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Resume Examples For First Job: Learn How To Craft An Entry-Level Application That Gets You Hired

Elena Prokopets

So how do you land your first job? That’s a multifaceted question. Previously, we shared some tips on getting an entry-level job . But what about your first job ever? This might be your first job as a high school graduate , or a job you pursue as an adult after staying home to raise a family. In any case, the following advice assumes that you are entirely new to the workforce and that you are starting from scratch.

Where exactly do you begin? Take a look at our roaster of entry-level resume examples. The, check out the resume tips we have below. These are tailored to completely inexperienced job seekers, strong attestations to how someone with a lack of experience can still show how they can be valuable to an organization.

Three Compelling Entry-Level Resume Examples 

The best way to learn anything new is to follow an example. Thus our team prepared several different variations of an entry-level resume you can use as a reference for writing.

Resume Template For Entry-Level (Word version)

resume template for first job

Download resume example (.docx)

Resume Example For a First Job (text version)

Seeking a job opportunity that will allow me to use my computer skills, personality, and organizational skills in an entry-level position as an assistant, clerk, or receptionist in an office or retail environment.

Relevant Skills

  • Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, PowerPoint)
  • Typing And Data Entry
  • Fluent in Both English And Spanish
  • Direct Sales Experience
  • Team Building

Professional Experience

Pampered Chef Intern: Direct Sales Representative June 2016 – April 2017

Sold kitchen related accessories and supplies direct to consumers. Organized and hosted sales parties both online and in customer’s homes. Recruited other sales representatives. Delivered items to customers, kept track of inventory and order sheets.

Volunteer Work Girl Scouts of America Troop Leader April 2017 – Present

Maintained membership roles, recruited parent volunteers, attended leadership training seminars, planned activities, and mentored troop members. Led activities, and conducted troop leadership training. Coordinated fundraising efforts. Partnered with other troop leaders to plan events and activities.

West Side University Business Management BA May, 2005

Example of High School Student Resume with No Work Experience

Resume objective.

I am a high school student with a strong work ethic and organizational skills, willing to take direction, punctual, and friendly. I’m interested in pursuing a part-time position that will allow me to learn on the job while gaining real-life work experience.

Washington Highschool 2018-Present  GPA:3.75 Activities: 

  • Student Service Organization
  • Science Fair
  • Future Business Leaders Of America
  • Junior Achievement

Work and Volunteer Experience

Babysitting 2018-2020

Established a trusting and nurturing relationship with my neighbor’s young children while they were at work during the summer. Tasks would include cleaning rooms, feeding, changing, and giving small children a safe environment until their mother returned. Volunteer Work: Humane Society 2020-Present

Took time to nurture animals in the shelter under supervision. Fed animals, cleaned kennels of any debris, ensured paperwork was properly processed during adoption. Answered questions about concerns on animal welfare, and care participation.

Volunteer Work: Counselor at Girlscouts camp 2019-2020

Lead groups of young girls on adventurous outings in a safe and nurturing environment. Ensured the safety and wellbeing of a group of children ranging in age from 10 years to 14 years of age. Prepared meals for the campers and myself. Took a leadership role in a wide range of activities such as swimming, hiking, and fishing. Relayed information to both campers and other counselors in a calm manner. Worked as an assistant to the camp’s art instructor.

Skills and Accomplishments

  • Treasurer of the Honors society
  • MVP: Varsity Field Hockey Team
  • Proficient in Math
  • Proficient in Microsoft applications.
  • Proficient leadership skills

Entry-Level Software Engineer Resume Example 

Objective statement .

I am an honors BS engineering student with high digital literacy skills, entry-level programming, and UI/UX design skills. Looking to gain entry-level experience at a software engineering firm where I can contribute my front-end software development skills and obtain mentorship.

  • Object-Oriented Programming
  • Software Testing
  • Communications Skills
  • Google And MS Suites
  • Team Player

City College: Albany New York Bachelor of Science Degree: Software Engineering, 112/120 Credits completed.

  • Academic Honors: Deans List (4 semesters)
  • National Honor Society

Upstate Tech Institute- Albany, NY Associate of Computer Science, May 2017

  • Graduated Magna Cum Laude, May 2017

Work Experience

Front-End Developer — Freelance  May 2019- Present

  • Developed several UI components for an eLearning app 
  • Coded landing page design for a WordPress resto website 
  • Provided manual UX/UI testing services for an eLearning portal 
  • Portfolio available at [insert your portfolio URL here]

City College College- Albany, NY Administrative Assistant (Work-Study), September 2017- Present

  • Took Phone calls and messages
  • Answered inquiries on behalf of students, faculty, and other staff members
  • Kept an organized and well-functioning workspace. 
  • Assisted other members of the office in a variety of tasks.

ABC Bakery Courtesy Clerk: April 2016- March 2017

  • Provided excellent customer service while serving customers a wide range of baked goods and drinks. Performed bussing duties as needed. Drummed up excellent PR that ended up attracting returning customers.

Technology Summary

Adobe Studio, Photoshop, XML/HTML, Javascript, Windows, Linux, Apple, MS Office suite.

Don’t be shy to include any paid or unpaid, internship, or volunteer work as your experience, just like our candidate did here.  Even if it was a few years ago, go ahead and add it to your resume as this still can show the skills you have developed. Also, you can make your resume “pop” by using a creative resume template . We have a wide array of those listed on our website for free!

How to Make a Resume with No Experience

No experience — no good resume? Wrong! 

Even if you are fresh to the workforce, you still have some important qualities and even qualifications to offer a prospective employer. Be it traditional education, alternative online learning certifications, strong soft skills, or even informal work experience such as volunteering, freelance, or even home-based work. What you have to do though is communicate the above in a marketable way. 

Here are step-by-step instructions for writing a resume with no experience:

  • Go for a functional resume format 
  • Create a list of accomplishments
  • Drop the cutesy add-ons 
  • Write an objective statement 
  • List all your education 
  • Add a great cover letter 

You can complete all of the above steps in our free resume generator and instantly download your resume copy.

1. Choose A Functional Resume

A functional resume emphasizes your skills first, rather than starting with your work experience. This is the best choice for inexperienced workers. After all, you can pick up marketable skills through your schooling, hobbies, and just life experience in general. Create a list of hard and soft skills that you have that would be valuable in the entry-level position you’re after.

Hard skills might include:

  • Internet Research
  • Microsoft Word
  • Microsoft Excel
  • Social Media Content Creation 
  • Typing and Data Entry
  • Cash Handling

Check this extra list of in-demand skills employers look for . 

Soft skills are:

  • Written communication
  • Listening 
  • Negotiation
  • Multi-Tasking

Need more ideas? Browse the following lists we’ve made:

  • Universal soft skills examples for a resume 
  • Core interpersonal skills for a resume  
  • Best organizational skills for your resume 
  • Transferable skills to put on your resume 

2. Make A List Of Your Accomplishments

Create a master list of the notable things that you’ve done over the years. You won’t include the entire list on your resume , but you can mine the list for items to add depending on the job for which you are applying. Think about organizations you’ve been part of, hobbies that you’ve pursued to the point of expertise, volunteer work, etc. List any awards and accolades as well. Most importantly, list the skills you’ve developed along the way.

Read more about how to list your accomplishments on a resume . 

3. Avoid Unprofessional Or ‘Cutesy’ Additions

Professionalism is going to be key. Anyone looking at your resume will need to believe that you can enter any work situation, and understand the basics of business ethics and conduct yourself appropriately in a work environment. Your resume shouldn’t contain any cringe-worthy elements, including:

  • An unprofessional email address. The best choice is an email address using your college or university, Gmail, or some other widely accepted domain. Use a combination of your first name/first initial and last name.
  • Rambling ‘explanations’ for your lack of work experience . It’s perfectly acceptable to have spent your time pursuing an education, or focusing on other things.
  • Cutesy terms such as ‘momtrepreneur’ or ‘CEO of my home and family’.
  • Hobbies or interests that don’t contribute to your fitness for the position you are after.
  • Any type of buzzword you’ve heard others using, but do not fully understand yourself. 

4. Use An Objective Statement

Since you don’t have work experience, a personal statement or professional summary won’t work. Instead, write an objective statement , but focus on what you can do for your employer. Avoid language that focuses on what you want the employer to provide for you.

5. Add All Of Your Education

Take advantage of any educational experience that you have. This includes formal education, but also other forms of schooling. Have you taken online classes, finished self-study courses, or attended seminars or bootcamps? Add those to your resume!

6: Add A Great Cover Letter

A good cover letter can really fill in a lot of gaps. You can use it to show your passion for a particular job, to explain your lack of employment history, and go into detail about why you would be a great fit.

FAQs about Entry-Level Resumes

Below are answers to some common questions about entry-level resume writing and job search. 

What do you say when applying for a job with no experience?

Don’t draw attention to the fact that you have no experience at all. Instead, build your narrative around the soft and hard skills you possess, plus your personal quality. Instead of saying that “I am a high school student with no experience”, try this “I’m a motivated, organized, and digital savvy high school student, looking to gain further experience with X, Y, Z.” 

How do I pass a job interview with no experience?

Double-down on the preparation and company research. Try to learn as much as you can about the company and the role you are after. Specifically, try to find information on the main duties, company values, history, and overall culture. Then think which of your personal attributes and experiences would make you appear like a good add-on to the team. Then, during the interview, focus on describing the “matching points” between you and the company, instead of talking about your lack of experience. 

Can I get hired without a resume?

Yes, sometimes you can get hired without a resume. Mostly, this is the case for informal, part-time jobs such as babysitting, delivery work, or waitering jobs. Yet, the employer may ask for a personal reference letter instead. Also, most freelance jobs don’t require you to file a formal resume. And so do popular gig platforms. 

Should I put beginner skills on resume?

If that’s all you have as an enty-level worker, sure, put down your beginner-level skills on your resume. But don’t try to pass them off as full proficiency. Instead, add a quick note about your actual levels of expertise. Also, omit any beginner-level skills if these are irrelevant to the position you are after.

Updated on September 2021.

sample first job resume

Elena runs content operations at Freesumes since 2017. She works closely with copywriters, designers, and invited career experts to ensure that all content meets our highest editorial standards. Up to date, she wrote over 200 career-related pieces around resume writing, career advice... more

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  • Cover Letter

Writing Your First Job Resume for 2024: Complete Guide

resume writing for first time job seekers

Your job resume is an essential document that can make or break your chances of landing your dream job. It serves as your gateway to getting invited for an interview, and ultimately, getting hired. Without a well-written and well-structured resume, you may miss out on excellent job opportunities.

The purpose of this complete guide is to provide you with a step-by-step process to create your first professional resume. In this comprehensive guide, we will explain everything you need to know, from creating a resume format to effective resume writing tips, and include examples and templates to guide you through the process. By following these tips and guidelines, you can create a resume that showcases your skills, experience, and qualifications and effectively captures the attention of potential employers. In the end, you will be empowered to apply for any job with confidence, knowing that your resume will stand out in a competitive job market. So, let’s get started!

Overview of the Job Resume

A. definition.

A job resume, also known as a curriculum vitae (CV) or simply a resume, is a document that summarizes an individual’s education, work experience, skills, and achievements in a concise and organized manner. Its primary purpose is to provide potential employers with relevant information on the applicant’s qualifications for a job opening.

B. Types of Job Resumes

There are several types of job resumes that vary depending on the desired job position, level of experience, and industry. These types include:

Chronological Resume: This type of resume lists an individual’s work history in reverse chronological order, with the most recent job held at the top. It is the most commonly used format and is ideal for applicants with a solid work history.

