• Creative Fix NZ

Creating A CV When You Have NO Work Experience...

"Recent graduate seeking first job. Skills include... Umm..." It's okay! We're here to help!

If, for whatever reason, you've never worked a day in your life, buuuut now you need to get a job (which means you need a CV and maybe a LinkedIn profile), and you're drawing a big fat blank on where to start, we hope you'll find these tips useful!

Whether you're a student finishing secondary school/tertiary education or you've never formally worked in traditional paid employment due to a bevvy of reasons, this is what you need to get down on paper so we can help you compile your very first CV.


First things first, let's brainstorm some skills and experience based on what you HAVE been doing. We're sure you've been busy doing something! Whether that's been parenting, living a life of leisure (lucky!) or perpetually travelling/studying, start by compiling a list of your soft skills/personality-based strengths. Soft skills are essential to give an employer an idea of you as a person, how you might fit into their team, and they also help to add credence to your hard (learned) skills. It is essential to steer clear of words like 'passionate' and 'honest', as these are extremely difficult to measure/quantify. It is better to use stronger adjectives, such as:

  • Systematic

  • Energetic

  • Communicative

  • Focused

  • Engaging

  • Confident

  • Results-driven

  • Patient

  • Motivated

  • Methodical

  • Strategic

  • Determined

  • Encouraging

  • Decisive

  • Quality-focused

  • Poised

  • Dynamic

  • Creative

Coming up with personal strengths can sometimes be hard for people, so if you get stuck, try and think of some of the positive descriptions others have used to describe you and note down the ones that come up most often. HARD SKILLS Next, let's focus on your hard skills. These can be focused or broad, transferrable skills. (You may have learnt them in a formal education setting or in the school of life!) Some examples of hard skills are things like:

  • Leadership

  • Relationship management

  • Social media savvy

  • Word processing

  • Proof-reading/editing

  • Office management/bookkeeping

  • Event planning

  • Cleaning

  • Computer programming

  • Operational management

  • Teaching/training/mentoring/coaching

  • Business management

  • Logistics and freight

  • Human resources

  • Mechanic/panel-beater

  • Business analysis

  • Construction labourer/'handyman'

  • Food handling/prep/service

  • Facilities management

  • Engineering

  • Gardening/horticulture

  • Interior design

AWARDS/ACHIEVEMENTS Maybe you don't have any work-related awards or achievements to include, but you might have won awards for other things you've done in life. Now is the time to make a note of all the formal achievements you have attained! These could be things like winning a prize for the garment you entered into the World of Wearable Art show, sporting awards you've received over the years, or even a bravery award from the NZ Government (we've seen these before and they're pretty freaking cool!) EXTRACURRICULAR ACTIVITIES Make a list of all the extracurricular activities you've been involved in over the years. We're talking sports teams, drama/dance/singing/music groups, book clubs, baking clubs, heck - even babysitter's clubs! We want you to include the to-from dates, the name of the group/organisation, and your role there (i.e. treasurer, coach, or even if your role was just 'group member'). WORK EXPERIENCE/VOLUNTEER WORK While you may not have been paid for any of the work you've done over the years, you have most likely done some form of 'employment-esque' things. This may have been helping in a local homeless shelter, for the SPCA, assisting your family member/s with their businesses in some way, or by getting out into your local (or global!) community to lend a hand with fundraising/providing aid relief after a disaster, etc. We want to know ALL the details of the work experience/voluntary work you have participated in over the years. (i.e. 2019-2021 'High Park Primary School' - Remedial Reading Assistant - or - 2016 - 2020 'The Cancer Society', Volunteer/Active fundraiser) REFEREES If you don't have any paid work experience, something that can be super beneficial to include are referee details. We don't usually encourage people to include referee details on their CV's; rather, we suggest they provide these only when the employer asks for them so they have more control over when referees are contacted. (This is especially important if the person is sending out multiple applications because it avoids past manager/s being bombarded with multiple calls/emails to provide references). However, if you don't have paid work experience, it shouldn't be a problem to include a few referees who can vouch for your character and skills. (Remember, your referees can't be family members or friends). Try to choose people that oversaw your work/activities in a voluntary/extracurricular capacity.

Another good way to cover this point is to create a LinkedIn profile and get people who have worked alongside you (in a voluntary/extracurricular capacity) to write a reference and endorse your listed skills/expertise.

Once you've worked your way through our list, you should have quite a few things jotted down! Woohoo! If you're still stuck or you'd like a hand compiling all your notes into a gorgeous, sleek, and professional document, please get in touch with us. We can always help you tease out more information if need be.