No-work-no-pay is not only a true phrase but also a circle we see in life.
But let's break it down. It deters you to give enough to have enough. How do you represent that you have not worked, yet exhibit your characteristic performance?
Well, we suggest we lend you a helping hand.
Go ahead, our guide, followed by a comprehensive list of FAQs shall help your resume in the classic steps.
Before writing the Resume
Here's a checklist of factors that you might want to consider before you proceed with your resume with no work ex:
Lot of people with no work experience do not review their options - maybe because they do not know if they have any.
And it also makes sense: why not pounce at the first opportunity which presents itself?
But think about it: if you spent hours and days working on your first resume, wouldn't you want to be absolutely sure that you are seizing the opportunity?
Hence, it is important to have absolute clarity on what could be your strong and weak points.
It is critical that you ask some sincere questions from yourself before you proceed with your resume:
- What are your hobbies and interests?
- Is there an industry which you think might be a perfect fit for you?
- What kind of a work culture would suit you?
- Do you see yourself in a corporate setting or in a startup venture?
Location is a major factor.
- Are you limited by physical location or not?
- Are you comfortable with work in a particular location near you, or are you open to moving?
- Are you looking for specific profile or industry, irrespective of the location where it might be?
- Have you factored in all the costs, monetary and otherwise?
- Will moving to a different city/country for benefit you in the long run?
- Does your company offer dorm-style living arrangements for their workers?
Once you have achieved a certain level of clarity, proceed by researching everything there is to know about the company and the work profile.
- Find out if the company or sector which you are targeting is even looking for workers in the first place.
- Get to know about their recruitment process and their interview methodologies. Do they ask to include specific details in their resumes?
- Read the company's reviews online to understand if your illusions regarding the profile/company/industry differ from the ground reality.
Check out the parameters and see if it is something you might be interested in.
If you find that your targeted company is offering no jobs, you can call a representative to make sure of the same and then drop off your resume.
Most companies turn to their existing database before engaging in a fresh outreach.
And how sweet would it be if they do so and find your resume on top of the resume pile?
Online Research for finding job avenues will typically include scouring the net on any or all of the following:
Don't just abandon your profile.
- Try to secure recommendations from your Professors.
- Add skills which are relevant. They might get you more traction.
- Demonstrate your volunteer work, achievements and extra-curricular accomplishments. Most large organizations (as opposed to start-ups and small businesses) will resort to LinkedIn for their job requirements. So a stellar LinkedIn profile could be your best bet.
We at Hiration also offer professional services when it comes to revamping your LinkedIn profile. Head on over to the website for more!
Once your research has taken off, you should tap into your network and see what all you can extract from there.
Your network might typically include:
- Career Center at your School/College: Not only are most vacancies first posted there but the good folks at most career centres also lend a hand in creating or proofreading your college resume.
- Professors/Faculty: Most Professors that we know want nothing more than to genuinely help anyone and everyone who approaches them for help. If you earnestly ask the Faculty members for help, you'll undoubtedly get some valuable insights.
- Senior/Alumni Students: Your immediate seniors will always be one step ahead of you, so our advise is to leverage that. Additionally, their internships are fresh and their insights will be more relevant to you than anyone else's.
- Resume Experts @ Hiration: If none of that works out, our Resume Experts will be at your service 24x7! Just shout out in the comments below or visit our website in case you have any doubts pertaining to your college resume.
Nothing beats more than perserverance.
If you've zeroed in on a company or two for which you'd be willing to give your heart and soul, start cold calling them.
- What if they are not looking for people? Doesn't matter. Drop in your resume anyway.
- Be an avid follower of the company and its initiatives. Keeping yourself up-to-date will benefit you sooner or later.
- Maybe there's an event or a job fair happening nearby in which the said organization is participating.
Well, then what are you waiting for?
Resume for NO work experience - How to Begin
Before you get down to writing the resume, let us clear a few things:
- Don't compare your NO work ex resume with a professional who has had years of experience.
- The objective is to showcase your experience in the best possible way and not to get drowned out by others.
You can check out our guide to Resume Layouts to get an idea on how to proceed. Our advice: stick to a combination format.
The Basics - Contact Information
We wouldn't have included a section on Contact Information for your No Work Experience Resume if we didn't think it was important.
People make the silliest of mistakes even while adding their contact details in their resume.
Name, Contact Number and Email:
That is the most basic stuff.
Make sure to provide the authentic information. Avoid typos.
- your email isn't firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com! In case you don't have a professional-looking email id, now is the perfect time to go and make one.
