How to Write a CV With No Experience or Qualifications

Applying for your first job can be an anxious affair. Being judged and having your candidature evaluated by faceless strangers somewhere ‘out there’ certainly doesn’t sound like a pleasant process. Not having any experience can leave you feeling totally inadequate and maybe even a little embarrassed.

 

You should 100% trust those feelings of inadequacy. Unless, of course, you’re not going for jobs for which you’re dangerously underqualified. Because if you’re going for an entry-level position or one that plainly says ‘no experience required’, then you can safely set those feelings and that embarrassment aside.

 

You’re up against people in a similar boat to yours. They won’t beat you out on experience, but their CVs might be better than yours. And that’s where this article comes in—to show you, step-by-step and with plenty of examples, how to write a CV for a job with no experience. Check out the one below and read on.

 

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How to write a CV for a job with no experience sample

 

Brandon Gibbons

077 5555 5555

brandon.gibbons@lcmail.co.uk

linkedin.com/in/brandon.gibbons

 

Personal statement

 

Self-motivated and industrious final-year university student completing a Cultural Studies BA at Staffordshire University. Looking for an opportunity to apply organisational and communication skills in supporting administrative staff at PIA Insurance in the role of administrative assistant. Recently took on more than 200 hours of short-term, volunteer office work resulting in 10+ thank-you emails from superiors.

 

Skills summary

 

Administration

 

  • Organised studies, tutoring, various one-off and short-term volunteer jobs, and hobbies whilst maintaining average marks over 70%.
  • Scheduled, invoiced, and collected payment from students and completed tax returns independently.
  • Filed learning materials used for private tutorials using cross-referenced hardcopy and digital filing systems, saving up to 50% on preparation time.

 

Communication

 

  • Practised in adapting oral communication style whether speaking to professors, fellow final-year students or while running tutorials.
  • Accustomed to formal writing (e.g. for assessment), writing online (e.g. tutorials, two blogs, hundreds of forum posts), and generally writing up to 2000 structured words a day.
  • Developed a professional phone manner through various volunteer gigs.

 

ICT

 

  • Daily, intermediate user of LibreOffice and MS Office suites, including spreadsheets and presentations.
  • Adept at using image manipulation packages such as GIMP and Darktable.
  • Quick to pick up new and unfamiliar software packages, often helping friends with their VPNs, accounting programs, antivirus on Windows machines, etc.

 

Work experience

 

Freelance English and History Tutor

Stoke-on-Trent

January 2019–present

  • Helped over 40 high-school and first-year university students independently complete assignments and prepare for exams.

 

Education

 

BA (Hons) Cultural Studies, 2018–2021 (expected)

Staffordshire University, Stoke-on-Trent

 

A-levels: English Literature, Journalism, Media Studies

Walmsley Comprehensive, Tamworth, 2016–2018

 

9 GCSEs (including Mathematics and English)

Walmsley Comprehensive, Tamworth, 2014–2016

 

Languages

 

Icelandic – intermediate

 

Volunteer work

 

Ad Hoc Admin Support, RSPCA

Stoke-on-Trent, 2018–2020

 

Now you know what a perfect CV looks like. Here’s what you need to do to end up with a CV that’s at least as good as the one above:

 

1. Start with a personal statement

 

Your personal details might physically come first in your CV, but it’s the personal statement that’s actually read first. This means that this is where you’ll make your first impression and where the recruiter will either get drawn into reading your CV further or switch into ‘scan and skim’ mode at best.

 

Make full use of your CV personal statement by using it to introduce yourself as a worker (even if you’ve never had a job), show what you have to offer the company, and show that your goals line up with the company’s goals. A lot to do and not much space to do it in—only 3–4 sentences, 50–150 words.

 

Stick exclusively to professional and work-appropriate details when introducing yourself. Show what you have to offer the company by describing what you’ve achieved in the past (more on achievements below). Demonstrate that your goals line up with the company’s simply by making your goal’s serve the company’s wants.

