How To Create A Resume With No Work Experience

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Table Of Contents

Written By: Michael Gardon | Edited By: Mike Jelinek

One of the trickiest parts of landing your first job is creating a resume with no work experience. How do you impress a hiring manager when you can’t demonstrate your value with a string of job titles and related accomplishments?

Start by understanding that you are not your professional work history. By the time you start looking for your first real job, you’ve already gained real-world experience and skills that will be a boon to any employer. The trick is to understand what hiring teams are looking for–and what you have to offer them.

Do you need assistance with your resume? Using a resume writing service is an affordable way to get help. If you’re ready to land a job, start your search on ZipRecruiter. ZipRecruiter is always free for job seekers and you can apply for jobs with a single click!

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How To Create A Resume With No Work Experience

Start by figuring out the most essential skills and abilities to include in your resume. Here’s how.

Review Job Listings

Look at the job descriptions in the ads for open positions in your field. What are employers looking for? Make a list of skills, qualifications, work experience, etc. Don’t forget about soft skills like communication, teamwork, and emotional intelligence. These people skills will help you get along with coworkers, managers, and clients–and they’re easy to develop while you’re in school, volunteering, or doing other unpaid work.

For more information, check out our guide on how to write a targeted resume to match a job description.

You can review job listings by checking out the best job posting sites!

List Your Achievements

By the time you look for your first job, you’ve already had several careers–they just didn’t pay. You’ve been a student, a community member, and a part of a family. Perhaps you’ve played on a sports team, volunteered, or worked as a babysitter or mother’s helper.

Don’t forget about your achievements in the classroom. Have you learned to work on a team, organize your priorities, and perform on deadline and under pressure? These are all valuable accomplishments.

Discover Your Skill Set

Look at your experience and tease out the skills that will be most useful on the job. Consider the hard skills you’ve learned in the classroom or on your own and the soft skills you’ve developed by working with other people.

Match Your Skills To Their Requirements

Go back to your collection of job listings again and match your experience, skills, and abilities to their requirements. Consider your skills gaps and what you might do to bridge them. Could you take a class, volunteer, or study independently to learn the skills you need?

Choose The Right Resume Format

If you’ve never written a resume before, you may think that a chronological format–in which your jobs appear in reverse order–is the only game in town. But a functional or combination resume format may be a better choice for you. Both will highlight your skills over your linear work history, giving you a better chance of demonstrating a match with the job’s qualifications. For more options, learn about the various types of resumes.

If you still want some extra help with your resume, we recommend working with a resume writing service. Resume writing services are affordable and are a great way to get professional help with you resume!

5 Sections Your Resume Should Include: 

Because you’re just starting your career, you can’t just find a resume template and plug in your work history. You’ll need to focus on other experiences that helped you develop a professional skill set.

1. Contact Information

One of the first things you want to add to your resume header is your contact information. Include the following:

  • First and Last Name
  • Phone Number
  • E-mail Address
  • A link to a professional profile (e.g. LinkedIn) or personal webpage (if you have one)

It is important to use a professional email address in line with your name. If you don’t already have a professional email address, it’s time to make one. It’s unlikely that your potential employer will take you seriously if your resume comes from

Join The Break Community

Here are a few suggestions for coming up with a professional email address:

Make sure you double-check your contact information. Your future employer can’t contact you if you have a typo in your phone number.

2. Summary

In the olden days, most resumes started with an objective, e.g. “Experienced UX designer with advanced Adobe, Figma, JIRA skills seeks senior role in agile environment.” Nowadays, you might see a summary statement or resume profile instead.

Regardless of what you call it, a  statement or profile is a quick summary of your skills. Typically, this statement occupies the spot at the top of the page, includes two or three sentences summarizing your skills and qualifications, and features keywords relevant to the job.

A summary is a great way to make sure that your resume appeals to the applicant tracking system (ATS) and human hiring managers. An ATS sorts applications by keywords. Hiring managers and recruiters spend only seconds reviewing each resume before moving on. Both will respond positively to a profile or statement that highlights your most in-demand qualifications.

