Moving from your middle-school, high-school, or university life to a working life can be daunting – especially figuring out how to put together a resume that will get you an interview. Rest assured, there’s no need be overwhelmed. Below, you can see how others have crafted their entry level resume to get hired at AIESEC, Enhancv, and more. You can also find a mini-guide on essential sections to include in your entry level resume using the why, where, what, and how approach.
What makes entry level resumes successful?
1. Personality as a strength
Entry level resumes typically come with little-to-no experience; this is your first time entering the field, so that’s to be expected. With little experience,you will benefit from capitalising on your personal attributes to convey who you are and the type of impact you’ll make on the business. After all, the recruiter is looking for someone that will help accomplish their goals. This also helps in demonstrating ‘culture fit’, this refers to how well you mesh with the company’s values and others working in the firm.
Eden let us into his personality using the Enhancv’s exclusive My Typical Day chart. In it, we see where Eden dedicates his time. This allows us to see how he balances his work and personal projects which indicated a good work-life balance.
2. Keeping the recruiter and role in mind
Your resume is a presentation with an audience of one (or maybe a few): the recruiter or HR professional reading it. It makes sense to tailor it to that person and organization as much as possible. There’s no need to include pages of information when you know recruiters spend less than 6 seconds reviewing a resume. You can make small changes to you resume such as mimicking their color scheme in your resume color scheme, too.
When Avery was looking to secure a volunteer opportunity with AIESEC, they knew AIESEC favoured those that have some sort of alignment with the organisation. With this in mind, they highlighted their previous work with the organisation and highlighted their skill of adaptability as they knew this would be important for their trip to Indonesia which involved a lot of new experiences.
3. Bringing experience to the table
Experience can be much more than working-experience. Recruiters are interested in your practical ability to make a difference. You can demonstrate this with volunteering work, personal projects, babysitting, and more. Importantly, use a metric (number, %, etc.,) to demonstrate your impact.
Dean accomplished this in his Most Proud Of section, where he mentions he raised 2000 euro for BeLonGTo Youth Services. From this, we got to see he is dedicated to a cause and is willing to go above-and-beyond for something he believes in. This shows the recruiter that he will constantly seek to improve upon himself and reach new heights in his potential role.
4. Embracing reality
Recruiters prefer open and honest candidates. With this in mind, there’s no need to be vague about the fact this is your first job. Embrace it an an opportunity – you’re a blank slate open to criticism and evolution. What you may lack in experience, you make up for in adaptability. In fact, most companies are far more interested in your attitude than your skills.
Eden embraced his resume for what it is – an entry level high school resume. He mentions his schoolwork, the ubiquitous Youtube watching of modern high school students, and his struggle to save for his first car. His achievements don’t sound like something he made up because he thought that’s what a recruiter wanted to hear. They sound like a genuine reflection of who he is.
5. Showing passion
Passion can’t be learned. Bringing your passion across in your resume is one of the most influential things you can do to stand out and get an interview.
Dean brought his passion across using his Most Proud Of Section where he mentioned fronting BeLonGTo’s Stand Up Week. Not only did this demonstrate his willingness to be in media campaigns (a benefit for most companies) but it shows he is driven to achieve by his passion. Avery brought their passion in their achievements section, where we see they were one of 8 to be chosen to study at Dublin City University from France. Eden also brings his passion across in his dedicated Passions section, where we see he attends Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu three times a week.
What successful entry level resumes have in common
A driving factor behind successful entry level resumes is passion. Staying true to your reality, bringing your personality and experience to the table, and always keeping the recruiter and your position in mind are key to landing the interview you want.
Your guide to an entry level resume
As with all resumes, there is no one-way about putting your entry level resume together (as we’ve seen). At the same time, there are some tips that are beneficial no matter the situation. When considering what should go on your entry level resume, ask yourself four main questions:
- Why am I applying to this job?
- Where am I applying for this job?
- What impact will I make while working there?
- How do I show evidence of my potential impact?
These questions will help you put the base of your resume together. Always consider the why, where, what, and how of a resume.
Tip: Check the College to career resource for more support and inspiration.
1. Contact Details
Why? You need to include your contact details so that the recruiter (the people that hire you for a job) can communicate with you, organise an interview, and ask any additional questions before you come on-board.
Where? Contact details should be at the top of your resume, just after your name.
What? Your phone number and email are a must. Make sure your email is professional and not something more creative (e.g., KimKBiggestFan@Hotmail.co.uk).
How? It is best practice to keep your contact details short and sweet, simple bullet points are best here. Start with your phone number, email address, website and so on.
2. Personal summary
Why? A personal summary is used to explain who you are and what you hope to accomplish from the role. It packages who you are in a succinct way to allow the recruiter to learn more about you to account for your lack of experience.
Where? Your personal summary can be placed mostly anywhere on your resume, but it makes most sense to place it just under your contact details.
What? Avoid using lengthy paragraphs for this. To keep things succinct, you can use Enhancv’s Personal Philosophy or Most Proud Of sections.
How? Your personal summary is typically 2-3 sentences long. You can follow this formula to put your personal summary together. [Description of current status] with an interest in [Industry / Role you’re applying to] hoping to improve skills of [hard & soft skills]. A [personal attribute] worker motivated by [aspect of company culture]. You can see an example of this below.
3. Previous experience
Why? Recruiters are interested in your practical ability to make a difference. Don’t forget, when applying for a role you’re applying to help the business achieve their goals. You need to show them that this is something you can do.
Where? Your previous experience should follow on from your personal summary section. Make sure it is given its own title.
How? Any previous experience you mention should be measured if possible. This means pairing your duty with a metric that shows your impact. For example, instead of saying you were responsible for cataloguing books in your library, you were responsible for cataloguing 250 books, which helped develop your organisational skills.
What? You might think that you have no previous experience, but you do. Think about any projects you have worked on in school that have been outside of the classroom. Maybe you have been a member of a sports club, library, or even ran in a poetry competition. These are all examples of previous experience.
4. Skills section
Why? Recruiters are looking to improve their pool-of-talent. If you can’t identify skills you have that make you valuable, there’s no reason for a recruiter to hire you. Including your skills allows you to set yourself apart from the crowd.
Where? Much like your previous experience section, your skills section should be given its own section with a clear title.
How? To figure out the skills that you have, brainstorm former projects you’ve worked on. Did you have to work with others? Was there a deadline that you had to make?
What? You can find a list of skills you can include on your entry level resume in our first job resume guide.
Why? References consolidate the skills and experience you’ve spoken about in your resume. It is another person the recruiter can speak to who will give further evidence on your abilities.
Where? References should be placed at the end of your resume in a clearly identifiable section.
Tip: Enhancv has a dedicated references section built-in to our resume builder.
How? When including a reference, ensure you ask your referee’s permission and notify them when applying for positions with a resume they feature on.
What? References should include the name, position, phone number, and email of your referee. There are two types of referees, character and professional. If you’d like to learn more about them, check out our first job resume guide.
Writing your entry level resume
Taking inspiration from our successful resume examples of Dean, Avery, and Eden, you’ve seen how others have crafted an effective entry level resume. You also have the blueprint to get over writer’s block when putting together the essential sections. Now, put your own spin on things using Enhancv’s resume builder.