Creating a professional resume can be a daunting task, but making a no experience resume adds even more pressure on the candidate.
When you are a recent graduate or still a high school student, you have fewer details to work with, but you still want to create a competent and captivating document. However, most of the advice on the internet revolves around focusing on work history.
Fortunately, there are rules and guidelines which you can follow to craft an impeccable no experience resume. Keep reading—this article will make a resume-building expert out of you even if you come with zero work history!
When creating a no-experience resume, you should focus on your education and use alternatives to work experience.
When adding your degrees and achievements to your resume, list them in reverse-chronological order.
Make sure your resume is well-formatted and that the important information is suitably emphasized.
You should list the sections in the recommended order to get the best results. They should include “Header,” “Education,” “Alternatives to work experience,” “Skills.”
To introduce yourself to hiring managers and grab their attention, add a compelling cover letter.
How to Structure a Resume With No Experience
When it comes to structuring a resume, the foundational rules remain the same, whether you have decades of experience or none at all. There are several overarching principles you need to acknowledge that will help you create a perfect no experience resume.
For starters, one of the best ways to list information on your resume is to use reverse-chronological order. Start with your latest accomplishments, achievements, and degrees, etc. They are the most impactful and relevant, and recruiters would want to see them first, which is why the majority of no experience resume templates have this layout.
The next important element to consider is formatting. Proper formatting is crucial if you want to make your resume stand out and be legible. Features like font choice and size, resume sections, spacing, text alignment, usage of bullet points, and more all work towards producing a professional document.
Finally, there are some essential parts that every noexperience resume should contain. They go as follows:
No Experience Resume Format
Header. A resume header is reserved for your name, professional title (if applicable), and contact details.
Education. This is the selling point of your resume. List your degrees, the institutions that issued them, the years attended, and your GPA (if higher than 3.5). Relevant courses and programs attended during your studies are optional.
Alternatives to work experience. These alternatives include anything from internships and extracurricular activities to volunteer work and projects.
Skills. Listing a good mix of soft and hard skills will make you stand out as a capable and proficient candidate.
Additional sections. You’ll likely have some space left in your no-experience resume, so use it to insert additional sections like hobbies and interests, languages, achievements, certifications, awards, etc.
How to Write the Resume Header of a No Experience Resume
As the name suggests, a resume header sits at the top of the document. It features your name and professional title, along with your contact information. Another optional section you can add to your resume header is the resume objective.
This part of your no experience resume is the easiest to make, but there are a couple of things to keep an eye out for. For starters, keep this part short and concise. List your full name, phone number, email address, and, optionally, your city of residence.
Adding the link to your LinkedIn profile is optional but highly recommended. You can also add a personal website—if you have one—or even your Twitter or Instagram handle if these are relevant to the job you’re applying for.
When listing all this information, it’s crucial to double-check and proofread everything. A misspelled phone number or email address makes recruiters unable to contact you.
Also, make sure that you have a professional email address. If needed, make a new one for the resume since addresses like “firstname.lastname@example.org” aren’t the best choice.
Let’s take a look at what a clean and efficient no experience resume header looks like:
No-Experience Resume Header Example
Autumn Jones Human Resources Manager
+605 389 3779 email@example.com Rapid City, SD linkedin.com/in/autumnjones21
Resumes containing work experience start with a summary that tells recruiters what the whole document is about in two or three sentences. The goal of a resume summary is to highlight the candidate’s most valuable skills and achievements right from the start.
However, not having work experience doesn’t mean you shouldn’t write a powerful introduction. A no experience resume summary is called a resume objective, and its goal is to showcase your academic achievements, key skills, and motivation for applying for a particular position.
Here’s an example of a no experience resume objective so that you get a better idea of how to write your own:
Resume Objective Example
Recent Human Resources graduate seeking an entry-level position as an HR manager. Possess a strong foundation in HR concepts with relevant coursework in labor relations and organizational behavior. Has refined communication and problem-solving skills with practical experience gained in an internship. Excited to start a successful career as a part of a professional team and make meaningful contributions to your organization.
Highlight the Education Section of a No Experience Resume
The education section is the most important part of a no experience resume. Since you don't have a relevant work history to show off, you should focus on your education to show how skilled you are. Depending on where you are currently in your academic career, there are several different types of education sections, including the ones for:
Types of Education Sections
Current college students
High school graduates
College Graduate Education Section
If you’re a recent college graduate, start by leveraging your highest academic achievement. State your degree, the institution where you completed it, the institution’s location, and the years you attended. Make sure to include your GPA to further quantify your proficiency, but only if it’s above 3.5.
