How To Write A CV With No Experience

It can seem like an impossible task to write a compelling and attractive CV when you lack any real-life work experience. This is a common situation for recent graduates who have left college or university and want to start applying for jobs in their chosen field.

What you have to remember here is that everyone has to start somewhere! Not one single person leaving education walks into a job with years of work experience under their belt. But just because you lack any actual ‘hands-on’ work experience in a similar role doesn’t mean you cannot do the job. You have valuable skills that you can bring to the job, and it is now your goal to convince the employer that you will be a good fit.

Start with a summary

The best way to begin writing your CV is by creating a short summary of around 4 or so sentences that best describe what you are able to bring to the role, should you get the job. Sometimes you will have the right qualifications for the position and will be in a good position for consideration because your training is still so fresh and current. This can be a great strength for you to begin with.

Keep your sentences short and to the point with no unnecessary waffle or filler to try to make it look more substantial. Remember that famous saying, ‘less is more’? Keep this at the forefront of your mind. Recruiters will only be interested in picking out the information that is relevant for the job in hand, so you don’t need to go overboard and explain things in granular detail.

List your qualifications

As you are approaching a job application with zero or very little work experience, you must put more focus on the strengths that you do have – your qualifications. Always begin by listing your most recent qualifications and set out your information in chronological order making this section look as visually attractive and eye-catching as possible. It is important here that you choose a CV style with a layout that best displays your qualifications. If you want to use a CV template, then go with one that has been specifically designed for recent graduates rather than one that is made for a more seasoned worker with more experience. The layouts cam be quite different.

What to put in the experiences section of your CV

The experience section of your CV is going to be your most challenging part. Although you cannot put any relatable work experience in this section, you don't have to leave it blank or omit it from your CV entirely.

You can draw on some of your life experiences and describe how the transferable skills you have gained can be used in the job. You probably have more transferable skills than you realise!

  •  Talk about your great time-management skills and how you were able to meet deadlines with your studies and report submissions
  • Talk about your research skills and how applying these to this role can bring great rewards
  • Mention the skills you picked up in any part-time jobs you have held
  • Explain that you have good teamwork skills that helped to deliver a joint project at college
  • Comment about your voluntary work and what responsibilities you were given to manage

Lastly, try to emphasise how the skills used for your interests and hobbies can also be applied to this role. You may be heavily involved in a sports team, so this can show teamwork skills, the ability to follow instructions and a sense of loyalty and responsibility that employers look for in a candidate.

 

Andrew Fennell is an experienced recruiter across multiple industries, founder of London CV writing service StandOut CV and author of How to write a CV – The ultimate guide