I get a lot of enquiries from customers asking how they should write their resume if they have no job experience. They are either fresh graduates who are already planning to start their careers or individuals who have no experience joining the workforce full-time because they established a business or took on some part-time projects initially.
And while this question is very easy to answer for someone like me who have read and screened thousands of resumes, someone who is writing their very first resume may not be able to begin how to do so.
While there is no hard and fast rule in writing a resume, there are ideal concepts and best practices to follow in order to stand out and get ahead of the competition. And by getting ahead, I mean capturing the hiring manager’s attention and persuading him (through your CV) not to cross your name out of his list.
So, what are these concepts to keep in mind when you start writing your resume, given that you have no prior work experience?
1. Start with a Strong Executive Summary
An executive summary is a section on your CV where you describe briefly your overall work experience, achievements, and qualifications in a couple of lines. This is to give hiring managers an idea of what have you done and what your immediate career goals are.
On your executive summary, be sure to speak about what your expertise or specialization is, significant successes you’ve achieved (i.e., academic projects, extra-curricular projects, businesses you founded, etc.), and quantifiable metrics to support your successes.
2. List Down Your Areas of Expertise
These include your technical and operational skills, strengths, and specialisations. By including and highlighting these on your CV, hiring managers can get a good grasp of what you’re capable of doing and/or what you’ve experienced doing from your previous affiliations.
3. Highlight Internship Experiences, Projects, and Co-Curricular Activities
No work experience? No problem. Instead, include internship experiences, part-time jobs, projects, co-curricular activities, as well as community services you’ve been a part of. Describe the primary roles you played, skills and abilities you’ve developed, and significant achievements you’ve accomplished, whether as part of a team or individually.
The important thing to showcase here is how vital your role was to the overall operations of the organization and how you have contributed to its success. Highlight leadership, communication, organisational, and management skills you’ve learned and demonstrated as these are vital skills hiring managers look for in any candidate.
4. Include Links to Your Professional Profile, Social Media Accounts, and Portfolio
For recruiters and hiring managers to learn more about you, make sure to include links to your LinkedIn account, social media profiles (such as Facebook and Twitter), and portfolio such as personal website and blogs. It is important, however, to clean up these accounts first before you make them public and share them to your potential employers. You may want to convey a professional image that hiring managers would want to offer a job to and hire.
5. Keep It Short and Simple
For someone with no full-time work experience, it wouldn’t be logical to create a 4-page resume. Keep your CV short, simple, and clean. Avoid unnecessary information that will not support your career goals or those that will not match the position you are applying for.
Or read our ultimate guide on How to Write a Resume.
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