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How To Make Your First Resume Without Job Experience

Take Courses And Get Certifications

How to write a resume when you have no experience

Heres another effective way to get a job with no work history: Enroll in some online courses and certifications.

Certain industries and topics have specific certifications you can find, too.

For example, if you want to learn software engineering, there are online coding bootcamps.

The right course for you will depend on your situation and goals, but dont neglect to look at this option if youre trying to get a job with no experience and feeling stuck.

Beware of expensive certifications, though you can often find a similar education for much cheaper on sites like Skillshare . And while some specific certifications are well-known and highly-regarded , many are just used to entice job seekers into paying a lot of money.

In my opinion as a former recruiter, for most industries, its more important to show you completed an online course and learned the job-related skills than it is to show a certification.

Fortunately, many of the budget-friendly courses on sites like Skillshare and elsewhere do offer a certification to show you completed the material.

How To Write A Resume For A Teenager With No Job Experience


A lack of job experience doesn’t mean a lack of work experience. If you are a teenager looking for your first payroll job, punch up your resume by focusing on your strengths, whatever they may be. Plenty of your high school experiences, from academic achievements to volunteer work to extracurricular activities, offer opportunities to highlight the qualities you can bring to the workplace.

How To Get Involved With Open Source

You can start by finding interesting open source projects on GitHub or other dev communities. You should then look at the open issues, make sure to read the contributor’s guideline, and make your first contribution.

Here’s a helpful guide that details how you can start contributing.

I am only going to recommend some of the bigger projects here. We all have different interests, so I encourage you to find your own.

  • freeCodeCamp: contribute to the curriculum, Chapter, or translate existing articles. I highly recommend that you check their Github out.
  • Strapi: I discovered the project a while ago and fell in love with it. It is harder to get started, but the community is welcoming and it is written in Javascript + Node.js, which hopefully you have learned in the freeCodeCamp curriculum. They are building a modern CMS .
  • React: We use it everywhere, so why not understand how it works and contribute to the most popular JavaScript framework? If you are interested, I highly recommend you reading this article about how you can make your own framework that works similarly to React

If you ever get stuck, most projects have a community and a public forum where you can ask for help.

Contributing to open-source might be hard to get into, but it strengthens your résumé more than any other project. It demonstrates your ability to contribute to large codebases, collaborate with other engineers, and persist through hard-to-debug issues.

Recommended Reading: How To List High School On Resume

Top No Experience Cover Letter Mistakes To Avoid

When you dont have experience to put on your cover letter, you have to work a bit harder to show a hiring manager why they should take a chance on you. Dont let these three common mistakes get in the way of that message.

  • Poor formatting: Professional formatting can go a long way in making up for the experience you lack. Make sure your cover letter includes a well-organized header with your name and contact information. A touch of color can also help to create an attractive presentation.
  • Spelling and grammar mistakes: These little errors can cost you big time when the hiring manager decides you dont have enough focus or attention to detail for their opening. Luckily you can avoid these mistakes with spell check or by asking a friend to proofread.
  • Generic cover letter: Even though youre not an expert in the field, you should still have some idea of your goals and interests. A generic cover letter sent to many hiring managers says just the opposite. In order to avoid looking desperate to land any job that comes your way, youll want to tailor each cover letter to the specific company and position youre applying for using details from the job description.
  • Keep Your Resume Short

    Should You Bring A Resume To Your First Job Interview ...

    An entry-level resume should never exceed one page, which is good news! If this is your first ever resume, you might not have a whole bunch of information to include.

    Aim to fill the whole page, but, again, make sure everything you put on your resume can all tie back into the job youre applying for. If you need to, adjust your margins so that theyre the maximum size of 1 inch.

    Also, dont try to fill your resume up with statements like References available upon request. These things go without saying, and theres really no reason to put them on your resume. If an employer wants to speak with your references, theyll ask.

    Read Also: How To List Multiple Jobs At Same Company On Resume

    How To Write A Resume With No Experience

    Its time for your first job hunt!

    You need to write a resume, which can be nerve-wracking if you dont have any real-life work experience.

    You dont know where to start, what to include, or which resume format to choose.

    On top of that, most advice you find online isnt relevant because it focuses on emphasizing professional background.

    Chances are, youre straight out of college with no experience to speak of.

    Or maybe you’re a high-school student applying for a part-time job.