Quick tip: Write this part of your resume last. It will be easier to summarize your skill set once you’ve seen it on the page.


3. Education

Right now, your education is your experience. Here is what an education listing should look like on a resume:

  • Name of the degree (or major, if you haven’t yet graduated)
  • Name of the institution
  • Years attended
  • Location of the institution (optional)
  • GPA (optional)
  • Honors (optional)
  • Relevant coursework (optional)
  • Exchange programs (optional)

This is your chance to show your specific interests and achievements within your area of focus. If you feel your GPA is impressive for your major, list it; 3.5 is generally the cutoff. If you participated in any competitions, received any awards, or studied abroad, here is your place to list those accomplishments as they relate to your major. What would your potential employer be curious enough about to call you in for an interview?


If you attended, or are in college now, you don’t need to list your high school. But if you didn’t go to college, list your high school and any accomplishments and extracurriculars you may have experienced while attending.

4. Work Experience

Odds are that this is probably the part where you’re stuck, and the reason you’re reading this article. You may have looked at other resume examples only to find documentation of previous employment and the skills gained through those experiences. For most, this is where you’re going to want to highlight your internships, extracurriculars, and volunteer work.

Start with non-professional work experience. Don’t leave off jobs like babysitting, mowing the lawn, or being a server. If nothing else, these jobs prove that you are a responsible young adult who was able to adhere to some sort of schedule for an extended period of time. Let’s say you worked at McDonald’s, for example. Don’t simply say ‘McDonald’s Crew Member from 2019-2020.” You can say:

McDonald’s Crew Member September 2019-June 2020

  • Opened and closed the store
  • Took orders and interacted with customers
  • Handled cash and credit card transactions
  • Operated POS system


You may or may not earn money as an intern, but you learn valuable skills including how to conduct yourself in a professional setting. Internships may also provide you with valuable connections to hiring managers that can lead to full-time employment.


Clubs and organizations are a great way to show you’re an outgoing, active person. As with anything on your resume, if you received any accolades or there are any accomplishments you are proud of, be sure to list them. You never know… the person responsible for hiring you could have been a member of the same fraternity, sorority, club, or organization.


If you volunteered it means you have gained valuable life experience and have demonstrated a passion and commitment to helping other people. Almost all corporations and larger companies are involved in some type of charitable endeavor, so having experience in this realm could be a big plus on your resume.

For more tips, check out our guide on how to add volunteer work to your resume.

5. Skills

Focus your skills section on abilities that are most valuable in the role. Again, the job listing is helpful here. Look for keywords that indicate which hard and soft skills the hiring team wants in a candidate. Then, highlight those skills in your resume.

For more information, check out our guide on how to add skills to your resume.

Should You Include Hobbies And Interests?

Experts have mixed opinions about including hobbies on a resume. Some feel that it’s unprofessional while others think it gives a better sense of the candidate as a person and a team member.

If you decide to include this section, be judicious in which hobbies you include. Look for interests that demonstrate character and dedication, like marathon running or community service.

The Cover Letter

Some companies require a cover letter and some don’t. Regardless, you should write a cover letter. It’s a chance to distinguish yourself from other candidates, especially for entry-level positions where most of the candidates have the same level of experience.

In addition to writing your cover letter in whatever format is specified by the company, you should try and match it with the culture portrayed by the company’s website or reviews. It is also a good idea to end your cover letter with a call to action.

Though writing a cover letter can take a little extra time, you can truly stand out from the masses with a great cover letter.

Bottom Line

Remember that the other candidates are also just starting out. However, you possess a unique set of life experiences and it is only a matter of time before an employer recognizes that. If you follow the guidelines above, double- and triple-check your resume for typos, and adhere to the guidelines set forth by the ATS, it will only be a matter of time before you get called for an interview–either over the phone or in person.

If you want someone to look over your resume after you write your first draft, our friends at TopResume offer a free resume review. After your resume is polished and ready to go, you can start applying for jobs on ZipRecruiter.