Chose not to go to college? You’re not alone. With ever rising fees and a world of incredible, high-quality free learning resources online, thousands are choosing to bypass the traditional route and enter the workforce straight from school. In doing so, they get to start earning straight away and save thousands in debt.
In fact, some of the biggest companies (from Google to Amazon) have publicly stated that they’d be perfectly happy to hire someone without a traditional college degree.
How do you write a resume with no education?
Writing a resume without a degree or high school education is all about minimising what you didn’t do and maximising what you did instead (or can do!). Here are our tips:
Whilst your friends spent four years in a lecture hall, what direct skills were you acquiring?
Perhaps you spent 3-4 years working in a corporate role or hospitality. This means you’ve had extensive experience acquiring directly relevant skills – such as dealing with customers, business strategy, communication or excel literacy.
Hiring managers will value this, since someone that knows the ropes when it comes to business and working life will fit in much quicker than someone who’s never had a serious job.
Write a persuasive summary
Hiring managers will notice your lack of education, so there’s no point in hiding it. Instead, take ownership of it and clearly explain it in your resume summary/bio.
For example, you could write:
“Responsible and diligent natural leader with 4 years’ experience in hospitality and retail. Having successfully managed a permanent team of sales staff, I’m looking to transfer my organisational and leadership skills to a Strategic Sales and Marketing role”
Show how you learnt in other ways:
You might not have gone to college, but there are countless other ways you could have developed the skills necessary for the job (often much better ways too!). Did you take an online training course in which you received an official certification? For example, coding bootcamps are an up-and-coming alternative to college that give you industry standard skills at a fraction of the cost and time. For interest, check out CareerKarma to compare bootcamps and find your perfect fit. For those that have already completed a bootcamp, join the waitlist to get matched to tech jobs specifically aimed at bootcamp graduates.
Alternatively, if you never did any official courses, there’s no harm in stating that you are self-taught – and be sure to prove it. This might involve attaching a portfolio of work to your application, or using other creative strategies to show off your talents.
How do you create a resume with no experience and no education?
If you have no high school diploma and you’ve never worked before, there’s no need to feel concerned. Ultimately, it’s all about getting your foot in the door, building experience and having patience. We’ve covered how to create a resume with no experience in a previous article, but here are some key points summarised:
Write not about your experience – but your potential
Very few jobs are perfectly matched to someone’s previous experience, so hiring managers are always looking for potential, rather than directly relevant experience. You’ll have soft skills even if you’ve never used them professionally – such as communication, collaboration, time-management etc.
List any volunteering and hobbies
Fill your resume with details of personal projects, and what you learnt from them. Whether it be a black belt in Judo, reselling personal items online or raising money for a charity – all of these activities will have helped you build skills that could be interesting to an employer. For example:
“Raised money for the Red Cross by hosting a charity bake sale event in my community.
- Developed and distributed marketing materials to promote the event (fliers, social media posts, posters etc)
- Liaised with a team of volunteers and coordinated their movements on the day of the event
- Raised a total of $800 (with a profit of $650) for charity”
Get experience through volunteer work
Finally – create an action plan for getting relevant experience as soon as possible. This might be hard to get professionally (the classic “needs experience to get experience” conundrum), but there’s no reason why you can’t get it voluntarily.
For example, if you want to be a web developer, why not contact your local community centre, charity or youth group, and volunteer to build a new website for them. That way, you’ll have a great project for your portfolio, and you’ll be helping out your community.
These tips will hopefully help you get your foot in the door and on track to secure your first position. Good luck!