You just graduated from school, you are super excited to graduate and to finally be entering the labour market, the only issue here is, you have no work experience to leverage in your job applications, and you are disturbed and wondering how to write a CV without any experience especially because you have constantly heard people say the job market is very competitive and you just saw the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) report that said Nigeria’s unemployment rate as of the end of 2020 rose to 33.3% from 27.1% recorded as of Q2 2020, indicating that about 23,187,389 (23.2 million) Nigerians are unemployed. So that means you have a lot of competition; but do allow that to deter you from sending in your applications, as no one expects a fresh graduate or entry-level applicant to have a lot of experience.
Believe it or not; there are many things you can include in your CV that will help you present yourself in the best possible light.
What to Put on Your CV When You Have No Relevant Work Experience
- Start with a brilliant brand statement/ summary: The summary statement should sum up who you are in a sentence or two, let it include your level of education, your degree, or university alongside a snapshot of your skills, character, and personality. Let this section tell the reader why you’re the right person for the job and how your skills can benefit their company.
- Follow with your educational background: Instead of leading with your professional experience like I would recommend to the experienced hires, lead with your educational history. Under this section, you can talk about some of the course modules you took in school especially if it relates to the role you are looking to occupy. For example, if you looking to work in the Human Resource Unit, but you studied Business Administration and did a course in Business and Employment Law, Introduction to People Management or HRM Skills and Professional Practice, etc., you can include those course modules, this tells the reader that you have the educational background/ information to succeed in this role. If you wrote a dissertation or did any academic project, this section is a good place to talk about it. You can also list professional training and certification courses here with dates to show the reader how current your knowledge is.
- Follow with your skills section: Even though you do not have any work experience, you have some skills, it’s just a matter of being able to present them in a way that the reader is impressed. So to get started, find some job ads that you will like to apply for and then make a list of skills and strengths listed on the job ad, that you have. For example, if you’re applying for a Brand Communication Position, you should mention skills the employers look for in a Brand Communication Trainee, if you possess these skills. These might include, a B.Sc. in a related course, excellent communications skills, both written and oral, excellent research and fact-checking skills and previous experience in writing and/ or proof-reading, etc. You may be able to draw from your experience here, for example, if you run a blog, wrote your graduate project, carried out researches on any school project then those are transferrable skills you can leverage. For those entering a technical field, employers are going to want to know what your technical skills are, this is where you list the computer languages you are familiar with, programs, systems, and specific technical skills you have acquired.
- Showcase Your Work Experience/Work-Like Experience: Even if you have no actual work experience, you may have experience from NYSC, Student Industrial Work Experience Scheme (SIWES), Industrial Attachment, the side business you managed in school, volunteering, holiday Jobs (the one you do in the family business ), or activities in the school associations that can show employers that you have some transferable skills that meet their requirements. Write down all the activities that you spearheaded or were a part of, note the tasks assigned to you that are relevant to the position you want to apply for, etc.
- Include your hobbies/extra-curricular activities/interests: Treat your extra-curricular activities like a job. Over and over again, you’ll find extra-curricular roles are relevant, prioritise them and include them if they are relevant to the position or have equipped you with transferable skills that would be useful for the job role.
Always place the most important information at the top of your CV. Avoid running into a second page unless you have enough relevant information because If your reader is not impressed by the first page, they likely won’t get to the second. As this process unfolds, you may just discover that you have more relevant experience than you think, and I hope this post helps you leverage your educational background and transferable skills into an effective promotional document.
Note that having no work experience does not mean you are unqualified. So if you still have issues with writing a CV, you can utilise a writing service like ours to develop a brilliant professional CV that communicates enthusiasm and competence to employers. You can reach out here.