How to Write a Resume With No Experience
No job experience? No problem! Learn to write a resume if you have ...
Simply put, a resume is a concise one- to two-page document that showcases a person’s qualifications and credentials to potential employers. The word “resume” stems from a French term meaning “to summarize” and that’s exactly what this tool does: it summarizes an applicant’s relevant work experience, skills, education, and professional accomplishments.
We emphasize the word “relevant” in our resume definition for good reason. A strong resume only includes information that aligns with the job at hand. This document is not meant to serve as a comprehensive rundown of everything you’ve ever done professionally or academically.
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A resume outlines your suitability for a particular position. It can have a huge impact on whether or not you’re invited for an interview and ultimately land the job.
With a well-written resume, you can:
If you’re applying for a job in the United States, hiring managers will almost always expect you to submit a resume. It’s a standard job application requirement that helps employers effectively and efficiently screen and assess candidates.
If you’re based outside the United States, you might be more familiar with the term “CV” or “curriculum vitae”. In places like the UK, Europe, New Zealand, and South Africa, this is essentially the same thing as a resume. In the United States, however, there are distinct differences between a CV and a resume, so don’t confuse the two when hunting for a position on local soil.
A resume is a carefully structured document that always features the same five essential sections at a minimum. The order of these sections might shift slightly depending on your professional background, but they should always be present.
These critical resume parts are shown below:
Here’s a more detailed description of what to include in each of these five main resume sections:
These five sections are all you need to include in your resume. However, in some cases, you might want to throw in one or two additional sections if you think they’ll enhance your application. These could include:
With our powerful online resume builder, you can quickly and easily write a job-winning resume, even if you have only just learned what a resume is. Pick a professional resume template from our library, follow the prompts and suggestions, download the final product, and just like that, you’ll have the perfect tool for your job search.
In any resume definition, it’s important to note that there are three main types of resumes that differ in format: the chronological resume, the functional resume, and the combination resume. Each type has its own structure and is suited for different professional situations and job seekers.
Here’s a quick look at these three alternatives:
The chronological resume is the most commonly used format and is often preferred by hiring managers. This resume type places most of the emphasis on your work history, presenting it in reverse-chronological order with lots of detail about each position.
The format highlights career growth and serves to demonstrate a clear career path. For this reason, it is best for job seekers with a consistent and progressive work history in the same industry. The general consensus is that it’s most suitable for seasoned professionals with 10+ years of relevant experience.
In contrast to the chronological resume, the functional resume format focuses on your skills, training, and qualifications rather than your experience. It puts the spotlight on your professional know-how – often grouping skills based on the specific job requirements – while keeping your work history section very brief and sparse.
This resume type is ideal for applicants who have very little work experience or big gaps in employment, as well as job seekers who are changing careers. That’s because it highlights relevant abilities and qualifications without drawing attention to unrelated jobs, extended work breaks, or limited time in the job market.
The risk with this resume type is that because it doesn’t provide a clear work history timeline, employers might assume you’re hiding something. But if used in the right context, it can boost your chances of securing an interview.
The combination resume combines elements of both the chronological and functional formats. It allows you to showcase your skills upfront while still providing a reverse-chronological work history.
This type of resume is versatile and can work well for several different career situations. New grads and professionals sometimes use it with less than 10 years of experience, but can also work for people making slight career shifts or seeking a promotion. If you want to put equal emphasis on your abilities and your work timeline, this format is a good option.
Crafted by career experts, our resume templates give you the best opportunity to highlight your qualifications. Unsure how to structure your resume? Then, find inspiration in our resume examples based on different job titles.
This simple layout features a traditional font and the clever use of section borders to help each section of your resume stand out
This distinctive two-column resume template identifies your name and professional experience in a bold color and clean presentation.
A clever design that breaks each of your professional accomplishments into distinct sections while following a format that will pass applicant tracking systems.
The elegant initials, simple header and strategic use of bullet points in this template help keep your professional accomplishments well-organized.
The bold use of a colorblocked heading paired with an elegant resume layout helps your name and contact information stand out.