Check out the following example to see what the education section should look like:
College Graduate Education Section Example
BSc in Mathematics and Economics University of West Alabama, Livingston, AL 2019—2023
If you attended any courses that are relevant to the position, list them in bullet points to make your education section even more impactful.
Current College Student
If you’re a current college student, your education section will look almost the same as a college graduate’s. The only difference is the graduation date, since you haven’t graduated yet. In that case, there are two ways to go about it:
1. If you’re going to graduate soon and you know a likely date, insert it and mark it as expected. Here’s what that looks like:
College Student Example #1
BA in Human Resources Management University of Colorado, Boulder, CO October 2019—June 2023 (expected)
2. If you’re in the middle of your academic journey and don’t yet know when you’ll graduate, write “current” instead of a graduation date. This will let recruiters know your studies are ongoing. Check out the following example:
College Student Example #2
Bachelor of Arts in Architectural Studies Boston Architectural College, Boston, MA October 2021—current
High School Graduate
If you are fresh out of high school and looking for a part-time job, keep it clean and simple. You’re not expected to have an extensive education section as a high school graduate, so there’s no need to try too hard or overdo it.
The formatting stays the same as in previous examples. List the high school you went to, its location and the years you attended. Naturally, it helps if you have relevant coursework or certificates to add to the list.
Here’s an example of a proper high school graduate education section:
High School Graduate Section Example
High school diploma North High School, Phoenix, AZ 2019–2023
Alternative Experience to Add Instead of Work Experience
There are other types of real-life experience you can add to your resume if you lack a work history. These sections should come after your education and present you as someone who is more than just a student. Needless to say, adding these to your resume is the next best thing to include work experience in it.
While it might not be full-blown work experience, an internship is almost as good, which makes it perfect for a no-experience resume. Listing an internship on your document means you already have real-life experience in the industry and that you’re not an absolute beginner.
All that makes internships one of the most important parts of your resume right after your education. For this reason, this section should be placed right after the education-related one.
The internships section should include the following:
Internship Mandatory Information
Internship title and role
Company name and location
A bullet list containing the responsibilities you had and the most prominent achievements in the role
Here’s an example from a real no experience resume:
Internship Section Example
Digital Marketing Analyst Intern MarketPro Association Saint Paul, MN June 2022–Current
Collaborating with the content team to optimize blog posts for search engines, which has resulted in a 25% increase in organic traffic to the client’s website.
Assisting in the creation of social media campaigns that has resulted in a 30% engagement increase across all platforms.
Conducted A/B testing for website landing pages, boosting conversion rates by 8%.
Any valuable activities you do outside of your regular or mandatory education will go a long way in portraying you as a driven, hard-working candidate. They will show your hidden potential, which will be fully revealed once you start working.
Extracurricular activities display the candidate’s ambition, initiative, and eagerness to apply themselves and improve. Since you still don’t have any substantial work history to showcase, this is a great way to show the recruiter that you’re ready to do your best.
Let’s take a look at the following example:
Extracurricular Activities Section Example
English Tutor for International Students Global Outreach Program, Wellesley College, Boston, MA September 2021—Current
Tutoring 20+ international students in English language skills, including grammar, pronunciation, and conversation practice.
Developing individualized lesson plans based on each student’s needs and learning style, achieving 100% positive feedback.
Collaborating with other tutors to organize and lead cultural events and get-togethers.
By talking about their tutoring endeavors and highlighting facilitated get-togethers, the candidate indirectly displays promising leadership, organizational, and management skills.
Similar to extracurricular activities, volunteer experience is all about going above and beyond. It’s all about commitment, passion, and dedication, all of which are the qualities that recruiters look for in candidates.
This is one of the rare instances where you don’t have to stay relevant to the position you’re applying for. Simply listing the activities you took part in is enough to substantially improve your no experience resume and make yourself stand out in the eyes of hiring managers.
Title the section, name the organization you volunteered with, and mention the location and time of your volunteering. If you have particular achievements to highlight, use bullet points. Here’s what the entire section should look like:
Volunteering Experience Section Example
Student Volunteer Coordinator English Tutor for International Students Community Outreach Program, Wellesley College, Boston, MA January 2022—Current
Conducting outreach to 5 local schools and universities to recruit new volunteers and expand the program’s reach and impact.
Coordinating a team of 20 student volunteers for various events and projects, such as food drives, clothing donations, and neighborhood beautification projects.
Implemented engaging volunteer management strategies, boosting volunteer participation by 35%.
Adding projects you worked on is another creative and impactful way to offset the lack of work experience.
Any type of research done for your graduation thesis, software developed for a class, mockup designs you created, and similar are all worth mentioning.
