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How to write a resume with no experience: Tips, examples, and more

How to write a resume with no experience: Tips, examples, and more

  • Choosing the best resume format when you have no experience
  • What do you put on your resume if you have no experience?
  • Is there anything you shouldn’t include on your resume?
  • 2 Templates and examples of a resume with no experience
  • Key takeaways

You know you need a resume to get a job, but how do you write a resume if you have no experience? This article shows how to write a resume with no experience and set you apart from the crowd.

You need an effective resume to get a job, but do you know how to write a resume with no experience? The trick is to highlight your transferable skills, academic experience and activities, and coursework, and show hiring managers that you're the person they want to hire. Your resume is a story, and that story should be concise and paint you as someone who is future-focused, achievement-oriented, and ready to contribute to the success of a company.

In this article, we’ll discuss:

  • What is the best resume format when you have no experience?

  • What do I put on my resume if I have no experience?

  • Dos and don’ts for writing a resume

  • 2 examples and template of a resume with no job experience

Choosing the best resume format when you have no experience

Selecting the right resume format is one of the most important steps, especially when you’re getting started in your career. Your resume isn’t just a piece of paper; it’s used to introduce yourself to the hiring manager and show them why you’re the best person for the job, regardless of your experience level. 

In general, there are three formats: the reverse chronological, the functional, and the hybrid. If you’re a recent graduate, you’ll probably want a hybrid format, as they place a greater emphasis on your relevant coursework, internships, skills, and accomplishments over your work history and highlight the relevant skills you’ve developed.

If you have some work experience, a hybrid would likely be your best bet, but even if you really don't have any kind of work experience, a functional format isn’t recommended. That’s because functional resumes may not be compatible with ATS software, so your resume could be filtered out in the initial screening process. 

What do you put on your resume if you have no experience?

You may be wondering why you need a resume if you're just starting out. If you don't have much practical work experience, what in the world do you put on your resume? The same thing more experienced workers have on theirs but in a different order. How do you write a simple resume? You'll need the following sections:

  • A professional summary. Don’t worry if you don’t have a lot of “professional” work to summarize. You can still write a resume summary with no experience. Your two-to-three-sentence summary should include your soft skills, strengths, and anything that makes you unique. 

  • Your education. You worked hard for that degree, so you should show it off. Include your major, any awards or honors (such as Dean’s list), and GPA, if above a 3.5. If you have any relevant certifications or courses, add those as well.

  • Any internships, volunteer work, or summer jobs. These are valuable sources of transferable skills. You can include extracurricular activities, too, such as fraternities/sororities, athletics, or community-based projects.

  • Bullet point-achievements. Under each listing of internships, etc., include anything you accomplished using quantifiable data. Think deeply about this; they don't have to be earth-shattering, but they should demonstrate what you accomplished.

  • Both hard and soft skills. This can include any technical skills as well as things like organization, leadership, and teamwork. Although, you should be ready to demonstrate how you used those soft skills in your previous "experience." 

To have the best chance of making it through the Applicant Tracking System (ATS) and catching the recruiter’s attention, tailor your resume to each position you're applying for

Is there anything you shouldn’t include on your resume?

Absolutely. While you want to put yourself in the best possible light, be selective. There are a few things you should not include on your resume, such as your GPA, if it’s below 3.5. A photograph won't help you get a job; in fact, it might work against you in the form. While it might be standard practice in other countries, in the U.S. it's generally not recommended.

Your marital status, religion, political affiliation, or your age can be excluded. Leave off hobbies or interests; an exception is if your hobby is directly relevant to the job you’re applying for.

Also, you don't have a lot of space on your resume, so omit any graphics or clip art. An uncluttered, easy-to-read resume will be more effective, appreciated by the hiring manager, and will be more easily read by the ATS.

Do
  • Keep your resume to one page.
  • Tailor your resume for each job, incorporating keywords from the job description.
  • Proofread your resume for any grammatical errors or misspelled words.
  • Use a professional-sounding email address.
  • Tell the truth. A hiring manager will be able to tell pretty quickly if you’re lying.
Don't
  • Use technical jargon, clichés, or industry “buzz words.”
  • List your full address. A city and state is sufficient.
  • Don't plagiarize the job description. Use your own words when tailoring your resume.
  • Provide any confidential information.
  • Include skills like Microsoft Word or Internet. It’s going to be assumed that you are already familiar with these.
Expert Tip

Does a resume have to have references?

Unless the job description specifically states that you need them, no. While you should have a list of references handy, only offer them when asked by the hiring manager or recruiter, who won’t check them until they’re ready to offer you the job.

2 Templates and examples of a resume with no experience

While your individual resume will vary based on your education, skills, and experience, use this template to create a resume to show off your current skills and experience. 

Here is a resume template you can use if you have no job experience:

Resume template: no job experience

Name and contact information This section should be at the top of the resume and include your name, location, phone number, email, and LinkedIn profile if you have one.

Professional Summary Here, you’ll give a brief overview of your strengths, experience, and major accomplishments. You can include a goal if it's relevant.

Skill summary Include any hard and soft skills, aligning them with the job description.

Education Include any degrees, name of college or university, dates attended (if less than 10 years ago), honors, achievements, and GPA (if above 3.5)

Additional Sections Here, you can include any jobs you may have previously held, volunteer work, projects, or extracurricular activities.

Here is a fully fleshed-out ATS resume example:

Full resume example: no experience

Allison Jones Chicago, IL 312-555-1234 [email protected]

Professional Summary

Recent college graduate with graphic design knowledge and experience supporting revenue growth by creating new marketing materials and advertisements via an internship with XYZ Company. Imaginative self-starter with exceptional creativity and innovative design skills. Technical skills include Sketch, Adobe Photoshop/Illustrator/InDesign, CorelDRAW, and Blender.

Skill Summary

  • Photo and video editing

  • Layout design

  • Written and visual communication

  • Design principles 

  • Motion graphics

  • Prototyping

Education

Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design University of Southern Illinois, Carbondale, IL 2024

  • GPA 3.95, Summa cum laude

  • Coursework included Digital Imaging and Illustration, Typography and Layout Design, and Web Design and Interactive Media

Professional Experience

Graphic Design Intern, XYZ Company,  Downers Grove, IL 2024

  • Conceptualized and executed print materials, online banners, presentations, email newsletters, social media posts, and advertising campaigns. Performed research on best practices and graphic design trends. Created mockups for client presentations.

  • Expanded company reach by contributing to the development of branding materials such as logos, stationary, and business cards.

  • Enhanced user experience by redesigning email newsletter to be more mobile friendly.

If you need extra help writing your resume, we’re here for you. Career.io’s resume writing team of experts can craft a top-notch resume that showcases your unique skills and experiences and helps you land more interviews and get hired faster.

Key takeaways

  1. Your resume introduces you to the recruiter or hiring manager and shows why you’re the ideal candidate. 

  2. The best format for your resume is a hybrid resume, as it places the emphasis on your education, transferable skills, and accomplishments. 

  3. Keep your resume clean and uncluttered, and don't include a photo or personal information such as marital status, religion, or age.

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