- you voicemail sounds decent
- your number is available
- Don't include your entire residential address even if you are applying for jobs in the same city. Just the area and postal code will do.
- Drop your current location in case you are open to jobs outside your city, or you can include the same with a caveat stating that you are willing to relocate.
Misc. (Skype, LinkedIn, Blog/Portfolio, etc.):
- Include your Skype handle only if a telephonic round will be a part of the recruitment process. Companies usually specify the same in the Job Description.
- Include your LinkedIn only if it is well maintained. If you last updated your LinkedIn months/years ago, you can refrain from including it in your resume.
- You can showcase your portfolio or provide links of your blogs, but only if there's relevance between that and the job which you're targeting.
Add it only if it's relevant, or if you think it will complement your application in any way. In all other cases, you can add a separate section of Hobbies or Interests in the end and include all such points there.
A Section-wise Breakdown
College Resume Summary/Objective
This section will go at the top and will be a game-changer. We've seen a lot of students spending countless hours working on just this one section.
Let's start off with the difference between Resume Summary & Resume Objective. How do you tell which one to use?
Well it is simple: 'Ask not what the company can do for you but what you can do for the company.'
Many people mindlessly start working on the Resume Objective section without bothering to find out if that is even needed. Place yourself in the shoes of the recruiter: what will you do with an applicant who is sending you a list of all the things that s/he is looking for?
Something like this:
Dynamic and detail-oriented English major looking to leverage his stellar communication skills as an Intern to create engaging and SEO-driven content for large-scale conglomerates. Demonstrated ability to efficiently work in teams as a zonal-level lacrosse player at University of Berkeley.
Try to convince the recruiter how you will play an instrumental role in helping them achieve their goals rather than sending a bucket list of items that you are looking for.
That's the major difference between a No Work Ex Resume Summary and a No Work Ex Resume Objective section. You should ideally be targeting the former. The skills that you possess will remain content in both the cases, but the emphasis should be on the needs of the recruiter, not your own.
You can check out our in-depth guide on the Resume Objective section : The Complete 2018 Guide with 10+ Resume Objective Examples for more insights on how to optimize this section as per your requirements.
One major area in which a standard professional resume differs from a No Work Experience resume is the Education section.
Or more specifically, the order in which this section appears in your student resume.
Since your resume is not filled with multiple job experiences, you can lead the resume with your Education section. But even then, there isn't a single way to go about it.
Let us clarify that through an example:
University of Berkeley
BA Economics (Hons.)
Expected to graduate in '19
This is a perfectly average example.
But Education section is the most critical section of your no work ex resume.
And you need to stand out!
List out anything and everything that you have done till date and categorize them into Education, Co-curricular Activites and Extra-curricular Activities.
An example will clear that right out.
Bachelor of Economics (Honours) | University of Berkeley | May ‘11 – Jun ‘14
• Selected out of 10,000+ applicants to receive an additional 30% scholarship owing to a stellar academic & work profile
• 1 of 5 to be shortlisted out of 120+ applicants for a 1-year internship with the Microsoft Strategy team post-graduation
• 1 of 3 mentees to be selected out of 80 applicants by US’ top investor Jack Welch, former Chairman & CEO of General Electric
• Secured 1st Rank in a batch of 80 for Micro-Economics (96%) and Mathematics (86%)
Event Head | University of Berkeley
- Led a team of 25 members across 10+ colleges to develop a unique brand positioning & boost y-o-y participation by 15%
- Strategized marketing by liaising with the Core Cultural Committee for UoB’s largest official annual cultural fest with a 1000+ footfall
- Championed the debating event as Director Coordinator to execute marketing, tie-up with colleges, reach out to the volunteers, etc.
- Conducted personal college visits to coordinate with individual Debating Society Presidents, develop interest & enhance participation
- Head, Organising Committee, National Seminar | University of Berkeley
Led 30+ members to host a delegation of 100+ eminent academicians like Noam Chomsky & leaders from Morgan Stanley
- Awarded Bronze at the Vocal Music Festival across California & secured a top 10 rank at the American Idol Season 10
- Selected as a core committee member of the economics debating club & collaborated with The Economics Club of Harvard
- Executive Member – Core Committee, Music Society | Core member, Football and Swimming team | Community School, San Francisco*
The snapshot above is how you break free from the competition.
Nothing will be too big or too small for this section. Since it's only your Education experience, recruiters aren't expecting anything flashy as well. But before they decide whether or not to invest in you, it'd help if they know you showed some level of initiative too.
- You can additionally provide a breakdown of all the modules and coursework across the duration of your degree.
