(Explained) How To Write A CV With No Experience
If you’re a student or first-time job seeker looking for work, you’ll need to create and submit your CV for any position you apply for.
This is how you get onto your future employer’s radar and ensure they consider you when they’re looking for someone with your particular set of skills.
If you haven’t drafted your first CV yet, don’t worry - this article will explain exactly what a CV is and how to write one from start to finish, even if you have no formal work experience.
Dont have time to create a CV from scratch? We’ve created some easy-to-complete CV templates for you.
What Is A CV And Why Do You Need One?
A CV (Curriculum Vitae) or resume is a 1-3 page formal document outlining your previous work experience, your professional strengths and achievements, and relevant skills that make you the perfect candidate for a particular role. Your CV is normally accompanied by a personalised cover letter.
Think of it as a way of showcasing yourself as an attractive candidate for a job.
Remember, it’s important to be truthful in your CV because potential employers are going to hire you based on the skills you say you can bring to their team.
If you happen to lie on your CV, you’re likely to be caught out when the time comes to perform - damaging your reputation and making it harder to rebuild in the same industry.
Employers understand that new job seekers don’t have much experience, so don’t feel like a lack of experience is a weakness.
What You Should Include On Your First CV
Since you’ve not had much experience in the workplace, your CV will be shorter than more experienced candidates.
In general, here’s what you should include on your CV:
- Full name
- Contact details (home address, contact number, and email address)
- Short personal statement
- Relevant job-related skills
- Your level of education (school, university, etc)
- Previous work experience
The more experience you gain as an employee, the longer your CV will get.
Unfortunately, recruiters receive thousands of CVs each month for all kinds of positions, and they won’t even look at your CV if it takes too long to read.
So remember to keep your CV nice and short - a maximum of 3 pages.
How Do I Start Writing My CV?
You start your CV by writing a short personal statement of 1 - 2 sentences summarising who you are and what you’re looking for in a job role. This helps employers and recruiters quickly understand if you’re a good fit, so make sure your personal statement is intriguing and gets them to read the rest of your CV.
Examples of personal statements for a CV with no experience:
- “Graduate from St. Andrews College with practical work experience volunteering at the RSPCA on weekends, including call handling and appointment setting. Looking for a career in animal care which includes hands-on experience with animals.”
- “Newly graduated marketing student from University College London with part-time retail work experience. Looking for a career in business development and includes working with customers.”
- “Full-time volunteer with experience in healthcare working with the elderly. Looking to develop my skills further working as a carer or support worker in care homes.”
Start your CV by using these examples to draft your own short but succinct personal statement.
What Is Work Experience And Why Is It Important?
Since you’ll have less formal experience to include in your CV, you should definitely consider listing any work experience you’ve done that lends relevant skills to the role you’re applying for.
Examples of work experience include:
- Summer jobs
- Volunteer/Charity work
- Part-time (weekend) jobs
- Job shadowing
- School Responsibilities
This at the very least tells potential employers what you’ve done before and how this makes you the best candidate for the position.
When you’re applying for your first job, it’s important to highlight your transferable skills.
Especially if you’re applying for a role you’ve not had any experience in.
What Are Transferrable Skills?
Transferable skills are skills you’ve developed throughout your life with hobbies and work experience that you can transfer to your new job role. These are skills you would highlight to an employer if you’re looking for your first job, or if you’re moving from one industry to another.
Here are 10 examples of important transferable skills:
- Critical thinking
- Computer skills
- Attention to detail
Think carefully about any work you’ve done in your past and how it may contribute to the strength of your CV.
Research shows that people move jobs on average every 2 - 4 years, and often move into a different industry altogether.
So employers are realising the importance of transferable skills, and will often make this a key consideration when choosing a candidate.
What Is The Best Format To Write A CV?
There are essentially 2 types of CV formats to consider:
- Skills-based CV format
- Chronological CV format
The type of format you choose will depend on the job you’re applying for.
For example, if you’re applying for a specialist position in healthcare, a chronological CV format with your previous experience would be more applicable.
However, if you’re applying for a more technical position like software development, then emphasising your relevant skills for the role is going to be more important than your experience.
Skills-based CVs are also best for people switching industries, to highlight transferable skills.
Let’s look at how you would format each of these types of CVs.
Skills-Based CV Format
Here’s how to order the sections in your skills-based CV:
- CV Header
- Personal statement
- Skills summary
- Work experience
- Additional information
The skills-based CV is the least widely used CV format, and recruiters might ask you to reformat it if they prefer a more chronological layout.
Chronological CV Format
Here’s how to order the sections in your chronological CV:
- CV Header
- Personal statement
- Work experience
- Skills summary
- Additional information
The chronological CV format is the most widely used because it’s the most practical for most types of jobs.
Recruiters also prefer this type of CV most of the time - so if you’re not sure which type of format to go for, this is going to be the safest bet.
What To Include In Each Section Of Your CV
Your CV could vary depending on the type of job you’re after or what your recruiter advises.
But broadly speaking, here’s what you should include in each section of your CV if you have no experience.
Your CV’s header should contain your identifiable information.
Information you should include are:
- Your full name
- Your current position (if applicable)
- Contact number
- Email address
- LinkedIn profile URL (Eg. linkedin.com/your-name)
Keep it nice and simple.
Don’t worry about including Facebook or Twitter links, unless you think it’s necessary for the role.
We covered what a personal statement is earlier when we discussed how to start your CV.
To summarise, your personal statement should include a 2-3 sentence summary of you and your goal as a candidate.
Refer to the examples above to see exactly how you should write a personal statement.
List each of your previous roles starting with your most recent position. Even if they’re volunteer work, summer jobs, or any of the examples of work experience provided above.
Every listing should include:
- Position title
- Company name
- Location of company
- Dates you held the position
- And a bullet point list of your main tasks
Remember to keep it brief, and avoid going into too much detail.
If an employer wants to know more about any particular work experience you’ve done, they’ll ask you about it.
List any of your previous qualifications, the date you completed the qualification and the institution of the education provider.
A few ideas for qualifications you might want to include:
Any kind of formal education that you think might add value to your CV should be included in this section.
A skills summary is a bulleted list of your personal skills that might bring value to the company you’re applying to.
There are two types of skills you’d want to include on this list:
- Transferable skills - We mentioned transferable skills above, and highlighting these are important if you’re moving into your first formal employment.
- Technical/Specific skills - These are skills specific to the type of work you’re doing. This might include digital skills like “PHP” or “Adobe Photoshop”, but also skills like “bricklaying” and “mechanical engineering”.
It’s important to keep in mind the role to which you’re applying, and the skills you should highlight to demonstrate you’re the best candidate for the position.
This section is where you can include some of your accomplishments and strengths that don’t fall into one of the previous sections.
Information you should consider including in this section include:
- Awards and professional certifications
- Languages you speak
- Volunteer work you’ve done
- Interests and hobbies outside of work
- Industry events you’ve attended
Think of the additional information section as a way of showing off different sides of yourself.
Including an additional information section in your CV isn’t required, but it’ll help to set you apart from others applying for the same position.
Now you know exactly how to write a CV with no experience.
Remember to always be honest on your CV, or you’ll risk being caught out and ruining your chances of working in your desired role.
If you’d like to cut the time it takes to create and style your first CV, to get your dream job sooner rather than later - then click here to browse our list of beautifully formatted CVs and resumes.