How to Make a CV for Students with No Experience

Are you a student stuck in a catch-22 where the jobs you’re applying for require the one thing you don’t have – experience? This is common near or soon after graduating. While writing a CV or resume with no experience can be a challenge, some clever strategies definitely help.

Students without experience should use a functional CV format that highlights the skills you have to offer rather than your work history. As well, highlight your education achievements and showcase the positive aspects of your life beyond academics.

Let’s dive in a little deeper to further explain how to present yourself, with CV examples included. We also recommend learning how to make a resume so you have the foundation skills for this task. Once you’ve got that, here are four key ways graduates and students without experience can make a CV that gets job interviews.

How to Write a CV for a Student

Relax – writing a CV for a student without experience isn’t as hard as you might think. You just need to focus on other factors that point to their ability to do the job. Remember, too, that workers with experience aren’t necessarily good workers. Recruiters use many different markers and filters to decide if someone might be suitable. Here’s what to do.

1. Highlight education achievements

University student

Lead with the knowledge and skills that you do have from your education. That starts your CV off in a strong, positive tone. Showcase transferable skills you have to offer the company.

By detailing your education on your CV, you demonstrate your ability to do things such as meet deadlines, focus on a task and achieve what you put your mind to. Students can be accomplished even if they haven’t yet had the chance to put their skills to use in the workplace.

Make a point of mentioning modules that you studied or projects that you completed, especially when relevant to the field you’re applying for. For example, if you’re applying for a technical role, you may want to mention a task that taught you a particular coding language. You could outline a project in which you used a particular program that might be used in the advertised role.

Celebrate key achievements and elaborate on the relevant parts of your studies. Use your education background to demonstrate to potential employers that you have base knowledge and abilities to thrive in your first role.

2. Demonstrate soft skills and job-relevant skills

University students on campus

Plan out your CV or resume based on soft skills as well as key skills needed for the role you’re applying for. Of the three common types of CV, a functional (or skills-based) CV is often best for a student or recent graduate. That’s because you lack a long history that can be set out in a timeline format.

With your first CV before or soon after graduating, soft skills are especially important to highlight. Soft skills are ones that can’t necessarily be taught, such as time management and teamwork. Communication is an important soft skill for almost every career. While particular programs and processes can be taught on the job, these soft skills often show an employer the kind of employee you’ll be.

Employers want people who are detail oriented and committed, and who have a strong work ethic and positive attitude. Likeability is another one. With these essential soft skills in place, employers can teach the hard skills once you’re in the door. Use your CV to demonstrate which of these skills you have and what you’ll be bringing to the table.

It is always a good idea to read the job description carefully and make sure that the skills you’re selecting to highlight match with what is being asked for in the advert.

When a recruiter is faced with many CVs, they will be making quick decisions on who is the best match for what the company wants. Clearly demonstrating that you have the skills they’re looking for will make you stand out for the right reasons.

3. Add extra curricular activities, hobbies and interests

Amateur female sport

Everyone understands that a student CV won’t be packed wall to wall with professional experience. But you can still show that you’re an interesting person with life experiences and useful knowledge.

An area where you can give a real sense of yourself is the extra curricular activities section. This is your chance to show what you’re interested in, what skills you’ve gained and how your life experiences may be useful for the job you’re applying for.

You could include any sports teams you’ve been a part of and what that has taught you about teamwork and success. Or perhaps you wrote for a student newspaper as you’re interested in seeking out stories, writing and connecting with audiences.

Bring “yourself” to this section and what matters to you. Showing that you have had a rich life outside of your studies could stand for a lot, showing that you’re adaptable and can juggle studies with social activities and commitments.

Similarly, if you’ve taken any courses to improve your skills or learn new ones, this is a great chance to shout about your training. Maybe you did an online course on investment which showcases your analytical mind and your affinity for numbers. Including details like this will allow potential employers to see the potential you have to pick up the job quickly.

4. Volunteer for almost anything and add it to your CV

Student volunteer

You may lack work experience to include on your first job resume but, if it is possible for you to take up volunteering, this is a real asset. Volunteering, including an unpaid internship, shows a high level of commitment and care. Lazy, unmotivated people simply don’t do it.

