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How to Make a Resume if You Never Had a Job – With Examples

How to Make a Resume if You Never Had a Job – With Examples

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Even if you don’t have previous work experience, you still need a resume to apply for any job.

You might be lost if you have to write one because it is assumed by many that the purpose of a resume is to demonstrate work experience.

However, there is the functional/skills-based resume that is largely overlooked. 

This resume format is perfect if you haven’t had a job before.

Let’s discuss how to make a superb resume using your strengths!



How to make a resume if you never had a job

To make a resume if you never had a job, use a functional/skills-based resume format and focus on your skills. You can also emphasize your education, certifications, and professional experiences like an internship or volunteer work. Make sure to include any awards you have achieved.


Focus on your skills

You might not have previous work experience, but that doesn’t mean you don’t have valuable skills to mention. 

These could be technical IT skills like programming or website development, artistic skills, or even basic Microsoft Office excel or presentation skills. 

They could also be soft skills such as public speaking, teamwork, negotiating, or even knowing multiple languages. 

Start by writing anything you can think of since you can have many transferrable skills, and once you have more than enough, remove the most irrelevant ones.


Focus on your education 

If you are a student, your education is a strong asset. 

It can also explain to the recruiter why you never had a job.

You can demonstrate that even though you haven’t worked, you still have major accomplishments to show. 

Mention your GPA if it is 3.5 and above, a relevant class you took, or a project you worked on. 

If you have any certifications, this would also be a good place to add them.

Certifications show your dedication to learning and expanding your expertise.


Focus on any other professional experience

Add any internships or volunteer work you have done.

You can also mention any club, sports, extracurricular, or community involvement. 

It would be more advantageous if you had a significant role where you could demonstrate important leadership, organization, or communication skills.

But no matter what your tasks consisted of, you still received a hands-on professional setting experience and the opportunity to polish certain valuable skills that a recruiter will take note of. 

You and the recruiter could also share this experience, and they would understand your contribution even more.

So, it is never a bad idea to include your professional experience.


Focus on your awards 

Since this resume is more about your capabilities, awards are a great way to demonstrate how capable you really are. 

If you received an award for a relevant skill, it would show your proficiency.

If you received an award for something less relevant, it would show your dedication to hard work and success regardless.


The resume format when applying for your first job

Start with a professional summary. Add a skills section underneath for both soft and hard skills. If you are a student, an education section should follow, emphasizing your academic achievements. Lastly, add a relevant experience section and another for your awards.


Professional summary section

Right after your name and contact information on your resume, you should write a professional summary.

Because you’ve never had a job before, your professional summary should consist of a short description of your most noteworthy skills and achievements.

These can be technical skills and any past projects you’ve completed.

You can also mention relevant courses or certifications you completed. Make sure that these certifications are still valid. 

In case these certifications already expired, make sure to read our article “List Expired Certifications on your Resume: Yes or No?.”


Skills section

Create a section with your skills as bullet points.

If you choose not to give details about your skills here, at least add your proficiency.

You can do it creatively by adding a graph demonstrating your levels of capability. 


Education section

If you do not have work experience to show, your academic achievements are just as valuable.

After your skills section, prioritize your education, especially if you are a student or have recently graduated. 

List your degree and the university, or simply your high school, and add the location and dates. 

Underneath add 3 to 4 bullet points of your greatest academic accomplishments. 

Try to list quantifiable achievements and those that demonstrate transferrable skills. 


Relevant Experience section

Add a relevant experience section the same way you would have to add work experience.

Start with the title and specify the location and dates.

Then, like with your education, list 3 to 4 bullet points of achievements. 

If you are adding volunteering work, club or community involvement, keep in mind that your individual contribution is what’s important.

Many make the mistake of focusing on the organization’s achievements, but the recruiter is looking for your impact, not theirs. 


Awards section

Your awards section should be bullet points with the award titles and the date.

You can also specify who awarded you.


Interests section (optional)

At the bottom of your resume, if you still have space, you can add an interests section.

Just be sure to list interests that help you polish transferrable skills. 

This could be reading and writing book reports after, running a blog, or anything productive you enjoy in your spare time. 

List them with bullet points.


Resume with no previous job experience example




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Professional Summary

Recent high school graduate and valedictorian. Active volunteer at the downtown soup kitchen. Proficient in C++ programming and JavaScript. Awarded Academic Star in 2020.



  • Website Development
  • Programming
  • Excel functions
  • Communication
  • Teamwork
  • Leadership
  • Creative Problem Solving




ABC High School | Helena, Montana | Graduated May 2021

  • GPA 3.86
  • Valedictorian 
  • Student body president (2020 – 2021)
  • Winner of yearly math competition (2020 & 2021)


Relevant Experience


Kitchen Volunteer 

MT Wellness Center | Helena, Montana | 2019 – Present

  • Distributing around 40 meals weekly.
  • Following all regulations of food handling and storing methods. 
  • Cleaning and maintaining the kitchen.



  • Valedictorian of class 2021.
  • Academic Star Award, 2020



  • Programming applications. 
  • Writing IT-related blog posts.