Functional Resume: This type of resume focuses on an individual’s skills and achievements rather than their work experience. It is ideal for applicants who have gaps in their work history or have changed career paths.

Combination Resume: This type of resume combines elements of both the chronological and functional resumes. It lists an individual’s work history in chronological order but also highlights their skills and achievements.

Targeted Resume: This type of resume is tailored to a specific job opening and emphasizes an individual’s qualifications that are most relevant to that position.

C. Basic Components of a Job Resume

Regardless of the type of resume, there are certain basic components that every job resume should include:

Contact Information: This should be placed at the top of the resume and should include an individual’s name, address, phone number, and email address.

Resume Objective/Summary: This should be a brief statement that summarizes an individual’s key qualifications and what they hope to achieve in the desired job position.

Education: This should include an individual’s educational background, including the name of the institution, degree obtained, and date of graduation.

Work Experience: This should include an individual’s previous work experience, including the job title, name of the company, dates of employment, and job responsibilities.

Skills: This should include an individual’s relevant skills that are most applicable to the desired job position.

Achievements: This should highlight an individual’s significant achievements in their previous work experience or education that demonstrate their qualifications for the desired job position.

A job resume is an essential tool for job seekers to present their qualifications to potential employers. It should effectively showcase an individual’s relevant education, work experience, skills, and achievements in a clear and concise manner.

Knowing Yourself – Self-Assessment

When writing your first job resume, it’s important to begin by knowing yourself. This involves taking a critical look at your skills and abilities, experience, personal attributes, education and training, in order to craft a compelling and effective resume.

A. Skills and Abilities

Start by identifying your core skills and abilities. These can be technical skills such as programming languages or software proficiency, or soft skills such as communication or time management. It’s important to highlight skills that are relevant to the job you’re applying for, and to provide concrete examples of how you have utilized these skills in previous positions or projects.

B. Experience

Experience is another crucial aspect of a job resume, and provides potential employers with a sense of what you can bring to the table. When evaluating your experience, consider both paid and unpaid work, such as internships, volunteer work or extracurricular activities. Be sure to focus on experiences that are most relevant to the position you are applying for, and provide details on your responsibilities and accomplishments.

C. Personal Attributes

Personal attributes can also be an important consideration for potential employers, and can set you apart from other candidates. These can include qualities such as leadership, creativity, adaptability or problem-solving abilities. Think about what makes you unique and what strengths you can bring to the job, and be sure to highlight these attributes in your resume.

D. Education and Training

Finally, education and training are an important component of a job resume. This includes any post-secondary degrees or certifications, as well as any relevant courses or training programs. Be sure to highlight any academic achievements or honors, and provide details on any professional development or training programs you have completed.

Taking the time to conduct a thorough self-assessment can help you create a strong and effective job resume. By identifying your core skills and abilities, experience, personal attributes and education and training, you can showcase your unique strengths and qualifications to potential employers.

Setting Your Job Target

When it comes to writing a successful job resume, setting your job target is crucial. This involves identifying the specific job or industry you want to work in and determining the companies you want to target.

A. Target job or industry

Having a clear understanding of the job or industry you want to pursue will help you tailor your resume to that specific field, making it easier for hiring managers to see your relevant experience and qualifications. Take the time to research the job market and industry trends to identify the most in-demand roles or sectors. This will help you focus your efforts on the areas that are most likely to yield results.

B. Targeted companies

Once you have identified your target job or industry, it’s time to start researching companies that fit your interests and align with your career goals. Aim to create a list of at least ten companies that you would like to work for. This could be based on factors such as location, company culture, size, or reputation. By having a focused list of companies, you can tailor your resume and cover letter to each specific organization and increase your chances of landing an interview.

C. Matching your skills with the job requirements

When writing your job resume, it is essential to match your skills with the job requirements. Look at the job description and identify the key skills and qualifications that a hiring manager would be looking for. Then, make sure your resume highlights your experience and achievements that directly relate to these requirements. Use strong action verbs and provide measurable results to demonstrate your impact in previous positions.

It’s also important to remember that the hiring manager may use applicant tracking systems (ATS) to scan resumes for relevant keywords. So, make sure you use the same language as used in the job description to make your resume more visible and increase your chances of getting noticed.

Setting your job target is a crucial step in writing a successful job resume. By identifying the specific job or industry you want to pursue, researching targeted companies, and matching your skills with the job requirements, you can position yourself as a top candidate and increase your chances of landing your dream job.

Structuring Your Job Resume

Before submitting your job application, it’s essential to structure your resume in a manner that effectively communicates your skills and experiences to potential employers. Here are four key components to structuring your job resume.

A. Resume Length and Format

In terms of resume length, it’s essential to keep it as concise as possible. Generally speaking, a resume should be no more than two pages, with the most relevant information listed at the very beginning. In terms of formatting, choosing a simple and clear layout is crucial. Hiring managers want to see relevant information prominently displayed, with a clear sense of structure and hierarchy.

B. Sections of the Resume

Breaking down your resume into sections is crucial for keeping it organized and easy to navigate. Some of the most standard resume sections include:

  • Contact information
  • Objective statement
  • Work experience
  • Certifications
  • Awards and achievements
  • Relevant volunteer experience

By dividing your resume into clear sections, you can ensure that hiring managers can quickly understand your skills and experiences with ease.

C. Chronological and Functional Resumes

There are two main types of resumes: chronological and functional.

A chronological resume highlights your work experiences in a timeline format, starting with your most recent job and descending in reverse chronological order. This format is best suited for candidates with a linear career path.

A functional resume, on the other hand, emphasizes your skill set in a more abstract manner. It’s an excellent choice for job seekers who don’t have extensive experience or those looking to pivot their careers.

D. Customizing the Resume for the Job

Tailoring your resume is key to making it stand out. Customize your resume to the job posting by reflecting the job description in your resume’s language, focusing on the company’s values, and highlighting relevant qualifications. Consider changing key phrases to match specific keywords in the job post, thus increasing your chances of getting through automated resume screenings.

Customizing your resume isn’t just about matching keywords, though. It’s also about understanding the company you’re applying for and optimizing your application to fit that company’s unique culture and values. Put yourself in the shoes of the hiring manager and ask yourself, “What specific skills and experiences would make me want to hire this person?” This will help you tailor your application to the specific job posting and increase your chances of securing an interview.

Structuring your resume is all about making it easy to read and highlight your most compelling qualities. A well-structured resume will impress hiring managers, so it’s essential to take the time to organize your experience and tailor it to the job.

Writing Effective Resume Summary/Objective

A. purpose of the summary/objective.

The purpose of the Summary/Objective section in the resume is to provide a brief yet impactful introduction that highlights the candidate’s skills and experiences in relation to the job they are applying for. It serves as the first impression that a hiring manager or recruiter forms about the candidate.

B. How to write an effective Summary/Objective

To write an effective Summary/Objective, the candidate should:

  • Tailor the summary/objective to the job position they are applying for.
  • Highlight their strongest skills and experiences that are most relevant to the job.
  • Use keywords that are mentioned in the job description to demonstrate compatibility.
  • Keep it concise, ideally limiting it to two or three sentences.
  • Use engaging language to make it memorable.

C. Examples of effective Summary/Objectives (if with Example or Sample in the title)

Example 1: marketing manager.

“Results-driven marketing professional with 5+ years of experience in developing and executing successful campaigns for Fortune 500 companies. Skilled in utilizing data analytics to optimize marketing strategies for maximum ROI. Seeking a challenging marketing manager position to drive brand growth and revenue.”

Sample 2: Software Developer

“Detail-oriented software developer proficient in Java and Python with 3+ years of industry experience. Specializes in designing and developing scalable applications that meet client needs. Seeking a challenging software developer position where I can apply my technical skills to contribute to company growth.”

Example 3: Sales Representative

“Highly motivated sales representative with a proven track record of exceeding sales targets for the past 4 years. Skilled in building and maintaining long-term relationships with clients to drive revenue growth. Seeking a sales role that allows me to leverage my relationship-building and sales skills to increase company profitability.”

These examples demonstrate how to showcase relevant experience and skills in a concise and engaging manner. By using the right language and focusing on key achievements, the Summary/Objective can make a powerful impact in the initial screening process.

Showcasing Your Skills and Abilities

Your resume is your chance to show potential employers what you can bring to the table. Highlighting your skills and abilities is a crucial aspect of creating a compelling resume. Here are some ways to showcase your talents:

A. Professional Experience

Your professional experience is one of the most important parts of your resume. This section should highlight your most relevant work experience, including job titles, dates of employment, and key responsibilities. Focus on accomplishments and quantify achievements with numbers and percentages. Use action verbs to describe your contributions and make sure to tailor your experience to the job you’re applying for.

B. Skills, Accomplishments, and Achievements

In addition to your professional experience, you should also include a section detailing your skills, accomplishments, and achievements. This section should include any certifications, awards, or other recognition you’ve received for your work. Highlight any skills that are relevant to the job you’re applying for, such as project management, leadership, or communication skills.

C. Technical and Language Skills

Technical skills and language skills are becoming increasingly important in today’s job market. Any industry-specific technical skills you have, such as proficiency in graphic design software or coding languages, should be highlighted in this section. It’s also essential to indicate any language skills you have, especially if you’re seeking employment in a global or multilingual environment.

D. Projects, Internships, and Volunteering Experience

If you’re just starting out in your career, you may not have much professional experience to draw from. However, you can still showcase your talents by detailing any projects you’ve worked on, internships you’ve completed, or volunteering experience you have. This section should highlight your contributions and accomplishments in these roles and show how you’ve developed your skills.

Showcasing your skills and abilities is a crucial aspect of writing your first job resume. Make sure to highlight your professional experience, skills, accomplishments, and achievements, technical and language skills, and projects, internships, and volunteering experiences. By doing so, you’ll create a compelling resume that makes you stand out to potential employers.

Adding Your Education and Training

Your education and training are important elements of your first job resume. They provide employers with an understanding of your qualifications and abilities, as well as bring credibility to your overall profile. In this section, we’ll cover the key elements to highlight in your education and training background.

A. Education Background

Begin with your most recent education and work backward to your earliest educational institution. Include the following information:

  • Name of the institution
  • Degree or qualification earned
  • Major or area of concentration
  • Graduation date (or anticipated graduation date)

If you have a high school diploma or GED, you don’t need to include all the details but can mention the name of the high school and year of graduation. You can also include any relevant coursework, academic achievements or honors, such as dean’s list or academic scholarships, to showcase your academic accomplishments.

B. Certifications and Trainings

List any certifications, licenses, or trainings you’ve completed that are relevant to the job you’re applying for. Be sure to include the organization that granted the certification/training, the title of the certification/training, and the date it was earned. Additionally, highlighting any specialty courses and workshops that demonstrate your knowledge and interest in your field can help set you apart from other candidates.

C. Scholarships and Awards

If you received any scholarships, fellowships, or academic awards that demonstrate your academic performance, highlight them in this section. Include the name of the award, the organization that granted it, and the year it was received. These accolades not only set you apart from other candidates but also demonstrate your dedication and hard work to prospective employers.

Including your education and training background in your first job resume helps demonstrate your qualifications, capabilities, and interest in your field. By highlighting your academic achievements, certifications, trainings, and scholarships/awards, you can set yourself apart from other candidates and increase your chances of landing your dream job.

Enhancing Your Job Resume with Key Phrases

When applying for a job, your resume is often the first impression that a hiring manager will have of you. As such, it’s essential that your resume stands out and effectively communicates your qualifications and experience. One effective way to do this is by incorporating key phrases throughout your resume.