 

An achievement is typically a description of actions taken by a worker and the benefits that flow to that worker’s employer as a result. For example, ‘increased the efficiency of process X, bringing in £20,000 p.a. more in revenue’. Even if you can’t come up with an achievement like this, quantify everything you can.

 

This means putting numbers to the scales at which you did things, if nothing else. There’s no denying that ‘completed over 20 major assignments, writing a total of at least 40,000 words over two years’ is both more informative and more impressive than something like ‘completed many pieces of written assessment’.

 

Another thing to look out for, especially when applying to large companies or for popular positions, is the fact that your application is likely to be processed by an Applicant Tracking System (ATS) before recruiters even see it. There are some simple steps you can take to boost your chances of getting through.

 

First and foremost, be sure to mention the names of the company and position to which you’re applying as they appear in the job advert. Then try to mirror some of the keywords from the advert in your writing. Don’t force it, though—you want your writing to remain legible and natural-seeming to human recruiters.

 

Even though it’s the first substantial part of your CV, it’s best that you write your personal statement last of all (it’s basically your CV summary). You’ll be able to do a much better job once you’ve prepared your skills summary and work history (if any). So leave it at the back of your mind for now and come back to it later.

 

Personal statement on a CV with no qualifications

 

Self-motivated and industrious final-year university student completing a Cultural Studies BA at Staffordshire University. Looking for an opportunity to apply organisational and communication skills in supporting administrative staff at PIA Insurance in the role of administrative assistant. Recently took on more than 200 hours of short-term, volunteer office work resulting in 10+ thank-you emails from superiors.

 

A strong CV summary will convince the recruiter you’re the perfect candidate. Save time and choose a ready-made personal statement written by career experts and adjust it to your needs in the LiveCareer CV builder.

 

Create your CV nowcv builder

 

2. Summarise your skills

 

If not experience, then what exactly is it that you bring to the workplace? ‘Experience’ is really just an indicator of skills. To put it very bluntly, if someone managed not to get dismissed from a given job for a couple of years, then you can usually assume they’ve picked up and demonstrated a certain set of skills.

 

So, whereas normally you’d go with a (reverse-)chronological format for your CV, placing your work history ahead of everything else, you instead need a format that will put your skills in the limelight. There’s a CV format that does exactly this and it’s aptly named the skills-based (a.k.a. functional) format.

 

This may not be what recruiters are most used to seeing (that would be the chronological format by far), and it can sometimes throw ATSs off, but when it comes to how to write a CV for a job with no experience, it’s clearly the best option. The emphasis here is very much on what skills you bring to the role.

 

Take a look at the job advert to which you’re responding and take note of any skills it mentions. If the advert doesn’t mention many skills (or any at all), then look at other adverts for similar positions in similar companies. Do some general research online. Get a feel for the skills required to do this job well (hard and communication skills).

 

Choose 3–5 of the most important or most in-demand of these skills and make them into subheadings in your skills section. Add 2–4 bullet points under each subheading through which you show how you’ve demonstrated the given skill. The idea is to convince recruiters that you really do possess these skills.

 

Be specific and quantify everything you can. Turn vague statements like ‘practised public speaking by attending conventions’ into compelling achievements such as ‘spoke at 13 different conventions in front of a total of over 650 people’. Prioritise academic and pseudo-academic contexts over hobbies, etc. 

 

Skills summary for a CV with no experience

 

Administration

 

  • Organised studies, tutoring, various one-off and short-term volunteer jobs, and hobbies whilst maintaining average marks over 70%.
  • Scheduled, invoiced, and collected payment from students and completed tax returns independently.
  • Filed learning materials used for private tutorials using cross-referenced hardcopy and digital filing systems, saving up to 50% on preparation time.

 

Communication

 

  • Practised in adapting oral communication style whether speaking to professors, fellow final-year students or while running tutorials.
  • Accustomed to formal writing (e.g. for assessment), writing online (e.g. tutorials, two blogs, hundreds of forum posts), and generally writing up to 2000 structured words a day.
  • Developed a professional phone manner through various volunteer gigs.

