An entry-level resume outlines your skills, accomplishments, and past work experience (if applicable) at the beginning of your career. Early career professionals and recent graduates use this type of resume when applying to entry-level jobs.
Creating an entry-level resume can feel like a daunting task. How are you supposed to recap your work experience if you have no work experience (or no relevant experience)? Or maybe you held down a job for several years, but it’s different from the path you’re working toward now.
If you feel overwhelmed by the idea of writing your entry-level resume, we’ve constructed this guide to help you. In this article, we share suggestions on writing a resume for your first job, including advice on resume formats, templates, keywords, and more.
What to Put on Your Entry-Level Resume
You’ve probably heard the adage, “You need a job to get experience and experience to get a job.” Securing that first job—or pursuing a new career—feels overwhelming and frustrating for many, but it just requires a bit of creativity.
Focus on your experience outside of the workforce. Think about your internships and class projects. Even internships solely for school credit provide valuable experience that can translate into a job.
Here are important elements and tips for what to include on your entry-level resume.
Full Name and Contact Information
It doesn’t matter how far you are in your professional career, there are a few basics that should be in every resume. As you can see below, that includes the following information:
- Address: city, state, and zip code
- Email address
- LinkedIn profile link
This information might seem obvious to include, but it is worth mentioning because of its importance. How will recruiters contact you, otherwise?
When securing that entry-level position, you’re competing with everyone else attempting the same feat. That’s why it’s so important to stand out, immediately. Your resume headline will help you accomplish this.
A resume headline is the opening statement to, well, you. As you can see below, it’s a one-line introduction to who you are and what you have to offer your future employer.
Entry-Level Resume Headline Examples
- A recent graduate experienced in writing efficient code, implementing test strategy to reduce maintenance, and working in a diverse list of object-oriented programming languages.
- Detail-oriented, award-winning journalism student seeking broadcasting internship opportunities.
- A former teacher experienced in fostering open learning environments, strategic communication, and helping students achieve their goals seeking opportunities in business.
Resume Summary Statement
A resume summary statement is similar to a resume headline but is more in-depth. This short paragraph comes after the headline and highlights your professional skills and experience.
Sample Entry-Level Resume Summary Statements
- Highly motivated communications student seeking career opportunities in advertising or public relations. Interested in leveraging social media experience and writing skills to positively contribute to an organization’s corporate or departmental objectives, while gaining valuable industry experience.
- Passionate former teacher with experience in project management, instruction, and creating detailed syllabi and lesson plans to map out several month’s worth of work. Seeking opportunity to bring my skills, passion, and a fresh perspective to the business world.
- High school student with proven organizational, communication, and people skills. Looking for an opportunity to use my positive attitude and strong work ethic to help an organization reach their goals.
Your education is the most important part of your entry-level resume. It’s often your biggest accomplishment so far, so make sure to treat it as such. Include the following information in this section:
- Graduation year
- College name
- College location
At this point, think about your past experience and how you’d like to format your resume around it. Do you have work experience you’d like to include? If so, we recommend adding a bit more (brief) information in your education section to highlight your accomplishments from college. That includes your course titles that are relevant to the position, or even projects, academic accomplishments, awards, clubs, volunteering activities, and any other information you think recruiters will find important.
If you don’t have work experience you’d like to highlight in your entry-level resume, then you can keep the education section a bit more direct and highlight things such as awards and volunteering more in-depth in other sections of your resume.
Past Work Experience
If writing your first resume as a recent graduate, include any past work experience you have. The same advice goes to those changing career fields. While the positions you’ve previously held might not seem directly relevant to the position you’re applying to, the hard and soft skills can translate well to your resume with a bit of creativity.
Your previous jobs might not have given you the needed certifications for your desired position. However, they most likely did teach you skills such as communication, strategizing, project management, problem-solving, outreach, and multitasking. These hard and soft skills are all extremely important for a job, no matter where you work. Explain how your past positions taught you these skills, like in the example below.
Also make sure to include the name of the company you worked for, its location, your job title, and how long you worked there.
Internships, Volunteering, and Clubs
If you lack previous work experience, then you can share more detail with activities you took part in throughout your college years.
Many colleges require internships to graduate. Even if your internship was unpaid, you still performed a job while there. Elaborate on what you learned while you were at your internship—hard and soft skills. Did you secure any certifications? Work on a special project? Help one of your mentors reach a goal? Tailor your experience at your internship to match the job description for the position you want.
Volunteering and clubs are similar. Explain what you accomplished, the role you played, how it benefited the greater organization or community, and how it makes you a solid fit for the desired position.
Relevant Keywords and Hard Skills
The most important step to writing any kind of resume is tailoring it to the job description. Recruiters and hiring managers are looking to see that you possess the required skills to do the job. Many hiring professionals even use applicant tracking systems to search by keywords in order to quickly identify qualified candidates. So, you’ll want to create a custom, keyword-rich resume for each job.
Where should you include these skills? Here are some ideas:
- In coursework descriptions
- In a bulleted skills section
- In your resume headline (Hint: Try to include the job title in your headline. This is the most important keyword.)
- In your work experience section
- In your volunteer experience
You can see how well your resume is tailored to any job using the tool below:
Entry-Level Resume Template
Blank white pages are scary. There’s just so much space! How do you even begin?
If you are still intimidated by the idea of writing an entry-level resume, we have good news! Jobscan has several resume templates you can use, so you don’t have to start from scratch. Our ATS-friendly templates include the formatting and sections you need, as you can see below.
Just download the one you feel best fits your experience, fill it in, and submit!
Want to Write Your Entry-Level Resume the Easy Way?
Make sure your resume is accomplishing all that you need it to with Jobscan’s Resume Builder. Simply choose one of our ATS-friendly resume templates, fill in the required fields, and we’ll do all the formatting for you.