It can be hard to know how to write a CV with little or no work experience. Applying to roles can feel like an uphill battle; so many jobs seem to require experience, but the only way you can gain experience is by getting those jobs – it’s a frustrating cycle.
However, the skills and qualities demanded by job descriptions do not need to be from previous employment. It’s very possible to produce a CV with no previous paid work experience that stands out just as well!
Fledglink (external website) has 5 tips to help you write a CV with no experience…
You have more experience than you realise
First of all, it is vital to note that no one has NO experience.
The purpose of experience in a CV is to show evidence for the skills you have. Even if you’ve never had a ‘proper’ job before, there will be many skills that you’ll have developed through some other kind of experience, be it volunteering, hobbies or extracurricular activities. For example:
- Are you good with Office, Mac or smartphones? You have IT skills.
- Do you have a blog or write for the school newsletter? You are a good communicator.
- Have you sold tickets for an event or raised a collection? You can manage budgets.
- How have you managed your own time – perhaps around study, exam revision? You are organised.
- Do you play a team sport or part of a club? You are a team player with a wealth of transferable soft skills.
How to write a skills-based CV
When writing a CV with no hard experience, the skills you have need to take centre stage when it comes to what you have to offer.
If you’re stumped on what skills to list, turn to the job description – all job descriptions list the skills and qualities they are looking for in candidates, so list them yourself!
Be warned, anything you include needs to be backed up; employers can spot ‘embellishments’.
The National Careers Service has a Skills Assessment tool (external website) that can help you spot your talents.
Achievements – what are you proud of?
Not everyone includes an achievements section in their CV, but it’s a good idea. Listing your achievements shows you are an effective person who has more to offer than just fulfilling daily tasks.
Another section that you don’t necessarily have to include is hobbies and interests. Best practice is to include what is relevant to the role you’re applying for.
Say you’re applying to a catering apprenticeship and in your spare time keep a food blog, that’s a relevant interest that further proves to the employer that you are passionate about the industry you want to work in.
How to tailor your CV to a particular role
It is important to consider the way in which employers will be reading your CV. Taking time to read the job description should provide all the information you need on how to present your CV.
In conclusion: emphasise what you DO have
The key to knowing how to write a CV with no experience is emphasising the skills you already have. Done properly, a skills-based CV will successfully offer all the information a recruiter needs to decide whether you are the right person for their role.