A. Keyword Optimization

Many companies now use Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) to help manage the high volume of resumes they receive. These systems scan resumes for specific keywords and phrases that match the job description. To ensure that your resume makes it past the ATS and into the hands of a human recruiter, it’s essential to include relevant keywords throughout your resume.

To identify the appropriate keywords, carefully review the job description and note any hard or soft skills, education or certification requirements, and specific software or tools the job requires. Then, incorporate those keywords throughout your resume, particularly in the summary or objective section and the skills or experience section.

However, don’t overdo it. While optimizing your resume is critical, avoid stuffing your resume with irrelevant or repetitive keywords, as this can make it appear spammy and reduce your chances of being selected.

B. Action Verbs

Including action verbs in your resume helps convey a sense of competence, confidence, and initiative. Action verbs are specific, dynamic verbs that convey action, such as “managed,” “created,” “improved,” or “analyzed.”

Be sure to use action verbs consistently throughout your resume, particularly in the experience section. This not only helps make your resume more engaging but also helps highlight your accomplishments and contributions. If you’re unsure which action verbs to use, peruse industry-related resumes or use a resume-builder tool to help you identify appropriate verbs.

C. Power Words and Adjectives

In addition to action verbs and keywords, incorporating power words and adjectives can help make your resume more persuasive, dynamic, and impactful.

Power words are assertive, expressive, and emotive words that convey strong emotions, such as “achieve,” “inspire,” “motivate,” or “transform.” Adjectives, on the other hand, help to describe your qualifications and experience more vividly, such as “experienced,” “skilled,” “resourceful,” or “innovative.”

When using power words and adjectives, be sure to choose words that are appropriate to your experience and accurately reflect your abilities. Avoid using words that are too generic or hyperbolic, as this can undermine your credibility and make it difficult for recruiters to take you seriously.

Effectively incorporating key phrases throughout your resume, including keywords, action verbs, and power words can help ensure that you stand out to recruiters and effectively communicate your qualifications and experience. Remember, your resume is your first and often only chance to make a good impression, so be sure to take the time to get it right.

Presenting Your Job Resume Professionally

After putting in the time and effort to create a strong job resume, it’s important to present it professionally. This means proofreading and editing for errors, formatting and designing for readability, and saving and sending it in the appropriate format.

A. Proofreading and Editing

Carefully going through your resume and editing for grammatical errors, typos, and inconsistencies is essential to presenting a professional image to potential employers. You can take the following steps to proofread and edit your resume:

  • Use spell-check and grammar-check tools to catch mistakes
  • Read through your resume multiple times, ideally with a fresh pair of eyes
  • Ensure that dates, job titles, and other important details are accurate and consistent throughout
  • Eliminate fluff and focus on clear, concise language that highlights your accomplishments and qualifications

B. Formatting and Layout

Once your content is polished, the next step is to ensure it is arranged in a readable and visually appealing way. While there is no one right way to format a resume, some tips to keep in mind include:

  • Use headings and sections to break up the content and make it easier to read
  • Use a consistent font and size throughout the document
  • Limit the use of bold, italicized, or underlined text, as they can be distracting
  • Choose an appropriate margin size and alignment to ensure readability
  • Use bullet points to draw attention to key points and achievements

C. Visual Design

While the content of your resume should be the primary focus, visual design can also play a role in presenting a polished and professional image. Consider the following tips:

  • Choose a color scheme that fits your personal brand and is easy on the eyes
  • Use graphic elements sparingly and only when they add value to the content
  • Consider using a professional headshot, if appropriate for your industry
  • Use white space strategically to make the content more readable and appealing

D. Saving and Sending the Resume

Finally, it’s important to send your resume in the appropriate format and with a clear subject line and email message. Some tips to keep in mind include:

  • Save your resume as a PDF, which maintains formatting and is widely accepted by employers
  • Use a clear and professional subject line, such as “Job Application: [Your Name]”
  • Include a brief introduction and any necessary context in your email message, while still keeping it concise and professional
  • Double-check the recipient’s email address and any attachments to ensure accuracy

By following these tips for proofreading, formatting, visual design, and saving and sending your resume, you can present a professional image and increase your chances of landing your dream job.

Dos and Don’ts of Job Resumes

When it comes to creating your job resume, there are certain dos and don’ts that you should be aware of. Here are some common mistakes to avoid, as well as some tips for success to help you create a resume that will stand out from the competition.

A. Common Mistakes to Avoid

Spelling and grammatical errors : Nothing will make your resume stand out in a negative way quite like spelling and grammatical errors. Make sure to proofread your resume multiple times, and consider having someone else look it over as well.

Not tailoring your resume to the job : If you’re sending out the same generic resume to every job you apply for, you’re doing yourself a disservice. Make sure to tailor your resume to the specific requirements of the job you’re applying for.

Including irrelevant information : While you might be proud of certain accomplishments or experiences, if they’re not relevant to the job you’re applying for, leave them out. Employers only want to see the information that’s pertinent to the position at hand.

Using an unprofessional email address : Your email address should be professional and easy to remember. If you’re still using an old email address from high school, now is the time to make a change.

B. Tips for Success

Use bullet points : Instead of using long paragraphs to detail your experience and accomplishments, use bullet points. This makes your resume easier to read and allows the employer to quickly see your strengths.

Quantify your achievements : Whenever possible, use numbers to quantify your accomplishments. This will give potential employers a measurable understanding of what you’ve achieved in previous roles.

Use keywords from the job description : If you’re applying for a job that uses certain keywords in the job description, make sure to include those keywords in your resume. This will help your resume get noticed by Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS).

Highlight your most relevant experience : While you should include all relevant work experience, make sure to prominently feature the experience that’s most relevant to the job you’re applying for. This will help the employer see how your skills and experience align with their needs.

By avoiding common mistakes and implementing these tips for success, you can create a job resume that will get noticed and help you land your dream job. Good luck!

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resume writing for first time job seekers


Entry-Level Resume Writing Guide

Get a headstart with an entry-level resume format

Greg Faherty

Certified Professional Resume Writer

CV template Prague

Entry-level resume writing involves studying the candidate and their goals in order to construct an effective, customized resume for a new or different line of work.

When it comes to  creating an entry-level resume , the case may be that the applicant does not have very much or  relevant work experience  for the position they’re interested in.

It’s also important to understand the difference between first resumes for teenagers, for college students and freshers, a first job resume, and  entry-level . The latter focuses more on  building a career  in that specific area.

This means that  standing out in the application process for an entry-level position  can be somewhat difficult, which is why we’ve created this  writing guide to help entry-level jobseekers compile a comprehensive, tailored resume  to kick start their career.

But do not worry! There are many ways of  catching the eye of potential recruiters  through a  resume without work experience  by inviting the reader to get to know your character, skills, potential, and other achievements that make you the ideal entry-level candidate.

Tips for writing your entry-level resume

Due to the general nature of  entry-level candidates  having little to no work experience, the content and layout of these types of resumes are crucial to attracting potential employers.

Check out the following guide to find some tips and tricks of the trade for  writing entry-level resumes :

The hardest thing about  writing an entry-level resume  is deciding what the goal is; which direction the applicant wants to go in. Once that is clear, the rest will practically write itself.

If you need help figuring this out, try answering the following questions to get a clearer  idea of the target audience for your resume :

  • What work or projects have I done in the past that motivate me?
  • In which field or profession can I see myself in 10 years?
  • What skills do I have that can be applied to an occupation?

With the objective in mind, the candidate can start by choosing  which format is best for an entry-level resume  and specifically the ideal resume structure for each position or company they apply to.

There are 3 main  resume formats  which include the most popular  chronological resume, the functional (skills-based) and combination or hybrid resume .

Depending on each individual’s background and skills it may be preferable to use one of the less  traditional resume types  such as the functional or  combination resume  which either focuses more heavily on the qualities and attributes of each candidate or  emphasizes both skills and work experience  without highlighting one more than the other. These are often  optimal for applicants with little to no professional experience  such as students or individuals seeking entry-level positions.

  • To  complete a winning entry-level resume , applicants should demonstrate various  marketable skills and relevant industry knowledge  through the different areas they include in their document, detailing the ways they’ve earned or developed these qualities.
  • Another top tip when writing a resume for freshers or graduates with little to no work experience is the inclusion of keywords. The importance of keywords cannot be stressed enough as it is the  best method for passing  Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS)  and grabbing the attention of hiring managers  who are looking for specific attributes for each position.

Use the job description as a guide to find the best keywords for each vacancy

  • Finally, before sending an entry-level resume, it is essential that all candidates  review their final resume  to ensure that it is correctly adapted for the position offered. This means including the appropriate keywords and relevant information. Perhaps most importantly, check that the  polished entry-level resume does not have any typos or mistakes , because even a small error can lose the applicant the chance at an interview for their dream job!

Remember, if you’re not sure of  how to write an entry-level resume  from scratch, you can either choose from a  selection of entry-level resume templates  to help or even use an online resume builder as a guide.

Writing your first resume: Sections to include

No matter the resume format chosen, each  entry-level resume should include the following sections  as standard and provide all the relevant information to the prospective employer clearly and concisely in one place.

At the  very beginning of all entry-level resumes , candidates should supply a brief statement regarding their  career objective  which should be no more than 3-4 lines.

This part is vital to  capture the attention of the Hiring Manager or HR personnel  who will be reviewing resumes to find suitable candidates for the interview stage.

To make it through this first step, it is essential to include in these few lines the most  important skills that a candidate will bring to the position , making sure to use keywords from the job description, a reference to their relevant experience, and if applicable, their credentials.

The education section plays an important role when writing resumes for freshers or those just out of college , as the candidate may have little to no experience in the workplace and will rely more heavily on their academic achievements. According to the  AACU , 95% of recruiters give hiring preference to candidates with college degrees.

Each degree, course, or diploma should be separated and detailed individually with corresponding names, dates, awarding bodies, and grades if applicable,  beginning with the most recent and following a chronological order . We only recommend including your GPA if it is 3.0 or higher.

Also, this is the best area to  show off your academic awards and accolades  that you’ve gained through research, investigation, participating in school or college societies, or through extra-curricular courses. Here you will find a complete guide on  how to write and format the education section  on a resume.

Within the  Work Experience section of an entry-level resume  candidates should detail any paid or unpaid previous jobs they have held whether full or part-time, temporary or permanent contracts as well as internships and voluntary positions, indicating the dates, roles, companies and locations for each.

Additionally, an  entry-level applicant should include in their resume any leadership positions  they have undertaken and describe the responsibilities, achievements and improvements accomplished through their participation.

This area should be adapted to fit the role or sector that the applicant is applying for using specific keywords and including  action verbs to identify areas of expertise  and general abilities. Only supply relevant  work experience  that can be tailored to fit the vacancy.

In  entry-level resumes the skills section is vital . It helps to market a candidate and allows potential employers to understand each individual profile. It is essential to make this part of an entry-level resume because an applicant needs to highlight their suitability for the position through their abilities.

In this section,  entry-level candidates  can showcase their  technical and practical skills  including IT programs, languages, and ‘soft skills’ which allure more to the individual character, professional manner, and their working methods. A study by  LinkedIn  suggests that  80% of employers  want to see good soft skills from potential hires.

It is also important to  include keywords from the job description  and vacancy advert as well as adapt the top skills to fit the role adequately.

Luckily for entry-level candidates, Hiring Managers are often used to seeing resumes from freshers who do not have much professional experience. This means they will be paying more attention to the skills sections to find out if the candidate possesses the correct skill set for the job.

First Resume for a Teenager

As young students reach an age where they start to look for  first jobs or summer work , they come up against the first challenge in the job hunt: resume writing!

And although  resume writing for teenagers can be tough  at times, nothing is impossible!

Read on for  tips on how to write a teenager’s first resume .

