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How To Write A CV If You Have No Work Experience (10 Things To Include)

How on earth do you write a CV if you have no work experience?! 

Well, what you might not realise is that the skills that employers are looking for don’t have to be picked up in industry roles. You’ve probably developed a lot of them already! Life hack.

Here are some tips to help you write a CV if you’re lacking experience. (Scroll down for 10 Examples Of Things To Include On Your CV If You Have No Experience.)

If You Have No ‘Experience’, Focus On Soft Skills

Okay, so even if you haven’t got 4+ years of experience for that graduate job role (job description red flag), chances are you have soft skills and evidence that you’ve developed them even without ‘experience’. This is your ultimate hack for writing your CV even if you don’t think you have any experience.

Take a look at the job descriptions of roles you want to apply for. It’s likely that they will be looking for at least one of the following soft skills; communication, team work, problem solving, leadership, flexibility, interpersonal skills, organisation etc. It’s also likely that you already possess these skills from your education, hobbies, non-industry jobs, volunteer experience or personal projects. 

Just because you developed these skills outside of an industry role, doesn’t mean they’re not directly applicable to the role. They’re transferable, and all you need to do is frame them in the context of the role. 

For example, if the job description lists communication skills but it’s for a partnerships manager role, you CAN talk about that retail job you had for 2 years at university. You most likely spoke to 50+ customers per day, built relationships, collaborated with senior staff and kept your coworkers motivated. All of this demonstrates communication skills that would be beneficial to a partnerships manager. You just need to know how to frame it. 

To find out more about writing up your skills on a CV, download our FREE Ultimate CV Guide here.

Demonstrate Enthusiasm 

Long story short, skills can be learned, enthusiasm and motivation can’t. If you have no experience, showing a drive and passion to enter the industry is what can set you apart. 

A potential employer wants to be sure that you will try your hardest to benefit their company, and if you can convey how excited and committed you are, this counts just as much as industry experience. 

Demonstrate a willingness to learn skills you don’t have and proof that you’re trying to learn them. You can do this by completing online certifications, starting projects on your own and staying up to date with the latest industry news. Remember – initiative goes a long way if you’re lacking experience, and you can show this in every part of your job application, not just when writing your CV.

10 Examples Of Things To Include On Your CV If You Have No Experience:

Skills From Education

That 9k a year wasn’t wasted, and chances are your degree (or A-levels) are the closest thing to industry experience you might have right now. You’ll have the space on your CV to go into more detail, so tell them the skills you gained, how you gained them and the results you created (SAR sentences, baby).

Extracurricular Activities

If you’ve participated in any extracurricular activities or societies then that can be an absolute winner. No matter if you were in the rugby team or the hummus tasting society, there’ll be some transferable skills to find and use in your CV. 

Obviously if you were in a position of leadership, use this to your advantage. President, Vice President, Treasurer and Social Sec are great positions to talk about, and even as an ordinary member there’s loads of skills to show off. These include collaboration, problem solving, outreach, pitching, a willingness to learn, commitment, confidence and reliability to name a few. 

Expand on which of these you feel most applies to you, and give real examples of how you’ve used and developed those skills within your role. These activities also show another side to yourself that other candidates might not have, so use this to your advantage!

Something You’ve Created

Whatever area of industry you want to get into, there’ll be something you can create and build to show off what you can do. Whether this be an Instagram account where you show off your best marketing tips, a blog to convey your immense fashion knowledge, or a YouTube channel where you show off the latest iPhone hacks, make something that you can be proud of. 

If it’s something social, focus on growth and track your metrics to prove your social media skills. If you can’t get experience, MAKE EXPERIENCE for your CV instead.

Training or Workshops

If like the rest of us during the pandemic, you attended loads of digital webinars or workshops.  Think about what you’ve learned from these. 

If you haven’t done any webinars, workshops or training programmes yet there’s plenty of time, and importantly it shows a willingness to learn and a drive to succeed in your area of expertise.

Certifications

Just like workshops or training, gaining certifications is an excellent way to gain more experience and show your commitment to an industry.  This all counts as experience to include on your CV, especially as you’re a student or graduate.

Volunteer Experience 

Not only does this make you look like a wonderful and generous human being, there’s also likely a bunch of transferable skills that you can talk about in your CV. Expand on the things you did within your volunteer experience that relate directly to the role you’re applying for. Have a quick read of our article: does volunteering boost your employability? For more info on this topic.

Use Free Trials To Get Hard Skills

Do most of the roles you’re applying for require familiarity with a specific type of software? Chances are it’ll have a free trial you can use to practice your skills and get used to the software.

Hobbies Or Interests 

Your hobbies and interests could also have allowed you to develop or demonstrate the skills useful for that job you’re applying for. Go past the generic ‘reading’ and ‘seeing friends’ and get specific. Talk about what type of books you love and why, and how being social allows you to easily build relationships with people. 

Achievements 

Sometimes you might have achievements that don’t fit elsewhere on your CV. Ran a marathon? Raised a bunch of money for charity? Again, consider the skills you’ve gained from these and write it down.

Personal Projects

As with making your own experience, you can start a personal project. If you’re lacking inspiration, Google search previous competitions or ask a tutor to set you a project to work on. This counts as experience, for your CV and demonstrates excellent initiative.

We hope by now you’re buzzing with inspiration and self-belief and can go and write a killer CV, even without work experience. If you’d like someone to look over your draft, book a 1-1 CV session or sign up to our internship waitlist if you would like some industry experience. See you there!

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