How To Write an Entry Level Resume (Examples & Templates)

How To Write an Entry Level Resume (Examples & Templates)

We’re often asked, “How do you write an entry-level resume?” and “Where can I find entry-level resume templates and examples?” because writing a resume for your first job can feel overwhelming.

If you’re here, you’ve probably never written a resume before or perhaps don’t have much work experience, and you need to write one that highlights your relevant skills, experiences, and extracurricular activities that convinces an employer to hire you.

The good news is that you can write your entry-level resume like a pro and land your dream job. Our team at MatchBuilt asked expert resume writers, career coaches, and HR managers for advice on how to write a resume for an entry-level job.

Whether you’re a recent graduate or a candidate with professional experience, you’ll find everything you need to create a beginner resume for your next job application.

At MatchBuilt, we are dedicated to helping entry-level job seekers write winning resumes. For more tips on resume writing, check out similar topics such as how to say that you’re a fast learner on your resume, how to say you trained someone on your resume,  and 50 other tips for an effective resume.

Why It’s Important to Have an Effective Resume

A resume is one of the documents employers need job seekers to submit when applying for an entry-level position. Without an effective resume for prospective employers to review, your chances of getting hired are very slim, as a potential employer can quickly dismiss your application. An effective resume does the following.

  • Sells your different skills, qualities, relevant coursework, and relevant work experience
  • Shows your eligibility for a particular job
  • It acts as a path to subsequent steps, such as interviews and prescreening

Top Tips on How to Write an Entry-level Resume

When writing an entry-level resume, you want to prove to your potential employer that you have the skills necessary for the role you applied for. It would help if you assured them that despite not having much experience, you could be of great value to their organization. A good resume can vouch for you, making it easier to kickstart your career. We have compiled expert tips to help you craft your resume like a pro.

recent graduate writing first resume using examples

1. Put Your Contact at the Top of Your Resume

Include your contact information at the top of the resume. The details should contain your phone number, email address, and LinkedIn profile URL. You may also include a link to your online portfolio or personal website if the job you’re applying for allows for that.

Your location address isn’t mandatory on your resume. However, you may consider including it if the job you’re applying for is near your home. If it’s located far away, including your location is not advisable. You risk getting disqualified if the company feels that they need to help you relocate. And, if they don’t have a relocation budget, they might choose someone who lives nearby.

If you’ve to include your location in such a scenario, then the best thing to do is include that you plan to move from your current location to the city where the company is based.

Mimi from Starkflow, a company that helps you recruit top remote talent, gave the following advice concerning writing your contact information in a resume.

Your name and contact information should always be at the top of your resume. You must include your phone number, a professional-sounding email address, and LinkedIn URL.

2. Tailor the Resume to the Job You Are Applying For

You need to modify your resume to the vacancy you’re applying for. Many entry-level job seekers use the same resume when applying for jobs, which is a huge mistake.

By tailoring your resume to match each job you apply for, you’ll stand out from the other applicants. Additionally, you’ll show great enthusiasm for the job, and that’s why you made an effort to thoroughly go through the job description and tailor your resume to match it.

On top of that, it shows that you understand the hiring manager’s needs and are ready to help the company achieve its goals.

To make your resume relevant to the job you are applying for, start by reviewing the job description to understand what the employer needs. Then, review your resume and start tailoring your skills to the described roles.

Mimi also added that you need to

Take a close look at the job description and prepare your resume for the specific job. You want to match the language as closely as possible regarding particular keywords.

Most companies use applicant tracking systems (or ATSs)—programs that scan your resume looking for keywords found in the job description and forward the resumes with the most matches to a hiring recruiter. So be cautious and list keywords exactly as they appear in the job description.

3. Emphasize Your Education

A candidate’s education is one of the most important things recruiters check when reviewing resumes. They want to hire a candidate whose educational background fits their open role. Having relevant education can set you apart from other candidates, increasing your chances of getting hired.

When writing about your education, you should do it chronologically and clearly. But first, you need to review the job specifications again to determine the education levels you must include in the resume.

