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21 Types of Experience When You Have No Experience

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Jobs often require work experience whereby you need to have worked in the job to get the job. This is an obvious catch-22 that is paradoxical such that it feels a little absurd and unfair. Unfortunately, not creating paradoxes isn't an HR goal. Firms try to avoid the burden of training inexperienced people and waiting for their performance to come up to the level of their more experienced peers. This only makes sense from their perspective. This creates a problem for job seekers with no work experience. The first rule in this situation is to apply anyway. In reality, firms do hire inexperienced candidates and bring them up to speed. However, they want to see that you've made some effort to build up some experience on your own. These are the ways to show this on a resume and in a job interview.

Part-Time Jobs

Emphasize any work experience, no matter how casual or seemingly unrelated to your target role. At very least this may show that you can hold down a job and be reliable. On this point, its not a good idea to list a part-time job that you quit after a month. Try to emphasize how your part-time jobs might relate to your target role. If you worked in fast food, emphasize that you learned processes and procedures and gained customer service experience.

Teaching Assistant

Work experience related to your education such as grading papers or performing administrative tasks for a class.


Tutoring is a type of freelance work experience and can be listed on a resume as such.


Freelancing experience such as designing a webpage for a local business or helping a neighbor to build a deck.

School Projects

School projects such as coding projects that gave you experience delivering working software.

Extracurricular Activities

Any experience with extracurricular activities such as student government, school clubs, events or academic competitions that could be applicable to a job.

Leadership Roles

If a job requires you to be self-directed or to lead teams you can mention leadership experience you have in any capacity such as leading a cooperative group project in a class.

Sports Experiences

Sports experience, particular related to coaching or administrative work such as managing the finances for a team.


Internships are a type of work experience and can be listed as such.


Volunteering, particularly any tasks that might be similar to your target job such as dealing with people or organizing things. If you have a great deal of these experiences this can be listed in a separate section of your resume such as "Volunteer Experience."

Event Planning

Planning school or community events can resemble project management and can be a valuable experience.

Learning Experiences

Learning experiences that involved producing work products such as a design workshop where you designed a user interface for a mobile app.

Personal Projects

Personal projects that could be applicable to a job such as developing a mod for a video game.

Entrepreneurial Ventures

An experience you may have in starting a business, no matter how small.

Media Experience

Media experience such as launching a vlog about some topic that is relevant to a job or industry.

Creative Projects

Creative projects and accomplishments such as an artist who has their paintings featured in an exhibition or gallery.

Family Business

Helping out with a family business such as a restaurant is a type of work experience.


Any impressive level of self-learning that you've done. For example, if you've had success as a DIY motorcycle mechanic and you're applying to roles related to engineering or mechanical work.

Public Speaking

Public speaking experiences can demonstrate things such as initiative, communication skills and social confidence and may be generally applicable to many roles.

Online Collaboration

Collaborating with others online such as contributing to a large scale open source software project.


Research project experience such as an honors thesis or capstone project.

Important Character Traits of Non-Experienced Candidates

Just as it's a burden for firms to hire inexperienced employees, it can also be a burden to hire highly experienced employees if they happen to be inflexible or entitled. For this reason, it is common for very large firms to vastly prefer hiring directly out of school so that they can shape employees to their culture and processes. If you have no experience it can be important to highlight your flexible qualities as follows.
Fast Learner
Interest in the Job
Pride in Work
Seeking Long-Term Position
Strong Work Ethic
Willingness to Learn

Where to List Experience on a Resume

Part-time jobs, internships, volunteering, tutoring, freelancing, entrepreneurship and work for a family business can be listed under "Work Experience" on a resume. Non-work experience such as a school or community project can be listed in the same format with an appropriate heading such as "Relevant Experience." If all of your non-work experience is in one area such as volunteering or research these can be used as headings such as "Volunteer Experience" or "Research Experience."

Elephant in the Room

When interviewing for a job for which you lack the requisite experience it is important to directly address this in the interview to communicate your plan to come up to speed and your willingness to do what it takes to be successful in the role. It is often more appealing to hire an enthusiastic individual who takes initiative over a relatively uncommitted candidate with experience.

Career Changes

The problem of needing experience before you can get experience also applies to mid-career professionals who would like to try a new role or industry but have no direct experience in these jobs. This is a far easier problem to solve as you have work experience you can list and can emphasize any similarities between roles. For example, a software engineer who wants to be a salesperson could emphasize any customer-facing experiences they might have had.


The following are common types of non-work experience that can be relevant to a job.

Work Experience

This is the complete list of articles we have written about work experience.
Background Knowledge
Communication Experience
Educational Experience
Hands-on Experience
Management Experience
Non-Work Experience
Personal Experience
Work Experience
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Work Experience

An overview of common types of work experience.

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A list of common types of communication experience.

Management Experience

A list of management experience that is common amongst non-managers.

Types Of Job

An overview of different types of job.

Learning Opportunity

An overview of learning opportunities with lists of examples.

Lifelong Learning

An overview of lifelong learning with lists of examples.

Professional Skills

A list of common professional skills including hard skills and soft skills.

Transferable Skills

A list of common transferable skills.

Professional Experience

An overview of professional experience with examples.

Professional Image

An overview of professional image with examples.

Work Strengths

A list of common work strengths.

Hands-on Experience

An overview of hand-on experience with examples.

Resume Strengths

A list of professional and personal strengths for resumes.

Professional Communication

An overview of professional communication with examples.

Professional Growth

A list of professional growth examples.

Professional Interests

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