    Whichever the case may be, youre probably having trouble filling in the blank space on your resume thats supposed to be the work experience section.

    Worry not, though. In this guide, were going to help you create an AMAZING resume, no work experience is needed.

    Youre going to learn:

    • How to format your resume with no work experience
    • 4 sections to replace work experience
    • 2 no-work experience resume samples

    Find Your Own Way Into The Career

    Not every career path is a straight line. If you can get a job at a company you want to work for doing the work you currently do, this may be a good strategy for you. Once you’re working for them, you can start planning ways to transition into the new career you want to pursue.

    For example, if you are an aspiring fashion designer who currently works in customer service, find a job as a receptionist in a clothing brand’s office. Once you’re there, you can talk with the designers, offer to assist them with their work and get their advice on how to work your way into a designer role.

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    How To Start Contributing To Forums

    Contributing and helping other developers on forums like Stack Overflow, Reddit, or the freeCodeCamp forum does not directly make your résumé better.

    But, as a developer, you will most likely be working with a small team of other engineers, product managers, and designers. By helping others, you propel your team’s success. You can gain valuable communication, debugging, and leadership skills that will be useful throughout your career.

    What Events To Attend As A Developer

    How To Write A Resume With Little or No Work Experience – Resume Template

    In the old days, you’d go to in-person meetups, career fairs, and conferences. However, the world has been disrupted by COVID. While I have no doubt these dark stay-at-home times will pass, we have to start looking elsewhere in the meantime.

    Attend virtual conferences

    Big gatherings are still mostly happening virtually. You can attend developer-focused events like Next Conf and GraphQL conf, hiring-oriented events like GHC, and business-centric events like Startup Grind.

    You can meet high-profile speakers and like-minded developers. You can use sites like Eventbrite to discover what’s happening.

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    Structuring The No Experience Resume

    While employers dont expect to see a document that is packed with workplace achievement, they do expect you to write a resume with no experience that is structured in a traditional way. Anything that deviates from the norm when you make your resume for that first job risks creating a sense of unease.

    As it is likely your first guess at how to write a good CV , here are the sections to include:

    Header. Your name and contact information should feature prominently at the top of the document. ATS software will expect this to be there and you want to be easily contactable if a hiring manager decides to invite you to interview.

    What is ATS software? Familiarize yourself with the concept, youre going to encounter it more and more as you progress in your career. In short, these are algorithms that process resumes and filter out the bad ones so recruiters only get the cream of the crop. Find out more in our blog on optimizing your resume for ATS programs. You will also learn how to write a better resume – useful if it is your first time.

    Summary. You might wonder how a CV with no experience could be summarised, but we suggest that a less-experienced applicant uses this section as a taste of their attitude and aptitude as well as describing career objectives. Who are you, what do you want and what can you give? It may be a cv with no work experience but compel the reader to read on.

    Write A Killer Cover Letter

    Every job application should include a cover letter. Every single one. Even a job application for a position in the checkout line at the grocery store can include a cover letter. Why? Because it is the only introduction you might have to your future employer.

    “I wrote a cover letter to get a job at Claire’s,” says Kathi, a Coast Guard wife living in Tampa who moved to be with her husband and had no local job connections. “No job experience, no connections. It was brutal,” she remembers.

    Kathi had worked seasonally at her local mall in high school, but because she was a varsity athlete, she did not have time to hold down a real job in addition to school. “I had a little experience, but my supervisors had all gotten new jobs and I didn’t have their contact info,” she says. “So I worked for a few weeks but had no references.”

    Kathi was worried that would mean she would have no one to speak on her behalf, so she took the opportunity to speak for herself. “I thought cover letters would be for bigger jobs, but my boss said she gets cover letters all the time. She said that it’s a good way to learn about someone.”

    Most employers share Kathi’s boss’s approach. A cover letter is a reasonable expectation from any recent graduate or someone who lacks the professional history a stand-out resume might have.

    Better yet: Do write your cover letter specifically for every position. The personalization comes through and shows you take the position seriously.

    Read Also: Where To Put Relevant Coursework On A Resume

    Formatting Sections On A Resume

    Clearly separate resume sections by formatting them in underlined and bold using a size that is one or two points larger than the rest of the text. This helps a hiring manager easily scan through your resume and pick out the important information fast.

    When creating a resume, especially when you have no experience, it saves a lot of time to use a resume building template. Using a free resume template allows you to focus on writing the content without spending too much time on formatting.

