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? Check out the resume tips we have below. These are tailored to completely inexperienced job seekers. Then, take a look at our roaster of entry-level resume examples. These are strong attestations to how someone with a lack of experience can still show how they can be valuable to an organization.
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
Now let’s zoom in on the above!
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
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.
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 Sample For Entry-Level (Word version)
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.
- Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, PowerPoint)
- Typing And Data Entry
- Fluent in Both English And Spanish
- Direct Sales Experience
- Team Building
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.
Girl Scouts of America
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
Example of High School Student Resume with No Work Experience
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
- Student Service Organization
- Math Club
- Science Fair
- Future Business Leaders Of America
- Junior Achievement
Work and Volunteer Experience
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
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
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
- Honor Roll
- 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
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
- CX Design
- 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
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.
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.
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!
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.