How to make a CV with no job experience - Top Ttps

Our professional tips and examples will show you how to make a CV with no work experience.

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Table of Contents

  1. CV with no work experience
  2. Is it possible to write a CV with no work experience?
  3. How to pick the right format for your CV with no experience?
  4. How to write a CV with no experience?
  5. More CV examples and tips
  6. Write a cover letter for your CV
  7. The big takeaways
  8. FAQ: CVs with no work experience

CV with no work experience

Whether you’re fresh out of high school, a newly-graduated college student or just someone seeking their first job, you will need a CV to showcase your skills. Writing a CV with no experience is possible and easier than you think but it will require a different approach from the standard CV.

To teach you how to write a CV with no experience, we’ve put together an expert guide with:

  • Examples that will show you how to make a good CV with no experience
  • Step-by-step CV advice for formatting and writing your CV
  • Tips on formatting and writing a cover letter to accompany your CV


Is it possible to write a CV with no work experience?

Yes, you can write a CV with no work experience. It’s important to know that hiring managers are looking for relevant experience, not necessarily professional experience. The most crucial tips for knowing how to make a good CV with no experience are:

  • Think outside the box regarding experience. There are plenty of activities, like volunteer work, extracurricular activities and achievements you can include in your CV that you may not consider job experience but a hiring manager will see as evidence of your work ethic and skills.
  • Consider the qualifications and skills you already have. Focus on soft skills such as communication, interpersonal skills and time management, and mention any hard skills you have that are related to the job.

How to pick the right format for your CV with no experience?

There are three standard CV formats. They’re not interchangeable, so it’s important to understand each of them individually before deciding which one will benefit you the most.

  • Chronological format
    : The most popular format. The chronological CV is ideal for job seekers with extensive work experience because it focuses on career progression and professional growth. It might not be ideal for someone writing a CV with no experience.
  • Functional format: Also known as the skills-based CV, this format focuses on skills instead of work experience. It’s better for candidates who have little to no work experience because the work history section has less importance. The functional CV also has an additional skills section that the standard CV doesn’t have, so it may suit a candidate with no experience more than the other formats.
  • Combination format: This is a hybrid of the chronological and functional formats. It gives equal emphasis to work experience and relevant skills, so it’s ideal for job seekers with some years of experience in their field.

In addition to choosing the right CV format for you, it’s also important to follow the correct CV formatting guidelines:

  • Choose a professional CV font. You might be tempted to use a font like Comic Sans to stand out but it’s better to stick to readable fonts like Times New Roman, Helvetica and Arial.
  • Stick to the same margins. Your CV should have 1-inch margins all around but if you need extra space, you can take them down to half an inch.
  • Keep the font readable. Besides choosing the right font type, your text should be a readable size. The body text should be 11-12 points, the subheadings 14-15 and your name 16 or 18.
  • Maintain consistent spacing. The spacing between the lines should be single or 1.5 and the same throughout your CV.
  • Save and download in the right file format. Most job openings require you to submit your CV in a PDF or MS Word format but read the job description carefully in case the potential employer requests it in another file format.

You can also take away the guesswork using one of our beautiful CV templates. They’re pre-formatted to pass the applicant tracking system (ATS) that most employers use to filter CVs, so you can focus on all the other good stuff.


How to write a CV with no experience?

Now that we’ve discussed CV formats and given you all the formatting tips, here’s how to make a CV with no job experience:

1. Header and contact information

First comes the header with your contact information. Make sure that the phone number and professional email address you provide are the correct ones. You can also include the social media handle to your LinkedIn profile but only if it will add value to your job application.

2. Professional summary or career

We highly recommend writing a career objective instead of a professional summary. A career objective is a two- to three-sentence introduction that summarises your top skills and informs the potential employer of your goals in relation to their company or internship programme.
For example:

High school student looking for graphic design internship to hone designing skills. Ready to apply collaborative skills and creative abilities to an advertising agency. Possesses basic Photoshop, Illustrator and Lightroom skills.

3. Skills section

It’s a good idea to pay close attention to your skills section when applying for an entry-level job. The job posting will usually have CV keywords that reflect what recruiters are expecting to see in the person who eventually gets the job. Look through the job description for soft skills and hard skills that you should include in the skills section.

Soft skills are intangible characteristics that can be applied to virtually any job, regardless of the industry. Hard skills are abilities aquired through training and experiences that are job-specific.

For example:

Soft skills:

  • Communication skills
  • Flexibility
  • Time management
  • Organisational skills
  • Teamwork

Hard skills:

  • Graphic design
  • Microsoft Office Suite (Word, Excel, PowerPoint)
  • Project management
  • Google Analytics
  • Cloud computing

If you’ve chosen to create a functional CV, you might notice that there are additional skills sections to complete, such as:

  • “Professional Skills” or “Relevant Skills” section: You select your top three core skills and expand on how you’ve used those skills by using three to five bullet points, similar to the work experience section.
  • “Summary of Qualifications” section: Where you briefly summarize the skills that qualify you for the job in three bullet points and a single sentence.

4. Education

Typically, you’ll want to include your education section next. Especially if you’re a college graduate, you probably have more academic achievements than you do job achievements and that means putting your education section above your work experience section. You can also include certifications and extracurricular activities.

