No work experience? No problem! Everyone needs a resume for their first job but how do you write a resume with no work experience? We’re here to show you!
Writing a resume with no work experience is a cinch once you know how to play up your strengths with the right tools.
We’ve broken it down for you, step-by-step and section by section. Here’s how to create a resume with no experience.
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STEP 1 Prepare to write a no-work experience resume
Preparation is essential when making a first time resume. Having your job information ready will save you time in the long run so you can put your best foot forward with confidence.
To prepare a beginner resume, take a close look at the job description and make note of the requirements.
Then think carefully and honestly about what you offer; you might be surprised!
You could discover that you picked up skills and work experience to add to your no experience resume through
- School activities such as sports or the school orchestra.
- Clubs or organizations, like student council or sorority/fraternity.
- Community activities, such as volunteering at a soup kitchen.
As you reflect on your experiences, make note of awards, honors and other significant accomplishments like graduating magna cum laude or achieving the title of student body president. Consider the skills you gained through those experiences, especially soft skills, such as time management, and hard skills like research.
While you’re at it, make a list of your transferable skills, which are attributes that you can use for most jobs across industries. Examples of transferable skills are flexibility, critical thinking, problem-solving, adaptability and interpersonal skills such as communication. Transferable skills are useful beginner skills for a resume.
Next, match all those skills and experiences you have acquired and your unique personality with the job requirements.
DID YOU KNOW? 67% of hiring managers say they would hire a job candidate with strong soft skills even if they lack hard skills for a job.
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STEP 2 Choose a format for your first resume
Now that you’ve identified your job qualifications, here’s a secret on how to create a no experience resume that many students and first-time job seekers don’t know about: You have to choose a suitable resume format before you can begin to make a resume for the first time.
There are three standard formats: chronological, functional and combination. Each one uses the same essential resume sections but organizes them differently.
The best resume format for a beginner resume is the functional resume format because it emphasizes skills over work experience. Many functional templates for first time resumes allow space for more than one skills section, so you can display a breadth of skills.
STEP 3 Pick a resume template for no work experience
A resume template is a great tool for organizing all of your job qualifications into your first resume. My Perfect Resume has several templates to choose from, so you’re sure to find a no experience resume template that works for you.
No experience resume templates
Need inspiration? We offer hundreds of first resume examples, including free resume examples for students with no work experience, some work experience and special project experience; the perfect sample resume for high school students with no work experience; a cosmetology student resume example; and an example of a customer service student resume.
STEP 4 Add your contact information to your no experience resume
Make sure your contact information is up to date and easy to find. Always put it at the top, in the header of the no work experience resume template you choose.
Professional email address
City and ZIP code
PRO TIP According to Carly Hill of Sprout Social, more than 90% of recruiters search for candidates on LinkedIn to fill company job openings, so if you don’t have a LinkedIn profile, we recommend creating one and matching it to your resume. If you have one, it might be time to update it.
STEP 5 Highlight your strengths in a no experience resume objective
Every resume needs a summary or objective statement. For a beginner resume, we recommend a no experience resume objective, which is a two- to three-sentence statement that explains your job goal and highlights some of the valuable skills you offer. You could write a professional summary for a resume with no experience, but an objective works best for beginners because it states your career goals and intentions for the role.
Notice how this example objective for a resume with no experience displays a mix of hard (“Educate”) and soft skills (“Outstanding listening and speaking skills”) and technical knowledge (“Adept in Montessori teaching methodologies”). It also tells the potential employer exactly what the job applicant’s goals are, such as “Aims to educate students… while inspiring them.”
STEP 6 Make a no experience resume skills section
Since you don’t have professional work experience, you have to let your skills carry you on your first resume, so put them directly below your resume objective where recruiters and hiring managers can see them right away.
We’ve already pointed out that soft skills are a big hit with employers, so if you lack technical skills for the job, play up the soft skills that can help you succeed in the role.
According to Nicky Garcia of talent management company Cappfinity, the top five most valuable soft skills employers want to see on beginner resumes in 2023 are:
- Curiosity: Potential employers want you to ask questions, investigate how things work and be excited about new experiences because it shows initiative. To display curiosity, you might highlight skills such as problem-solving, research or process improvement.
- Learning agility: Hiring managers love it when new employees can pick up new knowledge and skills quickly. To show you are an agile learner, add skills to your no experience resume like decision making and the ability to juggle multiple projects.
- Growth mindset: A growth mindset is a great asset to any company because it conveys persistence and the desire to overcome challenges. Skills such as risk-taking, the ability to see the “big picture” and a drive for self-development convey a growth mindset.
