How to Write a Resume When You Have No Work Experience
It can be difficult to write a resume when you don’t have any work experience. How do you showcase your skills and abilities if you haven’t held a job before?
This is a common problem for recent graduates, people who are new to the workforce, and those trying to break into a new industry or field.
Read on for tips and tricks for writing a resume when you have no work experience with examples of things that you can list on your resume to help you find a job.
What to list on your resume with no work experience:
- Professional summary with goals
- Education & academic achievements
- Skills & abilities
- Volunteer work & internships
- Training or certifications
- Personal projects
- References from trusted individuals
1. Professional summary with career goals
One of the most important things to include on your resume is a professional summary. This is a brief statement at the top of your resume that outlines your skills, abilities, and career goals.
If you don’t have any work experience, this is where you can list important soft skills that would make you a good fit for the role as well as your career aspirations and goals. This will help to show employers that you have the potential to be a great fit for their company even if you don’t have any relevant work experience.
Example of a professional summary for a resume with no work experience:
“A recent graduate with excellent research, writing, and communication skills. I am looking for an entry-level position in marketing where I can use my skills to help grow a company. In the long-term, I hope to become a marketing manager.”
2. Education and academic achievements
When you don’t have any work experience, your education and academic achievements will be some of the most important things to list on your resume. Be sure to include the name of the institution, location, degree type, and graduation date.
You can also include relevant coursework, honors and awards, and extracurricular activities that show you have the skills and abilities required for the job.
Example of education and academic achievements to list on a resume with no work experience:
“Bachelor of Arts in English, May 2022
Relevant coursework: Creative Writing, Research Methods in English, British Literature
Honors and awards: Dean’s List, Academic Excellence Scholarship”
3. List your Skills and abilities
Just because you don’t have traditional work experience doesn’t mean that you haven’t developed skills and abilities throughout your life.
Be sure to list any soft skills as well as any hard skills or industry-specific skills that you have that you believe are relevant to the role.
Examples of skills and abilities to list on a resume with no work experience:
- Excellent written and verbal communication skills
- Able to work independently and take initiative
- Strong research, organizational, and time management skills
- Proficient in Illustrator, Photoshop, Indesign
- Social media savvy with experience simultaneously managing several social media accounts
- Fluent in Spanish
4. Volunteer work and internships
If you don’t have any paid work experience, volunteer work and internships can be great ways to showcase your skills and abilities. Be sure to include the name of the organization, location, dates, and relevant responsibilities and duties.
Examples of volunteer work and internships to list on a resume with no work experience:
Volunteer, XYZ Organization
- Manage social media accounts
- Write and edit blog posts
- Assist with planning and executing events
January 2019-May 2019
Marketing Intern, ABC Company
- Wrote and designed weekly email newsletters
- Researched and compiled data for marketing reports
- Created and implemented social media campaigns
5. Training or certifications
If you have any relevant training or certifications, these can be great to include on your resume as well.
This will show employers that you have the necessary skills and knowledge for the job even if you don’t have traditional work experience. It also demonstrates your desire to learn, grow, and evolve your skill sets.
Examples of training and certifications to list on a resume with no work experience:
- Google Analytics Certification
- Hubspot Inbound Marketing Certification
- Hootsuite Social Media Certification
- LinkedIn Learning How to Be an Effective Leader Certification
6. Personal projects
If you have any personal projects that are relevant to the job you’re applying for, these can be great to include on your resume as well.
Not only does it showcase your ability to perform the tasks and skills related to the job but it also demonstrates your passion for the role since it’s something you choose to do in your spare time for fun.
Examples of personal projects to list on a resume with no work experience:
- Maintained a fashion blog with 200+ monthly views
- Designed and sold custom t-shirts on Etsy
- Organized and led a book club with 15 members
- Host, edit, and maintain podcast with 300+ monthly listeners
- Designed, built, and maintain a website for my family’s business
7. References from trusted individuals
If you don’t have any work experience, it’s likely that you won’t have any professional references either. However, there are other types of references that you can use.
For example, you could include a reference from a teacher, coach, mentor, or counselor.
You could also include a personal reference from someone who knows you well and can attest to your character and work ethic, such as a family friend or neighbor — bonus points if they work in the same industry that you’re applying for.
When listing references on your resume with no work experience, be sure to include the reference’s name, title, organization, phone number, and email address.
Additional tips for your resume with no work experience:
- Use a professional or simple resume template to give your resume a polished look.
- Use action words and powerful language to describe your experiences.
- Focus on what you can offer rather than what you lack.
- Highlight transferable skills that are relevant to the role.
- Use a chronological or functional format.
- Customize your resume for each job you apply to.
- Proofread your resume multiple times to ensure there are no errors.
- Have someone else review your resume to get an objective perspective.
Writing a resume with no work experience
While it may seem difficult to write a resume when you have no work experience, there are a number of ways to showcase your skills and abilities.
Be sure to include skills, volunteer work, internships, pieces of training, personal projects, and references.
By including these items on your resume, you’ll be able to demonstrate to potential employers that you have the skills and experience needed for the job.
For more tips, tricks, and advice on how to find a job and get the most out of the interview process, check out our job hunting resource hub!
Looking for your next gig? Let us help.
Every year, Mondo helps over 2,000 candidates find jobs they love.
More articles about job searching and industry trends:
- Cliche Interview Answers to Avoid & What to Say Instead
- Pandemic-Related Interview Questions & How to Answer Them
- 7 Things to Never Say to a Recruiter When Looking for a Job
- Best Skills to List on Your Resume with Examples
- The 9 Workplace Soft Skills Most Valued By Employers
- Best Questions to Ask to Impress Hiring Managers
- Pay Transparency: What States Have It & Why It’s Important