Some of the things you should include in the education section are:

  • The schools you attended
  • Field of study
  • The degree you have
  • Your majors or minors
  • Any applicable coursework, academic recognition, and other educational achievements

You don’t have much working experience when writing an entry-level resume. Therefore, you can focus on the education section and make it detailed. You can also write this section below the summary or contact information section.

If you had vast experience, you’d make this section very brief and instead focus on your working experience. You’d also write the education section with Dean’s List honors, if applicable, at the bottom of your resume.

worker getting first job with entry level resume

4. Showcase Your Skills

Displaying your skills in a resume is essential. However, only include the skills and core competencies relevant to the job vacancy you’re interested in. Your chances of getting hired increase if your skills closely match those in the job specification. As an entry-level applicant, your skills can be your selling point. Create a separate skills section at the top of your resume and highlight them there.

When writing the skills section, include both the hard and soft skills. Hard skills, such as hand-eye coordination and technological skills, are quantifiable and teachable. Soft skills are more interpersonal skills, including communication, team building, and leadership.

These skills, including soft skills, may also be helpful if a recruiter uses a tracking system when scanning resumes. The tracking systems search for specified skills in the form of keywords, and if your resume doesn’t have them, it is likely that it won’t be reviewed.

Remember to be honest. A job specification stating that a candidate should possess specific skills shouldn’t make you say that you have the skills while you don’t. You might be asked to demonstrate your prowess in such skills or explain how you achieved them, and that would lead you into trouble after a recruiter realizes you weren’t honest.

5. State Your Experience

You may not have worked full-time before as an entry-level candidate, meaning you don’t have much experience. If you’ve ever held any part-time job, include it in the experience section. Don’t mind whether it’s relevant to the job you’re applying for or not. Previous employment shows potential employers that you’ve some working experience and can complete tasks. Other things you can include in the experience section include:

A. Volunteer Work

If you’ve ever participated in any volunteer work, include the details in the work experience section. Volunteer work also counts, especially if you were actively engaged in a specific role.

B. Projects

Are there projects you undertook as part of your coursework? Include them, too, in this section. Projects can showcase your skills and interests, especially when applied to the position you have applied for.

C. Internships or Apprenticeships

If you’ve been on an internship or apprenticeship program, state that in the work experience section. Even if the internship was in a different field from what you’re applying for, it could increase the chance of being hired.

D. Organizations

If you have participated in an organization, that also counts as experience. It even gets better if you have been in a leadership position. It discloses your leadership skills and experiences working with others.

Kirk Hazlett, an adjunct professor with Curry College, gave the following insights regarding what to write if you don’t have much working experience.

If you are working, say, as a part-time waiter, don’t list your duties as “wait tables; clean tables.” Highlight “customer service,” “problem-solving,” and “attention to detail.” And, if you’ve been doing this job for a while, point out your longevity.

If you have been/are involved in a team-leader role in high school or college sports activities, highlight that aspect of your activity. Don’t say “played high school soccer.” Say (IF you did!) “As team captain led us to a series of victories.”

List your employment (if you’ve had more than one job over the years) in reverse chronological order, starting with what you’re doing now and working backward. Have a clear start and stop dates for each job.

6. Use Keywords

Like optimizing your LinkedIn profile, you’ll want to do the same for your resume. The old way of writing resumes is no longer working. Nowadays, it’s hard for recruiters or hiring managers to notice your resume if you don’t include some keywords. Some companies use an ATS where the system first searches for keywords that match the job specification in a resume. Your resume won’t qualify for further review if they’re not detected.

In this case, keywords refer to individual words or phrases related to a particular job specification. These can be a candidate’s skills, credentials, abilities, and qualities.

Now that you know the importance of using keywords in a resume, how do you get them? It’s simple. Start by reading the job ad. You’ll realize the description has some keywords you can use. Still, you can search for similar ads and see the keywords that have been used.

You can also get them by searching the “about us” section of the company’s website. You’ll learn what they value most and use the same as your keywords.

For example, if the company emphasizes creativity as one of the skills they value most, use that as one of the keywords in your resume. However, be careful not to overstuff keywords to make your resume pass through the tracking system.

