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How to write a CV when you do not have work experience

Updated: Apr 28, 2022

Writing a resume when you have little to no work experience can be tricky. It is important to keep in mind that the most experienced candidate may not always be the candidate who gets the job.

Recruiters are looking for more than just experience, so using your CV to show who you are and why you are an excellent fit for an organisation is essential.

4 tips to write a CV without work experience

1. Tailor your CV to the job

First and foremost, make sure your CV is suitable for the job you are applying for. If you have a resume with no professional experience, the key is to focus on your soft and hard skills rather than the experience you don't have. Scan the job posting and extract all the relevant skills and qualifications the recruiter is looking for. This can include attention to detail, customer service experience, or good time management. To tailor your resume to the job, it's important to incorporate the skills you see in your resume. You can include them in your statement or create a section dedicated to "Skills".

2. Make the most of your opening statement

Your statement is the first thing a hiring manager will read on your resume, so it should be a good one. Spend time writing three to five lines about yourself, your skills, and what makes you the perfect candidate for the job. Keep it short and to the point.

3. Think outside of work

Treat your extracurricular activities and volunteer work like jobs. Evidence shows that employers are willing to consider the volunteer experience when considering a position. So, take some time to mentally review the past ten years and think about the times you volunteered for a business, did some charitable work, completed required work experience, or relevant courses in high school or college.

4. Use the right keywords.

The recruiter (or their candidate tracking system) will analyse your CV for keywords. There are the job-specific skills and qualifications you can find in the job posting. It is essential to mention these keywords on your CV (assuming you have the right skills), otherwise, your CV has little or no chance of passing the tracking system.

Optimise your CV so that you speak the same language as the recruiter. For example, if the job posting emphasizes leadership experience as an essential skill, make sure your resume includes the keywords "leadership experience". If you were to type in "management experience" while still applicable, the recruiter might not even see your resume if they search for the keyword "leadership".


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