It’s not easy to get a job with no work experience, but we all have to start somewhere and many employers recognise that fact.
However, that doesn’t mean you can just walk in and expect to be offered a job. You’ll still need to make it through the recruitment and interview process.
So what can you do to help your CV look less empty when you apply for a job without work experience? Here are our top tips.
1. Focus on other areas
This is the most obvious solution – if you don’t have relevant work experience, don’t try to make it look like you do.
You can prioritise other parts of your CV, such as relevant education or qualifications, or even any outside interests, hobbies and pastimes that give you knowledge of the role you’re applying for.
Don’t be afraid to put your career history at the bottom of your CV instead of at the top, if it’s not as relevant as some of those other areas. Look to our CV Builder if you need help deciding which sections to include and in what order.
2. Transferable skills
A lot of work experience comes in the form of transferable skills, sometimes called ‘soft skills’.
These are things like teamwork, flexible thinking, adaptability and capability in a crisis, and they’re the kinds of characteristics that all employers value, so don’t neglect them.
Again, give careful thought to the order of the information on your CV – if you have relevant transferable skills, give them priority, even if they were learned as part of a job in a completely different industry or sector.
3. Give more detail
If you don’t have many individual examples of past experience to list, give some extra background detail about each one to fill the space.
Consider your wording carefully – it shouldn’t just be filler – and keep it to brief bullet points to put your point across in as punchy a way as possible.
Remember, you’re aiming to give the interviewer an at-a-glance guide to the things you want to discuss in your interview, so keep it relevant to the role but bring in your best attributes from across the board at the same time.
4. Mention past wins
If you’ve seen major success in a role that was completely different to the one you’re now trying to get, it’s still worth mentioning.
At the end of the day, success is success and employers will often value a good business head or a commitment to delivering on a project, even if your only examples of this are ‘irrelevant’ on the surface.
Make sure you highlight how this relates to your current application – and if possible, quantify your success in terms of how much it was worth to your employer or the return on investment you achieved, as money always talks too.
5. Make a statement
If you have nothing else you can use to fill your CV, consider making a short personal statement. This is traditionally not particularly common in the UK but it’s on the increase.
A brief statement can allow you to make clear that you have passion and enthusiasm for the role you’re applying for, and that you will be quick to learn on the job.
Just make sure to be specific in what you say – vague promises to work hard don’t mean much compared with, for instance, giving a specific example of when you have thrived out of your comfort zone in the past as proof that you can and will adapt quickly. Our links, tips and tricks can help provide some more insight and prepare you for the next step – the interview!