How to Write a Resume with No Work Experience


This is a challenge many of us face, or have faced once graduating from college. It can also be a challenge for those who have been out of the workforce for a long period of time. So in a situation where you are stuck on what to include as far as work experience is concerned, it is important to concentrate on your skills. Throughout your educational experiences you pick up more skills than you would imagine, so it’s important to really think back to find the most important skills that fit the position you are applying for. This type of resume should definitely be tailored to the specific job you are applying for. If you are not applying for one particular job at the time of creating the resume, then do a quick job search on a local job board and find some of your ideal job vacancies. Use the skills expected for these jobs to tailor your resume.

Getting Started…

The format of your resume should be very simple. We call this type of resume a ‘Functional Resume.’ It should not extend further than one page, and should be very easy to read.  Don’t get fancy with the structure, keep it clear and use a professional font. Proofread your resume several times before submitting it anywhere to avoid any spelling or grammatical errors. Grammatical errors are the number one reason for resumes getting tossed in the bin, and if you don’t have work experience to save you then you definitely will hurt your chances with simple errors.

Here is the basic structure you should follow for your Functional Resume…

Contact Information

To start, you should state your name followed by your contact information. Always make sure your contact information is up to date, and accurate.

Avoiding using an email address that you created in high school – all email addresses should be professional and preferably include your name.

Objective & Education

In one sentence, describe your objective as a job seeker. For example: to obtain an internship that will enhance my skills in the community service field.

After your objective, you want to add your Education. For example: Bachelor of Arts – Psychology, Expected Graduation – June 2015 University of California, Santa Cruz.

Qualifications Summary

In the summary you should include the skills you have obtained that match the job you are applying for.  Some examples you could include would be:

  • Writing abilities
  • Management skills
  • Communication skills
  • Analytical Skills
  • Team working abilities, etc.

Pre-Professional Experience

As you will have no real work experience you include, it is important that you use this sub header and include all the relevant skills you have acquired, and how you acquired them.

If you are having trouble thinking of skills to include, you can choose something like volunteer work or coursework from school that can back up your points. Also, take notes of any academic achievements, or relevant courses taken.

When applying for a job with no real work experience, you really need to emphasize and match the experience you do have with the experience the employers are looking for. You should also keep in mind that if your only experience in work is completely irrelevant to the vacancy you are applying for, it may be a good idea to leave that experience out completely and use this format.

Make sure your resume is tailored specifically to the vacancy at hand, is neat and tidy, and is free from grammatical and spelling errors.