The Student Room Group

CV with 0 experience or hobbies or anything

Hiya, I really want to get a first job over Christmas at a restaurant but I have literally nothing to write on my cv other than my gcses / a-levels.

I have never done any work experience as neither my secondary or sixth form did any, I looked into volunteering at a charity shop after a-levels but they all wanted me to be over 18 or have references, neither of which I had. I don't do any sports or clubs or anything, was never a part of student council or anything, etc. I used to do guides up until I was around 13 but that is it, which of course isn't really relevant now.

I don't have much free time at uni, but I am looking for volunteering things that I would be able to do without too much of a regular commitment.

Any advice on writing a cv or do I need to try and do something to put on it before even attempting to write one? If so, any advice on things I could do?
Reply 1
honestly just milk it. find a resume builder website and just fill in all the sections it asks- when it comes to experiences just include all your school/outside school positions (e.g prefect , stuff like that) and make sure you explain loads of skills you've learnt from it like leadership, communicating time management. I was gonna say lie about volunteering at a local library cause who is actually gonna check that but idk if I can banned for saying that so I am NOT suggesting that idea at all :smile:
Original post by mlkcake
honestly just milk it. find a resume builder website and just fill in all the sections it asks- when it comes to experiences just include all your school/outside school positions (e.g prefect , stuff like that) and make sure you explain loads of skills you've learnt from it like leadership, communicating time management. I was gonna say lie about volunteering at a local library cause who is actually gonna check that but idk if I can banned for saying that so I am NOT suggesting that idea at all :smile:


But thats the point, I have never been a prefect or anything like that (my school / sixth form didnt even have prefects or anything like that anyways!), and haven't done anything out of school either
Reply 3
sorry bro but you need to lie cause otherwise they are not gonna hire you unless you have connections- Just say you were a prefect no restaurant is gonna phone up your school to check- say the leadership role helped develop your communication skills you advised other students blah blah. make up some hobbies that they can't catch you out on like reading painting idk. I feel like you'd have a better chance with an in person interview than handing in a cv cause they get more insight into you if they meet you. My friend got a job by going in and asking if they had vacancies and she spoke to the manager and they just contatcted her later saying she's hired but it was a small business, less formal
Original post by engineeringbest
But thats the point, I have never been a prefect or anything like that (my school / sixth form didnt even have prefects or anything like that anyways!), and haven't done anything out of school either
Original post by engineeringbest
Hiya, I really want to get a first job over Christmas at a restaurant but I have literally nothing to write on my cv other than my gcses / a-levels.

I have never done any work experience as neither my secondary or sixth form did any, I looked into volunteering at a charity shop after a-levels but they all wanted me to be over 18 or have references, neither of which I had. I don't do any sports or clubs or anything, was never a part of student council or anything, etc. I used to do guides up until I was around 13 but that is it, which of course isn't really relevant now.

I don't have much free time at uni, but I am looking for volunteering things that I would be able to do without too much of a regular commitment.

Any advice on writing a cv or do I need to try and do something to put on it before even attempting to write one? If so, any advice on things I could do?

Unless you have extensive experience in catering, I would very much doubt it would be much of an issue. In fact, if you just ask for the job straight up, they might even consider you without needing a CV (I rather you went through the whole process though as it might imply the establishment doesn't have a HR process). Most of the time, knowing someone who works in the restaurant is enough to get yourself in the door.

I think the key things you should put down is the sort of skills that you know. If you don't know anything about waitering or pot washing (the entry level jobs), you would likely need to either read up or watch a number of videos on it. These skills are relatively easy to pick up, and don't require much to practice e.g. learning to carry 3 plates can be learned in 5 minutes.
If you're not at least 18, you would want to know everything that's not related to alcohol. If you're at least 18, you should be able to work behind a bar and be able to serve alcohol.

If you intend to work in the kitchen, having a Level 2 certificate in hygiene (online for roughly £25) is going to stand out on your CV, especially amongst other applicants. If you intend to work in the bar, having a personal license (roughly £100 depending on where you get it online) is also going to stand out on your CV.

