How to Write a CV With No Experience: A Guide
Written by Mike Potter, Author • Last updated on 22 May 2024

How to Write a CV With No Experience: A Guide

When you’re starting out in your career, it can feel like no matter how junior the job, every advert asks for experience. This can be daunting and off-putting, especially if you don’t have much genuine, relevant work experience to draw on. However, it is possible to write a strong, persuasive CV with no experience. In this article, we discuss how to make the most of the skills and experience you’ve got, to write a CV that impresses employers.

Understand the company and the position

The first step to writing a CV with no experience is to fully understand the company and the role you’re applying for. Over time, you’ll become more confident with understanding job descriptions, but if you’re just starting out, unpicking the requirements for the role and the expectations of the employer can be tricky.

Do some background reading on the company. Visit its website and read about their mission, values and purpose, and review their staffing structure. Read about the type of work they do, their clients and any case studies or testimonials they’ve published. This can give you a strong understanding of the company culture, their objectives and their goals.

Read the job advert thoroughly and identify the key responsibilities and skills required for the role. Make sure your skills and values reflect these, and keep them in mind when you’re writing your CV. A CV that mirrors the company’s values and clearly demonstrates you’ve got the skills required for the role, is more likely to make a strong impression with hiring managers.

How to structure a CV with no experience

The structure and content of a CV with no experience will be broadly similar to one with experience, but there are some key differences. While traditional CVs tend to emphasise work experience above everything else, CVs for people with no experience can place greater emphasis on other things.

A traditional CV structure includes a header with contact information, a CV summary, a work experience section, education, skills and other optional sections such as certifications and voluntary work. However, for a CV without work experience, other sections can become more prominent. Here are some sections to include in your no-experience CV:

Personal information

The first section of your CV, like a traditional CV, is your header with contact information. Write your name, address or location, phone number and email address. Avoid adding personal demographic information such as your age and gender. Employers prefer candidates not to include these, owing to anti-discrimination laws.

Personal statement

The personal statement is also known as the CV summary or CV objective. This section is usually a few sentences long, and concisely explains your skills, qualities and ambitions for your career. More experienced candidates might focus on their achievements and experience here, but if you lack experience, you can focus on your aims and objectives.

Internships

If you lack any paid relevant work experience, but you’ve completed an internship, gap year or work experience, mention these in your CV. When you’re starting your career, any experience in the world of work can give you an advantage.

Voluntary work

As with internships, voluntary work can help you prove your skills and show that you’ve gained some experience in situations similar to a full-time job. Outline any volunteer positions you’ve held, and what skills and experience they helped you to gain.

Education

In the early stages of your career, your education section takes on more significance than it might later in your work life. As such, add any relevant qualifications, particularly if these are specified in the job description. Under each entry, add a bullet point or two outlining any special areas of study, awards you won or extracurricular activities from your time studying.

Certificates and training

On top of your main qualifications, any certificates or training you’ve completed can help show you have the skills necessary for the job. These don’t need to result in a formal qualification, but they do show a dedication to self-development and improvement that employers will value.

Expert Tip:

You can prove you’re a suitable candidate for the job in various ways. Add anything to your CV that shows you have the skills and experience listed in the job description. You can use unpaid work such as internships, voluntary work, activities you took part in while studying or even hobbies and interests. Mention any of these, as long as they demonstrate a skill relevant to the role.

Include your skills and extracurricular activities

One section of your CV that is particularly important is your skills section. In the absence of relevant work experience, your skills take on far more value than they otherwise might. You could decide to make your skills section the first section after your personal statement, so they catch the attention of the employer.

For junior and entry-level roles, employers are particularly interested in candidates who have strong soft skills. These skills can help you to thrive in an entry-level job. While you might lack hard skills or technical abilities required for a particular job, you’re likely to have various soft and transferable skills that you could mention.  

Consult the job description for a list of skills required for the role, and list any that you have, whether hard or soft. You could add a bullet point to each skill, referencing how you’ve used it, and your level of competency.

You can also add experience in volunteer roles or any positions of leadership that you’ve held, such as sports club captaincy. These can help to show employers that you’re a responsible and dedicated person, who always gives 100%.

For junior and entry-level roles, employers are particularly interested in candidates who have strong soft skills. Transferable soft skills can help you thrive in any entry-level job.

Formatting and Presentation When You Have No Experience

The format and layout of your CV can help it to make a strong impression with recruiters and hiring managers, even when you lack experience. Choose a CV template that enhances the content with clear sections and a layout that makes it easy to read. Select a font that’s professional and readable, and make sure it’s a suitable size (10 to 12). Most CVs are between one and two pages of A4, so don’t feel pressure to create a longer document. A well-filled single page outlining your skills can have a greater impact than a longer document with lots of irrelevant content.

Adding subtle design elements such as coloured shading, columns and different fonts (or bold and larger text) for headings can really make your CV stand out. If you’re creating your CV in Word, experiment with the margins, line spacing and text boxes to create a document that’s aesthetically pleasing. Alternatively, you can use CVwizard’s various CV templates and other tools to help you craft a compelling, attractive CV even if you lack work experience.

Tips for a CV with No Experience

Follow these tips to help you craft an effective, compelling CV with no experience:

Use optional sections

Adding optional sections to your CV can help you to prove your skills and experience, even if you haven’t had a job before. Consider adding details of any training you’ve taken part in, any languages you speak, your hobbies and interests or your volunteer work. All these can be useful if they help you to prove certain skills and abilities from the job description.

Tailor your CV

Adapt your CV for each role you apply for. Read the job description and make sure you write your CV with the particular skills and abilities of the role in mind. If you can reference the company by name and explain why you’d like to work for them in your CV objective, this can also be very effective.

Proofread your CV

One of the fundamentals of a strong CV is good spelling and grammar. Poor spelling and grammar can really undermine your chances, regardless of the content of the document. Proofread your CV and run it through a spellchecker before sending it.

Write a strong cover letter

Your cover letter provides a great opportunity to add depth and context to your CV. It also provides space to express your enthusiasm and explain why you want the job, which can be valuable for junior and entry-level roles.

Key Takeaways for a CV with No Experience

A lack of experience is no reason to worry when writing your CV. There are plenty of ways to show you’re qualified for entry-level and junior roles. Focus on your skills, and particularly transferable skills that show you’re willing and able to learn. Study the company and the job description, and tailor your CV accordingly. Pay attention to your CV layout, and create a clear, readable document that holds the attention of the reader. CVwizard can help you with this. Sign up today to access a wealth of CV templates and other resources to create your winning CV.

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Mike Potter
Mike Potter
Author
Mike Potter is an experienced copywriter specialising in careers and professional development. He uses extensive knowledge of workplace culture to create insightful and actionable articles on CV writing and career pathways.

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