How do you write a CV without experience?
Creating a professional CV without work experience can be a challenge, but it is the first step in building a career. Learn how to highlight your skills, achievements and potential to convince employers of your value as a candidate. How do you create a relevant professional profile? What should a professional CV look like for someone who is just starting out with the job market? Do you have little work experience and don’t know how to create a CV? Read the article below and find out how to write a CV without experience.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
- What is a CV?
- What should a CV consist of?
- How to write a first CV without experience?
- Professional summary in a CV without experience
- Skills in a CV without experience
- Appearance of a CV without work experience
- What should a CV without industry experience look like?
- Cover letter without experience
What is a CV?
A CV – or curriculum vitae (life course) is a document that is our professional resume. Every CV is different, because each of us has different experiences and qualities that we include in it. It is worth paying attention to how our document looks, because it is what an employer first encounters. It builds a first impression and creates an image of us as employees. A CV is the first step to success, so it’s worth sitting down and getting it right.
What should a CV consist of?
A curriculum vitae should consist of several key elements that allow an employer to get a complete picture of your persona. Below are the sections that should be included in a typical CV:
- personal details
- work experience
- professional qualifications, certificates, courses, training
In addition, you can also add a career objective and a short description of yourself (career summary).
How do you write your first CV without experience?
Creating a CV without experience can be difficult, especially at the beginning of your career path. It is a good idea to familiarise yourself with the most important information first and find out what your first CV should look like before submitting an application for specific jobs. If you have no experience, you need to show the employer that you are professional and specific, and your CV can demonstrate this. Lack of work experience can easily make up for this.
Often if you don’t have work experience, you still have skills or interests that prepare you for the job. You can focus on these to make you stand out from other candidates. What to put on a CV without experience? What aspects should you pay attention to?
- Your CV should be tailored to the specific job offer – if you have no work experience and want to get your first casual or permanent job then you need to target your CV and application to the specific company you want to work for. Employers pay attention to this as it shows our commitment and professionalism. Massively sent CVs make the employer feel that there is a lack of connection with the candidate in question, who is interested in getting a job in general and not in a specific company.
- Look out for spelling mistakes and typos – a CV with errors is very striking to recruiters and can be an indication of our incompetence and lack of precision. It is a good idea to check a few times that everything is correct before sending the document.
- Choose the right format – when creating your CV, it’s a good idea to save it as a PDF file. Then you can be sure that nothing will slip through the cracks and will reach the recipient as it should.
- Pay attention to the design of your CV – a professional CV should be aesthetically pleasing and easy to read. It is advisable to choose subdued colours, to match the font and to format the text well.
- CV photo – if you decide to add a photo to your CV, consider what it might say to a prospective employer. Skip adding a holiday photo or selfie, as these are not professional. Include a good quality photo, preferably from the waist up, without strong make-up or extravagant hairstyles.
- Email address and filename – create a professional email address that you will use for formal matters such as job searches. Pay attention to its name – ideally it should be your name. The same goes for the file name. We often make the mistake of quickly saving a file with a random name. It is a good idea to name it with your first and last name, e.g.: Tomasz Kowalski CV 2023 or Tomasz Kowalski CV + the name of the company you are applying to.
It is very important to include a RODO clause at the end of your CV. It is a consent to the processing of personal data. A recruiter or employer cannot review our CV if we do not include this information. It is also important to note whether you add an up-to-date clause. Below is a sample of the 2023 CV clause:
I consent to the processing of my personal data for the purposes necessary for the recruitment process (in accordance with the Act of 10 May 2018 on the protection of personal data (Journal of Laws of 2018, item 1000) and in accordance with the Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council (EU) 2016/679 of 27 April 2016 on the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data and on the free movement of such data and repealing Directive 95/46/EC (RODO).
You can also use an abbreviated version, but you must personalise it, i.e. include the name of a specific company:
I consent to the processing of my personal data by (company name) for the purpose of recruiting for the position I am applying for.