Getting a job in the restaurant trade should not be difficult to get. Be willing to work a variety of hours and have a positive and customer friendly attitude.
Most junior people in the trade have not done any work before and they often can get the job without much difficulty. I have seen people with advanced degrees but zero experience getting the job. I have also seen people with zero qualifications and zero experience also getting the job. It's a very inclusive industry.

If you have a passion for food, or like eating in general, mention what you particularly like on your CV e.g. interests include French cuisine (don't mention you are passionate about hamburgers), coffee, tea, etc. If you're under 18, I wouldn't recommend mentioning that you have developed a taste for wines, beers, etc. (I wouldn't recommend mentioning that even if you're over 18). I wouldn't recommend fibbing it; they will find out and you will look stupid.

In terms of side interests that are not relevant for the job, you can mention a few just to show a well rounded personality e.g. likes football, programming, and reading philosophy. Whilst it's interesting to mention that you have been on a student council, part of clubs, etc., they're not essential for the role but merely serve as talking points to see what sort of person you are. They're not a detriment if you don't include anything that's not relevant for the job.

The possible reasons that I could think of for them to reject you include:

Have a very difficult personality - really really difficult

Does not understand a single word of English - required for instructions and health and safety

Cannot do the hours that suits the restaurant - more likely than anything

Really bad criminal record

Extremely overqualified for the specific role e.g. Having 20 years experience with extensive managerial experience going for a junior waitering role

Very very strong competition for the role - en par with that for managerial positions in high end world renowned hotels that pay 6 figures+

The role is already filled - you weren't fast enough


Should you get rejected, always ask for feedback. It's very unlikely you will get rejected, but it would always help for future applications.

They wouldn't expect you to have much on your CV if it's for an entry level role. In fact, they usually expect students to apply for these roles, and they won't be surprised that you don't have anything meaningful on your CV. Don't let it get to you, just be honest.

If you need to, just include what you can, then space things out (ideally over 1 page, but over 2 if that's what they expect).

Should you want links that I would recommend to learn from or specific qualifications to go for further down the line, let me know. Also let me know if you want a list of the specific skills that you should include on your CV or that you should learn for your specific role.
Original post by MindMax2000
Unless you have extensive experience in catering, I would very much doubt it would be much of an issue. In fact, if you just ask for the job straight up, they might even consider you without needing a CV (I rather you went through the whole process though as it might imply the establishment doesn't have a HR process). Most of the time, knowing someone who works in the restaurant is enough to get yourself in the door.

I think the key things you should put down is the sort of skills that you know. If you don't know anything about waitering or pot washing (the entry level jobs), you would likely need to either read up or watch a number of videos on it. These skills are relatively easy to pick up, and don't require much to practice e.g. learning to carry 3 plates can be learned in 5 minutes.
If you're not at least 18, you would want to know everything that's not related to alcohol. If you're at least 18, you should be able to work behind a bar and be able to serve alcohol.

If you intend to work in the kitchen, having a Level 2 certificate in hygiene (online for roughly £25) is going to stand out on your CV, especially amongst other applicants. If you intend to work in the bar, having a personal license (roughly £100 depending on where you get it online) is also going to stand out on your CV.

Getting a job in the restaurant trade should not be difficult to get. Be willing to work a variety of hours and have a positive and customer friendly attitude.
Most junior people in the trade have not done any work before and they often can get the job without much difficulty. I have seen people with advanced degrees but zero experience getting the job. I have also seen people with zero qualifications and zero experience also getting the job. It's a very inclusive industry.

If you have a passion for food, or like eating in general, mention what you particularly like on your CV e.g. interests include French cuisine (don't mention you are passionate about hamburgers), coffee, tea, etc. If you're under 18, I wouldn't recommend mentioning that you have developed a taste for wines, beers, etc. (I wouldn't recommend mentioning that even if you're over 18). I wouldn't recommend fibbing it; they will find out and you will look stupid.

In terms of side interests that are not relevant for the job, you can mention a few just to show a well rounded personality e.g. likes football, programming, and reading philosophy. Whilst it's interesting to mention that you have been on a student council, part of clubs, etc., they're not essential for the role but merely serve as talking points to see what sort of person you are. They're not a detriment if you don't include anything that's not relevant for the job.

