Writing an entry-level resume can seem like a daunting task. An impossible catch-22 situation: you need experience to get a job but you can’t get a job without experience.
It can feel like you have very little to write on your resume which will interest employers. Don’t worry, the good news is that everyone with a job has been in your position.
The trick is to widen your idea of what ‘relevant experience’ is. If you think about your achievements over your entire life you probably have more experience than you think.
Summer jobs, internships, work experience, volunteer work, and qualifications are just some of the things you can focus on. Using an online resume builder is an effective way of building an attractive resume with little experience.
Here are some entry-level resume tips which will help you to write an attractive resume which will focus on your strengths, see you to potential employers, and get you that all-important first professional position.
Focus on your education
As your work experience will be relatively limited the education section of your resume should be a key feature. You are a candidate with great potential and this is the key to selling yourself and writing a winning first-job resume.
Do not only include your qualifications, as you would be doing yourself an injustice. Think hard about everything you achieved at school and make a list. Using an entry-level resume template will help to place emphasis on your school achievements.
Your educational achievements include your honors and awards and extracurricular activities such as participation in societies and sports teams. These can demonstrate key skills and attributes.
If you had an organizational role or were captain of a sports team this demonstrates that you are responsible and have leadership skills.
The more professional experience you gain throughout your career, the less important the education section on your resume becomes. Until you get more experience you need to make sure this section is the best it can possibly be.
Include all relevant experience
First of all, think through all the work experience you do have. It doesn’t matter how small it seems. Maybe you have washed cars, waitressed in a cafe, or worked in a shop part-time when you were at college.
Being able to hold down a job alone shows that you are reliable, punctual, and responsible. Think carefully about what each position entailed and what skills were required, make each job description shine and show that you have the transferable skills needed for the jobs you’re applying for. If you are looking for the best software engineer jobs, you can build yourself by adding up the tech training you have attended. Certifications will also be an edge for you to be noticed by employers. You may also include whether you had worked on projects related to the job you are applying for.
If you have completed an internship or have volunteered include it in your work experience. Just because you were not paid, it doesn’t mean that the experience is less valuable. They are great ways to acquire skills and experience and employers appreciate this.
What skills do you have?
The skills section of your entry-level resume can really help to sell you to employers. If you are writing an entry level resume with no experience, your education and skills need to highlight your strengths and demonstrate your potential.
Computer skills are highly valuable, and if you have just graduated the chances are your IT skills will be much better than some of your older counterparts. List the programs you can use.
Being able to speak other languages is a huge plus so make sure you include foreign languages. Include your ability level too (beginner, intermediate, advanced etc.).
Communication skills are a highly sought-after transferable skill. Think of examples of when you have demonstrated them. It could be public speaking, writing emails, or debating, if you can show you are a good communicator it will give your resume an edge.
Other valuable skills needed in many professions are leadership, organization, problem solving, teamwork, and interpersonal skills. Think about ways you can demonstrate these if you can, and highlight them on your resume. Be prepared to talk about them at length in an interview.
Look through some templates for entry-level candidates and choose one which best shows off your skillset.
What to avoid on an entry-level resume
- Avoid lying. It can be tempting to lie on an entry-level resume due to limited experience, but don’t do it. You will probably get caught. If you do get the job, it will become obvious that you don’t have the experience you claim to.
- Avoid space fillers. Space on your resume is valuable and each word should help to sell you in some way. Do not waste the space. Using a first job resume template will help you to maximize the space and focus on your strengths.
- Typos and other silly mistakes. They look unprofessional. Proofread your resume multiple times and then ask someone else to check it.