If you’d like to join the bandwagon of job seekers landing opportunities at their dream companies, then let’s get started now, shall we?
What matters is how you communicate what you have to offer.
Take the time to personalize your application. The more tailored it is to the job description and what they’re looking for, the better. If all else fails, it’s worth building up your professional background until you have enough to talk about.