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Meet the hiring manager. Her name's Karen.
Nice chia pet.
Karen guards the job you really want. The one with great pay, great benefits, and dare we say onsite health care?
But there's a problem.
She only wants people with experience – 5-10 years is best, but at least 1-2.
You're an entry-level applicant. So here's the question:
How do you write an entry-level resume that'll spin Karen's head around like a pinwheel in a centrifuge?
This guide will show you:
Here's a sample resume for an entry level job made using our resume builder.
Want to save time and have your resume ready in 5 minutes? Try our resume builder. It’s fast and easy to use. Plus, you'll get tips and right vs. wrong examples while writing your resume. See 20+ resume templates and create your resume here.
Entry Level Resume Example - See 20+ resume templates and create your resume here.
Out of 350 entry-level resumes, the hiring manager put yours in the "read again" pile.
Your secret isn't earth-shaking.
You just picked the right format for your entry-level resume.
Here's why format matters:
A bad college resume format buries your best qualities.
In most cases, use a reverse-chronological layout. It shows your best achievements first.
Use big headings, simple fonts, and white space to give the eyes a rest.
Keep it to one page. A resume for entry-level applicants is an elevator speech, not a Russian novel.
Finally, spell check. Nothing says, "needy employee" like a bunch of resume mistakes.
Pro Tip: Save your great entry-level resume as a PDF, since those preserve their format. Just make sure the job offer doesn't prohibit PDF resumes. Some do.
Feel like trying out other resume formats? See the college/high school student resume template up top. Then see this guide: 3 Resume Formats: How to Choose the Best One [Examples]
Want to make sure your resume will hook every recruiter and get you that interview? Get our free checklist and learn what makes a job-winning resume: 46 Things You Need To Do Before You Send Your Resume
Meet Kate, the inexperienced job candidate.
She's tossing and turning, and it's 3 am. How come?
Because she knows the average recruiter spends just six seconds with each resume.
Now the good news.
The right entry-level resume summary or resume objective can turn that time into a job.
A resume summary lists experience if you have lots of it. You shouldn't use it as an entry-level candidate.
A resume objective shows your goal. It's good for beginner resumes, but some experts say to shun it.
Here's the trick: merge the two, and you'll blow the other applicants out of the water.
Look at these two computer science entry-level resume objective examples:
First, a traditional college student resume objective:
Entry-level computer science specialist, skilled in programming and debugging. Seeking a position with Meed in software development.
What's wrong with it? It's needy but doesn't offer much. It'll sink like an X-Wing in the swamps of Dagoba.
But look at this next entry-level resume example:
Hard-working computer science specialist. Seeking to use proven skills in leadership, debugging, and coding to meet business needs at Meed. Created proprietary ecommerce sites for retail and restaurant use. Updated mobile site at MoneyMoneyWorld.com with 95% accuracy to goals.
In a first-time resume with no experience, the second of those samples really does the job. The hiring manager just stopped playing with her Fitbit.
But the real magic is, it didn't take a lot of time to build up that experience. Just a few side projects.
Now look at two entry-level business analyst resume objective examples.
Once again, we'll start the old-fashioned way.
Entry-level business analyst, skilled in business process automation and problem solving. Seeking a position with IPSoft.
Enthusiastic Business Analyst, skilled in leadership and communication. Seeking to enhance understanding of key metrics for IPSoft. As business report writer for Valens Securities, grew employee grasp of key concepts by 37%. My PowerPoint presentation of GBMP's Policy Deployment plan was turned into a webinar that got 1,400 views.
Look at the second of those basic resume samples. It'll get the recruiter to put down her Shake Weight.
Why? Because it's really a resume summary for an entry-level job. It adds experience where normally you wouldn't see it.
Now the $64,000 question:
How did a complete noob get experience like that?
I'll show that next.
Pro Tip: A great entry-level resume objective should be an eye-catching resume introduction. It should read like an experience-stuffed resume summary, even though it isn't one. So include a couple attention-getting tidbits to whet the manager's appetite.
Our resume builder (you can create your resume here) will give you tips and examples on how to write your resume summary or any other section. You can easily copy them straight into your resume - it will save you a ton of time.
