Finding work can be tough. It can be even more difficult when you don’t have a laundry list of references or a surplus of experience to work off of. It often seems like a catch 22 situation. Employers don’t want to hire you without experience, but you can’t get experience without being hired in the first place. And to top it off, the employer is requiring a resume. But do you even know how to make a resume with no experience?
Don’t be discouraged. There are ways to fill up the blank space on your resume even when it seems like you don’t have much to put on there in the first place. Follow these steps to create a winning first-time resume with no experience. Samples of skills and credentials are also provided to help inspire you.
How to Write a Resume With No Experience
Assess What You Offer
When you’re learning how to write a resume with no experience, remember what you lack in job history you may make up for in your motivation to excel. Put yourself in the hiring manager’s shoes and ask, “Why should I hire this person when there are 100 other applicants with more experience?”
Before you revamp your resume, research your target positions on job portals. Review the job descriptions to see which qualifications are most important. A key to understanding how to make a resume with no experience is finding where your background overlaps. Look at the duties described in the job description. Ask yourself these questions:
- What skills, abilities, and credentials are listed as desirable?
- Do you offer competencies, personal attributes, or unpaid experience that compensate for your lack of work history?
- How would the employer benefit if you were hired?
- What are the top five reasons you should be selected for an interview?
- These will help you find skills that can help differentiate you from your peers.
Select the Right Format
The two most effective resume formats you can turn to when writing a resume with no experience are functional and combination. Steer clear of strictly chronological resumes, which place emphasis on your work history.
Option 1: Your first option is functional resumes, which emphasize your related skills while downplaying your work chronology. Rather than citing dates of employment, this format uses categories to highlight your aptitudes. For example, if you’re seeking a secretarial position but don’t have any related experience. You may create the following categories: “Computer Skills,” “Interpersonal Communications,” and “Office Management Abilities.” The latter may refer to managing your own home office, for example.
Option 2: A combination resume is a chronological resume that leads with a qualifications summary, in which you emphasize the credentials that most qualify you for the job you’re trying to land. The fact is, hiring managers and recruiters are super-busy, so you need to can grab their attention right away. It makes sense that this section would be a detailed, personal, and thorough explanation. Many people make the mistake of writing one vague and unclear statement. A specific reason for why you’re applying makes you look determined and committed to the specialized industry much more than a generic “hire me!” sentence.
Strategically order the remaining sections in your resume to best suit your qualifications. Placing more relevant categories—such as education, key skills, volunteer work, etc.—before your work history.
Weave Your Unique Credentials Into Your Resume
Whether you’ve chosen a functional or combination resume, you need compelling content to convince hiring managers to give you a chance. When determining how to create a resume with no experience, consider these important areas:
Previous employment: Part-time positions and temporary jobs are valid forms of experience. Focus on your achievements and contributions to show you are a results-oriented worker.
Volunteerism: Even though it didn’t pay, volunteer work looks great on a resume. It showcases some worthwhile skills you might have picked up. It’s also an impressive statement about your character. Being dedicated to helping others, even without any tangible compensation, is an excellent way to show a future employer that you’re a team player.
Key skills and abilities: Typical resumes leave a space open for you to highlight any relevant skills you possess for the job you’re applying for. That section can really be the spot where you make your resume a standout one.
Previous experience is simply a way for an employer to judge your qualifications for the current job opening. If you can prove your attributes in a way other than through work experience, it’s just as valid. For a first-time resume with no experience, samples might include:
- Foreign languages
- Technical capabilities
- Organisational ability
- Interpersonal and written communication aptitude
- Creative problem-solving
- Research ability
- Customer relations
- The ability to rapidly master new concepts
- The ability to work independently or as part of a team
But instead of simply making a list, state a useful skill you possess and use something to back it up; anyone can tally up some adjectives, but proof speaks louder than words. For example, if you say that you have self-taught design skills, give them an example of something you’ve designed. It’s really a simple concept, and most employers are willing to look past the slim employment history if you’re able to showcase the needed skills.
Education: When you don’t have any work-related background to put down, your education section can act as a sort of replacement. It’s all about how you talk it up, so make sure to include anything that has the possibility of adding value to your resume.
High School Students: Learning how to make a resume with no experience means you need to look at what you can pull from of your academic experience are where you’ll want to look to bolster your credentials. Describe courses, school projects, internships, and extracurricular activities that are relevant to your career goal.
College Students: Many people feel that unless they have a degree, any secondary education they’ve experienced is not worth putting down. On the contrary, any university, community college, or training courses do hold some merit. There are many job advertisements that specifically say “some college experience required.” It would be a mistake to undervalue any of your experience, even if partially completed, and adding that information about yourself always looks more impressive than omitting it.
Other benefits: On your resume or cover letter, indicate whether you are willing to work the graveyard shift or take classes at your own expense to get up to speed. Any of these benefits could tip the scales in your favor.