How to Write a Resume With No Experience [Tips & Examples]

Learn how to write a resume with no work experience. Get our tips and tricks for when you’re about to write your first resume.
11/4/2020 10 min reading time Karin Lykke Nielsen @KarinLykke
How to Write a Resume With No Experience [Tips & Examples]

So, you’re fresh out of school and about to write your very first resume? And now you’re worried about how to write a resume with no experience?

We get it!

What you have to remember is that everyone (and I mean e v e r y o n e) who has ever written a resume, wrote their first resume without any experience to add to it. And so can you. With this guide in hand, and our no experience resume examples, you’ll have your first resume written in no time. 

Here’s what you’ll learn: 

  • How to write your first resume
  • What to add to your resume with no work experience
  • How to highlight your skills and strengths in a resume with no experience
  • How to format a no experience resume

And lastly you’ll find examples of resumes with no work experience. 

Let’s get crackin’. 

How to write a resume with no experience

First of all you’ll need to decide on a resume format. You might be tempted to use either the functional or the hybrid resume format but our recommendation is to stick to the trusted reverse chronological resume format. Recruiters love this format and they are very familiar with it. 

The sections in your resume will be:

  1. Header (contact information and your profile)
  2. Education
  3. Internships, extracurricular activities, projects, volunteer work
  4. Skills

In this setup emphasis is on your education and section 3 (internships, extracurricular activities, projects, and volunteer work) will go instead of classic work experience. 

In a regular resume you would have your work history section between the header and education. However, since you don’t have that (yet) you’ll need to focus your resume around other elements and replace work history with your education. 

Adding your education to your resume instead of work experience is the next best thing to actual work experience. Think about it; you’ve just spent maybe four to five years learning a trade, getting new skills, and gaining the newest of knowledge. That’s worth a lot!

With that settled, let’s move on. We’ll start from the top of your resume - the header section. 

Resume header section

In your header you’ll need to add your contact details: 

  • First name and last name
  • Title (describing the position you’re applying for)
  • Phone number
  • Address (street name and city will suffice)
  • Email address
  • Link to your professional profile (like your Linkedin profile or a personal webpage/portfolio)

An important side note to your contact details is to make sure you have a professional sounding email address. You’re not going to impress a recruiter with your old yahoo or hotmail address from preschool (pretty_fly_guy9000@yahoo.com). If you don’t have one already, create one along the lines of Firstname.Lastname@gmail.com. 

Part of your header section is also your profile text (also known as a summary or a resume objective). 

Your profile text is a short summary where you (very shortly) describe how you fit into the role you’re applying for. It should only be about 3-4 sentences long. 

An image of a students resume with no experience

Education section

As mentioned earlier, in a classic resume the first section is most often the work experience section. However, in a resume with no experience, your education section will be the first one the recruiters see. As such you should take extra care to make this section interesting and relevant. After all, your education will be your number one selling point when you’re fresh out of school. 

Here’s how you do it:

  1. Name of your degree
  2. Name of the institution you attended
  3. Years attended

You may also choose to include any of the following optional elements: GPA (if it’s 3.5 or higher), honors, relevant coursework, and exchange programs. 

The most important thing to remember is that any optional element you choose to include has to be ultra relevant to the job position. Otherwise you’re better off leaving it out. 

An image of how to add your education to a students resume with no experience

One of the questions we frequently get is whether or not to include the high school degree as well as college degree. Our answer is always the same: only include your high school degree if this is your only degree. If you have a higher degree like a college degree, then your high school degree becomes redundant. 

Internships, extracurricular activities, projects, volunteer work

Alright, we’ve covered the basics of your resume with no experience. Now it’s time to move on with alternatives to your missing work experience. In comes internships, extracurricular activities, projects, and volunteer work. 

Below we’ll go through each alternative. 

Internships

Internships are a great way to gain work experience to add to your resume. If you have relevant internship experience, here’s how you add it: 

Place it after your education section.

Now add the details about your internship. What was your role? Be specific here. If you were in the sales department, write Sales Intern. 

Next up are the details of the company you interned with. That means writing down the company name, location, and the duration of your internship. In that order. 

Last step is to add a list of your responsibilities in bullet form. If you have any tangible achievements or results, add them in as well. But you’re not quite done yet. To finish off your internship section you need to tailor both your responsibilities and achievements to the job position you’re applying for.

