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How to write a resume with no experience and land your first job

By Jana Angeles | 15 February 2021


Are you someone looking to learn how to write a resume with no experience? It can be as simple as learning how to structure it properly, as well as knowing what keywords to best use - tailoring it to ensure that employers can consider you as a suitable candidate.  

Whether you're looking to boost your visibility or finding ways to market yourself in a competitive job market (thanks to COVID-19), you'll need to do the following things to improve your chances of getting hired for that dream role you've applied for. 

Here's how to write an exceptional resume with no work experience:
  1. Provide a summary of your professional experience.
  2. Choose a format for your resume.
  3. Proofread your resume and ensure it's free from errors.
  4. Highlight your achievements and any relevant activities.
  5. Take special focus on your education and skillset.
  6. Use relevant keywords.
  7. Customise your resume so it's tailored to the job you're applying for. 

1. Provide a summary of your professional experience.

Writing up an overall picture of your professional life can benefit employers in getting to know you when it comes to your skills and experience. Perhaps you've just completed a course and now in the stages of finding work but have limited experience in the field that you desire to work in. 

Carefully consider how you want to portray yourself and outline what unique skills and qualifications you can bring to the table in a few sentences that summarise your professional experience perfectly. 

2. Choose a format for your resume. 

There are different types of formats you can follow when writing about your skills and experience, particularly if you have limited experience in your chosen field. You can choose from the following formats, according to your preference:
  • Chronological resume: this is the typical and most traditional format job seekers use when applying for a job where your work history is listed in reverse-chronological order. It typically includes contact information, objective or summary statement, summary of relevant skills, work experience, education and other additional information (volunteering or special interests). This is a good format to use if you have a consistent work history but it may put you at a disadvantage if you lack relevant experience.
  • Functional resume: this resume format has a strong focus on your relevant skills rather than your work history. The sections it typically includes is contact information, objective or summary statement, summary of relevant skills, work experience, education and other additional information (volunteering or special interests). This may be the ideal format to stick to, especially if you have gaps in employment or looking to change careers. It may also be beneficial to use if you've held a number of roles in a variety of fields.
  • Combination resume: this is a blended version of both the chronological and functional type resumes. This format is valuable to use if you prefer a more flexible format that outlines both your skills and experience clearly.
The combination format typically includes your contact information, objective or summary statement, work experience, summary of most relevant skills and education. Considering that the skills and employment history will take up most of the space, you may need to omit sections like volunteering and/or special interests. This is also great to use if you have a unique skillset that is valuable to the industry you're working in.   

3. Proofread your resume and ensure it's free from errors.

man typing on laptop

The last thing you want is to have typos and grammar mistakes in your resume. Ensure that you have someone to look over your resume before you start applying for that role that has caught your eye. Get a trusted family member or friend to proofread your resume. 

If you're willing to splash some cash, it may be worth hiring a resume writer to review your resume so they can provide suggestions on how you can tweak particular sections to score some interviews for entry-level positions. Don't be afraid to also use software like Grammarly to bulletproof your resume from mistakes too! 

4. Highlight your achievements and any relevant activities.

Achievements are subjective but any relevant awards you may have won - either a scholarship or a prestigious award are achievements you want to include as part of your resume. 

Also, giving back in the community and volunteering are also relevant and can give you the leg up when it comes to potential employers looking at your resume. Not only is volunteering a great way in highlighting your value to a company but you can gain some valuable transferable skills from this experience. 

5. Take special focus on your education and skillset.

Getting the right qualifications can be a great way to give your resume a boost, especially if you have little to no work experience in the field you want to work in. Focus on the key projects you've had to work on during a particular course. 

Whether that be developing an app using your programming skills or implementing a social media campaign to generate more leads - education has given you the opportunity to gain the relevant skills and knowledge. 

If you find that you have a skills gap or don't quite match the qualifications needed by employers, it may be worth checking out the range of online courses Upskilled has on offer to boost your skillset to help get your foot in the door. 

6. Use relevant keywords.

Your resume should be filled with keywords that reflect the job description. Hiring managers receive hundreds of resumes and don't have time to lovingly read them all, so it's a no-brainer to include them on your resume since most skim read to look for keywords that match the role. 

Even if you have limited experience, you can still use relevant keywords if you're writing up a skills-based resume - just ensure that everything is tailored to the role you're applying for. 