Mary Guirovich, author of “God’s Not Done with You: How to Advance Your Career,” commented on resume keywords.

Write your resume for the recruiter- then optimize it for the applicant tracking system (ATS). While it’s important to include keywords from the job description to get past the tracking system, your resume is ultimately reviewed and evaluated by a human. If you focus on stuffing in keywords and tricking the system, your resume will likely not appeal to the recruiter. 

Tailor your resume for each position and naturally use the keywords and job title from the job description. Applicant tracking systems count the number of times keywords exist but don’t try to trick the system by adding in a keyword section or putting text in white, thinking you will trick the system because the ATS converts all of your text to one color and Live in Abundance.

Searching for keywords can be time-consuming and demanding but worth the trouble. It increases the chances of your resume getting noticed and prove to recruiters that you’re a good fit for the role you’re interested in.

young professional writing entry level resume

7. Include a Summary of the Resume

Include a summary of your resume just below your contact information. In the past, people used this section to write resume objectives. However, writing an objective section is slowly becoming outdated and replaced by a resume summary.

To write the summary, describe who you are as a candidate. This is the best approach for entry-level job seekers.

Including some of your future career goals, such as where you want to be in the future, is also allowed. When you get some experience later, you can talk about your career achievements or past roles.

Although a resume summary is optional, it’s advisable to include it as it allows a recruiter to connect personally with you as an individual rather than just a job seeker.

Mary Guirovich agreed with this and shared the following comments.

Show your personality- When the recruiter reads your resume, you want them to see you as a person, not just a list of skills. Adding a resume summary is a great way to stand out and show your personality, excitement, and enthusiasm to do the position and work for the company. 

For example, you are in marketing and applying for a job with a company that sells pet supplies. A summary is a great opportunity for you to share your love of pets and your desire to work for a brand you have shared values with.

Additionally, it briefly describes your skills, experience, and objectives, allowing you to highlight your most important assets. That makes it easier for the recruiter to scan your profile and see whether it fits the job description when you have the right qualifications, increasing your chances of getting noticed.

8. Format Your Resume Properly

You may have impressive skills and experience, but a recruiter won’t look at your resume twice if you don’t format it properly. That’s why you need to pay attention to how to format your resume to make it professional and readable.

Here are some tips to guide you on how to format a resume

A. Use a Professional Font

The kind of font you use in your resume matters a lot. Ensure you use a professional font. Some of the professional fonts you can use include Times New Roman, Calibri, Arial Narrow, Georgia, and Cambria. The size of the font you also use matters. Depending on your font type, it should be between 10 and 12 points. Make sure the section headers and your name have a larger font than the rest of the sections.

B. Use Correct Margins

1″ margins are the most commonly used in resumes, especially for entry-level job seekers. Since you may not have a lot information in your resume, the 1″ margin is ideal for the resume to fit on a single page.

C. Use Headers

Use headers for every section in your resume. Make the header different from the rest of the text by using a larger font and making it bold. You can also underline it. For example, if you’re talking about education, the header for that section should be “education.”

Using flashy, attention-capturing graphics when writing a resume may be tempting. However, this isn’t advisable, especially when making an online application. This is because your resume may be passed through an ATS, which only parses text.

Mary Guirovich had this to say concerning resume formatting.

Keep the Formatting Simple: Applicant tracking systems prefer simple-to-read fonts and formats, and the recruiters agree. Avoid using graphs, tables, hyperlinks, images, headers, footers, logos, columns, uncommon section headings, templates, borders, and fancy fonts. 

Stick with a standard resume format over a functional resume layout, as ATS has a harder time reading functional resume formats without dates and often through them out.

Use bold text, common headlines, and bullet points, limit to one page and leave white space. Last but not least is the file type a Microsoft Word Doc or PDF is most widely accepted by tracking systems.

Kirk from Curry College also had something to say about formatting.