  • First things first, as young people often have little to  no paid work experience  to detail, it is recommended that entry-level candidates use a functional or skills-based resume format to showcase a  blend of skills and activities that benefit teenage jobseekers .
  • Secondly, as an extra support there are hundreds of specific first job or teenage resume templates to use which are hugely advantageous  providing a structure, advice and examples for first resume writers .
  • The next step is to consider the  content of a teenager resume , including the headings and texts. Teenagers are often active participants in social and athletic groups which allow them to develop  skills and experiences that are crucial to mention on a first resume . These activities can be detailed under the headings ‘education,’ ‘experience,’ ‘extra activities,’ ‘achievements,’ etc.
  • Finally, when the content is compiled, it is vital that a  teenager ALWAYS edits and reviews the first resume  as much as possible; even ask a teacher, coach or parent to take a look for you to ensure 100% that there are  no grammar or spelling errors , confusions or irrelevant information which could put a hiring manager off contacting you.

Whether you’re looking to go straight into work from school or need a  first resume for an internship  or college application or an entry-level position in a business where you’d then like to work your way up the ladder, a general rule to follow is use your  unique knowledge and individuality  to stand out so that the potential employer gets a feel for what kind of worker you will be.

Entry-Level Resume Templates

Take a look at our  entry-level resume template library  for the  best resume samples  for entry-level positions and choose the one that can be best customized to your needs.

A useful tool for learning  how to make a resume for entry-level positions  is to use a  resume example  which can serve as a basis for all the positions you apply for.

Although these samples give  examples of what to put in each resume section , it is essential that all candidates remember to  adapt their resume to their chosen field  and the specific vacancy available.

Templates like this offer you a tried-and-tested  structure to take as a starting point  and also provide advice on  how to complete each resume section  with guides as to what to include and what you should avoid in order to attract the right employers.

Making an entry-level resume which stands out  in the search for a job can be made simpler also by employing an online resume builder.  Resume creators  allow jobseekers to make and download their finished resumes straight from the internet to start applying right away.

These  expert-approved resume templates  for professionals  highlight the skills and experience  that each individual includes and allows the jobseeker to improve the impact of their application.

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Struggling with Resume Writing?

Ease the process with our templates

How to Write a Resume for the First Time

How to Write a Resume for the First Time

Updated September 29, 2023 12 min read

Writing your first ever resume is a daunting experience, so don’t give yourself too much of a hard time. When you’re looking through job opportunities and researching various requirements and specifications, you might be wondering how to make yourself sound qualified for the jobs in question.

But don’t forget, every CEO applied for their first job once upon a time, and you’re no different. When you’re looking for your first job, employers won’t expect you to show professional experience. Writing your first resume is about shaping your experiences in a way that emphasizes your skills and attributes.

pink and brown cake on brown wooden table

So, how do you go about this? What must you include on your first ever resume to stand a chance of receiving an interview? We’ve got you covered. This guide will tell you everything you need to know about your first resume, so you can stand out from the crowd.

Before you write your resume

The best resumes are personalized and relevant to the job that is being applied for. As such, you need to think carefully about the roles that you’re applying for and create a resume that is suitable. Before you download a template and start adding sections to your first resume, consider doing the following:

  • Research job boards like Indeed and make a list of entry-level positions that interest you.
  • Thoroughly read the job descriptions and requirements. Make a list of skills that are commonly sought after (teamwork, effective communication, customer service, etc.).
  • Create a LinkedIn profile and research the professional profiles of people in positions that you aspire to work in. You could even reach out and message them to ask for advice.
  • Note down your core skills, attributes, and experiences. Even if you don’t think they’re relevant, to begin with, just get everything down in front of you so you can use it as a starting point.

red hammock on green trees

Doing this research in advance saves you lots of time when it comes to editing and updating your resume. It also helps you build a clear picture of the type of job you hope to acquire. When you’ve done your initial research, it’s time to start putting your resume together.

Download a template

The first thing to do when writing your first resume is to download a template. You can find templates on Microsoft Word, or a simple Google search will reveal countless templates for your perusal.

Consider searching for entry-level resumes and, if possible, utilize a template from the industry you hope to work in, whether it’s hospitality, sales, or tourism, for example.

What to include in your first resume

Remember, when you’re compiling your first resume, you’re unlikely to “WOW” your potential employer with your previous professional experiences. As such, you need to frame your resume in a way that plays to your strengths and highlights your education, skills and attributes. Let’s take a look at how to shape your first resume.

Begin with a compelling introduction/statement of intent

Studies show that, on average, a recruiter spends no more than ten seconds reviewing a resume. What does this tell us? You need to make an excellent first impression.

silhouette photography of person

The best way to do this is to write a compelling introduction or statement of intent at the start of your resume, so it’s the first thing recruiters look at. Make sure your statement is:

  • Concise and to the point. Your statement should be a maximum of 2-4 sentences and should articulate exactly what type of position you’re looking for.
  • Relevant to the job in question. You need to personalize your statement for every single job you apply for.
  • Highlighting your key strength. While it’s not the place to list all of your skills and achievements, including your key strength in your statement helps to showcase your suitability for the job.

Writing a strong introduction will capture the attention of the recruiter and will give you a good chance of securing an interview or at least will motivate them to continue reading your resume.

Highlight your education

When you’re writing your first resume , the chances are you’ve recently completed your education. This will form a significant chunk of your resume, so you need to make sure it’s well presented.


Include your most recent education first, and then list them in chronological order. When writing your education, make sure you include the following:

  • The name of the institution, the course/s studied, and the month and year of study.
  • Grades achieved (or expected grades if you’re waiting for results).
  • Any specific research project that is potentially relevant to the job applied for.
  • Extra-curricular activities that you completed while in education, such as the Duke of Edinburgh award, as well as any societies or clubs that you joined and played for.

Don’t feel the need to go all the way back to primary or even secondary school if you don’t think it’s necessary. For instance, if you have a Masters’ degree, your employer is likely unconcerned with the results you achieved at the end of high school.

List your achievements and awards

This is a vital section in any entry-level resume. Your achievements will help you stand out from the crowd and will show your employer that you excel at something.

In the absence of experience, achievements and awards bolster your resume and give recruiters further insight into your personality and potential.

Articulate your core skills

You need to think carefully about how to present your skills on your resume. It’s not enough just to list the skills that are outlined on the job listing, as this proves nothing to recruiters.

It’s worth crafting a short paragraph in which you articulate your core skills and how you attained them. For example, if you’re applying for a position in a bar, you could write the following:

“My four years spent as first-team football captain at high school enabled me to develop many transferrable skills. I learned the value of collaborating with my team, working hard, and communicating effectively. I also understood from a young age the importance of taking responsibility for my actions, which helped me grow and mature alongside my studies.”

man in black tank top playing acoustic guitar

As you can see from this example, it gives the person reading your resume an insight into how you developed your core skills, as opposed to just reading the skills listed on a piece of paper. This will undoubtedly help your resume stand out from others.

Include any relevant experiences

If you’ve undertaken any voluntary work or odd part time jobs while you’ve been studying, it’s important to include them on your resume.

You should think outside the box with this section and think about things you’ve done in your past that could be framed as useful experience. For instance, walking the elderly neighbor's dog every weekend could be construed as a form of volunteering.

What’s more, babysitting or childminding is valuable work experience and indicates that you’re trustworthy and responsible.

Don’t forget that recruiters are looking for any evidence that you can adapt to a workplace environment, so any experiences you’ve had in the past will show them that you have the potential to succeed in a professional role.

Top tips for compiling your first resume

Now that we’ve gone through the various sections you should include on your first resume, here are some top tips you should consider when putting it together:

  • Try and keep it to one page . For entry-level positions, you won’t have a great deal to write, so it’s a good idea to present all of the necessary information on one page and keep it concise.
  • Include keywords in your resume so that you will be picked up in the Applicant Tracking System. If your resume doesn’t include the keywords the ATS is looking for; your application might not even be seen.
  • Run it through a grammar and spell checker like Grammarly. We can’t stress this point enough. If a recruiter notices any spelling or grammatical errors on your resume, they’re likely just to discard it without even reading it.
  • Use standardized fonts and sizes. Your resume must look professional, so don’t be tempted to use a flashy, decorative font just because you think it looks nice.
  • When you include your contact details in the header of the document, create an appropriate email address such as [email protected] . Email addresses from your childhood won’t look good on a professional resume!
  • If you’re delivering resumes by hand, print them off and place them in a folder or wallet. There’s nothing worse than handing a crumpled piece of paper to an employer.

Closing thoughts

Writing your first ever resume is certainly not an easy task, and it requires a little bit of trial and error to get it right. If you find that you’re not hearing back from employers after applying for a number of jobs in a specific period of time, don’t be afraid to mix things up and change things around.

fireworks display during night time

Whatever you do, don’t get disheartened. It’s a competitive world out there, and looking for your first job takes time.

Hopefully, this guide will help you put together the perfect first resume and will secure you the first job you’ve been looking for.

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How to Write a First Job Resume for Teens

Even with no work experience, teens can still make an effective resume. See a sample teen resume.

How to Write a Resume for Teens

A well-written resume can be a key to success when looking for a first job or applying for a scholarship or competitive academic program. Even with no “real-world” work experience, you can still make an effective resume as a teen. Here are eight tips for writing a first-time resume or a first job resume as a teen. See a sample teen resume below.

Teenage girl doing homework in her room. The school has been closed during coronavirus outbreak and the classes have moved to e-learning platform.
Nikon D850

Getty Images

Know the Purpose

Identify the goal of the resume. A resume to get a job as a lifeguard has a different purpose than one for getting a philanthropic academic scholarship. Review the job description or qualifications and make a list of the essential requirements and preferred requirements.

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The essential requirements, or must-haves, are fixed or firm prerequisites such as: “Must have a clean driver’s license” if applying to be a delivery driver; or “Must have a GPA of 3.5” if applying for a specific academic program. These requirements are usually not flexible, and your resume should show that you meet them to be considered.

Preferred or ideal qualifications are nice to have, but may be flexible or could be satisfied a different way. A preferred qualification might be written as “Previous retail experience preferred” or “Applicants with volunteer work in social justice preferred.” If you have the preferred qualifications, be sure to include those qualifications. If you don’t have an exact preferred qualification but something similar, you can include it in your resume.

For example, while you may not have retail experience but have volunteered multiple times at the local thrift clothing store , that work can show you are interested in clothing and have some experience with a retail environment. The addition of similar experience is useful if it helps to make you more qualified than someone else who has no preferred or similar qualifications.

Choose a Simple Document Format

You can start with a blank document or use a resume template on Word or Google, but be sure to select one that is simple, without graphics, tables or other complex formatting styles. Often those templates do not load correctly or clearly into the Applicant Tracking Systems that are used as databases of candidates. Complex templates can also be difficult to update later. Most ATS do best with Word documents when submitted online via a posting portal.

Each resume section except for your contact information and your summary can have a title to separate it. You can use something as simple as: "Education, Experience, Skills" to designate each area. All caps, small caps, bold or just a little color and/or an underline can be effective ways to add some style to the section headings while still having a clean, easy to read appearance. A teen resume should almost always be one page, in 10-11 point font with standard page margins.

If emailing a resume, a PDF version works. If you're bringing it in-person, you can use anything that results in a professional and easy to read format on a clean, unfolded piece of white printer paper.

Professional Contact Information

In the body of the resume – not in a header – include your name as you would want it on a paycheck, your best contact phone number and a professional email address. This is not the time to use [email protected]. Instead, use an email address that is a combination of your first and last name or something else that is simple and professional. Be sure it is an email address that you check multiple times a day – including spam and clutter folders. You do not need to put in your full address, but having your city and state can be helpful if you are applying to a local neighborhood opportunity. For a more competitive or business-related opportunity, you can include a link to your LinkedIn profile, if you have one.