Like this:

Internships

Sales Intern

Company ABC

Denver, Colorado

07/2019 - 10/2019

  • Participated in weekly sales meetings
  • Part of a sales team with the most revenue
  • Wrote 10 sales pitches for Company ABC’s products

Extracurricular activities

Another great way of showing your potential new employer your worth is through your extracurricular activities. They will show the hiring manager that you’re hard working and motivated. It demonstrates what type of person you are. 

Extracurricular activities could be

  • Organizing events
  • Student council
  • Playing a musical instrument
  • Sports
  • Clubs you’re involved in

Here’s how you should add extracurricular activities to your resume with no experience (example below): 

  1. Title: extracurricular activities
  2. Organization/type of activity
  3. Your role
  4. Time period
  5. Responsibilities and achievements

Extracurricular activities

Student council

Served as Student Council President for two semesters

07/2018 - 07/2019

  • Organized Spring Ball of 2019
  • Arranged large United Nations event with speakers from abroad
  • Responsible for all activities for new students 2019

Projects

Still got plenty of space left on your resume? Time to bring out your projects and add those in. 

You can add your capstone project, your research project, your graduating thesis, or maybe a personal side project. 

Here’s how you add your projects to your resume (example below):

  1. Title: Projects
  2. Name of the project
  3. Organization related to the project
  4. Time period
  5. Type of project and short description
  6. Optional: responsibilities and achievements (if relevant)

Projects

How Businesses Can Pivot in a Time of Change

Fresno City College

01/2020 - 06/2020

Research project where the scope was to evaluate how businesses during changing and challenging times can pivot their focus and earning possibilities.

  • Constructed and conducted quantitative research in the form of a questionnaire
  • Analyzed data from more than 100 respondents (companies)
  • Performed in-depth qualitative research (personal interviews) with 20 respondents

Volunteer work

Last, but definitely not least, is volunteer work. This is a great addition to your resume if you don’t have much work experience yet. It shows you care about your community and that you’re a dedicated person. Employers LOVE that. 

Here’s how you add volunteer work to your resume (example below). 

  1. Title: Volunteer work 
  2. Name of the organization/type of volunteer work
  3. Location
  4. Time period
  5. Your (relevant) tasks and responsibilities (in bullet points)

Volunteer work

Community Service: Tutored children after school

Fresno Elementary School

06/2019 - 10/2020

  • Tutored 5 kids aged 11-12 years in algebra 
  • Coordinated assignments - up to 3 per week per kid
  • Evaluated work and improved motivation to learn

How to highlight your skills and strengths in a resume with no experience

We’ve spent some time going over what to add to your resume instead of work experience. Now let’s move on to your skills. First of all, did you know that you need to separate your skills into soft and hard skills

Hard skills are the ones you learn through either education or experience. Soft skills are also known as interpersonal skills and are often part of your personality. You can think of soft skills as the habits that describe how you work. They’re not tied to a specific job but are instead transferable. 

Examples of soft skills are patience, assertiveness, competitiveness, empathy, and tolerance. 

Examples of hard skills are accounting, design, research, teaching, and analysis.

When you write a resume for your first job we recommend that you go for the hard skills. They refer to specific tools, technical knowledge, and training. They apply directly to the job and will make you stand out. 

Here’s how you add your skills to your resume: 

  1. Look through the job description
  2. Note down all requirements to the position
  3. Match them with your own skills

Now add them in a specific skills section of your resume. It can look something like this. 

An image of how to add your skills to a students resume with no experience

Examples of resumes with no work experience

Below we’ve provided you with some examples of resumes with no work experience. Feel free to copy and use the parts that work for you.

Junior Assistant Resarcher resume example made with our student resume template

An image of a communications students resume example with no experience

Junior Assistant Resarcher resume text you can copy and use

Nathan Clarke
Junior Assistant Researcher

Personal Information

1323 Center Avenue
93721 Fresno, CA
Tel: 559-442-8787
Email: nathanclarke@email.com

Profile

Highly motivated student in Communications with strong analytical skills. Have performed research to multiple assistant teachers at faculty and helped build up a knowledge database for the students to use.

