How to Draft a Resume With No College Experience

by | Aug 27, 2021


The modern labor market is highly competitive, and you need every advantage possible to stand out to a potential employer. As a result, if you don’t have a college degree, you need to promote your existing skills and experience in your resume to demonstrate what makes you the best candidate for the job.



What to Include on Your Resume


For a resume to stand out, it should demonstrate organization and attention to detail. Typographical and spelling errors and a lack of structure are unacceptable in a professional resume. Your resume’s format should also be clean and consistent for easy readability. If you need a resume sample or resume template to get started, you can find examples on legal sites, job boards, and even Google Docs. 



Work Experience


In the Work Experience section, you’ll include previous jobs you’ve held and what your core responsibilities were. Depending on the job you’re applying for, you need to tailor your resume to emphasize the jobs you’ve held or duties you’ve performed that are relevant to the position.



For example, if you’re applying for a job as a copywriter, your job stocking shelves at the supermarket doesn’t display the necessary linguistic and computer skills an employer might be looking for. The time you spent writing blog posts or editing your high school newspaper better showcase the skills you want to convey to a potential employer. 



However, for a job in customer service, anything you can show that demonstrates your ability to deliver a positive experience to a customer will go a long way toward helping you secure a job.





Employers often ask about achievements. Outline what milestones you reached in previous jobs. Was there an event or situation where you were able to demonstrate leadership skills or secured an account? 



Back Up Your Credentials


If you have had written work published with a byline, list the publications (magazines, journals, etc.). If you’ve received awards for the work you’ve performed in the same industry or a comparable job, include these awards and explain how you achieved them. 


Have you given presentations, from speeches to PowerPoint slideshows, in support of a project? This can demonstrate your organizational skills, ability to manage meetings, and salesmanship, among other skills. 



Be Aware of ATS


The latest tool in the arsenal of HR departments is Applicant Tracking System software or ATS. HR personnel use ATS software to detect specific keywords in resumes during the recruitment process to determine whether your experience is relevant to the job description. 



As a result, it’s often necessary to search job listings for keywords and personalize your resume accordingly. While ATS software has simplified the recruitment process for hiring managers, it also prioritizes keywords over experience or skills. 



Hard vs. Soft Skills


As you lack a formal degree to fill out in the education section, you need to highlight the areas in which you excel. You should divide your skills, general knowledge, and experience into hard skills and soft skills. 



Hard skills are measurable skills acquired through formal schooling, professional training, or experience. Soft skills are interpersonal skills, such as the ability to effectively communicate and empathize with your colleagues. 




Resume With No Work History


If you’re new to the job market, you may not have any professional work history. Under these circumstances, job seekers can discuss volunteer work, relevant coursework, and high school projects — whatever demonstrates their work ethic and personality traits. The purpose of a resume is to play to your strengths, showing what’s worthwhile about you and what your prospective employer stands to gain by hiring you.



If you have no work experience and no formal education outside of high school, you need to start gaining experience. Internships and volunteer work can help improve your odds of receiving a job offer when you lack experience and credentials. Alternatively, if you’re a writer or an artist, now’s the time to build your portfolio. 



Cover Letters


Many employers ask you to write a cover letter to accompany your resume when applying for a new job. The purpose of a cover letter is to add a personalized note to your application, customized to the job description. It should include how you think your experience and skill set are relevant to the job position you’re applying for, what you’ve learned about the company from your own research, and why you’re interested in working there.




Create a Resume that Stands Out


At, we can help you draft the perfect resume for the job you’re interested in, including what skills to include. Browse our blog for tips and tricks on how to land the job you’ve always wanted.