Summary or Objective Statement

Sometimes a resume may become separated from the pile of similar applicants. To ensure that the reader knows your target or goal in submitting a resume, include a statement of purpose. For example: “High school junior targeting a full-time summer job as a lifeguard. Able to start as of June 1 and available to work full time until Aug. 15. Can work part time during the school year.”

For many teenagers, your education is often your most significant accomplishment and qualification so far. List your school, your grade level and include additional information such as relevant classes. For example, you can list having an A in biology if you're applying to a biology program or your three years playing lacrosse if you are applying for a coaching job in your town's parks and recreation department. If you have a 3.0 GPA or above, you can include that too. You can also include any certifications or other training that is important for the role, such as CPR or a lifeguard certification.

Experience – whether it's paid, unpaid, part-time , full-time or on a volunteer basis – can do a lot to add to your credentials. Include any experience that shows you have done similar work, but also include any experience that shows you are reliable, trustworthy, hardworking or interested in the type of business or industry. To an employer, a candidate who has been hired or managed by someone else seems “less risky” than one who has never held responsibilities outside of the home or school. Some examples could be volunteering each week at the church nursery, watching your neighbor’s cats every time they go out of town or helping the drama teacher to set up and clean up after every performance at the high school.

Add Other Relevant Content

Some additional sections you can include are: skills , technology tools, awards/achievements, sports, clubs, hobbies and interests. The key here is to limit these to only things that will add value to your credentials. No need to include that you love playing Minecraft if you are not applying to a video game camp as a group leader, for example.

Review Your Work

Proof and edit online, print it out and proof it again. Then, ask a couple of other people – adults or people who have a vested interest in your resume representing you well – to review it too. You would much rather catch an error with a trusted contact than to miss out on an opportunity because of an autocorrect mistake.

When built correctly from the start, your resume can continue to evolve without much effort as you add more to your qualifications. See a sample teen resume below.

Sample Teen Resume

Robin Student

955.555.5555 | [email protected] | Danville, CA | linkedin.com/in/robinstudent

High school junior targeting a full-time summer job as a lifeguard. Able to start as of June 1 and available to work full time until Aug. 15. Can work part time during the school year.

  • Washington High School, Class of 2022
  • CPR and Lifeguard certification.


  • Swim team co-captain.
  • Volunteer at Unity Church as a summer camp counselor.
  • Babysitter for neighbor's toddlers.
  • Can help others learn swimming techniques.
  • Helpful and enthusiastic.
  • Punctual and follows instructions.
  • Girl Scouts.
  • Community garden volunteer.

Tags: resumes , Applying , high school , teens , money , personal finance

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Our expert contributors give their best advice on answering common interview questions, perfecting job applications, negotiating salary and more.

Find savvy job advice from the brains behind top careers blogs and websites, including Robin Madell, Robin Reshwan and Hallie Crawford.


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How to Write a Resume with No Experience [21+ Examples]

Background Image

It’s time for your first job hunt !

You need to write a resume , which can be nerve-wracking if you don’t have any real-life work experience.  

You don’t know where to start, what to include, or which resume format to choose.

On top of that, most advice you find online isn’t relevant because it focuses on emphasizing professional background.

Chances are, you’re straight out of college with no experience to speak of. 

Or maybe you're a high-school student applying for a part-time job.

Whichever the case may be, you’re probably having trouble filling in the blank space on your resume that’s supposed to be the work experience section.

Worry not, though. In this guide, we’re going to help you create an AMAZING resume, no work experience is needed.

  • How to format your resume with no work experience
  • 4 sections to replace work experience (that help you stand out)
  • 2 no-work experience resume samples (guaranteed to land you the job)

How to Format Your Resume [with No Work Experience + Examples] 

A resume format is the layout of your resume .

The ideal resume format usually depends on how much work experience you have. 

But what happens when you have none?

For a no-experience resume, we recommend that you use the reverse-chronological format . 

no experience resume format

It’s the most popular format amongst applicants and a recruiter favorite.  

The sections in your reverse-chronological resume will be: 

  • Header : Contact Information and Resume Statement
  • Internships, extracurricular activities, projects, volunteer work  (These sections will replace your work experience)

In this article, we’ll walk you through each of these sections, and explain how to write them in a way that you stand out from the crowd.

Let’s dive in.

Start With Your Resume Header

resume header example

Your resume header includes your contact information and your resume statement.  

Below, we’ll show you how to write both of these elements and how to include them in your header section.

Put Down Your Contact Information

Just like the name suggests, the first thing you add to your header is your personal and contact information.

It’s the easiest part to get right, just keep it short and to the point.

In your contact information section, mention the following:

  • First and Last Name
  • Phone Number
  • E-mail Address
  • A link to a professional profile (e.g. LinkedIn ) or personal webpage (if you have one)

Make sure to use a professional-sounding E-mail.

I.e. something along the lines of “[email protected].” 

You’re sure to leave a wrong impression if you use an email you created back in preschool ( “[email protected]” ).

Make sure to double-check, triple-check your contact information. After all, the recruiter can’t contact you if you have a typo in your phone number.

(Optional) Write Your Resume Objective

A resume objective is a short heading statement in your resume, where you describe your professional goals and aspirations.

Fun fact - hiring managers look at your resume for 5-6 seconds max .

Yep, that’s right. In most cases, the hiring manager is literally drowning in resumes. So, they have a couple of seconds to skim each one.

Well, this section is your chance to catch their attention (and let them know you’ve got what it takes).

A resume objective is usually 3-4 sentences max and includes information on:

  • What your field of study is;
  • What your skills and experiences are (ones that are relevant to the job );
  • Why you’re applying for this position and/or this company.

As with contact information, you don’t need to label your resume objective with a title. Just write it underneath your contact information section.

Here’s an example of what a resume objective looks like:

“ Recent Communications graduate looking to apply for the role of Secretary at XYZ inc. Extremely organized with good writing and multitasking skills. Practical experience in management gained through several university projects, which involved coordinating tasks between different team members and ensuring that everyone was in sync with the latest information. ”

Emphasize Your Education

education section on resume no experience

In your average resume, the first section would be work experience.

Since you don’t have any, though, you’ll want to omit that and replace it with the education section.

This way, you bring a lot more attention to your education, which is one of your main selling points. 

What should you include in the Education section? 

List the following features in this order:

  • Name of the degree
  • Name of the institution
  • Years attended
  • Location of the institution (optional)
  • GPA (optional)
  • Honors (optional)
  • Relevant coursework (optional)
  • Exchange programs (optional) 

As a general rule, if you studied in a prestigious university, you can add the name of the institution before the degree . This way, you will catch the recruiter’s attention faster.

Now, let’s go through some real-life examples:

BA in Computer Science

Tufts University

Medford and Somerville, Massachusetts

10/2015 - 06/2018

Magna Cum Laude

  • Exchange Program in Greenville, NY

University of the Arts London

BA in Interior Design 

10/2017 - Ongoing

Westwood High

Boston, Massachusetts

Class of 2018 

career masterclass

Education Section Q&A

Still have some questions about the education section? Worry not, we’re about to give you all the answers!

Do I include my GPA?

  • The answer here is a “maybe.” We’d recommend including a GPA if it’s higher than 3.5. Anything lower than that, and you might be underselling yourself. Keep in mind, though, that most employers don’t care about your grades.

Should I include my coursework?

  • Yep, but just as long as it’s relevant. If you have no work experience, including courses can help establish your expertise in a field. Feel free to skip out on any basic courses, though. No one cares about your Maths 101 course.

Do I mention my degree if I dropped out?

  • If you studied for more than 2-3 years, yes. A half-finished degree is still better than no degree. If you dropped out after a semester, though, that doesn’t really mean much.

Do I mention my high school degree?

  • Only if it’s your only degree. If you have any higher education, your high school degree will only take up space.

4 Sections to Replace Work Experience [With Examples]

Now that you’ve listed your education, it’s time to fill that work experience gap in your resume.

You aren’t still worried about your lack of experience, right?

Because here are four sections you can use instead:

1) Internships

Have you done an internship that is relevant to the position you are applying for?

Now’s the time to mention it. 

Here is how you add an internship to your resume:

First , place the Internship section right after the education section. 

Title it: Internships

Second , write your internship title and role . Be specific.

If your internship was in the marketing department, instead of just “Intern”, say “Marketing Intern”. 

Third , put down the company name , location , and duration of the internship - in that order.

Marketing Intern

Full Picture

New York, NY

09/2019 - 12/2019

Easy and straightforward, right?

One more step:

Last , add a list of responsibilities you had as an intern in bullet point form. 

If you have any tangible achievements , even better! Write those in as well.

Finally, tailor both the responsibilities and achievements to the role you’re applying for.

Here’s how that looks in practice:

You used to be an Advertising Intern .

You’re applying for the position of Social Media Assistant . 

Here’s how you would put down your internship entry:


Full Picture Company

  • Analyzed various social media platforms for trending content
  • Managed company social media accounts
  • Posted interested content on company Facebook page, increasing engagement by 25%

The listed responsibilities and achievements are directly connected to the Social Media Assistant job requirements.

You’re applying for a Content Writer position. Take a look at the same entry now:

  • Assisted the Marketing Manager in writing press releases and new blog posts , which increased web traffic by 25%.

Notice how the internship title remains the same. 

But in this case you’re applying for a Content Writer position, so you are highlighting your writing experience instead.

For more examples, check out our full guides to an internship resume and how to write a cover letter for an internship .

2) Extracurricular activities

Still have a ton of empty space in your resume?

Extracurricular activities are always a great addition!

Whether they’re related to the job you’re applying for or not, they still show one thing:

You’re hard-working and motivated.

Imagine you’re the HR manager, and you can pick between these 2 candidates:

  • Josh Johnson. Studied at Massachusetts State. 4.0 GPA, but that’s all he did in college - no extracurricular activities, internships, or anything else.
  • Suzie Activeson. Also studied at Massachusetts state. 3.2 GPA. Vice-president of the business club. Served as a student government senator for 2 semesters. Organized several events as part of the marketing club.

Sure, Josh is probably qualified, but we don't know anything about him, other than that he studied a lot.

Suzie, on the other hand, can manage a team (business club VP), organize events (marketing club), and is passionate about making a change (student government).

So, which one would you pick?

Now, let’s explain how to list extracurricular activities on your resume:

  • Title of the section: Extracurricular Activities
  • Name of the organization and/or team 
  • Your role in the organization
  • Time period
  • Noteworthy awards or achievements

Extracurricular Activities

Public Speaking Club


09/2018 - 09/2019

  • Organized 10+ public speaking lectures
  • Brought in speakers from all over the state
  • Conducted public speaking workshops

3) Volunteering Experience

Volunteering shows dedication and passion to apply yourself. 

And there’s nothing recruiters love more than a committed employee.  

Whether you spend your free time in a soup kitchen, or you helped collect trash in the countryside, you can mention it in your resume!

But how do you list volunteering experience?

Well, it follows the same logic as your internship and extracurriculars:

  • Title of the section: Volunteering Experience
  • Name of the organization
  • Relevant tasks and achievements (bullet points)

Volunteering Experience

Grand Archive Library Volunteer

Washington, D.C

08/2017 - 02/2019

  • Performed secretarial activities, such as sorting mail, filing documents, answering phone calls, and taking messages. 
  • Led a poetry reading event twice a month. 

4) Projects

In this section, you can add any relevant projects you were part of during your time in school or at an internship.

