Writing a Resume with No Experience

Updated 26 May 2023

Writing your first resume is a major step in any new professional’s career. This is your opportunity to showcase why you’re an excellent candidate and how you’ve prepared yourself to succeed in your first job. When you’re entering the job market for the first time and creating a resume with no work experience, you’ll want to focus on other experiences that helped you develop a professional skill set, share your greatest strengths, and highlight your education. Here are some tips and examples to help you develop a powerful and compelling resume.

Please note that none of the companies, institutions or organizations mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.

What experience to include on a resume for first job

Once you’ve been working as a professional for a few years, your “Work Experience” section will fill the majority of your resume. Until then, it’s important you share how you’re building skills relevant to the job you’re applying for and emphasise experiences that demonstrate your work ethic.

Here are a few examples of experiences you may want to include on your first resume:

  • Jobs such as babysitting, dog walking or mowing lawns

  • Extracurricular activities such as clubs and sports

  • Internships or apprenticeships

  • Volunteer work

Be sure to highlight skills you’ve developed in each role, especially those included in the job posting. This is also where you should list any achievements you’re proud of, such as improvements you made over time or specific goals you’ve reached.

For example, if you were applying for a customer service position with a retail store, you might outline your experience like this:

Neighbourhood lawn services

  • Mow, edge and trim lawns for neighbours in the Hills District

  • Maintain an average of five lawns per week

  • Use customer service skills to build relationships and earn referrals

  • Grew client base from two homes to ten homes in six months

  • Earned and maintained a five-star review average.

Dog-walking and pet-sitting services

  • Provide daily or long-term care for cats, dogs, fish, birds and other pets

  • Use customer service skills to build and maintain client relationships

  • Maintain an average of six dog-walking clients per week

  • Built website and developed social media presence to grow client-base.


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How to highlight skills on a resume with no work experience

The goal of a first job resume is to demonstrate your value as an employee and show employers why hiring you would benefit their company. The first thing you need to do is carefully review the job description and note any specific skills you have, or requirements you can fulfil.

Keep in mind that employers are looking for a combination of soft skills and hard skills. Soft skills are abilities you can apply to almost any position, such as team leadership, verbal communication or self-management.
Hard skills are typically things you learn through specialised education or on-the-job training like proficiency in industry-related software or fluency in a foreign language.

When hiring for entry-level jobs, most employers value soft skills over hard skills because soft skills are harder to teach. Its acceptable if you haven’t yet cultivated all the hard skills you need for a position—by sharing you’re capable of building new skills and learning new processes, employers will see your value as a potential new employee.

Only include only the information most relevant to the job. For example, if you’re applying for a job as an administrative assistant, you don’t need to discuss how your role as a babysitter helped improve your childcare skills, but you could share how the experience helped you cultivate time management skills and the ability to juggle multiple tasks at once.

By revising your resume for each job you apply for, you’ll ensure the employer can see how your strengths align with their needs.

Here is an example of a few soft and hard skills you might include when applying for a job as an administrative assistant:

  • time management

  • organisational skills

  • problem-solving

  • customer service

  • active listening

  • Microsoft Word and Excel

  • email management.

How to include education on a resume with no experience

When you’re creating your first resume, it’s important to highlight your education. This will show employers you’re able to overcome challenges, stick to your commitments and learn new things. You can also take this opportunity to share coursework you’ve completed that’s relevant to the job.

For example, if you’re applying to a retail associate position, here’s how you might highlight your high school experience:

Sydney Girls High School
Graduation Date: December 2018
Relevant coursework: Design and Technology, Business Studies
Clubs: Young Entrepreneurs Association
Online Course: Introduction to Fashion Merchandising

And here is how you might highlight your university experience if you’re applying for a role as a receptionist at a naturopathy clinic:

Sydney University
Major: Bachelor of Science and Master of Nutrition and Dietetics
Relevant coursework: Sociology of Food, Medicinal Food Science
Expected Graduation Date: May 2020
Clubs: Women in Business, Centre for Holistic Healing

Other things to consider when creating your first resume

  • Proofread carefully. Demonstrate your attention to detail by thoroughly reviewing your resume for typos, grammatical errors and inconsistencies. Consider asking a friend or mentor to look over the document before you submit it to an employer. Each time you update your resume, review it thoroughly.

  • Be confident. Employers want to know you’re proud of your achievements and confident in your skills. Make sure this comes through in your resume by highlighting all your best and most relevant strengths and accomplishments.

  • Keep it concise. Recruiters often have several applications to review and may spend less than a minute reading your resume. Your resume should be powerful but brief. It should be easy for the recruiter to quickly understand how your history and experience align with the job they’re offering.

Writing your first resume is an exciting moment for a new professional. It’s an opportunity to show employers how you’ve prepared yourself for the workforce and why hiring you will add value to their organisation. By crafting a compelling resume today, you’ll be able to build on it as you grow your skills and experience over your career.


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