I need a job to get experience, but I need experience to get a job. This vicious circle often scares students and graduates. How do I start the job search? Start with the best resume possible!
This guide will show you:
- How to create a perfect resume without work experience?
- How to decide which information to include in your resume
- Great samples to use if you are a student or just are looking for your first job and have no work experience
- Magic tips to succeed at this task
- Learn how to format that resume with no work experience
Dozens of people apply for the job you want to get. They have professional skills and achievements. 65% of employers are looking for experienced candidates.
What if you are a student? You may have an empty space in the section on experience. We don’t want empty white space so keep reading! You may find out you do have experience after all.
If you are a college graduate and/or have an advanced degree, your resume for a college graduate with no official work experience can still look very impressive!
How to Structure Your Resume?
Your first resume with no work experience may include the following sections:
- Title: contact information and desired position.
- Brief information: career goals or objective.
- Education: degrees and academic achievements (academic projects, publications, practical experience such as internships, volunteer work, personal accomplishments).
- Trainings and certificates
- About myself
You will not only need this resume; You will need a cover letter as well. See our small guide on how to write one.
Stand out from your competitors. Read each section of this guide and start writing. Just because you are a student, do not be discouraged! The resume for your first job as a student will look very professional!
Everything is simple here. You must indicate your full name, phone number, email address, city of residence.
Tip: Do not use unprofessional email addresses like littlesausage19@. Such applicants are simply not taken seriously or become the object of ridicule. Use a professional looking email; for example john.johnson@.
The same goes for social networks. Many serious companies search accounts to learn more about the identity of applicants. Make sure that your account, as well as other sources on the Internet, do not contain compromising photos or information.
How many recruiters use social networks to find candidates?
There is no need to write here: “I will work for food”, “I am a student and agree to everything.” It’s better to indicate the position you are applying for. For example: trainee, assistant, sales assistant, operator, waiter, junior office manager.
Modern resumes include a summary section instead of career goals. This section goes after your name and contact information and includes one or two sentences about you, your interests, and achievements.
If you do not have experience yet, write about your level of education, relevant skills, professional interests, and work ethic. This section must be adapted according to the requirements of the job you want to have (see the vacancy description). Even if you are a high school or college student with no work experience, this is a great chance to showcase your teambuilding, writing, computer, or other special skills.
Example No. 1:
“Beginner in the restaurant business, currently getting a bachelor’s degree at the Food Academy. I am a team player who firmly believes that the client is always right. Delighted with Italian food and very interested in working in a fast-food restaurant.”
Example No. 2:
“Author of coursework in mathematics and statistics. I have an effective data analysis and a mathematical mindset. Pay great attention to details. Interested in getting the position of Junior Analyst.”
Resume sample for the student:
Follow the link to use this resume
Education and Academic Achievements
After writing your Career Objective or Summary, you need to add a section with Education. Write here:
- High School and/or University at which you studied
- Your Degree Specialty(ies)
- Academic Degrees (Bachelor’s, Master’s, PhD, or Certificate
- The year you graduated
- Awards, published papers, special projects related to that particular job, special relevant term papers or dissertations
Tip: You should add your GPA only if you graduated in the last three years, and if your GPA is above average.
University of Delaware
MS. Computer Science
September 2014 – May 2016
Ohio State University
B.S. Information Technology
Area of Concentration: Software Engineering
September 2010-May 2014
Tip: It is not recommended to use name abbreviations in the resume, because their meanings may not be clear to the employer. Write the names in full.
No Formal Work Experience? Think about internships, practicums, personal and academic projects, volunteer and extracurricular activities
First of all, can you still get a little experience. Really! Remember that vicious circle. Here’s how to break out of it!
Start with internships, part-time jobs, seasonal or temporary work.
Say you dream of investigating journalism for the New York Times? So, to get started, do a little freelance writing work somewhere on a freelance exchange, such as Upwork, or intern at a local publisher for free so you can list several published articles on your resume. Indeed, even if the work was part-time, it is of great use on your resume.