Your capstone project, graduation thesis, or research project go here. 

No need for work experience!

You can also mention any other type of project you’ve worked on in school, including:

  • Business project for a real-life client
  • Mock website you created in Web Design 101
  • Fake magazine you created as a capstone project
  • Market research you did as part of your graduation thesis
  • Software you developed in Software Engineering class

...And so on!

Here’s how you put them down:

  • Title of the section: Projects
  • Project name
  • Project type
  • Related organization 
  • Relevant responsibilities and achievements (optional)

And now, for some practical examples. Here’s what a journalism student project could look like:

Online Privacy and Social Media: a Journalistic Study of Facebook and Cambridge Analytica

Journalism Capstone Project

Harvard University

09/2018 - 11/2018

And here’s a law school example:

In-House Pro Bono Project

Columbia Law School

11/2018 - 03/2019

  • Completed a full petition for U nonimmigrant status, interviewed legal persons and drafted affidavits.

If you have anything physical to back up your project with, feel free to include a link.

For example, if you’re a developer, you could include a link to your GitHub profile.

Stand out with your Skills 

skills section no work experience resume

There are two types of skills you can include on your no-experience resume: 

Soft skills and hard skills. 

What’s the difference? 

Soft skills are attributes or habits that describe how you work. They are not specific to a job, but indirectly help you adapt to the work environment. 

Here are some of the most popular ones: teamwork, responsibility, leadership, creativity, etc.  

Hard skills , on the other hand, refer to specific tools, technical knowledge and training and other work-specific skills. They apply directly to the job. 

Technical writing, C++, financial accounting, etc. are all examples of hard skills.

So, which of these skills should you include? 

That depends on a lot of factors, but as someone with no work experience, you should opt more for hard skills .

See, you could write all the cool buzzwords like “Critical Thinking” and “Leadership,” but the recruiter won’t believe you.

Fun fact - that’s what 90% of students do.

Instead, you should focus on skills that make you stand out , and in most cases, those are hard skills.

So, how do you decide which hard skills to mention? Easy! Just check the job ad you’re applying for.

Let’s say you’re applying for an entry-level creative internship, and you find these requirements in the job description: 

  • Video editing experience (Premiere, After Effects)
  • UI design experience
  • Photo editing experience (Photoshop)
  • Photography experience
  • Experience with Adobe Illustrator

You’d transfer this into your skills section:

  • Premiere & After Effects - Expert
  • Photoshop - Expert
  • UI Design - Intermediate
  • Adobe Illustrator - Intermediate
  • Photography - Intermediate

Not sure which skills to mention? Check out our article on 150+ must-have skills for all sorts of professions !

Other Sections You Could Include in a No-Experience Resume

A resume without experience does have one advantage: extra space . 

You can use this space to create other sections that highlight how awesome you are!

Here are some sections you could include:

  • Hobbies and Interests . Add flair to your resume by showing your genuine passion and interest in the industry.
  • Languages. Do you know a second language? Or even a third? Awesome! Most companies these days are pretty international and appreciate an extra language skill or two. Be mindful not to over-exaggerate your proficiency, though. Only knowing how to ask “¿Donde está la biblioteca?” doesn’t warrant a Spanish entry on your resume.
  • Awards & Certifications . Do you have any fancy pieces of paper that show you’re smart? Maybe it’s an award for a terrific essay in a competition, or a certificate from an online course . Whichever the case may be, awards and certifications show that you’re a winner, so definitely include them in their own respective section.

Need Inspiration? 2 No Work Experience Resume Samples

Do you still have questions or don’t know where to begin?

That’s when a resume sample comes in handy. 

It provides you with a predetermined format.

It also helps you picture how your no-experience resume is supposed to look like. 

As Picasso put it: Good artists copy; great artists steal! 

Here are 2 no work experience resume samples you can borrow ideas from:

Business Student Resume Sample

no experience resume sample

High-school Student Resume Sample

high school no experience resume sample

Create a Matching Cover Letter

All done with your resume?

It’s not over yet. You need to write a cover letter to go with it.

A cover letter is a single-page letter that accompanies your resume and is part of your job application.

Look at it this way: your resume describes your experiences, and your cover letter explains (in simple words) how they’re relevant to the job.

Now, here’s a quick infographic on what to include in a cover letter:

cover letter writing for no experience resume

Finally, as with everything else in your resume, make sure to keep your cover letter relevant, short, and concise.

The hiring manager doesn’t have time to read an autobiography, they’ll only review your cover letter for a few minutes. 

There’s a lot more to creating a good cover letter than what we just explained.

For a complete, all-you-need-to-know walk-through, check out our Complete Guide on How to Write a Cover Letter !

Key Takeaways

...and that’s a wrap!

At this point, you should know everything there is to know about writing a killer no-experience resume.

Just to keep things fresh, though, let’s quickly go through everything we’ve learned so far:

  • When creating your no-experience resume, use the reverse-chronological format.
  • You can create a killer no-experience resume by emphasizing your education instead. Include relevant internships, soft & hard skills, and projects.
  • Other sections you can include on your resume are hobbies & interests, languages, certifications, or achievements.
  • Keep all the content on your resume clear, precise, and relevant. Use bullet points for all your descriptions.
  • After you’re done with your resume, you want to write an awesome cover letter that goes with it. The cover letter is a one-page letter that tells the story behind your resume content and reemphasizes why you’re a great fit for the job.

Related Resume Examples

  • Internship Resume
  • High School Resume
  • Research Assistant Resume
  • College Resume
  • Students and Graduates Resume
  • Teacher Resume

Recommended Readings:

  • 43+ Resume Tips and Tricks to Land Your Next Job in 2024
  • 20+ One-Page Resume Templates [Free Download]
  • 35+ Common Interview Questions and Answers [Complete List]

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Home / Blog / Financial Education / Financial Health Tips / Resume Writing Tips for Recent College Grads

Resume Writing Tips for Recent College Grads

  • June 1, 2017
  • By: Greenpath Financial Wellness
  • GreenPath Financial Wellness is a trusted national nonprofit with more than 60-years of helping people build financial health and resiliency. Our NFCC-certified counselors give you options to manage credit card debt, student loans and homeownership.

As students around America graduate, hundreds of thousands of people will soon enter the full-time workforce for the first time. Many of you may be asking, “How do I land my first job when I don’t have any experience?” One key tool for job seekers is a resume. We have some resume writing tips for first-time job seekers.

Why is a resume important?

Ideally, your resume is a one-page document that explains your skills and experiences. In many cases, it offers an employer the first impression of a job seeker.  As a result of the quality of your resume, you could be accepted or rejected as a candidate within a matter of seconds.

Play up your accomplishments at school

Do you have a high grade-point average? Include it! Did you graduate magna cum laude? Make sure it’s on your resume. Make sure to include any awards, competitions, publications, and news clippings that are examples of your most impactful work and experience. You may also want to list additional coursework that is outside your major if you think it is relevant to the job you are seeking, particularly if it was at the 400 level or above.

Your extracurricular activities may also be a great source for relevant real-world experience. Clubs, internships, volunteer work and similar experiences may have resulted in the development of personal skills that are highly marketable. You may find that you have more relevant experience than you think!

Tailor your resume to the job you are seeking

If you are applying for a job in a particular field, emphasize your relevant experience. This may mean using more descriptive content to explain your experience, or placing those experiences closer to the top of the page.

Make sure to research an organization’s website and social media channels before submitting a resume and cover letter. Look for keywords and phrases that are frequently used on these channels. Write your resume in the voice of the company you are applying to. This strategy will send a clear signal that you have done your homework and have made the effort to understand the employer’s culture. Positioning yourself as a fit for this culture will put you in an advantageous position.

Language and presentation matters

Use strong, action-oriented verbs to explain your experience. Don’t say “worked on”; use “managed”, “led,” or “improved” instead. This conveys seriousness and accomplishment. It’s an active, rather than passive, style of writing. Also, since you are fresh out of college, keep your resume to one page. Being too wordy or including irrelevant experience at this point in your career can only hurt you.

Also, ditch your university or college email address in favor of something more professional. Lastly, if you want to share more experience than one page allows, include a link to your LinkedIn profile or a personal website. This way you can show off your skills, experiences, and personality in a less restrictive format, while still being respectful of the limitations set by the resume.

Empathize with the hiring manager

Take a moment to think from the hiring manager’s perspective. He or she is probably drowning in resumes and is looking for every reason to narrow the candidates to a manageable level. They also want to make sure that the person that they hire not only has the right skills and experiences, but also fits in with the company culture. When writing your resume, think, “How can I catch this person’s eye, while maintaining a professional reputation?” This is your chance to speak directly to a particular person. Employers are made up of people – so remember the human element.

Cover letters matter

A lot of candidates place emphasis on their resume, but don’t spend nearly the same amount of time thinking about their cover letter. This is where you can shine. Cover letters are your first personal introduction to an employer that gives a view of the person behind the resume. You can make a great impression by writing about your experiences and what you’ve learned from them.

Most companies want their employees to think for themselves, so your cover letter is a place where you can express your insights into your experience and the job you are applying for. Make sure to be courteous, and if you know the hiring manager’s name, you should address the letter specifically to her or him. Personalizing your cover letter in this manner shows your interest in this organization is genuine.

Landing your first job is both scary and exciting. Keep in mind, if you don’t get the first job you apply for, that doesn’t mean you’ve failed. Rather, think of this as a new class you are taking: “How to Get a Job.” Each part of the application and interview process is a learning experience.

You may find that the more jobs you apply for, the more your job seeking, writing and interview skills will improve. So present yourself as the best fit for that dream position so you can land it!


resume writing for first time job seekers

A resumé template for your first job

You’ve wrapped up your education and you’re keen to make your debut into the workforce. You might have already started bookmarking jobs you like – but there’s something you need to do before you can apply: write a standout resumé. 

A good resumé is an essential tool for every job seeker. And it’s even more important for new job seekers with limited or no work experience. It’s the first thing that prospective employers and recruiters want to see, no matter what stage of career you’re at. A well-written, professional-looking resumé makes all the difference when you’re applying for roles and need to stand out . 

How to approach a first job resumé when you don’t have any experience? First-time job seekers have to take a different tack to writing a resumé than people with years of work experience. If you’ve researched resumé examples for a first job, you’ll have noticed that overall they’re shorter and have a greater focus on education and soft skills than resumés for those with work experience.

In this article, we show you how to write your first resumé , the best fonts and formatting to use, and what skills to put on your first job resumé. We also provide resumé examples for a first job and a resumé template you can use, to give you a head start.

Resumé preparation

Before sitting down to write your first job resumé, it’s important to gather all the information you want to include. By preparing all this information up front, you’ll find it much easier to tailor your resumé to your skills and the types of roles you’re applying for. 

Take a moment to assess your goals. What kind of job are you aspiring  to get? Who is your target audience (a hiring manager, a recruiter, an industry leader)? Make a list of all your soft skills and technical abilities. Write down the formal names of your qualifications, which school or institution they’re from, and when you started and finished the course/training. 

Once you have all your information together, you can start to write your resumé and tailor it to your audience and purpose. For example, if you’re applying for an entry-level role in finance, you’ll want to highlight any education you have in economics or mathematics, and mention soft skills like critical thinking and communication . 

You should also read through any job descriptions you’ve saved and look at the specific criteria they list. It’s important to understand exactly what your prospective employer is looking for before you start to write your resumé. On that note: you should tailor your resumé to suit every role you apply for, changing it to reflect the job requirements listed in each ad.

