How to write a CV when you have no experience

Monday, July 25th, 2011 - how to make a cv, How to Write a CV, Skills Qualifications Experiences


How to write a CV when you have no experience

Lift Experience

The basics of How to Write a CV are simple to understand, but what do you do if you have no experience or too little experience?

I have written before about No Experience Jobs, and the suggested way to address a lack of experience is to combine some low cost or free training – often both available at your local Job Centre+ – with some voluntary work to add to your existing Skills, Qualifications and Experiences.

However, lts say that you just want toi ignore that advice, and get out there and do some work: what do you do?

One of the groups of job seekers that I personally love Professional CV Writing for are Return to Work Mums. These well skilled women all seem to suffer two common issues: a lack of confidence; a complete blindness to the skills they have acquired in the past 6months to 12 years as a stay at home Mum. They are hence personally the most satisfying to write a CV for – simply because they quickly perk up once they recognise the skills that they have gained, and how employers really want these skills.

Simply put, everyone has skills, and everyone has experience. Its just that you don’t recognise them at present. So how do you find your skills and experience?

We know that the Top 10 Skills that Employers want are:

  1. Verbal Communication
  2. Teamwork
  3. Commercial Awareness
  4. Analysis & Investigation
  5. Initiative/Self Motivation
  6. Drive & Determination
  7. Written Communication
  8. Planning & Organising
  9. Flexibility
  10. Time Management

So knowing this, we just have to find occasions when we have deployed these skills.

Recognising your skills and experiences

Most notably and most often, these skills will have been deployed when we were either working with or for other people. This additionally gives us: peers whom we can reflect or perceived skills list on; job references who will verify the list.

The ideal job reference that an employer is looking for is another employer who can verify that you did a similar job or piece of work for them. But you don’t think that you have any skills, so who else could you go to? The formal answer is almost anyone, as long as ideally they are not a relative. Hence for school leavers and college undergraduates, teachers and lecturers are wholly valid job references.

But surely, you didn’t display work-like qualities in front of them? This was study, it wasn’t work? Well, since 1990, educational institutes have had to deployed in their higher-education schemes and curriculum work programmes which have a work related projects and tests within them. So you must have completed so project work, and presented it on time, possibly working with others?

Secondly, much as though you may not have been formally employed, volunteer or unpaid work for a charity or not for profit organisation are valid pieces of skill deployment, generate valid and deployed skills with job references. You probably worked in a retail team, and for a shop manager? The great one in this area that I love spotting with Return to work Mums are all the volunteering that they did in pre-school and educational playgroups that their child attended: “So you organised an activity, with more than your child? That’s a work skill!”

The answer is NEVER that you don’t have any skills and experiences, its just that either you don’t spot them or you don’t consider them valid. Now lets show you how to spot them in a real job seekers situation….

How do I write a CV if I’ve never had a job?

Chris asks: I’m going into my second year at university, and I definitely need a job now. Problem is, I’ve never had a job before, so I don’t know how to write a Professional CV. What would I put in there? How would I write it? I’ve had lots of work experience through courses at school, as well as lots of experience as part of my nursing course at university. Would I be able to write about this? If so, how? The only formal paid “job” I’ve had is helping my mum and dad in their shop, but I wasn’t an employee of theirs. Would I put this down too?

In answer: Chris, thank you for your question. Why do you consider your in course experience a potentially non-valid deployment of skills or learnt experiences that you could not show to an employer? These work experiences are purposefully placed within your course so that when you fully qualify as a nurse, you have actually been on a ward, sat with patients, and actually done the job.

Hence it doesn’t really matter if you choose now to apply for a job serving at the local fast food restaurant or – I think wholly more useful to your course and professional development – took a summer job working in care home. These work experiences are wholly valid in an employers eyes, and henceĀ  hence should be included within your CV.

Before I address CV layout, lets address those experiences working in your parents shop. Employers look for relevant experience, so the question always has to be: is that experience relevant to job application? Hence for looking at unskilled care home work, your existing college and university work experience is probably more relevant; for retail positions, it would be more relevant.

In summary, I conclude that you want at least two different base CV’s: one for jobs which are related to your final qualification in healthcare (ie: care homes, hospitals, etc); and one general CV (ie: food retail). For me the choice would be obvious, and good career management would suggest that you focus your efforts on the first area where your skills are wholly relevant, over the second. Certaibnly I am sure that it would impress your lecturers and course leaders as much as it would be easier to get a job in that sector.

Good Luck!

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2 Responses to “How to write a CV when you have no experience”

  1. Virgie West Schoenberger Says:

    Excellent writing! Thank you for this wonderful source of information.

  2. Craig Townsend Says:

    Excellent read! I passed this onto a friend who was doing some research on that

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