How To Make Your Resume Stand Out With No Work Experience

Great news! You’ve found an advertisement for your dream graduate job. All you have to do now is get it.
You need to write a resume, but you don’t have any work experience. What are you going to put on there? Competition for graduate jobs is tough. You need a resume that is going to stand out from the crowd, to get you the interview where you can really shine.
Don’t worry. Hiring managers for graduate positions know you’re not going to have extensive work experience. What they want to see is evidence of strong transferable skills, a can-do attitude, and the ability to do the simple things well.
Here’s how you show them that you’re the stand-out candidate.

Simple things

If it’s a good graduate job that’s on offer, it’s likely the Hiring Manager is going to receive a lot of resumes. You don’t want yours to end up in the trash because of a simple error.
Open with a short summary. An elevator pitch. Detail your core skills and educational achievements. Give the Hiring Manager encouragement to read on.
Make sure your resume is laid out in a way that’s easy to read. Ensure it’s free of spelling mistakes and grammatical errors.

Show off your skills

Transferable skills are what the Hiring Manager is primarily looking for, and if you have no work experience, you have to find other ways to show off your skills.
Anything can be a skill. Think of times where you demonstrated a skill that could be useful for the job. If you play for a sports team, do drama, volunteer, you’re displaying transferable skills. Leadership, initiative, ability to multitask. Find them, and put them on your resume.
If you have computer skills that are relevant for the job, like Microsoft Photoshop if you’re applying for a role in an ad agency, include it on your resume. It will put you one step ahead of someone who doesn’t have that skill.
Use specific numbers where possible. ‘Directed a play seen by 2,000 people’ is better than ‘directed a play many people saw’, take a look at some of these resume samples on how to elucidate your experience with numbers.


Skills can be taught, but attitude cannot. On your resume, demonstrate times when you’ve shown a can-do attitude, willingness to learn, and good interaction with people.
When detailing your time at university, relate a time when you’ve had to study outside of your core subject. Let the Hiring Manager see that you are eager to learn and not afraid to go the extra mile.
All these tips will help you land that interview.
To conclude, a couple more insider tips. Research the company for the cover letter. Put something in there that shows you are actually interested in working for that company. If you have an idea that would benefit the company, don’t be afraid to put it down.
If possible, talk to the Hiring Manager on the phone. It gives them an opportunity to get to know you, and remember you. Do it under the guise of checking they received your resume, if you need to.