- Critical analysis: Potential employers want new hires who can make informed decisions, so if you can show that you are able to approach problems from several angles and offer a unique perspective, you will stand out.
- Collaboration: Hiring managers get excited when they see first time resumes in 2023 that display collaboration because most jobs require the ability to work with others. Verbal communication, open-mindedness and conflict resolution are three skills that show you’re a team player.
You can add more than one skills section to your resume template for your first job, but aim for a maximum of 20 words overall, or about five critical skills per section. Too many skills in a skills section might overwhelm recruiters and hiring managers and backfire, so be concise and focus on the required skills and soft skills that can help you succeed without experience.
Take this beginner job sample resume skills section, for instance:
- Coding (C++, Java, Python, CSS)
- Basic testing procedures
- Cloud platforms
- Times management
Pro tip A whopping 99% of Fortune 500 companies and 75% of recruiters use an applicant tracking system (ATS) to filter no experience resumes. Our guide to resume keywords can show you how to match your abilities to the job description so you can make it past ATS.
Browse our collection of more than 800 resume examples for more ideas We have several resume examples for a first job to inspire you!
STEP 7 Emphasize your education in your beginner resume
Display your education prominently on your first job resume template to emphasize your readiness for the job. On resumes with no experience, especially student resumes with no experience, highlight relevant coursework or participation in a study abroad program in this section.
The education section of a first job resume is where to show off academic honors and recognitions like graduating magna cum laude or summa cum laude below your school’s name.
Your education section should look like this beginner sample resume education section:
Bachelor of Science in Media Writing, Dickinson College, Carlisle, PA – 2012-2016
- Graduated magna cum laude
- 3.95 GPA
- University Honors
STEP 8Add a section for licenses and certifications if needed
If you are working toward or have specialized certifications and licenses for a job like nursing, accounting or teaching, you can create a separate section on your no experience resume labeled “Licenses and Certifications” and place it just below your education section.
Create a bullet point for every license or certification you have and list them in reverse-chronological order with:
- The title of the certification, course or license.
- The name of certifying agency or body.
- The date you obtained each certificate.
- The expiration date of your certificate, if applicable. If you have not yet finished the course, write “In progress” and the expected date of completion.
American Red Cross, October 2021
Expires: October 2023
STEP 9 Add relevant experience to your first job resume template
If you’re thinking of leaving the work experience section off of your no experience resume, don’t sell yourself short. Every potential employer will scan your beginner resume for some kind of relevant experience, so take the time to fill it out.
The trick to filling out a first job resume work experience section is to think of work experience in broader terms.
Remember when you were preparing how to write a resume with no experience way back at the beginning of this guide? Look at your notes and you will probably find at least one experience to add to your work history section.
- Student teaching
- Coaching or mentoring
- A role in a student organization
- Community service
- Volunteer experience
- A personal project
34% of hiring managers reject resumes that do not display quantifiable achievements in the work experience section, so whatever you do, highlight your accomplishments, not your responsibilities.
Hiring managers want to know your contributions, so for each experience you add to your first resume, add one to three bullet points that highlight measurable accomplishments, and start every bullet point with an action verb for even more impact.
Excellent Action Words for a Resume With No Experience
Pro tip To make the best impression, your no experience resume should be tailored to the job, so only include relevant experiences. It’s fine to change the title of the job history section of your resume with no work experience template to “Relevant experience” to drive home the point.
STEP 10Add optional sections to enhance your no experience resume
Want to know how to make a resume with no job experience and stand out? Add optional resume sections on your resume. If you have room on one page, by all means, show off your academic or community awards, scholastic honors or scholarships, personal or school projects, language proficiency and job-relevant hobbies.
Here’s a no experience resume sample for an optional awards section:
- George Polk Award for National Reporting (2020)
- Conscience-in-Media Award (2018)
- Clio Awards (2016)
STEP 11 Proofread and save your first resume.
Typos and grammatical errors are the most common and costly beginner resume mistakes. According to the Motley Fool, around 77% of hiring managers reject resumes that contain errors, so don’t set yourself up to fail. Proofread your resume more than once and ask someone else to check it for you before sending it to a potential employer.
Making a resume with no experience is about more than how you organize and write it. A polished first-job resume means you also have to name your document professionally and save it in an appropriate file format.
Here’s how to name and save a no experience resume correctly.
Pro Tip Always put your name at the front of your resume file name because it makes it easy for hiring managers to remember you when sorting through hundreds of beginner resumes for a job application.
