How to Write a Resume with No Experience: 5 Tips

Written by Coursera Staff • Updated on

Writing a resume with no formal work experience means emphasizing other aspects that showcase your skills and passions—like your education, extracurriculars, or volunteering. Learn how dedicated sections and a list of skills can round out your resume.

[Featured image] A young man shows his resume with no experience to a hiring manager.

Resume with no experience: Template

Templates can help you organize your thoughts, inspire you with ideas, and take the guesswork out of how to format your resume. Regardless of your experience, starting a resume from scratch can take time and effort. 

Here’s a resume template you can use without work experience.

Here’s the resume filled out below.

Sample student resume for a high school student applying for a first job.

How to write a resume with no experience: 5 tips

When you have no work experience to add to your resume, highlight your education, include relevant non-work experience, list your skills, and include a summary. 

1. Highlight your education.

If you have little work experience, emphasizing your education is a great way to showcase your strengths, interests, and background.

Some items you’ll want to consider including in the education section of your resume are:

  • Relevant coursework: Be sure to list any courses that emphasize skills that can be helpful for the job. These might include courses focused on technical skills—like economics, math, or computer science. Remember the importance of courses like English or writing that can show your competence in communication or other human skills. Look through job descriptions to see what kinds of skills are desirable for the field you’re interested in.

  • GPA and honours: A strong grade point average (GPA) can indicate a willingness to work hard and an aptitude for your field. Experts recommend listing your GPA if it’s at 3.0 or above [1]. If you’ve received any academic honours, list them, too.

  • Relevant projects: If you’ve completed projects in classes that are particularly relevant to the job you’re applying to, list and briefly describe them. If you have more than one, this can be its own section.

  • Certifications and online courses: If you’ve completed any coursework outside of school or received a professional credential, list these under the education section.

2. Include relevant experience.

When you start putting together a resume, you might feel like you don’t have any relevant experience. But digging into your life could unearth several experiences that show your professionalism, interests, and character—all things a potential employer can consider important.

You can include the following in a section titled “Relevant Experience”:

  • Volunteer experience: Volunteering demonstrates your community involvement, ability, willingness to work with others and interests. It might even have gained you some hands-on experience in a related field.

  • Part-time jobs: Maybe you worked part-time while in school, tutored or babysat kids, or helped your parents at their small business. If you’re applying for your first full-time job, don’t shy away from including these. Part-time jobs can demonstrate your employability and experience with key skills like customer service.

  • Extracurricular activities: Whether you played sports, were part of a cultural club, or participated in student council, extracurricular activities can help show a willingness to explore your interests, develop new skills, and work on a team. Don’t forget to include any leadership positions you might have held in these activities.

3. List your skills.

Chances are, even if you don’t have formal work experience, you probably have skills that will be useful in the field. Look through several job descriptions of positions you’re interested in to see what skills are commonly requested. 

The relevant skills you’ll choose to list will likely depend on the job but might include:

  • Research

  • Microsoft Office products like Word, Excel, or PowerPoint

  • Communication

  • Computer programming

  • Leadership

  • Social media

  • Foreign languages

  • Public speaking

  • Customer service

Not sure if you have the skills you need to land the job you want?

Try emphasizing your transferable skills, like critical thinking, problem-solving, and teamwork. Or try taking some coursework in essential skills in your field—data analysis, IT, UX design, and digital marketing skills are all in demand across many industries.


You can also look for entry-level jobs, which typically have fewer skill requirements than other jobs.

4. Include a summary.

A resume summary is a brief description of your experience and qualifications. Usually one to three sentences long, a summary gives recruiters a way of quickly understanding your background and assets as a worker.

Don’t forget to emphasize traits and skills that fit the job you’re applying to. You can also include a sentence about your objective—what type of job you’re looking for. Here are two examples:

Recent college graduate with a background in computer science and communications. Seeking to leverage strong skills in Python, C++, and public speaking for a full-time engineering opportunity.

Curious and hard-working high school honours student with a passion for working with children and one year of experience babysitting. 

5. Use a template.

Eliminate the stress of creating your own layout by using one of the many resume templates you can find online—like this one

Customize any template you find to fit your needs and tastes. A word processing program like Microsoft Word or Google Docs can be helpful. Need access to one? Try approaching your local public library. If you’re a student, your school library will likely have resources you can use. You can also create a Google account for free.

Next steps

Start building skills for an in-demand career in project management, data analytics, UX design, IT support, sales, or social media marketing with a Professional Certificate from industry-leading companies like Google, Meta, and Hubspot. Gain hands-on experience through job-relevant projects you can add to your resume or portfolio.

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Article sources

  1. Monster. "Work Your Education on Your Resume,". Accessed February 7, 2024.

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