Inside Zety's resume tool you will find tips and examples for your resume.
Want more tips for a resume for a first job? Dig into the free entry-level resume template up top. Then see these guides: First Resume with No Work Experience Samples (A Step-by-Step Guide), How To Write A Resume Summary: 21 Best Examples You Will See; and +20 Resume Objective Examples - Use Them on Your Resume (Tips)
"Nobody hires a noob."
Said people who get jealous when new employees get a job.
First rule: positions that insist on 1-2 years experience are often flexible.
Plus, it's easy to get experience fast for almost any job.
When writing entry-level resumes for students with no experience:
First, scour jobs you've had in unrelated fields. If you're aiming for an IT job, did you upgrade a computer in a waitressing job once? Or install some software in a construction position?
Second, get experience from little projects. Freelance. Volunteer. Take side-jobs. Look online for one-off gigs.
Even a task that takes a couple hours can look great on a resume for entry-level positions.
Check out these two data analyst entry-level resume examples:
Here are two resume examples for students with no work experience.
Freelance Data Analyst
2012 - 2017
Data analyst experience: I'm fresh out of college with no experience in data analytics yet, but I'm driven to succeed!
That first sample for an entry-level resume will make the hiring manager stop daydreaming about Sharknado.
It's still a resume for a first job. It still doesn't list 2+ years of experience. In fact, most of the experience it shows comes from summer jobs in college and freelance gigs.
Let's see that again, this time with a sample for an entry-level resume for a computer science job.
Look at these two college student resume examples with little experience:
Computer Science Experience: None yet. I just received my degree. But I promise I'll work really hard!!!
You probably gained some relevant experience from working on projects. Don't underplay that like the candidate above.
Do it more like this:
Computer Science Projects
2012 - 2017
That second entry-level resume example will alter the recruiter's galvanic skin response.
And all it took was looking at past projects, and a little volunteering. Presto. Instant experience on a resume for a college student with no work experience until last week.
See the example resume at the top of this guide for more. It also works as a resume template for teens.
Pro Tip: Looking for quick experience for a resume for entry-level jobs? Google your industry's name + "Reddit" + "how to get experience."
Action words are one way to keep the hiring manager engaged. Get some for your good entry-level resume right here: "+80 Examples of Resume Action Words for Every Profession"
"We've got to hire this one."
The education section of your entry-level resume can make the hiring manager say the words above.
It works even if you didn't graduate from MIT.
Just pick education bullet points that fit the job offer like spray-on pants.
It doesn't even matter if you've only been to high school.
Then custom-fit those bullet points:
Look at these two college student resume examples:
B.S. in Computer Science
2012 - 2016
Okay, so you went to school. You studied some, but not enough to ace it.
Now let's show a different side of you:
B.S. in Computer Science
2012 - 2016
Poof. Suddenly the frog has turned into a prince, and he's got dental coverage.
To work this trick, just sit down with a pen, some paper, and the job offer. Find the lures in your past that speak to the recruiter's heart.
For more help, use the sample college student resume template at the top of this article.
Pro Tip: Should you add a GPA to a professional entry-level resume? If it's impressive, yes. Otherwise, it's a waste of the hiring manager's precious time.
Give your college student resume's education section the old college try. See this guide: "How to Put Your Education on a Resume [Tips & Examples]"
There's the earnest hiring manager. Her hair's a cyclone. Her eye-veins look like a map of greater Cleveland.
The culprit? A zillion entry-level resumes, all with the same skills list.
Listing skills is fine. But to get attention like a fireworks display, you need to walk the talk.
First, focus on the skills shown in the job offer.
Then demonstrate those skills, like this:
Let's say Karen's job description is in the IT field. It lists these skills: hardware installation, security, and software installation.
So, you add those to your basic entry-level resume, plus training for extra flair.
Here's the real secret:
Tie them to your experience, like this:
Wow, right? The hiring manager just forgot that awesome hipster meme she saw this morning.
Now, what skills should you add?
Of course the hard skills in a resume for entry-level jobs depend on your field.