Some additional tips to make your education section pop:

  • Consider listing relevant coursework that’s pertinent to the job or internship.
  • Likewise, if you’re applying for a job or internship that directly relates to your educational background, you may want to include your GPA but only if it’s between 3.50 and 4.0.
  • If you still haven’t graduated college or high school, include the expected graduation date.

For example:

High School Diploma | East High School
Hayden, ID | Expected in June 2024

5. Work experience

You can list any experience you have as long as it’s relevant to the job. This may include volunteer experience, internships and even extracurricular activities related to your job search — even part-time jobs count here.

List your work history in reverse-chronological order, meaning that your latest or current work experience goes at the top. If you’re using a CV format where you can further explain your work accomplishments and responsibilities, be sure to:

  • Use only three to five bullet points per job title
  • Start your statements with action verbs
  • Avoid talking about mundane tasks. Instead, focus on achievements and major responsibilities
  • Use numbers to portray your accomplishments better

For example:

Secretary / Sept 2022 – Current
Hayden High School Student Government Club, Hayden, ID

  • Draught weekly emails about school activities and student suggestions for school administration.
  • Write detailed meeting minutes and hand in weekly reports.
  • Organise over 15 files and keep track of important documents.

6. Additional sections

You may need additional sections if you have a lot of achievements or certifications that you want to show off. In a no-experience CV, sections like these can back up your skills and show that you’re the right person for a specific job posting. There are many potential CV sections you could include here, including certifications, extracurricular activities, key achievements, and research or publications.

For example:

Certifications:

  • First Aid
  • Basic Life Support (BLS)

More CV examples and tips

CVHelp has tons of expert resources to help you write the best CV and jump-start your career.

  • Student CV Examples: Check out our CV writing tips specifically for students.
  • Internship CV Examples: Interested in an internship? Impress with the help of our internship CV samples.
  • How to Start a Job Search: Searching for your first job doesn’t have to be scary. Follow our expert advice to get started.
  • CV Examples: Find more inspiration in our extensive CV samples library.
  • CV Design: Make sure your CV looks as good as it reads with our design tips.
  • How to Write a CV: Get extra CV writing advice from our detailed guide.


Write a cover letter for your CV

A cover letter is an incredibly useful tool to land the job of your dreams. It’s especially crucial if you don’t have enough work experience, so use our cover letter resources to create a professional letter for your job application.

The big takeaways

Let’s do a quick recap of what we discussed to wrap up:

  • Writing a CV with no experience is possible!
  • Relevant work experience can come from volunteering, extracurricular activities and personal projects.
  • It’s important to feature a mixture of soft skills and hard skills.
  • CV formats are not interchangeable, so choose the one that works best for you.
  • Summarize your top skills with a career objective.
  • Create additional sections for your certifications and awards.
  • It’s OK to include your GPA, as long as it’s between 3.50 and 4.0.
  • Use action verbs across your CV to give it more power.
  • Focus on major accomplishments in your work experience section.
  • Introduce yourself with a cover letter.


FAQ: CVs with no work experience

Q: Should I write a CV when I don’t have experience?

Yes. Even if you don’t have work experience, a CV will be expected for most jobs. After all, a CV is an important part of communicating your credentials. The key to writing a CV with no experience is to focus on your skills and mention any relevant experience, even if it doesn’t come from a traditional job.

Work experience can come from volunteer work, extracurricular activities (such as clubs) and personal projects. Just make sure that it’s related to the job or internship.

Q: Can I list hobbies on my CV if I have no experience?

Hobbies can be a good additional section if those hobbies are related to the job you’re trying to get. If you’re trying to become a character designer, listing that you’ve been playing D&D for 10 years can be helpful because you have to design characters for every D&D session. However, it’s not super helpful if you’re trying to get work as a certified nurse assistant.

Connect your hobbies to your job and you can add them to your CV.

Q: Should I list my GPA on my CV if I’ve just graduated?

It’s typically not required to list your GCSE’s scores on your CV because most hiring managers don’t find it important. However, if you’re searching for a job or an internship in an academic setting, it might be important to list your GPA or the honours you graduated with.

It all depends on the industry and job. Some hiring managers might not bat an eye at the fact that you graduated cum laude (no matter how impressive it is), while others might deem it a great deciding factor.

Q: What to put on your CV if you have no experience?

If you’re writing a CV with no experience, focus on your key skills and any relevant experience you have. You might not have worked at a traditional 9-5 or even a part-time job but maybe you tutored students at your school, volunteered at the local animal shelter or participated in an afterschool program, such as the school newspaper. All of these experiences gave you important skills that you can apply to the job and highlight in your CV.

Q: How do I list jobs on my CV if I have no experience?

Writing a CV work history section with no experience can seem daunting but it’s possible and easier than you think. The key is to redefine what “work experience” means to you.

Maybe you haven’t worked at a traditional job but have experience in customer service from volunteering at a local shelter. In which case, you might write:

  • Guided an average of 10 patrons around the animal shelter, introducing them to different animals.
  • Organised files under the supervision of the shift supervisor.
  • Helped clean and disinfect common areas to maintain high sanitation standards.

You should list these experiences in reverse-chronological order. This means that your latest or current job is at the top. Per job, include three to five bullet points.

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