Cover LettersCover Letters
Job Seeker TipsJob Seeker Tips
Beginner BasicsBeginner Basics
In the WorkplaceIn the Workplace
Try Our Quick &
Easy Resume
Get A
Try Our
Cover Letter
Home > Blog: Beginner Basics > Writing a Resume When You Have No Experience

Writing a Resume When You Have No Experience

Getting a job can be hard for anyone, even a highly experienced professional who has successfully navigated several job changes. But it can be particularly challenging if you have no experience in the field you want to work in.

Here are five situations that describe job seekers who may lack relevant experience:

  • The teenager seeking his or her first job.
  • The college senior about to graduate and leap into the real world.
  • The person who worked in the family business that just closed.
  • The stay-at-home mom who wants to enter (or re-enter) the workforce.
  • The person making a drastic career change that causes friends and relatives to ask: “You wanna be a what?!? Why??”

With the possible exception of the teenager (whose jobs typically require application forms, not resumes), these people need to prepare and send a resume.

But how do you market yourself effectively with your resume when you don’t have related job experience?

The answer: Focus on transferable skills and volunteer work. Also, it would be a good idea to drop in a recommendation or two from people who can vouch for qualities such as your work ethic, demeanor, or your ability to work as part of a team.

Here are potential sources for all three areas, targeted at each of the hypothetical job seekers above:


  • Transferable Skills: Anything learned from odd jobs such as babysitting or mowing lawns; computer skills; leadership and teamwork skills from participating in sports, band, etc.
  • Volunteer Work: Charity or community work involving related skills; extracurricular school activities
  • Recommendations: Teachers, coaches, guidance counselors, administrators, neighbors, customers from babysitting or lawn-mowing jobs

College Seniors

  • Transferable Skills: Anything from school or paid jobs that matches what the employer is seeking (e.g., a semester-long team project from one of your classes); relevant courses; computer skills; leadership and teamwork skills from participating in sports, band, etc.
  • Volunteer Work: Soup kitchen, Habitat for Humanity, or other community work involving related skills; on-campus extracurricular activities
  • Recommendations: Professors and advisors, supervisors from previous jobs, recent alumni familiar with your skills and talents

Family Business

  • Transferable Skills: Any skills from the business that match what the employer is seeking, from day-to-day management to menial tasks to computer skills (if applicable)
  • Volunteer Work: Charity or community work involving related skills
  • Recommendations: Former customers, suppliers, vendors, even employees

Stay-at-Home Mom

  • Transferable Skills: Household management and organization (e.g., childcare, food service, housekeeping, budgeting, health monitoring, transportation, schedule management, travel arrangements, event planning, tutoring, advocacy, safety and first aid, care-giving, counseling, mentoring); computer skills; relevant skills from previous jobs, even if they go back many years
  • Volunteer Work: Charity and community work involving related skills, school-related activities (e.g., fundraising, event planning, classroom assistance)
  • Recommendations: Other parents, fellow volunteers, school administrators, former employers, community leaders

Career Changer

  • Transferable Skills: Any skill that transfers easily from one industry to another (e.g., writing, marketing, payroll, project management, tool use, business machine operation); soft skills such as team-building, organizational, and communication skills; computer skills
  • Volunteer Work: Charity and community work
  • Recommendations: Former colleagues, supervisors

As you write your resume, always keep in mind that it’s a personal marketing tool and you must use it to put yourself in the best possible position to land an interview. Don't be modest! Show each prospective employer that you understand their needs and how you are equipped to fulfill them. Help them see the benefits they'll gain from hiring you. That’s very important in today’s economy, and even more so for the candidate who lacks direct experience.

Preparing for Re-Entry: Obstacles in the Workforce
The One Thing You Need to Re-Enter the Workforce
Hey Grads! No Experience? No Problem! (Sort of)
Writing a Resume When You Haven’t Worked for Years

Ready To Jump Start Your Job Search?
Looking for Help with Your Job Search?
Pongo has been helping Job Seekers for over 10 years. If you think our articles are great, try our Resume Builder, Letter Builder and Exclusive Interview Strategy Videos! Our easy-to-use tools and expert advice have helped over 70% of our Members get the job they want! Learn More »
Like what you see?
Join over 4.6 million Pongo Members — and let us help you land your dream job.
Pongo Raves
Student Lands Job in Hospitality Industry
Anthony was unemployed and living at home. Watch as he describes how Pongo helped him improve his resume, letters and interview techniques to land the perfect job.
Learn More About Pongo
More Success Stories