Read also: CV photo – what should it look like?
Professional summary in a CV without experience
The curriculum vitae document should begin with a professional summary. This is a short description that you write at the very top of your CV just below your personal details. It is a good idea to start with a brief information about your educational background. You can also mention your interests or describe your key skills. It is important to write briefly why you are interested in the job and why you are the right person for the position. You can also write what you currently do if you think this is something that might interest an employer. Describe a career objective in a CV without experience that will interest the employer.
Example of a career summary:
I am a Finance and Accounting graduate with a specialisation in Financial Analyst. During my studies I managed to do an internship in an accounting office. I am familiar with taxes and have knowledge of the functioning of financial markets. I am an ambitious person, eager to start my first job in finance. I am also determined to develop my skills and put effort into developing my business.
Skills in a CV without experience
Hard skills or soft skills are written on the CV. The difference between the two is that the former are any acquired skills and the latter are our character traits. Example: hard skills (B driving licence, Office package, computer skills, foreign languages). If you don’t have specific hard skills, you can focus on your soft skills. These are just as valuable because they are harder to learn. What other skills can you include in your CV?
- knowledge of analytical tools
- ability to work in a team
- ability to make decisions
- quick learning curve
- knowledge of foreign languages
- ability to resolve conflicts
- ability to listen and understand others
- emotional intelligence and empathy
- negotiating skills
- high personal culture
CV design without work experience
There are many websites with ready-made CV templates to help you create your application document without using complicated software or spending a lot of time on it. However, if we are making the CV ourselves, it is worth mentioning that the overall look and visual identity also affects the perception of our persona. When creating a CV, it should be clear and simple. Use a clear layout with clear headings that can be seen immediately. Use fonts that are easy to read and maintain a consistent style throughout the document. Check it several times before sending it out to avoid any errors or typos.
What should a CV look like without work experience in a particular industry?
You don’t need experience for every job, but for positions where specific specialisms are required, it is essential. What should you do if you want to rebrand yourself? What should a CV look like without specific industry experience?
- Write a strong career objective – a good start to your CV will demonstrate your value to the employer, showcase relevant skills and make the rest of your CV perceived as professional.
- Describe your skills – it is worth highlighting your skills. Whether you are gaining a new qualification or using existing skills in a new context, it is worth describing them clearly.
- Prepare your portfolio – this can be particularly important if your new career path is creative or requires a specific visualisation of your work. This will show employers that you are practical and have the skills they need.
- Summarise your career to date – in the summary section of your career to date, describe your achievements and the skills you have gained in your previous industry. Indicate that you are ready to apply your experience in a new context.
- Find the common elements – try to look for specific qualities or skills you have acquired throughout your career. You may also find them useful in your new position. In your CV, show that you are a hard-working and well-planned person based on your previous experience. You can also leave a link to Linkedin, which is an extended version of your professional CV
Cover letter without experience
A covering letter is an application document in which you write about why you are the right person for the job. It should not contain the same information as in your CV. You can expand on it, but do not repeat it. If you have no experience, it is worth paying more attention to this point. In a cover letter without experience, you must show the employer that you are nevertheless suitable for the job. A cover letter is not always compulsory; it is often not required in a job offer. If you want to gain first work experience, it is worth adding it to your application documents.
The cover letter should contain the following elements:
- courtesy phrase,
- personal details,
- employer details,
- job title,
- evidence that your skills, character traits, education will be suitable for the job,
- suggestions on how you will contribute to the company’s business development,
- your willingness to meet
In your cover letter, focus on the employer’s requirements. Perhaps you have a job-related background or an interest in the area. It is worth emphasising this. Show that you care about working in this position. It is a good idea to suggest how you will help the company to grow. Remember that your CV for your first job should look professional and so should your cover letter.
You can find more information on creating a cover letter HERE.
Not sure what to put on your CV if you have no experience? Follow our advice and you may be able to get your first experience! Remember that a professional CV is the key to success.
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