No job experience resume examples
We want you to succeed, so we’ve created these resume with no experience examples just for you. Pick a beginner resume sample below and use it with our Resume Builder to build a professional no experience resume in minutes!
The two-column format is ideal to fill in a resume when you don’t have a lot of work experience. This template also features a two-toned header that gives it a creative and artsy vibe perfect for less traditional roles.
Some jobs require a more traditional template for resume and this layout offers the best of both worlds. The horizontal line on top gives it a nice pop of color while the italic headers and crisp look impart a professional vibe.
The use of white-space and the way each section is divided, makes this layout easy to navigate. The bold header also ensures that your name will be quickly spotted.
This template features a prominent header that sets you apart from the crowd and two-columns with different colors. The colors are customizable, making it appropriate for different job fields and titles.
Social Media Manager: Original
As the name suggests, this design is unique and very friendly on the eyes. The four quadrants make the information easy to write and also easy for the employer to find.
Web Developer: Essence
This modern, sleek and clean layout helps present your information in a well-organized manner. The shaded header also gives it a nice edge that sets it apart from standard resumes.
Resume formatting tips
When writing a resume with no work experience, every detail matters. These tips will help ensure you make a perfect resume every time.
- TIP #1 Set margins to 1 inch on all sides of your document.
- TIP #2 Choose an appropriate resume font type and size and stick to it throughout your resume. Good font choices are Arial Calibri, Helvetica and Times New Roman in 12-point size.
- TIP #3 Ensure proper spacing between sections of your document. The best practice is to use a single space, but adding extra space between section headers and section body text can sometimes look better, depending on font type and how much content you add to your resume.
- TIP #4 Left-align your page content.
- TIP #5 Use bullet points to emphasize your skills and achievements.
PRO TIP Our beginner resume templates will ensure your first-time resume is formatted correctly every time!
Write a cover letter to accompany your beginner resume
Now you know how to make a resume with no work experience and create an attractive document with a beginner resume template and our Resume Builder.
But wait! There’s more.
Landing a job interview takes more than a perfect first job resume. If you want to beat the competition, you need a strong cover letter to complement your resume.
53% of hiring managers prefer candidates who write cover letters because they show motivation, so writing one for every no experience resume you send can boost your chances of getting hired.
Plus, a well-written and correctly formatted cover letter can give you the chance to tell employers more about your background than a resume can — a bonus for first-job applicants. Use a cover letter as a chance to introduce yourself and connect with prospective employers by telling them why you want the job and why you are the best match for it.
We can show you how to write a cover letter with inspiration from our professional cover letter examples. When you’re ready, choose a cover letter template and use our Cover Letter Builder to make a professional cover letter with no experience effortlessly.
How to make a resume with no experience: Important takeaways
Now you know how to build a resume with no experience! But before you run off to build the perfect resume and cover letter, take these key points about writing a resume with no experience.
- The functional resume format is the best option for a no experience resume because it highlights your relevant skills over work experience.
- Transferable skills are your best friends when creating a resume with no job experience.
- You must tailor your beginner resume for every job you target.
- Most companies use ATS to screen resumes which can only read first job resumes with standard formatting.
- Add optional resume sections like awards or important coursework if they apply to you and you can’t fit them into other sections of your no experience resume template.
- A resume template, combined with our Resume Builder, is the easiest and fastest way to make a resume with no experience.
How to make a resume
with no experience FAQ
Should I use a resume template with no experience?
If you want to know how to write a resume for a job with no experience quickly and easily, a beginner resume template is the way to go.
Templates organize your qualifications in a way that ATS can understand and potential employers can read easily. Templates also make it easy to tailor your resume for every job and they add style to your no experience resume with professional designs. When you use one of our resume templates with our Resume Builder, you’ll get expertly written suggestions for every section of your resume, eliminating guesswork. Plus, you can edit your resume as you go along and after you proofread it. You will be able to create and send your no experience resume in minutes.
Which skills should I include in a student resume with no job experience?
Display hard and soft skills in your no-experience resume and focus on transferable skills that translate to any job title and industry.
Top skills for a beginner resume in 2023 include:
- Interpersonal skills
- Verbal and written communication
- Active listening
- Analytical thinking
- Intercultural competence
What should I put on a resume for a first job?
When writing a first job resume, cover all the basics: your contact information, an objective statement, your education, relevant skills and experience. Experience does not have to be in the form of a professional job. You can add volunteer and community experience, school activities and projects.
Should I put references on a no-experience resume?
Never add job references to your resume for a job with no experience. Save the extra space on your resume for details about your qualifications. If a hiring manager wants references, they will let you know.