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Writing A CV If You Don’t Have Work Experience

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Written by Seun Oyediran

Writing a CV

Getting a job right after graduation in Nigeria today is more about connection and luck than experience and merit. The chance of getting a job without work experience is next to nothing. However, there is a possibility to write a standard CV that gains recruiters’ attention and gets HRs to invite you for job interviews. 

In this article, we’ll show you how to write a CV without work experience. 

The purpose of work experience on a CV

Many hiring managers consider work experience to be an integral component of a CV. The major goal is to demonstrate your abilities even if you don’t have a professional job yet. Another type of experience, such as extracurricular activities, volunteering, or your hobbies, may have provided you with a variety of talents.

Consider the following scenario:

  • Suppose you’re good at anything computer-related, such as coding, Microsoft Office, Excel, or the internet. Then, you have IT skills.
  • Let’s imagine you had the opportunity to lead your class as class governor; you’d be a good leader.
  • If you’re a member of a club like a debate club, theatre club, or reading club, you might claim you’re a team player.

Now you can see that having a skill isn’t difficult; the trick is turning it into a solid CV.

How to write a CV with no previous work experience

These are step-by-step guides on how to write a standard CV without work experience:

1.    Start with a captivating personal statement

Assume you’ve been asked to submit your CV solely for review prior to being interviewed for a job, and this paragraph should provide some background information about yourself. It’s a short paragraph underneath your name and contact information that explains your career ambitions and objectives and how valuable your skills are to the firm. The goal of crafting a quick, convincing summary of yourself is to pique the hiring manager to hire you.

A personal statement should be brief and straightforward. Here  is an example of a personal statement

I am a driven product designer with a strong desire to develop creative solutions that save time and benefit customers. In addition, I create items that benefit both consumers and the environment. I have a second-class honours degree and am familiar with the safe production process and technology. I’d look for a position that would complement my talents and expertise.

2.    Highlight your best skills

It is better to highlight your skills instead of roles. This is because skills show your competence better. The skills you learned during school, internships, or when you volunteered for an event or job, etc., can be listed. These skills are called transferable skills, and it is best to recognize the skills and highlight them in your CV.

There are two types of skills: hard skills and soft skills. It is good to have the right mix of the two skills to get a job. These are the kind of candidates an employer or hiring manager looks out for.

What are hard skills?

They are technical skills learned in school or through training. Candidates must demonstrate that they have these skills by demonstrating that they have sufficient experience with them. 

Hard skills include:

  • Statistical analysis
  • SEO/SEM marketing
  • Database management
  • Programming languages 

What are soft skills? 

Soft skills are the habits and characteristics that have shaped you. It influences how you work and interact with others. The skills include:

  •  Integrity 
  • Dependability
  • Team-work
  • The ability to think critically
  • Organization, etc.

To be a well-rounded applicant, you must highlight both your hard and soft skills. It’s also important to think about how your skills relate to the position you’re applying for.

3.   Spotlight education and academic achievements

Have you heard of the phrase, “grade doesn’t matter?” This is far from true when seeking for a very competitive position with no work experience. If you have a strong Cumulative Grade Point Average (CGPA), here is an opportunity to show it without being excessively proud. For instance, you can list the school attended and your CGPA.

Here is an example:

University of Lagos, University Road,

Lagos mainland Akoka, Yaba, Nigeria.

Bachelor of Science in Accounting (4.89/5.00)                                      Aug 2010 – May 2016

Also, do well to highlight your accomplishments. Some examples of achievements;

  • Record-breaking honours
  • Came up with a new idea that made things better.
  • Worked on a number of unique projects.
  • Helped to provide excellent customer service
  • Able to identify and fix a problem.

Better CV writing

4.    Prioritize internship and volunteering

Do you have volunteering experience? Have you volunteered for a cause you are proud of? Now is the time to make noise about it. Imagine you volunteered as a Road Warden during your NYSC, you should ensure to state this in your CV. The same thing applies to post-bachelor internships. If you are a graduate and you don’t do any of these, you will be missing out on good opportunities to build your CV without work experience. 

5.    Incorporate industrial training experience

Industrial Training (IT) is mandatory across many Nigerian universities. Many graduates underestimate IT experience and completely ignore it when writing a CV. However, IT is pretty much similar to an internship. Thus, it can be used in an event when proper internship experience is missing. For instance, if you had your IT in Nigerian Brewery Company, you can use the title, “Laboratory Assistant or Research Intern” depending on the position you filled during your IT. 

Summary

Writing a CV for many people might seem like a daunting tasks, but that is why reventify makes it so easy with our smart suggestions that provides you with writing tips as well relevant content for various sections of your CV.

If you don’t have any work experience, you may need to network and pitch yourself a lot more than just applying on job sites. If you’re looking to learn more about how to get a job quick, we’ve written another article on how to do so in 90 days that you might be interested in reading.

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