The possible reasons that I could think of for them to reject you include:

Have a very difficult personality - really really difficult

Does not understand a single word of English - required for instructions and health and safety

Cannot do the hours that suits the restaurant - more likely than anything

Really bad criminal record

Extremely overqualified for the specific role e.g. Having 20 years experience with extensive managerial experience going for a junior waitering role

Very very strong competition for the role - en par with that for managerial positions in high end world renowned hotels that pay 6 figures+

The role is already filled - you weren't fast enough


Should you get rejected, always ask for feedback. It's very unlikely you will get rejected, but it would always help for future applications.

They wouldn't expect you to have much on your CV if it's for an entry level role. In fact, they usually expect students to apply for these roles, and they won't be surprised that you don't have anything meaningful on your CV. Don't let it get to you, just be honest.

If you need to, just include what you can, then space things out (ideally over 1 page, but over 2 if that's what they expect).

Should you want links that I would recommend to learn from or specific qualifications to go for further down the line, let me know. Also let me know if you want a list of the specific skills that you should include on your CV or that you should learn for your specific role.


Thank you so much :smile:
It's more of a chain restaurant than an independent one, so I need to apply online and submit a CV, but I do have a friend who works there already. The job would involve me moving food / dirty plates between the kitchen and the restaurant & polishing cutlery. I do have a level 1 certificate in food hygiene and safety that I did in sixth form, and will be able to work pretty much whatever hours (but will only be able to work december / early jan). The only skills they listed on their website were to be friendly & outgoing & didn't specifically mention that they wanted any experience. Of course it varies but do you have any idea how the interviews for these sorts of jobs go?
Original post by engineeringbest
Thank you so much :smile:
It's more of a chain restaurant than an independent one, so I need to apply online and submit a CV, but I do have a friend who works there already. The job would involve me moving food / dirty plates between the kitchen and the restaurant & polishing cutlery. I do have a level 1 certificate in food hygiene and safety that I did in sixth form, and will be able to work pretty much whatever hours (but will only be able to work december / early jan). The only skills they listed on their website were to be friendly & outgoing & didn't specifically mention that they wanted any experience. Of course it varies but do you have any idea how the interviews for these sorts of jobs go?

I would ask your friend to pass on a recommendation or for him to look out for your CV (if he's a line manager).

From what you have described, I would guess you're doing most of the waitering work then. A hygiene certificate won't be necessary, and you won't need any further qualifications, that is unless you want to.

If that's the only skill listed on the website, then you won't likely need much. I would recommend picking up certain techniques to make things easier, but they won't be necessary most of the time.

I would be very surprised if they reject you.

I haven't gone through many of these interviews with restaurants, so I can't say specifically. However, it#s more likely to be a friendly chat; there's not that much to talk about and for them to confirm a few details e.g. when can you work, what sort of person you are, how you would fit in with the team, how you would behave in front of customers. I would also guess upon a successful interview that they would offer you trial shifts for a couple of weeks to see how you fare before offtering you the job.
Original post by MindMax2000
I would ask your friend to pass on a recommendation or for him to look out for your CV (if he's a line manager).

From what you have described, I would guess you're doing most of the waitering work then. A hygiene certificate won't be necessary, and you won't need any further qualifications, that is unless you want to.

If that's the only skill listed on the website, then you won't likely need much. I would recommend picking up certain techniques to make things easier, but they won't be necessary most of the time.

I would be very surprised if they reject you.

I haven't gone through many of these interviews with restaurants, so I can't say specifically. However, it#s more likely to be a friendly chat; there's not that much to talk about and for them to confirm a few details e.g. when can you work, what sort of person you are, how you would fit in with the team, how you would behave in front of customers. I would also guess upon a successful interview that they would offer you trial shifts for a couple of weeks to see how you fare before offtering you the job.


I have an interview arranged with them for when I come back from uni :smile:
Original post by engineeringbest
I have an interview arranged with them for when I come back from uni :smile:


Good luck. Keep me posted on whether you get the job.
i was in exact same position as you. what I did was:

created a skill based cv
did 2-3 online courses
lied about being a commitee membeer of a few societies and said how i gained leadership etc

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