What if there isn’t any temporary work available? List personal or academic projects that would be related to work. Think about what exactly you will tell the interviewer, and how the project can relate to the desired job. For instance:
Personal project relevant to work
Suppose you want to get a job in a fitness center. A personal fitness program for preparing for a marathon may be a relevant project.
Academic project related to work
Including an academic project in your resume is very simple. Indicate where the project was implemented, which class required it, the name of the project, the date of its completion and a brief description of its objectives.
An example of how to list an academic project in a resume:
University of Florida Tourism in Broward County, Economics and Law, August 2018.
Curriculum “Fundamentals of Hospitality”, project “Analytical Group of the McDonald’s Restaurant Chain”
I worked with a team of 4 people to analyze data concerning income and the size of the client base in aa popular chain of fast food restaurants. I was responsible for collecting McDonald’s revenue data and creating a PowerPoint presentation.
Another option is to mention University practice. Indicate the time, place and results. For example:
“During my internship, I worked as an economist’s assistant at company N. It was an interesting experience that convinced me that this was my chosen career. I carried out financial analysis, learned how to work in 1C program, and gained experience in economic planning.”
The template СV2you will make it easy! Even if you are a high school student with no formal work experience, you can use interesting projects or reports from one of your favorite classes.
Template for Resume with No Experience:
(click here to open the text version)
Extracurricular Activities, Sports and Clubs
Imagine that you are a HR-manager, and you need to choose between these two candidates:
Josh Nerder. Studied at University of Arizona, grades are excellent. But that’s all he did in college — no extracurricular activities, internships, or anything else.
Alex Activeson. He also studied at University of Arizona, good. Vice President of the business club. He worked in the student parliament. He organized several marketing club events.
Of course, Josh probably has a solid theoretical base, but we don’t know anything about him, except that he studied a lot.
Alex, on the other hand, can manage a team (vice-president of a business club), organize events (marketing club) and bring in new proposals (student parliament).
So, which one would you choose?
And here is how Alex’s activity will look on the resume:
Public speaking club
09/2018 – 09/2019
- Over 10 public lectures organized
- Speakers from all over the state are involved.
- Public speaking event held
Finally, you can mention volunteering. This can be formal or informal volunteering; for example, serving food at a local homeless shelter or organizing a charity auction. For each volunteer event, indicate who you volunteered for, what your role was, the dates and hours you volunteered, and a brief description.
Awards and achievements
After section of experience (or alternative sections) create a section for awards and achievements. You can list academic or school achievements, such as “Best Presentation” in the classroom or “Highest Grade”. You can also list personal achievements, such as medals in sports. (if they reinforce your profile or illustrate personal qualities).
An example of how to list awards and achievements No. 1:
“Tourism in Broward County”,” Economics and Law”, August 2018.
“Basics of Hospitality” – the best group presentation (analysis of McDonalds restaurant).
An example of how to list awards and achievements No. 2:
“Data Analysis of College Majors with the Highest Salaries”, group project for MBA degree.
Trainings, Courses, and Certificates
The ideal option is when you have higher education and want to work in your specialty. But life makes its own adjustments, and such ideal scenarios are far from real life. You may have realized that you are not interested in that profession, and you want to do something completely different
There are professions in which it is impossible to work without higher education – for example, doctors or chemical engineers. But for the rest (say, marketing and PR) there are online courses, distance learning, which may be quite reasonable and teach very specific skills. You can learn from the best professionals in the field at EdX, Udemy, or Coursera. Pass at least one course in the desired profession, get a certificate and indicate it on your resume.
Include the courses you completed at the University, if they are relevant to the position you are applying for. It is enough to indicate the name of the course, as well as add a brief description of what you have learned, and what skills you have acquired. Add a start and end date for the course.
Write about attending seminars, conferences, master classes only if they are related to the work you want to get.
An example of how to write about a course in a resume:
Hospitality Basics Course: Introducing the hospitality industry, including various career paths. In-depth lessons on food and drink, including categories of restaurants and various types of catering.
An example of how to list a certificate:
University of Phoenix, Certificate in Medical Coding, 2019.
First Aid and CPR Certificate, 2018
Skills are divided into Hard Skills (professional skills) and Soft Skills (flexible skills of the applicant).