7. Customise your resume so it's tailored to the job you're applying for. 

Submitting the same formatted resume won't do you any favours, especially if the roles are similar yet different in their job description. As mentioned above, using relevant keywords is key in helping you secure interviews with employers. It also helps to include roles that are related in your employment history or skills required for the job. 

If you notice a pattern of rejections coming through, don't take it personally. It may be because you're not tailoring your application to meet the needs of employers responsible for hiring. Making the appropriate tweaks to your resume can be what's stopping you from securing an interview with the hiring manager. 

The best resume structure 

While we've gone over the different formats of resumes you can choose from, the following tips may help you formulate the best resume structure that best matches your career needs:
  • Summarise your work experience in reverse-chronological order: as mentioned before, this format will work best if you have undertaken several key roles. Whether that be paid or unpaid internships or volunteer work, summarising your work experience in reverse-chronological order can help employers see what opportunities you've taken to build your skillset and experience. Otherwise, if you don't have a consistent pattern of roles, it may be best to stick to a resume that has a skills-based focus. 
  • Emphasise your education and soft skills: qualifications and work experience go hand-in-hand but having a section where it lists all the awards and certifications you've attained can be helpful in giving you a leg up. You may have recognised a skills gap and noticed that there are qualifications required of you. It's important to be proactive and consider studying a course. It may be ideal to study a course with Upskilled, where education is delivered online for your added convenience and flexibility. 
  • Include relevant hobbies, interests and achievements: contrary to popular belief, employers do want to know what you do outside of work and what better way to do this then to include a section where you outline your hobbies, interests and achievements. Make sure that these align with the role that you're applying for - remember that a potential employer doesn't need a laundry list of your personal interests that are unrelated. 
  • Keep it clean and concise: it takes an average of 7.4 seconds for recruiters and hiring managers to do an initial screening of a resume. It's important to keep your resume formatted to the point where it's clean and concise. Avoid fluff and get straight to the point. In addition to role descriptions, include the key achievements and relevant statistics to strengthen your application. Formatting your resume to look "clean" can also help because it gives the opportunity for recruiters and hiring managers to quickly review the information they need to consider you for the role. 
  • Don't forget your cover letter: cover letters are meant to tell a story of your professional experience and the qualifications you already possess. It's meant to back up your resume and build a clear picture of who you are as a professional. Even if a cover letter submission is optional for a job role, it's still a good idea to submit one - it may give employers that extra push to interview you. 

Sample of first job resume

middle aged woman looking at laptop

Need a resume template for inspiration? Below is a sample resume you can use to help structure your own and secure an interview when applying for work. 

Please note that the sample below is not indicative of a real resume and hiring managers may need more details, so we encourage you to use it as a starting point when writing your own. 

Sasha Conner 
55 Oak Street
Rhodes, NSW 2138
mconner@email.com

EDUCATION

Upskilled, 10118NAT - Diploma of Social Media Marketing 
January 2020

Charles Sturt University, Bachelor of Arts (Anthropology)
January 2019

EXPERIENCE

Social Media Assistant - Newtown, NSW
JUNE 2020 - PRESENT

Working for a number of clients as a freelance social media assistant, managing both paid and unpaid content across all main social media platforms (Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter). Reviewing analytics and ensuring that content meets the KPIs of clients. Other ad-hoc duties include managing a content calendar, scheduling posts via Hootsuite, video editing and curating content from relevant third-party websites. 

Social Media Intern - Chippendale, NSW
OCTOBER 2019 - MARCH 2020

6-month internship learning the fundamentals of social media marketing. Managing digital content assets and writing up blogs with a content marketing focus. Training in Google Ads and budgeting paid ads across other lead-generating channels (e.g LinkedIn). 

Film Festival Volunteer - Sydney, NSW
MAY 2019

Distributed fliers, provided cinema patrons directions as well as answering FAQs, crowd control during peak times, queue management. 

SKILLS

Social Media Marketing
Google Ads
Microsoft Office
Content Marketing

AWARDS & ACHIEVEMENTS 

Short Film Winner of Tropfest 2019 for film "Every Rose Has Its Thorns"

Make your resume stand out by upskilling today

If you have limited or no experience for your dream career, it's time to look at the qualifications you need to help you get the job you want. Upskilled has a wide range of courses in business, community services and IT - all delivered online for your convenience. 

By adding a qualification to your resume, you help build your credibility as a professional. Have a chat with one of our education consultants on 1300 009 924 to learn more. 
 
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