How to write a résumé if you have no work experience
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How to write a résumé if you have no work experience

How to write a résumé if you have no work experience

Are you soon to graduate from university and enter the working world?

For whatever reason, you may not have had any work experience throughout your education, but that’s OK. There are plenty of university activities and experiences you can include in your résumé to showcase your skills and knowledge and help you land a job post-graduation.  

The key lies in finding the right things to include in your résumé, and backing them up with evidence.

Here are a few things you could highlight if you have no work experience:

Voluntary work

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Don’t overlook your volunteer activities when writing your résumé. Source: Shutterstock

Unpaid experience still offers a plethora of opportunities for you to build your skill set, network and grow as an individual.

So, whether you spent your free time feeding the homeless at a soup kitchen, raising funds for meaningful causes, worked with disadvantaged kids at weekends or gave free tutoring to kids, formal and informal voluntary experience can be included in your résumé.

But be sure to briefly describe your role and responsibilities and highlight the skills you developed in the process, or any accomplishments you’ve made.

For example, successfully raising funds so the non-profit you work with has enough money to buy an industrial fridge to store food for the homeless demonstrates many things; chief among them your perseverance and commitment to achieving your goal.

Relevant university projects

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Think deep – many clubs or activities you were involved in while at university could equip you with numerous skills that could be useful in the workplace. Source: Shutterstock

Your capstone project. A research paper. Emceeing at university events. Many quintessential university experiences involve skills deemed important to employers. You must spend some time thinking about how the experience added value that employers would appreciate.

For example, have you ever had to organise a university event, be it for a class or a club you were in? Chances are, you were working in a small team with limited resources, which meant getting creative in finding sponsors, engaging in social media marketing to inform and market your event to a target audience, learning to work under pressure with a team when tempers ran high, troubleshooting when things didn’t go right, and the list goes on!

All of this translates to a highly-educational experience you should include in your résumé.

Awards and accomplishments

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Have you competed in competitions or won any awards while at university? Source: Shutterstock

Were you in any competitive sports? Did you participate in inter-college competitions, or represent your state or country in any sort of event?

If you answered yes, be sure to relate how this experience can be translated to the professional context.

For example, you could say your experience in being a state swimmer helped you develop skills like self-discipline, time-management and how to perform under pressure during competitions. Or, you may have been active in extracurricular activities such as public speaking or debate, demonstrating public speaking prowess that may be of interest to your future employer, depending on the role you apply for.

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