If possible, try to volunteer in the broad field that you’re hoping to get into. For example, if you’re applying for roles in the charity sector, then having volunteering experience with vulnerable people will demonstrate a genuine interest and passion in the field.

But almost any volunteering experience or internship is valuable to have. Some actual work unrelated to academia makes your CV fuller and gives you the opportunity to demonstrates more skills, such as teamwork, initiative and accepting responsibility.

Volunteering shows that you have some idea of what may be expected of you in the role and are capable and willing to undertake it. The effort and time commitment needed to volunteer will stand you in good stead with employers.

Following these strategies will help your student CV or graduate CV rise to the top of the pile. Stay positive and remember that you’ll soon have many work experience that you’ll be able to discuss at great length.

Resume Examples

Person at desk reviewing a resume in hand

Whether you’re a university student, a TAFE attendee, or a high school graduate, these CV templates may serve as a starting point to spotlight your unique qualifications. You can use these no-experience resume samples for content ideas and pointers on style and formatting.

A. University student with casual work experience

Jessica Martin

Address: 25 Albert Road, Melbourne, VIC 3000
Phone: 04__ ___ ___
Email: [email protected]


Third-year Bachelor of Business student at Monash University with foundational knowledge in business principles. Adept at teamwork and communication, seeking an entry-level position in business to apply academic learnings and gain practical experience.


Monash University, Melbourne, VIC
Bachelor of Business (2022 – Present)

  • Undertook subjects such as Business Analytics and Market Research.
  • Collaborated on a group project on local business trends.

St. George’s High School, Melbourne, VIC
VCE (2016– 2021)

Skills & Abilities

  • Communication: Engaged in class discussions and delivered presentations.
  • Teamwork: Worked within diverse groups for school and university projects.
  • Time Management: Balanced academic demands with part-time work.

Extracurricular Activities

Monash University Badminton Club
Regular player participating in weekly games, improving team dynamics and physical endurance.

Online Investment Basics Course
Completed a foundational course enhancing understanding of investments.

Work Experience

Cafe Blue, Melbourne, VIC
Casual Waitstaff (Dec 2023 – Feb 2024)

  • Assisted customers, managed orders, and maintained the cleanliness of the cafe.


Available upon request.

B. TAFE student in hospitality seeking first job

Liam Turner

Address: 27 Brighton Road, Sydney, NSW 2000
Phone: 04__ ___ ___
Email: [email protected]


Sydney TAFE, Sydney, NSW
Diploma in Hospitality Management
2022 – Present

  • Covered subjects: Food and Beverage Service, Customer Interaction, Event Management
  • Participated in a simulated hotel operations project, managing front desk and guest services.

Northern Beaches Secondary College, Sydney, NSW
2016 – 2021

  • Undertook subjects: Business Studies, Food Technology, English Advanced


  • Customer Service: Enhanced through TAFE training and real-world simulations.
  • Teamwork: Worked collaboratively in numerous TAFE group projects and activities.
  • Adaptability: Easily adjust to different roles and responsibilities during training.
  • Problem-Solving: Developed through case studies and real-world scenarios in the course.

Extracurricular Activities

TAFE Hospitality Club
Participated in club activities, learning from guest speakers and enhancing practical skills in mock setups.

Sydney Food and Wine Festival Volunteer
Assisted in managing booths, learned about diverse cuisines and interacted with chefs and food enthusiasts.


Available upon request.

C. High school graduate with volunteer experience

Emily Thompson

Address: 19 Park Lane, Brisbane, QLD 4000
Phone: 04__ ___ ___
Email: [email protected]


Southbank High School, Brisbane, QLD
Queensland Certificate of Education (QCE)
2018 – 2022

  • Completed subjects: English, Maths B, Biology, Modern History, Drama, and Physical Education.


  • Communication: Strong verbal and written communication skills developed through school presentations and group tasks.
  • Team Collaboration: Effective team member with experience in group assignments and drama activities.
  • Time Management: Skilled at balancing academic and extracurricular responsibilities.
  • Problem Solving: Demonstrated through coursework challenges.

Extracurricular Activities

School Drama Club
2019 – 2022

  • Participated in annual school plays and group activities.

Volunteer Experience

Brisbane Community Fair
April 2021

  • Helped set up and take down stalls.
  • Assisted in directing visitors and answering basic enquiries.

References are available upon request.

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