Essential resumé components

Your resumé doesn’t have to be exactly the same as your peers’ or any first job resumé examples you may have seen online. Resumés come in a wide variety of designs, with different sections, headings and formats. However, there are certain elements you must include, whether it’s your first job resumé or your tenth. These are:

  • Your full name and contact information: these should be at the top of your first job resumé, in a bold, easy-to-read font. You want it to be effortless for the hiring manager to get in touch with you. While your home address is not necessary, you should include your phone number, email address and potentially links to your social media accounts, in hyperlinks. 
  • Resumé summary: it’s a good idea to write a resumé objective  for a first job as it helps provide some insight into you, your skills and your career ambitions. Without any work experience on your resumé, this is your chance to tell the hiring manager why you’re suitable for the role.  
  • Education: your resumé should always include your academic background . List schools and colleges/universities you’ve attended, as well as key qualifications and any special awards you’ve received. There’s no need to include your grades for most job roles, unless they are particularly impressive or relevant to your industry. 
  • Experience: you might not have any formal experience to list on a first job resumé, but you can still include this section if you have done any casual or informal jobs. You might have done voluntary work or helped out at the family business. If it’s relevant to your career path, include those duties and what your main responsibilities were.
  • Skills section : this is one of the most important parts of your first job resumé. It’s where you list all of your skills, prioritised by how relevant they are to the job you’re applying for. You can list all the skills you accrued in your studies: software proficiency, analytical skills , public-speaking skills, teamwork , graphic design, editing, accounting – any abilities you have that will grab the attention of the recruiter.

Structuring your resumé

Once you’ve decided on the information you want to include on your first job resumé, it’s time to format it. The right formatting ensures that you’re highlighting the correct information and that your skills and qualifications are easy to scan. Not only that, a well-formatted and well-structured resumé makes a professional first impression. It sends a message to the recruiter that you’re organised, competent and have good attention to detail – all desirable qualities in an employee . 

The typical resumé will have a name and contact details at the top, then a short resumé summary or career objective underneath, followed by sections for education, skills and experience. You can download our free resumé template  or do an online search for more resumé examples for first job applications, to get an idea of the structure to use. 

No matter what type of template you opt for, it’s important that the layout is tidy, the design is clean, and the font is professional and easy to scan. It doesn’t matter how skilled or qualified you are if your resumé uses a font that’s too small or hard to read, or your most relevant skills are buried in a big block of text. 

Recruiters usually receive a high volume of applications and have a limited amount of time to read each resumé and cover letter. They might only have time to skim-read for your skills, so it’s worth paying extra attention to the top third of your resumé. 

Enhancing your resumé

Don’t worry if your first job resumé is a little light on content. There are ways you can enhance it without filling it with irrelevant information. If you want to add more dimension to your resumé, think about adding sections for extracurricular activities, hobbies or references . You could also add any sporting achievements, linking your skills to the criteria for the role. For example, as captain of the local soccer team, you may have acquired leadership or conflict-resolution skills .

One important thing to note is that many businesses use software called applicant tracking systems (ATS) to scan resumés and sort them automatically based on key words and phrases. For this reason, it’s also a good idea to tailor your resumé to include the exact words used in the job description. Include the job title you’re applying for in the heading at the top and include keywords that connect to the field of work you want to do.

It’s also good to remember that your resumé is only one factor in your application. In most cases, it will be supported by a cover letter , where you can be more specific and detailed about your suitability for the role. 

Finalising your resumé

Before you send off your first job resumé, read it through for any typos or spelling errors. After that, share it with a friend or family member for feedback, in case you missed any little mistakes. Refer back to the job description and see if you’ve included all the right keywords and phrases. Look up skills to put on your first job resumé if you feel it needs more targeted content to help it stand out.

Once you’ve finalised your resumé, print it out and do a final proofread, as sometimes mistakes are easier to notice on paper than on a screen. If it’s good to go, convert your file to a PDF and print it out a final time to make sure it’s still formatted correctly. 

Resumé templates and examples

To give you an idea of what a complete resumé looks like, here is a resumé for a first job example, which you can use as a template for your own. Read the example, then write your own personalised version, substituting in your details and skills relevant to the job role. Here’s a simple starter resumé example:

Resumé – Bindi Harris

1 George Street, Sydney 044 123 1234 [email protected]

A motivated and determined marketing graduate who recently obtained a Bachelor of Marketing and Public Relations degree from University of Technology Sydney. Skilled in digital content creation and social media management, I’m eager to launch my career in social media marketing with a reputable digital agency.

Bachelor of Marketing & Public Relations, University of Melbourne 2020-2023

VCE, Lowther Hall, 2019 (Captain of the debate team 2019)

2021-22 Volunteer retail assistant, St Vincent de Paul Society Responsibilities: managed stocktake, POS duties, customer service, merchandising, employee training

  • Microsoft Office (advanced)
  • Illustrator (basic)
  • Photoshop (advanced)
  • Customer service
  • Cash handling
  • Operating POS system
  • Critical thinking

Hobbies & Interests

  • Photography
  • Video editing
  • Script Writing
  • Acting – graduate of Melbourne Actors Lab

A resumé is an essential part of the job-seeker’s toolkit, so it’s worthwhile spending time to get it right. For recent graduates, that means focusing on education, skills and a well-written resumé objective – and making sure your formatting and structure looks neat and professional, so it makes a good impression. 

Tailor your resumé to the job you’re applying for and include important keywords and phrases for potential automated tracking systems. Importantly, remember that your resumé is only a part of your application – keep it concise and to the point and save any extra details for your cover letter.

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How to Create an Effective Resume

What is a resume.

A resume, also known as a CV (curriculum vitae), is a formal document presenting your professional qualifications to secure a job. It highlights essential skills, education, notable accomplishments, and relevant work experience, creating a compelling snapshot of your background and abilities, increasing your chances of getting hired. Resume writing doesn’t have to be hard if you have the right tools and the best resume formats at your fingertips.

While your ultimate goal with a resume is to get a job, the first purpose it serves is to attract enough attention to get you an interview. Recruiters may go through hundreds of resumes and only pick a few to interview. A well-written and well-formatted resume gets your foot in the door so you can wow them with your communication and personal interview skills.

No matter what type of resume layout you choose, it should be a snapshot of your relevant life and work experience, skills and communication ability. Think of your resume as a one-page advertisement, and you are the product. Combined with a well-written cover letter , your resume gets you through the door for the job.

Why is a good resume important?

When it comes to searching for a job, your resume is the first place you should start to build a solid base. A good resume is important for many reasons, including:

  • It sells your strongest accomplishments and skills
  • It catches the attention of recruiters and employers
  • It shows why you match the project or position
  • It helps you get a job interview, where you can sell your skills in person

Depending on the job, a hiring recruiter or manager receives hundreds to thousands of applications for every open spot within their companies. Resumes are the tool they use to narrow down candidates and determine which ones deserve a face-to-face interview. They are often short on time and look for ways to quickly find solid candidates for each job.

A resume can help you land your dream job if it’s written correctly. If you outline your relevant experience and skills, display what unique benefits you offer to the company and match yourself to the position, you grab the employer’s attention. Focus on what makes you different than other candidates and what you offer that no one else can.

Even if your resume doesn’t lead to the job you are applying for now, a memorable resume can be pulled up later when another position opens.

What does a good resume include?

Personal details.

At the very least, the personal details section should include your email address, name and phone number. You may also choose to include a link to a website or portfolio, depending on the job. If you have a LinkedIn account, include that along with any relevant social media accounts.

LinkedIn is the biggest global network for professionals and most recruiters expect that applicants have a profile. Before you add your profile to your resume, take some time to look it over and update information, include a professional photo and remove any inappropriate material.

The same rules apply to any social media profiles your potential employer wants to see. Most often, recruiters use social media searches only to see how you’ll fit into the company culture. In some roles, your online “brand” is crucial to your job. We suggest that you only use social media profiles that apply to your desired job. 

There’s no need to include personal information such as your date of birth or any personal identification number. If you make it further in the hiring process, the recruiter can ask you for additional identifying information. In Canada and the United States, adding a photo on your resume may hurt your chances of getting an interview because of strict discrimination laws and employment policies.

Resume summary or objective statement

After your personal information, the next part is your resume summary . This only needs to be a short paragraph, no more than 3-4 sentences. In your own words, this paragraph highlights your greatest career achievements and top skills. 

Resume objectives can be used in place of resume summaries and are the better option for those who are just starting in a career and don’t have a lot of experience, or any at all. An objective focuses on your plans for your career and what your goals are for the new role.

Work experience

The next part of writing your own resume is extremely important. After a well-written, pointed summary, it’s time to include your work experience and previous jobs. In this section, keep it simple. Rather than a long list of generic bullet points that apply to your position, include specifics. 

Work experience should be listed in reverse-chronological order, meaning you start with your most recent job and go backward from there. In each section of your work history, including the following:

  • Your job titles or positions written with clarity in bold so they’re easy to find
  • Dates employed
  • The company name
  • A short bullet list of your main achievements and duties

As you write your work experience, make it as concise as possible. Always start your bullets with a verb and keep it to only three or four. 

If you have too many jobs to list, choose the ones that are relevant to the new job you’re applying for and stay within 15 years. If you have a resume without work experience , feel free to include volunteer work, extracurricular activities and internships.

A gap in your resume doesn’t have to be a big deal. If you’re unemployed for a time, get involved with an organization in your industry. Take classes to continue your education. Include unpaid work on your resume. List only the years of your work experience rather than the months.

After your work history, enter your education information. Again, the resume education section goes in reverse-chronological order. If you have extensive experience in your field, include your degree, the university or school name, and the year you graduated.

If you don’t have a lot of experience, include academic achievements, relevant coursework, your GPA and a thesis or dissertation title if you are in graduate school.

If you have a college degree of any type, don’t include your high school diploma to keep your resume relevant to the situation. Include any advanced degrees you have, just make sure they are in the right order (reverse chronological).

Hard and soft skills

Next, it’s time to list the relevant skills that make you a great candidate for the job. To make an amazing resume, always include a mix of both soft and hard skills.

Soft skills are transferable skills that are beneficial in all jobs, and include proficiency in for example:

  • Communication
  • Time management
  • Interpersonal
  • Problem-solving
  • Adaptability

Hard skills are more like technical skills and specific to the job you want, and include expertise in for example:

  • Writing 
  • Presentation
  • Computer skills
  • Project management
  • Analytical skills

List skills in a single-item bullet point list with a short description of your proficiency. Provide a few words for context and change the skills to be relevant for each job you apply for.

Including language skills on your resume is advisable, even if they aren’t directly relevant to the job. It shows cultural competence and global awareness, which are highly valued by employers in today's interconnected world. 

When listing your language skills, make sure to include your level of proficiency for every language you mention. You can describe your comprehension with the levels of “beginner”, “intermediate”, “conversational”, “fluent” and “native”, or use an official scaling system like the ACTFL scale, the CEFR scale or ILR scale. If you have taken language courses or obtained language certifications, then make sure to include these as well.

When discussing languages on your resume , always be honest. You could be tested during a job interview, so be realistic about your ability.

Achievements and awards

There is a difference between awards and achievements and it’s important to understand that when you go to list them on your resume. They can both highlight your value, distract from a lack of work experience and help catch a hiring manager’s attention. They can be listed throughout your resume if they aren’t widely recognized, or you can create a separate section for them to show how you stand out.

An achievement is something that illustrates that you excelled, exceeded expectations or provided value on top of what you were expected to do. Awards are given to groups or individuals by businesses, external bodies, academic institutions or third-party groups and usually involve an official certificate or ceremony.

Any time you add an achievement or award to your resume, use ones that are recent and relevant to the job you are applying for.