Keep your resume to one page, neatly laid out, and in readable font size. I usually advise a 12-point font size, no less. Don’t get fancy with design. Use a simple, easy-to-read, easy-to-follow layout. Your resume will be one of the hundreds of resumes that the HR person or hiring manager will review. Make it memorable. More important, make it relevant!

9. Proofread the Resume Carefully

With many people looking for work, you must put in a lot of effort and make no mistakes when applying for a job to stand out. After writing your resume and including all the necessary information, you need to proofread it and ensure it doesn’t contain errors. Something simple, like a typo, can disqualify you from getting your dream job.

And proofreading does not only involve checking whether there are any typos or sentence construction issues. It also involves checking whether you have included the correct information, tailored the resume to the job post, and used the right keywords.

After doing all that, read it word by word, line by line. This makes it easy to spot missing words, misused words, double words, etc. Check the contact information too, and ensure it’s accurate. A simple mistake in the contact information section can make it impossible for a recruiter to contact you. You don’t want that after all the effort you’ve put into writing your resume.

In addition, it’s also advisable to have someone proofread the resume for you. It’s usually easier for another person to identify mistakes in a written document. It doesn’t have to be a professional editor. Even a friend or family member can help you with that.

Entry-Level Resume Examples & Templates with Google Docs

Below are entry-level resume examples and templates for your use.  Simply click on the image to view the Google doc resume.  From there, you can save the resume as any type of document you’d like (Google Docs, Word, etc.).  You can also save it as another Google doc to begin editing.

To quickly find examples and resumes on Google Docs, launch the Google Docs app (create an account if you haven’t already). Then, from the home page, click on “Template Gallery” and scroll down until you find the resume templates. Pick a template and start editing.

Each entry-level Google Doc resume example is easy to navigate and minimalistic.  Most of the templates are ideal for both recent graduates and seasoned pros.

You can easily add or replace any section you wish. So, if you’re unhappy about the skills section being so high up, just replace it with a professional summary or a career objective.

1. Google Doc “Spearmint” Entry Level Resume Example Templategoogle docs entry level resume spearment template example

2. Google Doc “Serif” Entry Level Resume Example Template

google docs entry level resume example template serif

3. Google Doc “Coral” Entry Level Resume Example Template

google docs entry level resume example template coral

4. Google Doc “Swiss” Entry Level Resume Example Template

google docs entry level resume example template swiss

5. Google Doc “Modern Writer” Entry Level Resume Example Template

google docs entry level resume example template modern writer

Action Word and Descriptive Synonyms for Resume

When creating your resume, it’s helpful to use synonyms for common works, so you are repetitive when discussing your skills and experience.  Here are a few action words and descriptive synonyms for your resume.

Action Word Synonyms for Responsible

  • Spearheaded
  • Implemented
  • Accountable
  • Amenable
  • Answerable
  • Liable

Action Word Synonyms for Experience

  • Accomplished
  • Capable
  • Competent
  • Mature
  • Professional
  • Qualified
  • Seasoned
  • Skillful

Action Word Synonyms for Managed for Resume

  • Coordinated
  • Administered
  • Supervised
  • Mentored
  • Trained
  • Coached
  • Guided
  • Organized

Action Word Synonyms for Developed

  • Implemented
  • Expanded
  • Founded
  • Invented
  • Launched
  • Established
  • Generated
  • Initiated

Action Word Synonyms for Worked

  • Communicated
  • Mediated
  • Teamed
  • Collaborated
  • Participated
  • Cooperated
  • Partnered
  • Contributed

Action Word Synonyms for Utilize

  • Apply
  • Adopt
  • Deploy
  • Employ
  • Exert
  • Handle
  • Mobilize
  • Operate
  • Promote
  • Put to Use
  • Restore
  • Revive
  • Specialize in

Final Thoughts on How to Write an Entry-level Resume

When writing an entry-level resume, aim to increase your chances of being hired as high as possible. To do this, include your contact information and your resume summary. Highlight your skills and experience, and remember to use keywords.

Additionally, format your resume properly to make it easily readable and professional. After writing the resume, proofread it thoroughly to ensure it’s error-free.

Need More Help? Check Out These Videos on How to Make a Resume for Your First Job