So you’re on the hunt for a job, and suddenly you realise…you have no previous work experience to talk about.
This can make you feel unqualified to work, and less likely to get a job. But that’s not true! Writing a resume with no experience is totally do-able and you can still stand out from other candidates.
All you need is a solid resume that draws attention to your wonderful skills and background, even if you don’t have work experience.
We know that it’s not enough to just tell you what should go into the resume for your first job. That’s we’ve given you some examples as well, so you know how to weave them into your resume.
So without further ado, here is how to write a resume with no experience!
How To Write A Summary Statement On A Resume With No Experience
This is a few sentences at the start of your resume that should catch the eye of potential employers.
Aim to sound eager, ready to work, and confident. Your employer may choose to either discard or carry on reading your resume based on your summary statement.
Sound difficult? Don’t worry, we’ve included a few examples below!
“I am a well-read and observant student with an eagerness to become a librarian. My education and hobbies are well-aligned with the job I am applying for, and I am sure that my maturity and attention to detail make me the ideal candidate for such a post.”
“Confident and eager school-leaver with plenty of volunteer work that proves my dedication to any task I am given. Excellent GCSE and A-Level grades, alongside volunteer work at a soup kitchen, and great at adapting to new environments.”
Both of these summary statements discuss skills, education and hobbies or volunteer work briefly. The idea is that you sum yourself up in a few sentences and allow the employer to get a general idea of who you are. Don’t cram in all your education history and volunteer work, as it won’t be as eye-catching if it’s a page long.
The summary statement is usually where you mention your work achievements. But since this is your first job, highlight your academic career and skills that really set you apart from other candidates.
Keep it brief, but use some keywords and mention some of your biggest achievements. Entice employers to keep reading!
How To Talk About Your Education On A Resume With No Work Experience
Let’s look at our first template to understand the primary content and organisation of high school resumes.
Okay, so you haven’t got a whole list of previous jobs to talk about in your resume. But what about education?
You can list any high school diplomas you’ve received, along with awards you may have won at school. Talk about all of your scholastic achievements proudly and openly.
Your potential workplace will want to know that you’re a hard worker, and all of your sparkling school achievements will come in handy here!
Even if you don’t have any awards to brag about, just having a university degree in a relevant field will come in handy. It shows that you’re able to commit to something you’re passionate about.
Here’s an example of how you can include your education in your resume:
“I have a first class honours degree in mechanical engineering. This degree taught me how to manage my time efficiently and work practically with given materials. I have also received an award for outstanding work in my subject, proving my devotion to my studies and any tasks I am given.”
The above example incorporates your education with real life skills. Try and mention any transferable skills that you think you’ve gained from school. Employers will be interested in knowing how you can apply your education to the real world!
Notice how this resume showcases 5 primary categories― Profile, Experience, Education, Skills, and Volunteering. While not all resumes are divided into the same categories, these 5 groups are an excellent place to start. You could also include your achievements and extracurriculars/interests.
You should begin your resume with a heading that includes your name and contact information. Make sure your name is highly visible to make sure future employers or university admissions don’t mistake your resume for someone else’s.
How To Write A Skills Section Of A Resume With No Work Experience
Just because you have no work experience, doesn’t mean you don’t have any skills!
Dig deep and ask yourself what you’re good at. Some common skills that most people include on a resume are:
- Working in a team
- Fast learner
You don’t need to list all of these, but including some of them can really boost your resume. Remember, you need to prove why you’re a good candidate for the job, despite your lack of professional experience.
You can list your skills and include a short summary of why or how you’re good at that particular skill.
“Self-motivation – I can work at a steady pace and don’t give up when the task is difficult. My ability to motivate myself to finish any task is what sets me apart from other candidates.”
Make sure that your summary isn’t just a description of the skill. For example:
“Fast learner – I pick things up quickly.”
This is simply describing that skill, and doesn’t tell potential employees how that skill relates to you and your work abilities.
How do you make your skills really stand out? Well, that takes us to the next point…
Add Real Life Experiences To Your Resume
It’s all good and well saying that you’re a team player. But how can you prove it?
By adding in real life examples where you’ve used your skills!
Think about that presentation you did in front of the class. Or the car boot sale you managed. Now is the time to mention them.
Think about all of the real life examples where you’ve been a team player, or managed risks well. Or even just showcased your fabulous communication skills. Get creative and prove that you would make an excellent candidate for your first job.
Extra brownie points if you can link these to the type of work you’re applying for. Here is an example:
“I presented a piece on _____ to my seminar group. I learnt how to work in a team efficiently and manage relations with others. This experience also improved my ability to speak in front of an audience. I believe that this will come in handy for a role in admin, because I am capable of working in a team.”
Note that the example includes three different skills from just one real life example. This is especially handy if you only have a small amount of experiences to talk about.
List your hobbies
Your resume doesn’t have to be all black and white. Add in some of your hobbies for a personalised touch!
