How to Write a CV for a Job with No Experience in South Africa:

  • Personal Statement: Start with a clear statement about your goals and what you bring to the table, focusing on your enthusiasm and any transferable skills from non-work activities.
  • Education: List your highest education level, any relevant coursework, projects, or skills developed during your studies that relate to the job.
  • Skills: Highlight key skills like problem-solving, communication, digital literacy, and any technical skills relevant to the job.
  • Volunteer Work/Community Engagement: Include any community involvement or volunteer work that demonstrates leadership, initiative, or other qualities valuable to employers.
  • Informal Work Experience: Mention any part-time, freelance, or family business roles, focusing on responsibilities and skills gained.
  • References: Provide contact details for references, such as academic advisors, volunteer leaders, or anyone who can vouch for your skills and character.

Example CV of a Candidate with no Professional Work Experience in South Africa:

Let’s craft a sample CV for Lebogang Maroba, a recent graduate in South Africa with no formal work experience. Here’s how each section could be presented, using relevant examples under each heading:

Lebogang Maroba
Johannesburg, Gauteng 2001
Phone: 071 000 0000

Personal Statement
As a recent Bachelor of Commerce graduate from the University of Johannesburg with a passion for community development and strong leadership skills, I am eager to apply my academic knowledge and volunteer experience in a challenging environment. I thrive in team settings and am committed to achieving excellent results.


  • Bachelor of Commerce in Economics
    University of Johannesburg, February 2018 – November 2021
  • Graduated with Honours.
  • Completed a thesis on “Economic Strategies for Reducing Unemployment in Urban South Africa,” which honed my research and analytical skills.

Community Involvement

  • Volunteer Coordinator, Soweto Community Work, January 2019 – Present
  • Organized monthly community clean-ups and coordinated a team of 20 volunteers.
  • Led a project that raised R5000 to purchase and distribute school supplies to underprivileged children in the community.
  • Treasurer, University of Johannesburg Economics Society, January 2020 – December 2021
  • Managed budgets and funding for society events and initiatives, increasing funding by 30% through innovative fundraising events.

Informal Work Experience

  • Freelance Tutor, Self-employed, January 2019 – Present
  • Provide tutoring services in economics and mathematics to high school students, helping improve their average by at least one grade level.
  • Developed personalized learning materials, enhancing students’ understanding of complex concepts.
  • Administrative Assistant, Maroba Family Business, June 2017 – December 2018
  • Supported day-to-day operations, including scheduling, customer service, and maintaining records.
  • Improved the filing system, which increased retrieval efficiency by 25%.
READ  7 Steps - How to Become a Lecturer in SA


  • Problem-Solving: Successfully identified and implemented improvements to the scheduling system at our family business, enhancing operational efficiency.
  • Digital Literacy: Proficient in Microsoft Office Suite, basic knowledge of Adobe Photoshop, and experienced in using social media platforms for brand promotion.
  • Communication: Developed strong communication skills through various leadership roles and as a freelance tutor.
  • Multilingual: Fluent in English and Setswana, with basic understanding of Zulu.


  • English (Fluent)
  • Setswana (Fluent)
  • Zulu (Basic)

Professional References

  • Mrs. Tumi Mokwena, Volunteer Supervisor, Soweto Community Work
    Phone: 072 123 4567
  • Dr. Johan Smith, Senior Lecturer, University of Johannesburg
    Phone: 073 234 5678

This CV structure demonstrates how Lebogang Maroba can highlight her skills, education, and community involvement effectively, despite not having formal work experience, making her a compelling candidate for potential employers in South Africa.

Writing a CV for a job when you don’t have experience can feel daunting, especially in South Africa where the job market can be competitive. Here are some very practical tips to help you craft a CV that stands out, focusing on skills and qualities that are particularly valued in the South African context:

1. Highlight Educational Achievements

  • Include your matriculation results, particularly if you’ve achieved high marks in subjects relevant to the job you’re applying for. If you’ve completed any tertiary education or certifications, even if they’re not complete, list them as well.
  • Mention any school leadership roles or awards which demonstrate responsibility and dedication.