This structured design combines a two-column approach with bullet points to highlight your key accomplishments and professional history.
A traditional template uses a crisp combination of dark text and thin borders to radiate professionalism. Your name sits prominently above your professional history.
This template’s design features plenty of whitespace neatly divided by gray bars to make the information on your resume easy to read for employers.
This two-column resume conveys a very clear breakdown of its sections that allows a hiring manager to quickly scan your resume.
The subtle color accents in this template add visual pizzazz in a classy way, a great option for most traditional industries.
This resume’s modern design and bold use of color make it pop. Its uniqueness is well-suited to those seeking jobs in creative industries.
Everything about this template is assertive from the boxy layout to its all-caps heading text that gives the impression that you’re all about business.
The understated contact information at the top puts attention front and center on your professional summary, skills, work experience and education sections.
The subtle use of red alongside black gives this template a bold feel while still featuring plenty of white space to make it easy to read.
Now that you’re familiar with what a resume is, you can focus on writing one that stands out from the rest. Keep these tips in mind to perfect your document:
Use a professional resume template to ensure your document is neatly structured and looks polished.
Keep your resume to one page if possible. Only extend to two pages if you have more than 10 years of experience.
Always tailor your resume to the job you are applying for and only include relevant information.
Use keywords from the job description so that applicant tracking systems (ATS) flag your qualifications as relevant.
Choose a classic, clean, and professional font, such as Arial, Cambria, or Times New Roman.
Quantify your accomplishments with numbers and percentages to show impact.
Include strong action verbs to make your descriptions stand out.
Don’t simply list skills; provide examples of how you’ve applied them.
Proofread and edit your resume carefully before submitting it to catch spelling, grammar, and formatting errors.
For more tips, see our comprehensive guide on how to write a resume.
Use an online resume builder to make the process of writing a resume faster, easier, and much less stressful.
In simple terms, a resume is a tool used to apply for jobs. It’s a one- or two-page document that provides a tailored snapshot of a job seeker’s work experience, skills, education, and professional accomplishments. The aim is to prove suitability for an open position to secure an interview.
The term “resume” is more common in North America. Many other parts of the world use “CV” to refer to the equivalent.
In most countries outside of the United States, there is no difference between a resume and a CV. They are simply different terms used to describe the same thing.
However, in North America, “resume” and “CV” have different meanings. Here, a CV is typically much longer and more comprehensive than a resume. It provides a full and detailed overview of a person’s academic career and achievements, publications, and professional experience. It’s not tailored for a specific vacancy like a resume is.
While a resume is used to apply for regular jobs across most industries, a CV is usually used to apply for academic and research positions, grants, fellowships, and certain types of government jobs.
The three main resume types are the chronological, functional, and combination resume. Each of them differs in format and the right one for you will depend on your career background, goals, and the specific job you’re applying for.
The chronological resume emphasizes your professional experience with an extensive reverse-chronological work history section. It’s best for job seekers who’ve followed a clear and consistent career path and have many years of experience behind them.
The functional resume, on the other hand, is better suited to recent graduates with no work experience, career changers, and those with long gaps between jobs. This format puts the spotlight on an applicant’s relevant skills while distracting from a sparse or inconsistent work history.
Finally, the combination resume brings together bits from both the chronological and the functional formats, giving equal focus to work experience and skills. It’s a great option for well-rounded professionals who have some experience and also want to show off impressive professional competencies and transferable skills.
To learn more about these three formats, see the section on resume types higher up on this page.
A good resume is concise, well-structured, and customized for the position in question. It includes only relevant information and incorporates keywords from the job description to align your qualifications with the employer’s specific needs.
The best resumes start with a strong and persuasive opening (summary or objective statement) and highlight accomplishments using numbers and metrics. They also use a clean, professional layout, an easy-to-read font, proper spacing, and consistent formatting.
The standard length of a resume is one page. That said, if you are a seasoned professional with a long and eventful career behind you, it’s acceptable to spill over to two or even three pages. The rule of thumb is to add one page for every 10 years of work experience. It’s still always important to be as concise as possible.