- You can customize what you include here on the basis of where you are applying. For instance, there might be some academic projects which you completed but which are only relevant for a few specific profiles.
Our first advice would be to not get overwhelmed by the resumes which you see online. Most of them are standard professional resumes and nowhere related to what you are looking for.
- You can include all odd jobs which you have done till date, which might or might not be related to the job profile which you are targeting. The idea here is not to look like you were born for this job. The idea is just to showcase a certain level of initiative from your end.
- You can additionally add your experiences in the non-profit sector, or any voluntary work which you might have done previously.
Since the No work ex resume will not exceed one page, you can spruce up the points you frame using action verbs. Check out our guide on Power Verbs for more tips on jazzing up your no work experience resume.
The objective is to transform your previous job roles, and your resume in general, from a responsibility-based one to something which is more aligned towards achievements.
Key Skills section in a NO work experience Resume
Like in a standard professional resume, the Key Skills section in a resume for college will play a crucial role in getting you those shortlists that you deserve.
Most people tend to fall on either extreme of the spectrum: either they'll miss the Key Skills section altogether or they'll relentlessly stuff the resume with keywords. Both of these options won't really cut it.
The biggest and most underrated source of relevant keywords is the Job Description, and it's surprising how often it is excluded from the entire resume writing process. You MUST NOT send in your resume without consulting the Job Description once, to check if the skills which the recruiter is looking for has been catered to or not.
Prioritize your leadership and professional skills (project management, team management, stakeholder management, etc.) over soft skills (coordination, communication, etc.). Try to establish a cause-effect relationship to explain how the skills that you possess can help you achieve organizational goals (which can be better catered to in the Resume Summary section)
In order to gain better clarity on how the skills that you have incorporated can help you get shortlisted, you can check out this great resource. It analyzes the Job Description against which you made you resume and gives you an ATS (Applicant Tracking System) score, along with instructions on how you can optimize your resume further.
For a greater understanding of the role which the Key Skills section plays in your resume, check out our comprehensive guide on Resume Key Skills.
Additional Sections in your Resume for College
Many college students/freshers struggle to reach the end of page for their resume. They'd rather incorporate junk points and add unnecessary fluff just so they can stretch the resume to 1 complete page and get a false sense of accomplishment.
But in the macro picture, that strategy often backfires.
To avoid that, keep the requirements of the recruiter in mind before you take a call on what to add and what to avoid. Additionally, a bit of research can go a long way in customizing your resume for college to your target profile.
For instance, if the organization that you are targeting has an unofficial lacrosse team which plays with teams from other corporates, and if you also indulged in that sport in school/college, you can go ahead and mention the same in glowing letters.
That's an example of a relevant key skill which specifically targets the organization of your choosing. But that won't happen in every case, right?
For all other cases, it helps if you can quantify your achievements and provide detailed information around the same. The idea is to showcase your skills in all arenas, and to convince the recruiter that if you excelled in, say, A, you also have the ability to transfer those skills to excel in B.
An example will clear that right out.
HOBBIES: Photography, music, travelling, reading books
Most resumes, especially college student resumes, are flooded with Additional Sections along these lines. They add zero value to your resume in general and your application in particular. Students prefer to take the easy way and stuff their resumes with fluff points and sections like these to stretch the document to one page.
Don't. Do. That.
Now take a look at this:
Photography: Owner and administrator of ZYX Photography Page on Facebook with 7k+ likes
Travelling: Visited 6 countries in the last 1 year and documented my travels on my travel blog (insert link) with an average traffic of 50k users/month
You are going a step beyond what's expected and detailing how you excel in those hobbies. A recruiter reading this will instantly conclude that you'd also be able to transfer these skills in the workplace to help him achieve organizational goals.
In addition to the Hobbies section for your college student resume, you can add more sections around Projects, Publications or Extra-curricular Activities. The idea is to stay relevant and keep the requirements of the recruiter in mind at every step of making a resume for internship.
- A resume with no work experience sounds like a losing battle, at first, but with this strategy, you’ll have a resume they won’t be able to resist.
- Focus on education - You’ve no experience, but you do have education. You’ll highlight your academic achievements to stay in the running.
- You do have experience - And if you don’t, get some! Use free or inexpensive courses online, such as Coursera, to add relevant experience. Now you have a resume with a little experience. Also, things you don’t think of as work experience may actually be, such as volunteer work, a stint with an NGO, or freelance gigs.
- Other sections - Without the massive experience section, you are able to add more “other” sections. Use these to promote yourself and show the human side of you.