How To Write A Resume With No Job ExperienceWhere do you start when you don’t have any employment experience? How to write a resume with no job experience is a great question. And, one I get all the time. And truth be told, it has always been a pet peeve of mine that you need experience to get a job, but difficult to get experience without a job. Hopefully, the following will put your mind at ease.

For the purposes of this blog, I am going to assume you are a graduating college trade school student. (Future blog will be written for graduating high school students wanting to go straight to work.)


Use An E-Mail Address With A Professional Tone

In the age of texting, you may think having an email isn’t that important because you never use your email. All your friends and family text you. Stores and organizations send out text announcements. Codes and payment links are even texted to our smart phones.

However, the business world is still using email to communicate. You need an email address – and it needs to be checked every day, including your junk/spam box, while you are in job search mode. So many of my clients tell me they missed an interview request because they didn’t check their spam box.

If you don’t already have one, get a Gmail email that sounds professional. Some form of your first and last name. Maybe some numbers.

Good example:       pablopicasso99@xxxx (This would be a good email for the famous painter, if email existed back then.)

Bad example:          partygirlnow@xxxx

Write An Effective Professional Summary

Below your resume header (name, address, email and phone number), create a professional summary section. This replaces the old and tired career objective, and your chance to tell the recruiter who you are and what you are pursuing.

PROFESSIONAL SUMMARY – Energetic and passionate undergraduate pursuing a bachelor’s in Marketing at the University of Georgia, Spring of 2021. Aiming to utilize my advertising, public relations, product development and consumer research strategies in a marketing internship at [insert company name].

(Note: This summary will need to have a different approach once you secure your first job. Also, check out my blog on how to write a professional versus career objectives. )

You Have More Experience Than You Think

Let’s talk about your Employment History for a bit. For the newbie in the work world, creativity is key to building experience in your resume. Here are some out of the box ideas.

  1. Education – Your “work” for the last two to four years has been going to school every day, including homework, projects and in the work behind the assignments.
    • Relevant courses to the job you are applying for.
    • Completed projects, the results of the project, the team size and your specific responsibilities within the team, and the results of the project.
    • The degree you are pursuing, when you will graduate and any honors or awards you have accumulated.
  2. Current and previous internships – Make sure to list any intern assignments, the organization you were assigned to, what your responsibilities were, and any accomplishments you achieved. Give yourself a functional job title, even if the company didn’t. Instead of listing Intern, use titles like Finance Intern, Operations Intern, Human Resources Intern, etc.
  3. Achievements – Did you win a scholarship(s) to attend college? Did you make the Dean’s list? Did you win an award in the community? Did you invent something? List any and all. The goal is to reflect a driven individual who has potential to achieve results to the lucky company who will hire you.
  4. Volunteer Assignments – Do you volunteer at your local homeless shelter? Do you tutor other students at school? Do you help build houses for Habitat for Humanity? Are you involved in local politics? Were you a camp counselor or lifeguard during the summers? Did you do church missionary work in another country? List any and all volunteer assignments, including the teams you worked with and what was accomplished.

Information You Shouldn’t Include On Your Resume

I caution listing anything controversial, unless you know the organization you are applying to would find it appealing and it would help you fit into their culture. If in doubt, research the company and hiring team before you apply. With social media, you would be surprised what you can find out. (Wait, no you wouldn’t be surprised. LOL!)

What Resume Format Style Should I Use?

There are so many styles to choose from. Feel free to use the template that appeals to you. But, for entry level make sure to keep the resume to one page. Only use a black and white template. Every office has a black and white printer, but not always a color printer. Also, color distracts, especially if the recruiter doesn’t like the colors you choose.

With just a few exceptions work in a black and white template. The exceptions MAY be graphic designers and visual artists, who tend to use unique formats. Companies expect it because of the nature of the job, and their colorful personalities.

Customize Your Resume For Each Job

Admittedly, this advice is easier to follow when you have a bit of job experience. But, always look for opportunities to customize your resume for the specific job you are applying for. Swap out words, or acronyms, in your resume that match wording in their job posting. For instance, if the company is looking for Excel spreadsheet experience, but you have only worked in Google Sheets, get Google Sheets (MS Excel equivalent) on your resume. You just never know what skills and keywords the applicant tracking system (ATS) and resume screener will be looking for.

Proofread Your Resume

Always, always, always proof read your resume. Ask someone else to look it over too. Typos and grammar issues are the first thing a recruiter will notice. Use Grammarly, if you don’t have anyone you trust.

Write A Great Cover Letter

When do you MAYBE not need a cover letter? (Read How To Write An Effective Cover Letter For A Resume)

  • Job fairs – Candidates walk up to the recruiter at a booth, hand over the resume and talk one on one with the recruiter or hiring manager.
  • The employer calls you first – They are already interested in you. However, it might be a good idea to still follow up with a cover letter. And, of course, the resume.
  • Instructed to omit – The job posting gives specific instruction to only submit a resume – rare. The online application doesn’t allow a cover letter – again, rare.

All other scenarios require a cover letter. When you have little to no employment experience, a cover letter is important. It gives you the opportunity to show good communication skills, confirm the role you are applying for, highlight specific skills relevant to the job, and explain why you are interested in their company.

Final Words

I hope the above offered encouragement and a starting point for writing your resume. I truly believe that everyone has skills to offer an employer, and a little reflection and creativity will produce an effective resume for realistic job goals.