 

ICT

 

  • Daily, intermediate user of LibreOffice and MS Office suites, including spreadsheets and presentations.
  • Adept at using image manipulation packages such as GIMP and Darktable.
  • Quick to pick up new and unfamiliar software packages, often helping friends with their VPNs, accounting programs, antivirus on Windows machines, etc.

 

3. Include any work experience you do have

 

Obviously you’re not reading an article on how to write a CV for a job with no experience because you have enough work experience to fill a CV section. It’s still worth going over how to set out your work history in a CV, though. There may be some relevant volunteer or ad hoc work you’ve done that should go here.

 

This is something that people often overlook: volunteer work absolutely does count as work experience. The only difference between a volunteer position and a paid one is the pay, and that has no impact on the experience you gain by doing the work. The same goes for placement work and internships.

 

Anything you’ve done on a regular basis counts here. One-off ‘gigs’ and odd jobs are best left for an extra section to your CV, unless you did a lot of them one after another as a kind of freelance business (as a sole trader, for example). Remember, you can also add work experience placements to your CV. Use the template below to create subheadings for any jobs you’ve had:

 

[Job Title]

[Company Name, Location]

[Dates of Employment]

 

If you held a full-on volunteer position or completed an internship, then add up to six bullet points for each job description, each one containing an achievement. Always quantify what you can, here and elsewhere in your CV. Focus on benefits you brought to your ‘employer’, but not only.

 

If you don’t have any work experience of which to speak, then don’t force it or try to pad this section. Instead, simply skip over it and follow up your skills summary with your education section directly.

 

Job descriptions for a CV with no qualifications

 

Freelance English and History Tutor

Stoke-on-Trent

January 2019–present

  • Helped over 40 high-school and first-year university students independently complete assignments and prepare for exams.

 

You don’t have to be a CV writing expert. In the LiveCareer CV builder you’ll find ready-made content for every industry and position, which you can then add with a single click.

 

Create your CV nowcv builder

 

4. Outline your education

 

When it comes to concrete, objective points of difference between you and other inexperienced candidates, your education plays a huge part. It’s far from being the be-all and end-all for many jobs, and some jobs don’t require anything beyond Maths and English GCSEs. It’s important nonetheless, though.

 

Set your education section out in reverse-chronological order, meaning that you start from the most recent and work your way back from there. If you’re still completing a given qualification, then include your expected completion/graduation date. Use the following template for tertiary qualifications:

 

[Degree Type] [Degree Name](Degree Class), [Years Attended]

[Institution Name], [Institution Location]

 

Use the following templates to detail your high school education:

 

A-levels: [Subject Name 1], [Subject Name 2], [Subject Name 3]

[School Name], [School Location], [Years Attended]

 

[number of GCSEs] GCSEs (including Mathematics and English)

[School Name], [School Location], [Years Attended]

 

Education section on a CV for a job with no experience

 

BA (Hons) Cultural Studies, 2018–2021 (expected)

Staffordshire University, Stoke-on-Trent

 

A-levels: English Literature, Journalism, Media Studies

Walmsley Comprehensive, Tamworth, 2016–2018

 

9 GCSEs (including Mathematics and English)

Walmsley Comprehensive, Tamworth, 2014–2016

 

5. Add extra sections

 

Applying for entry-level jobs, you’re going to be competing against people with little-to-no work history, just like you. Depending on the job in question, they may well have very similar educational backgrounds to yours and similar skills sets as you. So the question arises, how do you set yourself apart?

 

One way you set yourself apart from the crowd is by augmenting your CV with additional sections. This way you focus on those aspects of your life that are both really impressive and directly relevant to the job for which you’re applying. This means you’ll have different sections for different job applications.

 

Think about the things that define you as the perfect candidate for this particular job but that don’t fall into categories like education or skills. You can add sections on awards or competitions you’ve won, conferences you’ve attended, extracurricular achievements, even your hobbies and interests.