Extracurricular activities

Extracurricular activities can be used to demonstrate transferable skills, and should be included on your resume in two situations:

  • You are in school or have recently graduated and don’t have a lot of paid work or internship experience.
  • You are in school or have recently graduated and your extracurricular role highlights a skill or position that is especially relevant to the job you want.

Some examples of extracurricular activities that would go on a resume are volunteer services, student government, tutoring, arts organizations, academic societies of clubs, media or publications, and community and civic activities.

Hobbies and interests

Keep your resume free of hobbies and interests that are generic, and focus on those that are unique or exciting. This section usually gives the hiring team an idea of how you will fit into the company atmosphere and culture. Always be honest about your hobbies and interests, because they can come back to bite you if you aren’t honest about what you enjoy.

Hobbies and interests aren’t always necessary in a resume. While they can be a good placeholder if you lack experience, this section should be eliminated for solid experience, education or skills.

Unless your potential employers have asked for them, don’t include references on your resume. If your resume does need references, include at least three of them, and always get the okay from the person before you list them.

How to make a resume?

A resume should include personal information, an objective or summary statement, work experience, education, and hard and soft skills. If you have room left over, include languages, achievements and awards, extracurricular activities, and hobbies and interests. Only include references if the company asks for them.

Many software programs come with built-in resumes, so there are many ways to make a resume online. Two of the most popular tools used for creating resumes are Microsoft Word and Google Docs . However, while these tools are useful, they do have their disadvantages.

One of the main drawbacks of using Microsoft Word or Google Docs to create your resume is that it can be time-consuming to get the formatting just right. Another downside is that many of the formats lack originality and won’t help you stand out. The chances of other applicants using the same format as yours are high when you use programs such as Google or Microsoft.

A resume builder is a better option if you want to be assured your resume is polished and up to date with the latest trends. A resume builder like Jobseeker offers a wide variety of interactive, easy to use resume templates that help you meet your ultimate goal: to stand out in the application process.

How to format and structure a resume?

The format and structure of a professional resume is important. The content is what gets you the job, but an aesthetically pleasing resume shows that you took the time to get it right, and that you have the basic computer skills to make it look good. Here are some formatting tips when it comes to writing a resume:

  • Content should be left-aligned
  • Margins should be at one inch
  • Use an easy-to-read, professional font
  • Clearly divide each section
  • Use clear headers for every section
  • Use bullet points whenever possible for conciseness
  • Try to keep your resume to one page

There are many professional fonts you can use, including Cambria, Times New Roman, Calibri, Georgia, Arial, Lato and Didot. Your name and header sections should be larger, but keep the basic font size between 10 and 12 points for normal text. Headers and section titles should be between 14-16 points. 

Between text, use 1.0 or 1.15 line spacing, and adjust that to double lines after any subheadings. You can increase or decrease if your resume is too full or too empty.

How to tailor your resume for specific jobs?

Every time you write a resume for a new job, you should tailor it to that job to stay ahead of other job applicants. Tailoring your resume proves your interest in the job, demonstrates how your skills align with it, emphasizes that you know what the employer needs and can help you get through applicant tracking systems.

Use the following steps to tailor your resume:

  • Read through the job description for keywords and qualifications. Check for words and phrases that come up more than once throughout the posting and that seem unique to each job.
  • Choose the type of resume format (chronological, combination or functional) to highlight your most relevant experience to each job you apply for.
  • Always update your summary and objectives when you apply for a new job.
  • Put keywords from the job description in your work history bullet points.
  • Use quantifiable examples as you highlight your skills.
  • Update your skills section each time you apply for a new job, as the hard and soft skills relevant to each job are different.

What types of resumes are there?

There are many types of resumes, and choosing the right resume format depends a lot on the job you apply for.

Chronological resume

A chronological resume is most commonly used in today’s professional world. It starts with a summary or objective, followed by your professional experience, education, and finally your skills and abilities. Make sure to list your experience and education in reverse chronological order, starting with your most recent job, moving backwards. This type of resume prioritizes relevant professional experience and achievements, and is most suitable for candidates with a linear career history.

Skills based resume

A skills-based resume (also known as a functional resume ) highlights your skills and experience rather than your chronological work history. It is ideal if you have a gap in your employment history or are changing careers, as it takes attention away from the timeline of your resume and instead emphasizes your transferable skills.

Combination resume

A combination resume format (also known as a hybrid resume ) merges a chronological resume and a functional resume format. The focus is balanced between skills and work history and is ideal for job candidates with an extremely specific set of skills or extensive experience.

Other resume types

For job seekers looking to work in creative fields who want a twist on a traditional resume, a creative resume is a valuable option. A creative resume may include an infographic, online portfolio or a video. While you include the same information you would on a traditional resume, a creative resume gives you the chance to present that information in an interesting and fun way. A creative resume done right catches the attention of a hiring manager and removes the attention from a lack of professional work experience. It allows the focus to be on your qualifications and skills rather than former jobs.

A video resume is a short video, usually included with a job application that provides an actual demonstration of your personality, skills and qualifications. Video resumes are often used in design, marketing, tech, fashion, and media industries. While a video resume can be a valuable supplemental tool, your formal written resume should always be your primary application. A video resume is not a quick snapshot, but rather a structured, scripted, sincere visual representation of what you have to offer.

Creating a resume with Jobseeker

The path to landing your dream job starts with creating a standout resume. Jobseeker offers all the tools and resources to make this process easier.

Jobseeker’s online resume maker offers a wide range of professionally designed outlines, suitable for every profession and industry. Helpful tips and resume examples will provide you with the right inspiration to highlight your unique advantages. Create matching cover letters to ensure a professional look for all your application documents. Check out our cover letter templates and get started right away!

If you have questions about the tools Jobseeker offers or the pricing , search the frequently asked questions page. Contact us if you need any additional help or have other concerns or questions.

Do you have unanswered questions? Take a look at our FAQ

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Resume Examples and Writing Tips for Older Job Seekers

resume writing for first time job seekers

How to Age-Proof Your Resume

Choose the best type of resume, resume writing tips for older job seekers.

  • How to Show How You're Qualified
  • Email or Upload Your Resume

Download a Resume Template

Review a resume example, more resume examples.

Age isn't always an advantage when you're job searching, especially in a competitive job market. Hiring managers can view older workers as more expensive to hire, as having outdated experience or too much experience, or as not being current with today's technology and workplaces—even though it is  illegal to discriminate based on age .

One way to overcome the perception that your age is an issue is to "age-proof" and carefully edit your resume. Your resume isn’t  your CV , so it doesn’t need to include everything you’ve ever done.

Learn what to include on your resume, what to leave off, how to choose the best resume format, review examples and get a resume template for older job seekers.

Limiting what you include on your resume, from a chronological perspective, can help job seekers avoid the stigma of being considered "too old" by a prospective employer.

Also, showing that you're up to speed with the latest technology and skills needed for your profession will help maximize your chances of getting selected for an interview. The following resume writing tips for older job seekers will help market your candidacy and showcase your skills to employers without highlighting your age.

Consider a Functional or Combination Resume.  If you’re currently using a  chronological resume , which lists your experience in date order, it may be time to switch to a different format that doesn’t focus on the years.

Consider using a  functional resume , which focuses on your skills and experience and lists your accomplishments at the top of your resume. Alternatively, you could use a  combination resume , which features both skills and your work history (just don’t go back more than 10 or 15 years).

Limit Your Related Experience.  Limit the related experience (related to the job you are applying for) you  include on your resume to 10 to 15 years , leaving older jobs off your resume entirely.

Another option is to include the older jobs in a separate section of your resume, but don’t list the dates when you worked.

Drop Your Other Experience.  You want to keep your resume experience relevant for the job you’re hoping to land, and unrelated experience is probably just not necessary. Leave all that experience off your resume or list it without dates in a category labeled “Other Experience” or “Additional Experience.”

Don't Include Education / Training Dates.  Don't include high school and college graduation dates or dates for any other courses you took, or professional development classes that were in the past. If you have a college degree, don't list your high school graduation date on your resume.

Be Careful About Years.  Don't list the length of experience you have in your  resume objective , if you use one. For example, it's not advantageous to say you have 20 or 30 years of experience in anything. It’ll flag you as older, and your resume may just get tossed out.

The best way to show that you are a seasoned professional is to say that you have “10+ years’ experience” in your field. This isn’t a lie, and it allows you to capitalize upon your value as an employee with significant experience.

How to Show How You're Qualified

Target Your Resume.  Take the time to write a  targeted resume  that’s customized so that it specifically highlights the experience you have that’s relevant to the specific job opening you’re applying for. The same targeted resume won’t work for every job, and you’ll need a different one for each job opening.

Highlight Your Skills.  All your years of experience probably means you’ve built up an impressive skill set. Shine a light on the skills that are most valuable and that show you’re comfortable with contemporary technology. Promote the fact that you're up-to-date with current technology by including the latest programs and apps you know how to use and leaving off out-of-date technology.

Show You're Connected.  Include a  link to your LinkedIn profile on your resume . This will show hiring managers you're engaged in current means of communicating and networking. Depending on your usage, you may want to list your social media handles as well, such as Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram—but only if they’re up to professional scrutiny.

Polish Your Resume.  Presentation matters. Make sure your resume is polished and well presented. You don't want your resume to look old-fashioned. Hire a resume writer or browse the various resume sites to find the latest templates that will give your resume a fresh look.

Be Ready to Email or Upload Your Resume

Be Prepared to Email Your Resume.  Keep in mind that most resumes are emailed or uploaded to a company website or job site to apply for jobs. Email a copy of your resume to yourself to be sure the formatting doesn't get lost during transmission (sending your resume as a PDF is probably best). Review these email etiquette guidelines to be sure you're following the right protocol for  emailing your resume .

Download the resume template (compatible with Google Docs and Word) or see below for a text version to get started on creating your own resume.

The Balance

Resume Example (Text Version)

Edward Elder 123 Old Growth Road Mt. Vernon, WA 98273 (123) 456-7890 eelder@email.com www.linked.com/in/edwardelder


Producing consistent YOY growth through strategic goal-setting and sales floor management.

Charismatic and focused in onboarding, developing, and coaching highly productive retail sales teams. Skillfully train sales associates in winning customer engagement, merchandising, and inventory control methods.    

Analytical and cost-conscious in establishing pricing strategies, preventing shrink, and championing effective customer retention programs. Lead by example to ensure provision of best-in-class customer service.  


HOMEWORKS CENTRAL, Mt. Vernon, Washington

SALES MANAGER (February 2016 – Present)

Meticulously perform scope of retail management responsibilities including team building, merchandising, inventory control, scheduling, and sales training and development for established home improvement store. 

Notable accomplishments:

  • Redesigned store plan-o-grams that improved cross-sales by 72% and time-in-store by 81%.
  • Implemented staff recognition and incentive programs that heightened employee retention to 95%.
  • Introduced first-ever succession planning process that ensured seamless transition of sales associates to positions of increased authority as older personnel retired, preventing the need to hire from outside.

CARS R US , Ferndale, Washington

SALES MANAGER (November 2008 – January 2016)

Trained and mentored ~35 Sales Executives in customer service and sales negotiation / closing skills. Forecasted monthly sales expenses, conveyed sales goals, and designed incentive programs.  

  • Pioneered dealership’s launch of online sales arm, increasing lead percentage by 63% .
  • Increased overall market share by more than 15% YOY throughout tenure.
  • Promoted to management from original role as Sales Representative.  ~ Additional experience includes roles as a Sales Executive for Retro Auto (Yakima, Washington) and as a Sales Representative for Home Hardware Sales (Yakima, Washington). ~



Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration (Emphasis: Marketing)

Information Technology Skills: Microsoft Office Suite • POS systems • Salesforce

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