How to add impact to your CV when you have no experience

About to create your CV but don’t know where to start because you don’t have any work experience? Don’t panic! This is a common scenario for many people who are leaving full-time education or are seeking their first full-time job.

There is plenty of information that you can include in your CV to demonstrate that you will be an excellent employee — even if it doesn’t seem that way right now. And while you are applying for jobs and waiting for those first interviews to come through, there are certain things you can do to boost your CV with additional skills and knowledge.

It’s worth remembering that everyone started somewhere, no matter how far they progressed in their career, or how successful they eventually became. Developing a CV, and the work skills that are included in one, is an evolving and progressive process — and you’re only just getting started!

Create your CV as best you can, then do things that improve your skills and employability and add them to your CV. Rest and repeat, until you find your perfect new job.

Creating your no-experience CV

You don’t have any work experience then you need to focus on building up other areas on your CV and detailing the practical, extra-curricular and educational experience that you do have. By doing this, you can demonstrate the relevant attributes and transferable skills that your target employers are looking for.

For example, maybe you’re applying for an entry-level job in social work and have never worked — but you have spent many weekends caring for an elderly relative. This kind of practical life experience shows you to be a kind and caring individual who has dedicated their time to helping others.

Perhaps you’re a sports science graduate with little practical work experience — but you have spent your evenings and weekends playing a sport or training in a gym to better your physical fitness. This commitment shows dedication to your field. Additionally, sports show team-based skills, and training in a gym or at a yoga class shows employers that you wish to improve yourself. 

Before you assume you have no practical work experience to include in a CV, answer a few questions. Have you completed school or college-based work experience? Have you volunteered? Do you have an interesting or relevant hobby or interest? Have you helped out at a family or friend’s business? Have you built a website in your own time? Have you managed a family and raised children?

If you have answered yes to any of these questions, then you have lots of new things to add to your CV. Ultimately, the information you provide on your CV doesn’t need to be limited to formal, full-time work experience or academic qualifications. At this stage, employers are looking for motivated and enthusiastic applicants who they can shape to the role — it’s all about showing your potential.

Gain practical work experience to add to your CV  

So, you now have a CV and you have included everything you can. But while you’re waiting for the right role to pop up, why not use the time to improve and build upon it?

Practical work experience doesn’t have to come from a full-time job. Why not volunteer for a local charity? This is perfect work experience and looks great to graduate employers. You can often find volunteering opportunities that are relevant to your field, too — for example, a marketing graduate could offer to run or set up the social media profiles for a small charity.

 And volunteering isn’t the only option. Perhaps you are looking to work in the digital or IT field — can you build your own website portfolio or freelance your digital marketing skills online to showcase your proficiency and build upon your skills? There are freelancing opportunities in endless sectors; lots of which can be done from home and make a great addition to your CV.

Learn new skills (for free) that make you more employable

If you can continue with, or afford, full-time education or take up paid courses which give you skills to land a job, that’s perfect. If you cannot, don’t give up. 

Learning does not have to cost money. You’ll be surprised at the number of courses available online that are either free or very affordable. If you have time on your hands, start working through them, learn as much as you can and pick out the skills that match up with your ideal career. 

There are lots of other ways to learn. Research your subject online, watch YouTube videos and take books out from your local library. Fill up on as much relevant knowledge to the job or career you want as you can, then include your new skills and knowledge in your CV. 

This shows a potential employer that you are willing to learn and work hard to gain experience. It also shows that you’ll be easy to train, as you already understand the principles of the job you want to do. 

For example, perhaps you’re applying for sales jobs but don’t have any sales experience. Study sales, marketing and customer service strategies and techniques online. Take a look at free courses, such as the Hubspot Academy Sales Training, take in as much knowledge as you can and add the course to your CV. The likelihood is that employers might want to interview you based on your enthusiasm alone!

Are you ready to write your no experience CV?

As you can see there are ways to add to your CV if you have no experience. Above all, show your drive, determination and motivation to get the job you want, work hard and progress your career. This goes much further than you might think with graduate employers.

 Andrew Fennell is the founder of CV writing advice website StandOut CV – he is a former recruitment consultant and contributes careers advice to websites like Business Insider, The Guardian and FastCompany.

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