Key skills include:

  • Analysis of both quantitative and qualitative data
  • Insights into human behavior and persuasion

Education

Communication - Fresno City College, Fresno, CA

2018 - Present

Relevant coursework:

  • Consumer Behavior
  • Interpersonal Communication and Persuasion
  • Social Media

Internships

Sales Intern - Company ABC, Fresno, California

July 2019 - October 2019

  • Participated in weekly sales meetings
  • Part of a sales team with the most revenue
  • Wrote 10 sales pitches for Company ABC’s products

Projects

How Businesses Can Pivot in a Time of Change - Fresno City College

January 2020 - June 2020

Research project where the scope was to evaluate how businesses during changing and challenging times can pivot their focus and earning possibilities.

  • Constructed and conducted quantitative research in the form of a questionnaire
  • Analyzed data from more than 100 respondents (companies)
  • Performed in-depth qualitative research (personal interviews) with 20 respondents

Extracurricular activities

Student council

Served as Student Council President for two semesters

07/2018 - 07/2019

  • Organized Spring Ball of 2019
  • Arranged large United Nations event with speakers from abroad
  • Responsible for all activities for new students 2019

Professional skills

Data analysis (qualitative and quantitative)

  • Qualitative and quantitative research
  • Project management
  • Written presentations
  • Public speaking
  • Questionnaires for quantitative research
  • Planning and conducting interviews
  • Organizational skills

Languages

English - written and verbal
Native

Spanish - written and verbal
Proficient

German - written
Proficient

Volunteer work

Community Service: Tutored children after school

Fresno Elementary School

06/2019 - 10/2020

  • Tutored 5 kids aged 12-14 years in algebra - all of whom were struggling with the subject to the point of failing
  • 4 out of 5 kids improved their results with up to 1.2 GPA
  • Coordinated assignments - up to 3 per week per kid
  • Evaluated work and improved motivation to learn

Junior Developer resume example made with our student resume template

An image of a software engineer students resume example with no experience

Junior Developer resume text you can copy and use

Kelli Wang
Agile and Execution Driven Junior Programmer

Personal Information

2273 Isaacs Creek Road
Fowler, IL 62338
Tel: 300 555 666
Email: Kelli@email.com

My Profile

Upcoming BSSE graduate offering a strong foundation in software engineering and programming principles across multiple platforms.

Experienced in object-oriented programming; developing, testing and debugging code; designing interfaces; and administering systems and networks.

Quickly learn and master new technologies; successful working in both team and self-directed settings.

Education

BS in Computer Science - Boston University, Boston, MA

August 2017 - Present

  • Academic Honors: Boston University's Metropolitan College Program Achievement Citation (2018), Dean’s List (3 semesters)
  • Senior Software Engineering Design Project (in progress)

Minor in Computer Forensics - Fisher College, Boston, MA

August 2016 - July 2018

Projects

Senior Software Engineering Design Project (in progress):

September 2019 - Present

  • Project Scope: Currently working as part of a three-member team on fraud detection in payments using machine learning
  • Analyzed functional requirements, developed code and currently testing software applications.
  • Tools: Visual Studio .Net, C# and ASP.Net

Work Experience

Software Developer - Ingenixo, Boston, MA

July 2018 - Present

Currently working as a part time developer for Ingenixo

  • Partnered with QC team to perform experimental software runs, ending the need for outside assistance and saving the company over $20,000 in past six months.
  • Instituted new coding verification protocols (Nov 2018), which led to a 12% reduction in reported coding errors.
  • Write SQL queries and statements; investigate and resolve application errors.
  • Design and implement software that utilizes XML and web services.

Technical Skills

  • C++
  • Python
  • SQL
  • Java
  • XML / HTML
  • Webpage development

Languages

English
Native

Mandarin
Native

Spanish
Proficient

Extracurricular Activity

  • Part of the math club.
  • Part of the web design and coding club.

Hobbies

  • Reading and learning about programming and startups.
  • Volunteering at the local start up café.
  • Building my paid newsletter about my practises and learnings on: kwang.substack.com

Takeaways 

In conclusion, if you don’t have a lot of actual work experience yet, don’t fret. There’s plenty to add to your resume. The most important takeaway is to keep the content of your resume ultra relevant and make sure you tell your story. 

Do:

  • Own your existing experience head on 
  • Be honest about your work experience
  • Be brief and to the point

Don’t:

  • Try to cover up the fact that you don’t have much experience
  • Over explain why you don’t have a lot of experience
  • Use a functional resume format

And that’s it! Are you ready to write your first resume? 


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