If you're in data entry, you'll need 10-key typing skills. In customer service? Maybe Zendesk and MS Office.
But there are certain soft skills that look good on any entry-level resume.
If you use the trick above, recruiters will notice you like you've been dipped in neon feathers.
Pro Tip: Don't lie about skills on your college student resume. If you do, you'll get tripped up in the interview.
Want to get your entry-level marketing resume skills section out of the beginner zone? See this guide: "+30 Best Examples of What Skills to Put on a Resume (Proven Tips)"
"OK. This young woman knows her stuff."
Certifications on an entry-level resume can make the hiring manager say just that. They can put you way ahead of other applicants.
But how should you display them?
If they're central to the job offer, put them in a special certification section, like this:
If a certification is important enough, you can also show it after your name. You can even add it to first-time resume job descriptions.
You won't see high school student resume examples with certifications like CPA or CFA. But relevant certs like CPR or CDL are fair game in a high school resume.
Pro Tip: Display certifications central to the job offer first. Consider leaving unrelated certifications off a resume for an entry-level position.
Need more general entry-level resume tips? See these guides: Resume Dos and Don'ts: 50+ Tips & Advice on Building Great Resumes and What To Put On A Resume To Make It Perfect [Tips & Examples]
"He doesn't have 10 years experience. But..."
What can you do to stand out when you're an entry-level applicant?
You can show you're a good fit with the right "other" sections.
I'm not talking about, "I watched every episode of Buffy 12 times."
I'm talking about facts that stick you to the job like an electromagnet.
That could mean testimonials, awards, test results, articles you've published, or anything else that gets attention.
What "other" items will look good on an entry-level resume for your profession? Search for awards in your field, conferences, meetups, associations, and online competitions.
Don't discount writing articles or making videos about your industry. Even regularly listening to an instructional podcast can give a boost.
Pro Tip: In a job that calls for calm, even yoga classes can make a good entry-level resume addition. Take some time to think what activities will fit the job description.
Need help with the "other" sections in your high school student resume? See this guide: "+20 Best Examples of Hobbies & Interests To Put on a Resume (5 Tips)"
"Nobody reads cover letters."
That's a bigger fib than Santa eating a free lunch with a minotaur..
Half the hiring managers don't read cover letters. To the others, they're essential.
That's why your great entry-level resume deserves an equally good entry-level cover letter.
The good news is, they're easy.
Keep your cover letter short and sweet. Use the hiring manager's name to make it personal.
Show you understand the problem. Then suggest how you can help.
You can add a fact you like about the company as well.
Then end it with a call to action. "I'd welcome the chance to talk about your needs" works great.
Pro Tip: Didn't get a call right away? Follow up to give your best entry-level resume and cover letter another chance.
Plus, a great cover letter that matches your resume will give you an advantage over other candidates. You can write your cover letter in our resume builder here. Here's what it might look like:
See more templates and create your resume and cover letter here.
Need a template for your entry-level cover letter? Want more tips? See this guide: "How To Write A Cover Letter [Complete Guide With Examples]"
Did you botch your contact info?
If you're like most, you probably did.
Of course you listed:
Michael Veres, email@example.com - 215-290-8372
But did you add a LinkedIn profile? Turns out 87% of all recruiters say they look at LinkedIn before they interview.
Pro Tip: Need a great LinkedIn profile for your professional entry-level resume? Check out our LinkedIn builder guide here.
Want more great tips to make an entry-level resume that works? See our guide: "How to Make a Resume: A Step-by-Step Guide (+30 Examples)"
Even with great entry-level templates to follow, writing your own is hard. Follow these tips to write the best resume for an entry-level job:
Fit your entry-level resume to the job like spandex. To do it, read the job offer, then customize your bullet points.
The education section of even a high school student resume should pull its weight. Use it to show your schooling prepped you for the job.
Add "other" sections that show you've got the chops. Anything that proves your job-related skills is fair game in an entry-level resume.
Do you have questions on how to write a great resume for an entry-level job? Not sure how to describe your skills or achievements? Give us a shout in the comments! We love to help!