Listing your hobbies isn’t necessary, but it can really fill out a resume with no work experience.
If you know what kind of job you’re looking for, try and relate some of your hobbies to the job. It shows potential employers that you are the ideal candidate, and will easily fit into the workplace.
Make sure your hobbies aren’t just run-of-the-mill “going for walks” and “watching TV.” Think about all of the things you enjoy doing, or have done throughout your life.
Here are a few examples of hobbies you could list on the resume for your first job:
- Playing a sport
- Solving puzzles
- Playing an instrument
- Learning a new language
As you can see, there’s plenty of hobbies you could include on your resume. They are all varied and interesting, and make for good talking points at a job interview. This list is non-exhaustive!
Whatever hobbies you decide to list on your resume, please don’t lie about them! If you claim to be a pianist for example, be prepared for questions about it at an interview. Employers can tell if you’re lying to them, and it’s not worth risking a job just to sound a bit interesting.
That being said, you can always find new hobbies and interests if your resume is looking a bit boring. Some employers don’t ask for a cover letter, so a resume is the only way they’ll get to know more about you. Show off your creative side!
Emphasise Your Volunteering Experience On Your Resume
So you haven’t had a formal job post. But have you ever volunteered?
Employers take volunteer work into consideration, and some even see it as more valuable than paid work. It shows commitment and dedication to something that you aren’t being paid to do.
Voluntary work is a great thing to include on a resume for your first job.
Think about any volunteering posts you’ve had whilst at school or university. Regardless of how small they were, mention them!
If you’re able to, try and find somewhere that you can volunteer for a short while. Whether it’s a charity shop, soup kitchen, or a homeless shelter. Organisations are always looking for volunteers, and it will help bolster your resume!
But how do you incorporate volunteer work into your resume? Here’s an example:
“I volunteered at a soup kitchen in South London. My responsibilities included preparing the food and serving it to the homeless. I volunteered twice a week for six months, and this experience taught me empathy, time management, and how to handle conflict”
Make sure you mention what you learnt from your volunteer work. Whether it’s a skill, or a new like or dislike. Don’t just state what you did; your employer wants to know how it’s shaped you as a person!
Format Your Resume Correctly
The last thing you want to do is make spelling mistakes on the resume for your first job.
It looks unprofessional and tells employers that you haven’t put any thought into writing it. Make sure you re-read your resume several times before you submit it. You can ask friends and family to check it for you as well, in case you’ve missed out a crucial spelling error.
If you want a professional touch, you can use our site to help you format your resume correctly. Sometimes it helps to have a template that you can simply write on. It takes away the headache of creating a whole resume.
Do a bit of research on resumes and their format before you start writing your own. The right format can sometimes set you apart from other candidates, who have opted for a plain and boring resume design.
Play around with colours and layouts before you decide on how you want your resume to look. Remember, this is your chance to showcase who you are! Make it as personal (but professional) as you can.
You also don’t want to bore whoever reads your resume. Vary sentence lengths and verbs throughout your resume to really engage potential employers.
Decide on how you want to format your resume, as well. Will you put your education first, and then your skills? Or the other way around? There’s no one-size-fits-all here. It all comes down to how you want to present yourself and what works for you!
Enthusiasm is key
We cannot stress this enough – be enthusiastic!
You’re stepping into the big, wide world of work. You need to sound enthusiastic about your first job. Employers want to know why you’re looking for your first job.
Having a great resume format and plenty of volunteer work and skills is great. But if you don’t sound very happy about getting a job, it’ll be obvious. Try and sprinkle a bit of enthusiasm throughout your resume, without going too over the top.
Here’s an example of how to include some enthusiasm in your resume:
“I recently finished my degree in mechanical engineering and realised I had an abundance of knowledge and interest in the mechanical business. I believe I would make a great employee because I enjoy working with cars and have a real enthusiasm for all things engineering-related. I am excited to share this devotion to cars with my first workplace.”
Explain why you’re looking for a job, and how you would benefit your new employer. They want to hear your excitement and passion for the job!
At the same time, don’t go overboard. It’s obvious when you are just sweet-talking potential employers to get the job. Desperation is never a good look on a resume!
Here are some keywords you can sprinkle throughout your resume to show how enthusiastic you really are:
- I am passionate about…
- I am eager…
- I’m interested in…
- I enjoy…
- I’m keen to…
Showing a bit of passion for what you love doing is always a great thing to include in a resume with no work experience. Make sure you sound enthusiastic throughout the resume, and not just once or twice!
So now you know how to write a resume for your first job. Pretty easy, right?
We hope that you’ve gained a bit more confidence and assurance that writing a resume with no prior work experience is totally okay!
We at ResumeCats have plenty of templates and guides for building your resume. Have a look through our blog and try out our resume-building service.
Everyone has to start their professional life somewhere, so what are you waiting for?
Get started on your resume today, and start applying for your dream job!