You can list relevant projects in a separate section by specifying the following information:
Project Section Format
Organization (if applicable)
Achievements and responsibilities (optional)
Here’s a real-life example of what this section looks like:
Project Section Example
Basketball Intramurals Basketball Team Co-Captain Men’s Basketball Team, Lafayette College, Easton, PA September 2020–May 2022
Led a team to a 75% win rate in regular season games and earned a spot in the regional championship tournament.
Developed offensive and defensive team strategies, resulting in an average of 8 steals per game and a 10-point increase in overall scoring per game.
Mentored and motivated teammates, fostering a positive team culture that resulted in a 95% attendance rate at practices and team meetings
Skills To Add to a No-Experience Resume
Since you don't have a lot of work experience, it's more important than ever to highlight your most prominent skills. There are two different types of skills to list—soft and hard skills—and a strong combination of these will definitely make you stand out.
Soft skills affect the way you work, make you more organized and productive, and portray you as an innate team player. They range from people skills, listening skills, and communication skills to time management, problem-solving, creative thinking, and more.
Soft skills are highly transferable, and you can start perfecting them as early as during your school days. Every recruiter wants to see good soft skills in a resume, as they make candidates perform better in the workplace, adjust to unpredictable situations faster, fit in with the team, and so on.
Apart from the previously mentioned ones, here are some more sought-after soft skills:
Soft Skills Example
Ability to work independently
Hard skills make you able to do your job. They are highly specialized, industry-specific, and rarely transferable. You can get them through formal education and courses or other credible sources. In contrast to soft skills, these are easy to measure.
When it comes to no experience resume skills, these are your top priority. You want to research the job posting and list the hard skills that are most relevant to it since their importance varies from one line of work to another.
For example, an IT specialist might list some of the following hard skills:
IT Specialist Hard Skills Examples
Automated Billing Systems
On the other hand, here’s what you might want to include in your resume if you’re into marketing:
Marketing Hard Skills Examples
Social media marketing
Other Sections to Incorporate in a No Experience Resume
After listing all the essential sections in your resume, you might have more room left to put even more information down.
One solution would be to change the font on your resume, make it bigger (within reason), change the spacing, and adjust the format to make a simple layout. That’s a perfect solution for resumes that don’t feature much content.
However, a better solution for all the extra space would be to fill it with other sections. These bonus sections represent another way to showcase your skills and abilities that you didn’t mention in other parts of your resume. Plus, they give a personal touch to your document and make it more memorable.
Here are some additional parts you can include:
No-Experience Optional Sections
Hobbies and interests. This is a great way to differentiate yourself from other candidates by showing charm and identity. Putting some of your hobbies or interests on a resume shows that you’re a person of passion and drive. Don’t be afraid to “geek out” and write about something, even if it’s completely unrelated to the job position, as long as you’re truly enthusiastic about it.
Awards & certifications. Do you have more achievements and documentation to present in your resume that didn’t find its place in the education section? Or did you maybe complete an online course that could be useful for the job?
Languages. Depending on the job requirements, language skills can be optional or mandatory. However, most companies now have some kind of international presence, so being able to speak more than one language is a plus on any resume.
Should You Add a Cover Letter to Your No Experience Resume?
The final step in creating the perfect no experience resume is writing a cover letter to submit along with it. A cover letter should closely match your resume and serve as your introduction to the hiring managers.
It’s an optional document, but adding it to your application shows that you don’t leave anything to chance and that you’re dedicated. A captivating cover letter will grab the recruiter’s attention and make them more interested in checking out your resume.
Just like the resume, a good cover letter needs to be brief, specific, and relevant. Keep the length between 3-6 paragraphs and the word count from 250 to 400.
Unlike with the resume, there are fewer formatting rules and a smaller variety of content and sections in a cover letter. The focus is more on what you write. Still, that doesn’t mean you have to be exceptionally skilled at writing to make a memorable cover letter. All you need to do is follow a couple of simple guidelines.
Here is a proven format that works in most cases:
Cover Letter Format
Header (including your name and contact information)
Opening section,where you should highlight your top 2-3 accomplishments to grab their attention
Middle section that should illustrate your ability to do the job
Closing section, where you will describe why you might be a good fit for the firm
It’s a simple formula that works wonderfully and yields positive results. Here’s how it works in practice:
No Experience Resume Example
Making your first resume, especially as someone with no professional experience, can feel intimidating. That’s why we gave you everything you need to know about the content of your no experience resume and its formatting in this guide!
Be sure to check out all the examples and follow the guidelines closely. That way, you’ll end up with a top-notch resume that stands out from the competition and land your first job in no time!