Writing a CV when you have no work experience
Writing a CV with no work experience can seem like a daunting task. If you’re trying to find your first job, it can be a challenge even knowing where to start. However, there are strategies you can use to write a CV when you have no work experience that can help you build your career. Work through our easy-to-follow guidelines to help you compile your curriculum vitae then register a job-seeker profile on Job Mail.
Capitalise on your personal statement
A personal statement provides an opportunity to show potential employers and recruiters who you are, what inspires you, and what makes you different from other applicants. The statement should be personal but not read like a diary entry. It’s an opportunity to build your case. Keep it short and concise. You might not have work experience yet, but you may be a quick learner and have a great personality.
Focus on your transferable skills
What are transferable skills? These are proficiencies that are applicable to any industry or job. As more jobs become automated and technology more complex, employers are increasingly looking for candidates with transferable skills. And yet graduates and job seekers alike do not leverage these skills when they possess them. The purpose of your CV is to showcase the skills and experience you have. Though it might seem impossible, there are many skills you may have developed without having a job. Some examples of these skills include:
- Creative thinking
- Critical thinking
- Programmes used for personal tasks
You may have acquired these skills in another industry or while studying. It is key for a job seeker with little or no work experience to recognise these skills and highlight them in their CV.
Be ATS compliant
An ATS-friendly CV is a résumé that has been created in a way that makes it easy for the Application Tracking System to read when you submit your CV through an online portal. These kinds of CVs contain keywords related to the advertised role and soft and hard skills. It is important to mention these keywords in your CV otherwise it won’t pass the ATS system. This type of CV is not just a comprehensive summary of your skills, experience, and achievements, it has also been optimised in a way that makes it machine-readable. An ATS-friendly résumé is one of the most important tools you can use to promote yourself and stand out. Read our article on how to write an ATS-friendly CV.
Add a cover letter
When you are short on work experience, it can be difficult to convey all the reasons you are the best person for the job. How do you communicate your skills, talents, and drive to the recruiter or employer? What makes you different? There are many ways to do so, but one of the most effective is through a cover letter. A cover letter gives you the opportunity to share who you are and what you can do. Whether you’re a recent grad applying for your first job or a mid-career professional looking to change gears, the cover letter is one of the most important documents you need to write. In fact, your cover letter can even be more important than your CV when you have no experience.
Make your education the focal point
If you’re fresh out of school, you should focus on what you’ve accomplished rather than the number of years of experience you have. For example, you can highlight your coursework and any accomplishments from your educational history. You may want to list your qualifications by type: degrees, vocational training, and short- or online courses, the dates they were obtained, and the college or university you attended. Remember, your education is a career tool.
Your CV is the first impression you make in the recruitment process. You want to make the recruiter or employer remember you, so highlight all aspects of your educational background as well as the skills that made you apply for the industry you’re looking to transition into. This guide will help you produce a strong cover letter and CV, which in turn will assist you in finding your dream career. Register your CV on Job Mail today and make it easier for recruiters and employers to find you.
Good luck with your next job application! Don’t forget to set up alerts and never miss out on future opportunities.
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