What to Put on Your Resume When You Have No Relevant Work Experience


There are many reasons someone might apply for a job for which they have no relevant experience: a career change, being fresh out of college and starting a career or finding a once in a lifetime opportunity that you can’t pass up.

Whatever the case may be, it’s challenging to know what to include on your resume if your experience doesn’t directly relate to the job posting qualifications. If you find yourself in this situation, here’s what you can do instead.

Transferable Skills

Not all skills that you pick up at a job or during your life pertain to a specific job or career path– many are transferable. For example, if you’ve worked with employee scheduling software as a manager at a restaurant (to learn more about smart scheduling, click to start your free trial now), it may be beneficial when moving to a sales position in a wholesale company that struggles with scheduling. General life and career skills, like strong communication and the ability to analyze data, may not be listed on a job posting but could give you a competitive edge even compared to someone whose application fits the bill.

Truth be told, you don’t know what hidden talents a hiring organization is looking for. Just because your application doesn’t necessarily match the requirements they listed, including the right combination of skills may highlight a problem within an organization that you could help solve.


Volunteer Experience

Having volunteer experience not only highlights your capabilities as a socially-minded individual, but it also identifies skills and experience you’ve picked up outside of a work setting. Assisting with the organization of fundraising events speaks to project management and working within a budget. Doing door-to-door collection campaigns takes strong sales skills as you compete against other non-profits and an individual’s expenses to be successful.

Having volunteer experience listed on your resume gives hiring managers insight into who you are and what you value. This gives them a strong idea of how you would fit into the company culture and often acts as a conversation point or common ground.


While crafting a resume and cover letter, make your enthusiasm for the job apparent. Don’t make the focus all about you; talk about why you want to work for this company specifically. Use relevant information about accolades the business has received and talk about what drew you to this organization.

In the workplace, attitude is everything. Hiring managers like to see candidates who aren’t just looking for a job but looking to bring their skills to a business so that they can grow with it. If there’s not a lot of relevant information on your resume, don’t highlight the gaps. Instead, create such a compelling document about your enthusiasm that your lack of relevant experience is an afterthought.

Great References

Incorporate reference letters that tell hiring organizations why they would benefit from having you as an employee, regardless of your skill alignment. In this case, it’s better to have physical letters attached rather than the “references available upon request” standby. Reach out to people you’ve worked for in the past, professors and mentors, and former employers who valued you as a worker.

Creating a resume when you lack relevant work experience is all about presenting yourself in the best possible light. Highlight your skills and let a business know why you should be at the top of their candidate list.