    Include A Cover Letter

    How to Write a Resume With No Job Experience

    If you want your job application to stand out, you should include a cover letter alongside your resume. Since your resume is light on formal experience, your cover letter gives you the chance to describe your personality and emphasize your enthusiasm for the role.

    You should look to contextualize the experience that you do have in your cover letter and use it as a way to flesh out your resume. Think of your resume as answering the who, what, where, when questions, while a cover letter discusses the how and the why. Discuss why youre excited about the position and how you plan on doing a great job based on your previous accomplishments.

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    Should I Put Beginner Skills On Resume

    If thats all you have as an enty-level worker, sure, put down your beginner-level skills on your resume. But dont try to pass them off as full proficiency. Instead, add a quick note about your actual levels of expertise. Also, omit any beginner-level skills if these are irrelevant to the position you are after.

    Connect Directly With Recruiters

    Difficulty: 1.5/5

    This is one of the most underrated hacks. Recruiters are very, very busy people. Way busier than we are as developers.

    They are working between 3-40 open positions at any given time, and have to screen thousands of résumés per position. If yours does not stand out, you have to think of other ways to get through the door.

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    Don’t Wait For Your References To Be Called

    Every time we suggest that you include written references with a resume or job application, someone cringes — and in their defense, it is not typical job seeker behavior.

    But for military spouses constantly on the move, juggling the demands of military life, and in many cases starting their careers afresh at a new duty station, those references are absolutely critical. If you lack professional experience, you can play up extracurricular experience that your references can actually support. Instead of just saying yourself that you are a good leader, you prove that someone else thinks you are a good leader, too, by including letters of reference.

    But without a strong job history, who can you turn to for those references? Look to former academic advisers, teachers or club supervisors. If you have strong volunteer experience, ask the people in charge to write letters on your behalf that support the skills you claim to have. Each reference should be able to speak to a different skill set you have mastered or volunteer experience that lends itself to job readiness.

    While that seems easy enough in theory, these references can be difficult to ask for in real life. Be straightforward with people: The people you might ask to be references are people who also believe in you and your potential.

    Tailor Your Resume For Each Job Posting

    How to Write a Resume with No Work Experience | Wonsulting

    When you apply for jobs without experience, always look at the job description and try to identify what skills and traits the employer wants.

    Whats mentioned first, or most often?

    Even without experience think about courses youve taken, projects youve completed, internships, volunteering, etc.

    And think about how all of this relates to the job youre applying to. What seems most important on the job description? Leadership? Problem solving? Ability to work without close supervision? Now highlight what theyre looking for in all of your past experience on your resume.

    You can do this by reordering items on your resume as well as adding bullets and other content if you notice a gap between what the employer wants and what you mention.

    While customizing your resume is going to make a job application take longer, youll get more responses.

    Would you rather send 100 applications and get 1 response? Or send 20 applications and get 5 responses?

    Plus, it doesnt take as long as it sounds if you use this tailoring method.

    Now, if youre still thinking, I dont have any experience to talk about on my resume, so how can I customize my resume to fit the job? then keep reading. In the next two points, Ill share more ideas of what to put on your resume.

    Also Check: Resume Volunteer Experience Sample

    Volunteer Work And Activities

    Lastly, create a section for volunteer activities. This could be formal or informal volunteering, such as serving food at a local homeless shelter or helping your neighbor rake leaves. For each volunteer activity, include who you volunteered with, what your role was, the dates and hours you volunteered and a brief description.

    Example of how to list volunteer work and activities in a resume:Coral Springs Soup Kitchen, Coral Springs, Florida 25 Hours Meal Prep and ServingPrepares, serves, and cleans up after meal service at a local homeless shelter on a bi-weekly basis.

    Choose A Functional Format

    Although a chronological resume is the most common resume type, consider using the functional resume format when writing your first resume. Whereas chronological resumes focus on your work experience, functional resumes highlight your core resume skills:

    Specifically, the skills section of a functional resume replaces the work history section of a chronological resume. To fill this section pick at least three skills relevant to the position, and then add two or three bullet points that showcase those skills in action:

    Skills on a Resume for a First Job

    Editing skills

    • Edited average of 47 newspaper articles a day as chief copy editor of The Brown Daily Herald
    • Reduced incidence of typos in The Brown Daily Herald by 17% compared with previous year

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