2. Emphasize Community Involvement

  • In South Africa, community involvement and social responsibility are highly regarded. Include any volunteer work or community service projects, especially those where you had a significant role. This can include things like working in community gardens, participating in local clean-ups, or volunteering at local NGOs.

3. Showcase Informal Work Experience

  • Even if you haven’t held a formal job, any informal work like tutoring, freelance jobs, or helping in a family business counts. Describe your roles, responsibilities, and what skills you developed during these activities.
READ  Highest-Paying Jobs with Maths Literacy and Life Science High School Subjects in South Africa

4. Skills Section

  • Focus on skills that are highly appreciated in the South African workplace, such as problem-solving, adaptability, initiative, and communication. Be specific about how you’ve developed these skills; for example, organizing a community event can showcase leadership, planning, and communication skills.
  • Include digital literacy skills, particularly if you are proficient with Microsoft Office, any specific software relevant to the industry, or social media platforms, as these are often required in many roles.

5. Languages

  • South Africa has 11 official languages. Mention any additional languages you speak, as multilingual abilities are a significant asset in the diverse working environment of South Africa.

6. Professional References

  • Include references from people you’ve done informal work for, teachers, or leaders from volunteer programs. Make sure to ask their permission before you list them on your CV.

7. Personal Statement

  • Begin your CV with a personal statement: a short, impactful paragraph that summarizes your skills, ambitions, and what you aim to bring to a potential employer. Tailor this statement to each job application, focusing on why you’re a good fit for this specific role, even without direct experience.

8. Format and Design

  • Keep your CV clean, professional, and concise—two pages should be the maximum. Use a clear, professional font and ensure the layout is neat, with plenty of white space for easy reading.

9. Tailor Your CV to Each Job

  • Adapt your CV for each application to highlight the most relevant skills and experiences. Read the job description carefully and use similar words and phrases to describe your skills and experience, as this can also help your CV pass through applicant tracking systems.

By focusing on these elements, your CV can stand out by demonstrating your potential, resourcefulness, and the unique skills you bring to the table, even without traditional work experience.

Free Downloadable CV Templates for Candidates with No Work Experience in South Africa

Free CV Template 1

Free CV Template 2

Free CV Template 3

Three Practical Ways of Getting a Job with No Experience in South Africa

Networking, Internships, and Leveraging Skills from Non-Work Activities are three practical and unique ways to secure a job in South Africa even without direct work experience.

READ  What Subjects are Needed to Become an Actuary in South Africa


Building a strong network is crucial. In South Africa, as in many places, jobs can often be found through personal and professional connections. Attend industry meetups, join relevant groups on social media platforms like LinkedIn, and participate in community events or workshops. Express your interest in working and learning, and don’t hesitate to ask for advice or mentorship. This proactive engagement can lead to referrals, which are invaluable when you lack formal experience.


Engaging in internships offers a direct path to gain relevant experience and get your foot in the door. Many South African companies, from startups to large corporations, offer internship programs designed to train potential future employees. These opportunities provide practical experience and help build a professional network that can be essential for future job prospects. Even unpaid internships can be a worthwhile investment if they provide the right exposure and learning opportunities.

Leveraging Skills from Non-Work Activities

Highlighting skills obtained through non-work activities can also be a strategic way to demonstrate capability. Skills gained from volunteer work, hobbies, school projects, or even sports can be highly relevant to a job. For instance, managing a volunteer project shows leadership, planning, and teamwork skills. When applying for jobs, clearly articulate how these skills are transferable to the workplace.

By focusing on these strategies, job seekers in South Africa can overcome the barrier of not having formal work experience. Remember, “It’s not what you achieve, it’s what you overcome. That’s what defines your career.” – Carlton Fisk