How to Write a Resume With No Work Experience
“I only have limited internship experience, can I still write a great resume?”
We receive lots of queries from clients on this – they’re unsure how to write a resume if they have little to no work experience.
Often, they’re either fresh graduates who are planning to start their careers, undergraduates who are still schooling, or individuals who had only worked part-time jobs so far.
If you fall into one of these categories, don’t fret!
There are resume best practices you can follow to stand out and get ahead of the competition. We’ll show you how to do this, by playing to your unique strengths.
Before we start though, we’d recommend downloading our resume for fresh graduates (or resume for university students). It’ll make the next few sections easier to follow along.
How to Write a Winning Resume With No Work Experience
If this is your first job, then it’s expected that you have no experience. But, that doesn’t excuse you for having a poor resume. You can create a solid job resume by sticking to these 5 steps;
- Start with a Strong Executive Summary
- List Your Areas of Expertise
- Highlight Internship Experiences, Projects, and Co-Curricular Activities
- Include Links to Your Professional Profile, Social Media Accounts, and Portfolio
- Keep It Short and Simple
Following a typical resume format always starts with a resume objective, or what we recommend, an executive summary.
1. Start with a Strong Executive Summary
Think of your Executive Summary as your elevator pitch – if you only have 6 seconds to impress a recruiter with the opening lines of your CV, what would you say?
The Executive Summary is the first section in your CV where you describe briefly your overall experience, achievements, and qualifications in a few brief lines. This gives hiring managers an idea of what you’ve achieved so far, and what your immediate career goals are.
Fill this with the most impressive information about yourself! On your Executive Summary, identify your career narrative, expertise or specialisations, significant Achievements or past successes (i.e., academic projects, extra-curricular projects, businesses you founded, etc.), and quantifiable metrics to support your successes.
2. List Your Areas of Expertise
They include your technical and operational skills, strengths, and specialisations.
By highlighting these on your CV, hiring managers can get a good grasp of what you’re capable of doing and/or your experience in previous roles.
3. Highlight Internship Experiences, Projects, and Co-Curricular Activities
No work experience? No problem.
Instead, focus on internship experiences, part-time jobs, projects, co-curricular activities, as well as community services you’ve been a part of. You can even mention relevant coursework from your studies, as your academic achievements may be a good substitute for professional experience.
Describe the primary roles you played, skills and abilities you’ve developed, and significant achievements you’ve accomplished, whether individually or as part of a team.
Always remember to showcase how vital your role was to the overall organisation, and how you have contributed to its success.
Highlight leadership, communication, organisational, and management skills you’ve demonstrated – these are vital skills hiring managers look for in any candidate!
4. Include Links to Your Professional Profile, Social Media Accounts, and Portfolio
Recruiters and hiring managers can also learn more about you through your LinkedIn profile, social media profiles and personal portfolio websites or blogs.
Always remember to clean up your social media accounts beforehand! Do especially ensure your LinkedIn profile is optimised and up-to-date. Not sure how? Just follow our LinkedIn profile building strategies.
Remember to convey an image of professionalism. Give your potential employers a positive image of you, and increase your chances of being called in for an interview.
5. Keep It Short and Simple
A 4-page resume doesn’t make sense for someone with no full-time work experience!
Keep your CV short, simple, and clean. Avoid unnecessary information that do not support your career goals, or details that do not align with the position you are applying for.
1. Always Submit a Cover Letter!
Pair your new CV with an equally stellar Cover Letter. Even if the job ad doesn’t specify that you absolutely must submit a Cover Letter, we’d highly recommend that you do it. Here’s why a Cover Letter is so important. You can also download our Fresh Graduate Cover Letter sample.
2. Customise your CV and Cover Letter
Always aim to customise your CV and Cover Letter for different job roles. Learn how to customise your CV and tailor your Cover Letter.
3. Get Tips from Our HR Experts to Improve Your CV
Want to apply for your dream job, but need a second opinion on your CV? Send it to us for free CV Feedback!
Our team of expert HR consultants will review your CV in detail, show you its strengths and weaknesses, and offer you free pointers on how you can improve your CV to meet your career goals.
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