How to write a resume when you have no experience

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It can be difficult to write a resume when you have no experience. But don’t let this discourage you when applying for jobs.

It can be common when first starting in the workforce or changing a career path to have little or no experience in the job you want. You may be thinking: how are you supposed to get a job if your resume shows no experience?

Even if you have never had a formal job you can still reflect in your resume on any life experiences you may have had. It is important to make sure that your resume:

  • is creative
  • is different
  • reflects on yourself
  • stands out to potential employers

Here’s how to do just that.

Laying out your resume well

There are many ways to structure your resume. It is a good idea to think about what your resume’s layout will be like before you start to make it stand out an employer.

  • Are you going to have bold headings?
  • Which font are you going to use?
  • Should you use dot points?
  • What colours are you going to use?

It is best to keep your resume as simple as possible and a good font to use is Times New Roman or Arial with the size as 11. It is a good idea to make sure all headings are bold as it is easier to read and stands out. You can use dot points if you would like, but use the same style of dot points throughout the whole resume. And avoid using too much colour as it will draw away from the information (which is the most important part).

A chalkboard is seen in the background as a yellow light bulb is shown. The light bulb has lines coming from it. A question mark is seen in the middle of the light bulb.

Creating an effective summary statement

Employers are always keen to stumble across resumes which state exactly what you can do for them. A summary statement acts as your resume’s elevator pitch. It is important to let your potential employer know:

  • who you are
  • what you want from the job
  • what you can offer the organisation or business

A summary statement should be at the top of your resume and will consist of two or three sentences. It will help you to sum up what you are like professionally, they introduce you to an employer. It is very important to make sure that your summary statement is strong. This will help to get the attention of your potential employer. A summary statement will be the first thing an employer sees on your resume and will help them get their first impression of you. It is a good idea to mention the skills that are required for the job and how you have applied these in your life. This can be through:

  • school or any education you have received
  • extracurricular activities
  • hobbies
  • any skills which you are good at
A blue background with the word "summary" written on a ripped piece of paper.

Focusing on transferable skills

Employers find it good when you include that you have skills to do certain tasks. They care more if you have the skills then if you have actually have experience – pretty handy if you need to write a resume when you have no experience.

Think about times when you have applied transferable skills in your everyday life. Do you meet deadlines for projects at school? If yes, this is an example that you are dedicated and motivated. Are there any times in your life when you have needed to create lists such as “to do” lists? If yes, this is an example that you are organised and you prioritise your tasks or requirements. Other transferable skills you may be able to insert into your resume can include:

  • communication skills (such as listening skills and writing skills)
  • people skills (such as compassion, confidence and motivation)
  • leadership skills (such as critical thinking and delegation skills)

It is important to get the attention of your potential employer. Think about the experience you have had in your everyday life. What sets you apart from others? It is a good idea if you have a positive attitude to mention this in your resume. Employers look for people who have positive attitudes. It shows them that you will be willing to achieve all tasks that you will get in a positive way. You can talk about your positive attitude and how this has led you to positive outcomes, for example getting awards at school.

Remembering extracurricular activities and education

Have you taken part in any extracurricular activities? They can be good to add if you’re writing a resume when you have no experience.

Perhaps you played soccer and helped your team score goals, or you were in a netball team that won a grand finale. These are great examples of times which you have worked well in a team environment.

Put down and explain some extracurricular activities that you have done. This is important if you have no experience as it will let your potential employer know of other transferable skills you have applied. Add skills that relate to the skills required for the job you are applying for. Remember to try and not put too much detail, just keep it simple.

If you are having or have had an education this can help you think of some more transferable skills which you can include in your resume. Have you done anything in school that relates to the job you are applying for? Even if you are still in high school you can think about the classes you have chosen to study. Why did you chose them and what have you learnt from them?

A group of boys participating in a game of soccer. You can tell the team has just scored a goal as two boys are happy and have their hands in the air.

Extra tips for your resume

  • Make sure your resume is a reflection on yourself. Don’t make up facts and skills which are not applicable for you. Put your personality on your resume and think: what would I want my employer to know about me?
  • Remember to use as many examples as possible to back up transferable skills. If you have received awards in school why did you receive them?
  • Keep it simple. Make sure you make your resume concise and do not go into too much detail
  • Read over your resume when you have completed it! Look for any spelling mistakes and punctuation or grammatical errors. Having good and correct writing will let your employer know that you are professional
  • Not sure how to write a resume? On the jobactive website you can find an example of a resume and a cover letter.

We’ve also got a variety of blogs which will help you write a resume when you have no experience, as well as information on first jobs:

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