How to Write a Compelling CV Even If You Lack Vital Job Experience

Some of the common questions graduates and young job seekers ask have to do with the issue of work experience. It appears there are very limited job opportunities that do not stress work experience of two or more years so for the fresh graduate what ways are there to create a CV attractive enough to get the interview invitation despite the lack of experience.

If you meet most other requirements for a job don’t let the lack of experience you have put you off. The best thing to do is to make the most of your other qualities for the job; your skills, attitude, potential and education.

How to Create a CV that Attracts Despite Lack of Experience

While creating your CV as an inexperienced graduate job seeker here are ideas and tips you can use to make your CV good enough for the consideration of prospective employers despite your obvious lack of experience;

Identify What You Have Done in the Past That Can Count for Valuable Experience

In writing your CV note that not only paid jobs are counted as valuable experience by employers. If you have had voluntary community work, industrial training attachments, internships, and personal projects that are relevant to your career pursuits you can use them in your CV to point out your suitability for the job.

Make Your CV Irresistible, Highlight Achievements, Awards etc

Most employers who are looking for young employees primarily look for people who have shown the ability to stick through challenges and enthusiasm to learn new skills. Make your CV show the attributes and attitude you have which are sought for by the prospective employer. Emphasise things you have achieved in the past such as leadership positions held, awards won, projects carried out, skills learnt, endorsements earned etc when you are short on experience.

Use Frank, Direct and Unpretentious Style

Nothing bores recruiters like the usual CV mumbo jumbos used by many jobseekers where they state just about the same thing they saw in someone else’ CV. Try something more frank and creative and use straightforward style in outlining things you have done or achieved. See below example of a Good CV where the candidate outlined past awards and achievements;

Awards & Recognitions
• Won the 2012 Saje Community Service Award for planting over 200 trees as part of my Nature Conservation Programme
• Led my Platoon honourably to win the best platoon award at the Ondo State NYSC Batch B 2011 Camping
• Best Intern at Zoom Technologies for energy conservation initiatives I embarked upon

Quantify Achievements

Instead of using weak general sentences to showcase your achievements make it more compelling by quantifying them where possible. As seen in the example above state the amount of money you saved for an organization in the past, how much or percentage of time saved, etc.

Pay attention to Personality Traits or Other Soft Skills Required by the Employer

For many entry level jobs the employer advertising the job may state that they are looking for individuals who possess certain traits or qualities. Be sure to check if there are such requirements by the employer and when you have achievements or past activities that showcase you have those qualities don’t hesitate to outline them. For instance if an employer states they are looking for smart people with strong work ethics and humility and you paid your way through college it is a sure way to let the employer know you have the required work ethics and humility.

Make Your CV Outstanding With Good Layouts

Finally your CV has to be pleasing to the eye. You can never overestimate the effect of a poorly designed and arranged CV. It may turn off a potential employer from going through it thoroughly.
Search online for CV formats and designs to choose a very good layout for your CV. First impressions matter and if your CV looks very pleasing and well organized it will create a very positive impression of you before the prospective employer/recruiter.

You don’t need to always use a strict chronological work history format or have the same section order. Put the most important information first – relevant project work can come before less relevant employment, while voluntary projects could come if you have little or no relevant paid work experience.
You can be flexible with layout and include additional sections for work that is less relevant. You can also put your education before your work experience, or extract relevant course work and place that prominently.

Don’t be tempted to write out a CV with long, rambling paragraphs and irrelevant details to compensate for a lack of work experience. Instead, write lean and concisely, and focus on making it easy for your reader to find key information.


  1. Jobs says:

    Nice points, sometimes we struggle to know which CV format is the right one depending on our qualifications and skills, i think sometimes its a great idea to get a professional to do it for you.

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