Creating a resume is the first major step that everyone must take when launching their career. Even the most successful executives had to start out at some point by submitting their resumes without any work experience. Having the courage to get started without any experience, therefore, is an essential part of the journey toward success.

The key to creating a resume that will land you a job when you have no experience is to focus on the professional skills that you have learned at school or during the course of social activities. For instance, you may have learned leadership skills at a summer camp, or you might have taught yourself programming. You can also draw more attention to your personal strengths and your educational achievements. Knowing what to say on your resume with no experience will help you to get started in the job market and to move forward toward the career that you ultimately desire.

What to Do When You Have No Experience

Until you can get a few years of work experience under your belt, you will have to focus on highlighting alternative experiences that are relevant to the jobs you are applying for. It is important to be honest since a recent survey of hiring managers by Careerbuilder found that almost all resumes contain lies, and exaggerated skills are the most common untruths found. You can, therefore, make yourself stand out by demonstrating your integrity.

You should focus on showing how you are in the process of building the skills that your employer needs. Experiences are the best way to prove that you have been taking concrete steps toward learning relevant skills. Some of the skills that you can highlight include:

  • Jobs that you did for neighbors or friends
  • Extracurriculars, such as sports or school clubs
  • Volunteer activities

If you are looking for your first job, you could also consider listing achievements that you earned at school. Honor roll, academic awards, and even top positions in merit-based school contests can all look great on your resume. You could even consider including information about specific improvements that you managed to make in your personal life or specific goals that you managed to reach.

More is generally better on resumes, but make sure that your resume contains high-quality copy. If necessary, consider writing your resume over several days so that you can get your thoughts together and write what is truly your best work. Going back through to read your work from the previous day will usually make grammar mistakes and poorly worded thoughts stand out like sore thumbs.

Example for Writing a Resume Without Experience

Even if you do not have specific work experience, you can usually explain your skills and experiences in a way that is just as effective as working at a job. After all, school activities can be highly enriching experiences that yield the type of personal improvements that employers are looking for.

Imagine if you were trying to get a job as a retail clerk at a local clothing store. You would want to make your experience section look something like this:

Local freelance handyman services

2016-present

  • Repaired and improved homes for three summers.
  • Helped an average of two clients per week.
  • Successfully built a loyal customer base by nurturing client relationships.
  • Worked with over 60 clients in total.
  • Got five-star reviews on the service’s Facebook page and Google Places listing.

Babysitting services

2017-present

  • Helped parents care for their kids on a weekly or monthly basis.
  • Built long-term relationships with most clients.
  • Babysat for an average of 15 hours per week throughout the year.
  • Balanced workload to complete all jobs without interfering with schoolwork.
  • Designed a website for my service and marketed the business using pay-per-click ads.

The Best Way to Include Skills on Your Resume

When you lack formal work experience, you will have to do extra work to prove how you will be an effective employee. After all, when you take on a job without having previously worked for a paycheck, you are asking your employer to take the time to teach you everything from how to clock in to how to fill out your tax forms. Most good employers, however, will see your lack of experience as an opportunity when you have skills that make you stand out.

Before starting your resume, you will want to spend a significant amount of time brainstorming the soft and hard skills that you have. Hard skills are what you have learned from formal education or job training while soft skills are developed within yourself and are applicable anywhere, such as social skills or leadership abilities. Most candidates who apply for a job without experience have hard and soft skills that look great on a resume.

For jobs that accept people who are new to the job market, soft skills are often the main factor that employers are seeking. Hard skills can be learned on the job, but soft skills are very difficult to teach since they often come from a candidate’s personality or background. Therefore, you will want to demonstrate how you are a teachable candidate so that employers can feel confident that they can bring you up to speed on what you will need to know in a short period of time. As long as you are teachable, most employers know they can have you ready to do your job in a matter of days in most entry-level positions.

Other hard and soft skills that you will want to highlight on your resume include:

  • Leadership skills
  • Organizational abilities
  • Management skills
  • Knowledge in Microsoft Office
  • Listening abilities
  • Time management skills

Other Factors to Consider

Only Highlight an Excellent GPA

A high GPA can make you stand out when you are new to the job market. In reality, most employers are not concerned with GPAs when GPA numbers are not mentioned since skills and experiences are ultimately what count. Some of the highest-performing executives did terribly in school, but they ultimately became adept at learning to be excellent through experience. Most recruiters, therefore, recommend that you only include your GPA if you have a 3.5 or above. Use the following template to include your education on your resume:

Oak Tree High School

GPA: 3.9

Expected to graduate in May 2021.

Related courses: Introduction to Business, Marketing in the Digital Age, and Fashion Design.

Convey Confidence

Employers cannot feel confident about hiring you until you first feel confident about yourself. Be sure to exhume confidence through your resume to make yourself stand out.

Write Concisely

Although you should be sure to include the full list of your achievements, you must keep in mind that employers only have a few minutes to review each resume. Demonstrate a high level of respect for the reader’s time by avoiding filler words and using short sentences.

Write a Resume For Success

Completing your initial resume can be an exciting and rewarding experience since doing so sets you up to launch the start of your career. By taking the time to write a great resume today, you will be able to start growing your career in ways that can lead to achievement beyond your wildest dreams in the near future.