 

Just remember that whatever you add here has to be directly relevant to the job at hand. This is really the only rule here, but it’s an important one. Something that’s considered relevant in virtually all lines of work is the ability to speak a foreign language. So include those even if you won’t use them at work.

 

How to add additional sections to a no experience CV

 

Languages

 

Icelandic – intermediate

 

Volunteer work

 

Ad Hoc Admin Support, RSPCA

Stoke-on-Trent, 2018–2020

 

6. Be sure to include a cover letter as well

 

It’s so easy to get tunnel vision and focus exclusively on how to write a CV for a job with no experience, but the truth is that your CV is only one part of your application. The other major part is your cover letter. You should always include one, with the only exception being your having been told not to.

 

Following a good guide will help keep your cover letter in line with the standard UK business letter format. This will automatically lock-in how you set out your cover letter header, what salutation you use, and how you sign off from your cover letter. Much of this will seem trivial but it can be surprisingly tricky to get right.

 

The actual body of your cover letter is the part that’s completely up to you. There’s no right or wrong way to go about writing it, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t amazingly effective as well as absolutely terrible ways to approach it. Once again, a good guide will put you on the path to wowing recruiters.

 

An effective cover letter is one that’ll get your CV read. That’s basically all it has to do, but it’s easier said than done. Such a cover letter will open with an attention-grabbing paragraph that shows recruiters you’re what they’re looking for. It’ll include showcases of your achievements as its main body paragraphs.

 

An effective cover letter will also end on a confident call to action, reiterating your enthusiasm for the role and displaying your eagerness to move on to the next and subsequent stages of the recruitment process. Remember to make your cover letter short. It should end up being between about 250 and 400 words long.

 

Some final things to keep in mind before clicking ‘send’

 

Your CV needs to look the part, both an arm’s length and under the grammar police’s microscopic vision. This means taking care of the big-picture things like format, CV layout, and overall look as well as the word-by-word, letter-by-letter aspects of spelling, grammar, and punctuation.

 

If you follow this guide, you’ll end up with a page or two of material. Ruthlessly edit and rearrange your work until it fits nicely (without being cramped) on a single A4 page. Leave your contact details near the top of your CV, though, and consider making your name bigger by at least two points to help it stand out.

 

Leave the rest of your text at a size of 11–12 points, to make sure it stays readable once printed out. Even in this day and age, the vast majority of recruiters prefers to print CVs out, especially at the shortlist and interview stages. Choose a professional-looking CV font like Noto, Garamond, Arial, Liberation, or Calibri.

 

Use subheadings and lots of white space to clearly set your CV out into sections and subsections, making it navigable at a glance. Don’t overuse colour (and don’t feel you need to use any at all), but make sure that whatever colours you do use are subdued, professional-looking, and readable on a white background.

 

Always save or export your CV (and cover letter) in PDF, unless you’ve been explicitly asked for something less stable.

 

You now know how to write a CV for a job with no experience. Just one final piece of CV advice: follow up with a quick phone call or short email if you haven’t heard back after a week. This can make a far bigger difference than you might think and, at the very least, it’ll give you an idea of how your application is going.

 

A cover letter alone simply won’t be enough—you need an impactful CV, too. Create your CV in minutes. Just follow our wizard and fill in every CV section with ready-made content. Get started by choosing a professional CV template.

 

cv builder

 

The LiveCareer online CV maker lets you build a professional CV fast and download it as a PDF or DOC.

 

Create your CV now

 

I really hope this article has helped you give yourself a head start in finding work without any prior experience. Please feel free to leave any comments or questions or share your CV-writing and job-hunting experiences down below and we’ll be sure to get back to you.

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LiveCareer Editorial Team
LiveCareer Editorial Team

About the author

Since 2005, the LiveCareer Team has been helping job seekers advance their careers. In our in-depth guides, we share insider tips and the most effective CV and cover letter writing techniques so that you can beat recruiters in the hiring game and land your next job fast. Also, make sure to check out our state-of-the-art CV and cover letter builder—professional, intuitive, and fully in line with modern HR standards. Trusted by 10 million users worldwide.

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