How to Make a Resume Without Work Experience

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Writing a resume so you can find your first job seems like you’re putting the cart before the horse; however, you can create a resume with no actual work experience. You will be using your experiences from the clubs, sports teams and groups you’ve belonged to because you can demonstrate you’ve learned how to honor commitments and to arrive on time. While you might wonder about the value of these unpaid experiences, future employers look for them in every applicant.

Make a list of your volunteer experience, community service--such as for a service organization--and activities in which you have had to show some commitment to activities and events. List these experiences in reverse chronological order, with the most recent experience near the top.

Make a second list. This list will include people you have done work for--make sure they are not related to you. If you are on a sports team or in a music or dance group, include the names of the coaches and instructors. This will be the list you turn into your references. Make sure you ask permission of the people you would like to list as references. Give them the opportunity to tell you yes. If they give you permission, write their addresses and phone numbers down accurately.

List your experiences and accomplishments in complete sentences. Since you don’t have work experience, this resume format will focus more strongly on your skills. Separate these experiences by grouping them with the organization or group from which you learned these skills.

Write your references, including addresses and phone numbers on the same page as your list of skills. Your resume will fit easily on one page, which will be easier for potential employers to scan through and read.

Type your resume on the computer, using an easily readable format. You can center your name and contact information at the top or set the page settings so your personal information is flush with the left margin. Use a 12-point serif font such as Times New Roman. Use black ink when you print your resume.

Create bullet points for each skill you include on your resume. Don’t forget to include the organization’s name and contact information. Potential employers may want to contact the heads of these organizations to verify you have participated in their programs.

Tip

Don’t use a fancy font or colored ink for your resume. Employers don’t have time to try to read a resume that has been printed in a small script. Use a high-quality resume paper in a neutral color. Stay away from the reds, pinks, blues and purples. While you want your resume to stand out from the others, you don’t want to make it impossible to read. Proofread your resume before you print it on resume stock paper. Look for errors and misspellings. Correct those and then have someone else proofread the resume. Correct any errors this person finds.

Warning

Don’t lie on your resume. If you get a job as a result of a lie you included, your employer will find out, and you will lose your job. Worse yet, you will get a poor reputation as a liar. Don’t include any personal information you don’t want others knowing, such as weight, height or race. If you have an email address, make sure it doesn’t have any negative connotations. Create a professional-sounding username for job search purposes.

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About the Author

Genevieve Van Wyden began writing in 2007. She has written for “Tu Revista Latina” and owns three blogs. She has worked as a CPS social worker, gaining experience in the mental-health system. Van Wyden earned her Bachelor of Arts in journalism from New Mexico State University in 2006.