Everyone knows that to get a job, you need among many other things, a strong CV. Your CV will be a rundown of all your work skills and experience, but what if you don’t have a lot or any work experience to speak of?
It’s a problem that most people face when they write their first CV. The first is always the hardest to write, not least because it’s sometimes hard to stretch your experience even to a full page. So how can you make something from nothing…and craft a CV with no work experience?
Something to keep in mind is that if you’re applying for an entry level or graduate job, those in charge of hiring will see plenty of CVs that have only a limited amount of experience on them. So if the roles you apply for are in line with that level of expertise, the fact that this will be your first role shouldn’t set you back compared with the competition.
However, if you can set yourself apart at this stage, you stand a much better chance of getting the job than those who might not have even bothered sending along a CV at all.
Be creative with whatever kind of experience you do have, which could include education, training, voluntary work, hobbies and even household work. Thinking about your experience from the point of view of an employer – what would be the most interesting and relevant parts?
In this early stage of your career, you can be a little more flexible with the layout of your CV, perhaps moving an older qualification above a less relevant volunteer position. Another piece of good CV advice would be to craft a few lines at the outset to explain your current situation and establish what kind of work you’d be looking for.
When a lack of experience exists, you’re more likely to get an interview by showing you have strong potential. But focusing on your skills is also a strong strategy, as you don’t necessarily need to link these to specific experiences – though you should always try to back these up with specifics and if possible, how you learned these skills. For example, rather than just stating that you have skill in computer programming, you might state that this is self-taught over years of study in your spare time. This added detail will add back up the claim if you don’t have formal qualifications or computing experience listed elsewhere.
Essentially the trick is to make use of what experience you do have, rather than to try to pad out the document with irrelevant information or tricks like double spacing. Many employers are happy to receive applications from people with no formal work experience as these candidates represent great opportunities to train and develop strong staff.
And once you realise what you can do with your first CV, you’ll probably have no problem filling at least a page with your skills and achievements – which should be enough to get you to the next stage of the process!