I'm looking over a CV for a friend; this young person unfortunately has zero formal qualifications following an unorthodox school career due to former health problems; this person also has no work experience beyond some volunteer work. However, this person is relatively well educated and savvy, and is now looking to make up for lost time in employment.

Aside from emphasising the volunteering work, what would be good components to add to the CV of such an individual? I have suggested adding:

  • School experience, even when it hasn't produced a qualification,
  • Online courses,
  • Any friends' projects they may have helped with,
  • Any qualifications they are aspiring or working towards (although I'm not sure what the best format for something like that would be).

Is there any way, from a recruiter's point of view, to convey this person's genuine eagerness and suitability for entry level roles, and justify the lack of experience and qualifications, without specifically outlining their previous health issues?

EDIT: To clarify: my friend is applying for entry-level retail and catering jobs, but is open to other entry level work.


If your friend is young, then employers aren't going to be bothered by a lack of experience. They know that people coming fresh out of school aren't necessarily going to have had experience.

Instead, what employers will be looking for, is reliability, passion, ability to learn, ability to work as a team and be a good fit.

Your CV should be tailored around showing this.

The suggestions you've got are all good.

Here are some suggestions:

  • Any work done in own time, projects worked on.
  • Any volunteering.
  • Any interest groups you attend.

There simply is no need to highlight or explain lack of experience. Rather just present a good picture or why you're a good fit and let that sell yourself for the role.

  • And with regards to volunteering - what responsibilities did you friend have, and how did he fulfil his tasks? Even if it's just a case of "ensuring the floor is clean" kind of stuff. – HorusKol May 4 '14 at 23:53

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