You’re looking for your first job and you need to write a CV, but how do you write a CV with no work experience? The answer is simple: focus on your skills, not your work experience. If you are a young person applying for your first job, employers know that you won’t have much, if any, previous work experience. What they want to know is whether you have the right skills and attitude to be of value to their business and to be able to learn on the job.
Tailor the CV to the job that you are applying to
If you don’t have any work experience, it is essential that you make it clear to the employer that you still have the skills that they are looking for. Scan the job description and pull out all of the relevant skills that they are looking for in their ideal candidate and include them in your CV.
They’re looking for a team player who is motivated and hard-working? Or do they want an organised and creative individual? Well, guess what? That’s exactly what you should be showing them you are in your CV!
Start with a personal statement
A personal statement is not a replacement for a cover letter. It is a couple of lines at the beginning of your CV to quickly introduce who you are and what you are looking for in a job.
It should be short and snappy- what do you want them to know about you?
For example, “I am a hard-working, self-motivated creative looking for opportunities in digital marketing.”
Set out what you are looking for in a job whether that is specific to an industry, or what you would like to get out of a job such as “a role that will challenge me”.
Build out your CV with skills rather than work experience
Writing a CV with no paid work experience isn’t a problem. Instead you can focus on the skills that you have that are relevant to the job that you are applying for. Remember to always back up what you are saying with examples and make sure that you are showcasing the skills that the employer has asked for in the job description.
Teamplayer – Successfully worked on a variety of projects with fellow classmates throughout GCSE/ A level courses. Played for my school hockey team for 5 years which required excellent teamwork and communication with my teammates.
Creative – Set up and run my own Instagram account to showcase my photography
Dedicated– Attended hockey training every week while at school
Motivated– Organised a bake sale at school to raise money for charity. We successfully raised xxx
Good people skills – Look after my younger brother and sister which requires patience, humour, creativity and leadership.
Organised – Completed work experience as a receptionist managing incoming calls, taking bookings and organising associates calendars.
Remember that you might not have been paid, but volunteering opportunities and work experience placements undertaken at school will all have helped you to develop different skills which can be transferred to your first paid job.
Don’t forget to include “obvious” skills
Skills that you might take for granted are often important to an employer such as:
- Full driver’s license
- Software programmes that you can use- Microsoft Office, Adobe Illustrator, iMovie etc.
- Social media savvy- how to post, grow and manage accounts on Instagram, TikTok etc.
Show your personality
An employer is looking for a person to join their team and work with them on a daily basis. So as well as showing that you have the right skills, your CV is also the place to show who you are as a person and for them to get an idea of whether you would be a good fit for the company. If you have interests or activities that you take part in that you think will help showcase your personality and you haven’t been able to fit them into the skills part of your CV, then you can add a small section at the end of the CV titled “Other Interests” . This doesn’t have to be a long list, just a few things that paint a better picture of who you are.
Drawing, Photography, Travel
Basketball, Computer Games, Graphic Novels
Did you know that there are many exciting job roles currently available as part of the government’s Kickstart scheme? Applicants for these jobs MUST be 16 – 24 and currently on Universal Credit. The scheme is designed to help young people get into work and employers across a wide variety of industries have created new job roles specifically for Kickstarters. Find out more about the Kickstart Scheme and learn if you are eligible for Universal Credit.
Check out How to write a Cover Letter with no work experience and How to show that you have the right skills for a job with no work experience