Hard Skills previously were critical, but priorities have changed over time. Employers more and more value Applicant’s Soft Skills, partly because it’s almost impossible to learn them, unlike professional skills that are achieved by practice.
Before filling out the section “Personal Qualities”, think about what is important in the profession that you have chosen. It can be an analytical mindset, determination, punctuality. Indicate these qualities, if you have them. Don’t lie! 🙂
Skill Types for Graduates and High School Students
Your resume may include skills that you have acquired in school, in extracurricular activities, in sports and volunteering. For example, if you played soccer, basketball, or other sports, you have teamwork skills. You were captain? You have leadership qualities.
Did you attend a computer class or learn programs? You have computer skills. Almost everyone has some level of communication skills. If you can keep up the conversation, speak in front of the class, or defend an essay at school, you have written/verbal communication skills.
When you successfully maneuver between personal demands and study, you are flexible. Have you worked on a group project? You have collaboration skills. Did you look after small children? You are reliable.
Top High School Skills
The following are examples of skills that almost every high school student has and almost all employers are looking for:
Communication skills (written and oral)
Reliability / Responsibility
Thirst for research
Technical Skills: Excel, PowerPoint, Photoshop
Section “About Me”
We do not recommend indicating your hobbies; in fact, it is not very interesting for a recruiter (if he/she is interested, he/she will ask about them at the interview). It is better to use free space on your resume to talk about the types of tasks you would like to work on as well as areas of professional growth. This is much more interesting for the recruiter.
You can supplement the impression you give with personal qualities that correlate with the necessary skills. For example, for a lawyer, “attention to detail” and “handling stress well”.
You can also talk about your preferences at work.
For example: “I prefer work at a large international company” or “A flexible schedule is desirable.”
Tip: In fact, there is only one requirement: you should summarize your knowledge and skills in terms of the requirements of the vacancy to which you will respond.
Cover letter with Resume Without Work Experience
Do employers read cover letters?
45 out of 100 recruiters do not even bother to open a student’s resume if there is no cover letter attached to it. Therefore, writing a cover letter doubles your chances of getting into this interview.
Yes, that is correct. You can’t argue with statistics, can you?
Your task is to demonstrate how diligently and actively you want to gain experience. Therefore, the cover letter fulfills precisely this goal. Bet on energy, prospects, lack of family obligations, willingness to devote yourself to work in the name of acquiring the necessary skills. The decision making factor is completed higher education, additional courses, knowledge of foreign languages.
How to issue?
The fastest way is to use an already-prepared template for this purpose. Recommended size – 1 A4 page. You can edit sections, as well as add your own photo. Note that U.S. resumes and cover letters do not contain photos as a rule.
In CV2you, select the Smart or Simple template. It lacks white space for work experience, and correctly placed accents focus the employer’s attention on your education and personal qualities.
- Try to convince the recruiter that you will offer such a level of return to the company that even candidates with 5 years cannot provide. Use the details from your research on the company to demonstrate that you already know something about it (look at the website / social networks, google the latest news, if it is a large company).
- Contact the recruiter by name: find out the name of the hiring manager. Personal appeal is captivating from the start.
- Demonstrate that you are already “included” (at least with one foot) in the required circle of knowledge/communication; you can mention which courses you have completed, literature you have read, or a fact from the latest industry news.
- Read our article on how to write a cover letter with examples.
- Give the text for verification to a competent person; perhaps there are errors in it.
- Highlight any relevant skills or experience you have that are unique or hard to find in other candidates. For example, if you speak multiple languages or have experience working in a particular industry or with a certain type of technology, emphasize how this could be an asset to the company.
- Provide specific examples of past achievements that demonstrate your potential value to the company. This could be something like a project you spearheaded that resulted in significant cost savings, or a successful marketing campaign you ran that generated a high ROI.
Use perfect verbs in your resume:
Well, now you know how to create a resume without work experience, and the CV2you template will help you with this! Whether you are a high school student, a college student, or a college graduate with no formal work experience, you can find the tools to create a professional resume that will give you the best chance to land your first job.