How to Write a Great Entry-Level Resume (With Little to No Experience)
When you’re applying for an entry-level job, it can seem almost impossible to beef up the experience section of your resume when you have virtually none to include. Since you’re freshly entering the workforce, you won’t have actual job experience other than internships to incorporate which can make it difficult to fill out a page’s worth. However, internships aren’t the only way to highlight your skills and abilities—here’s how you can fill up a resume as much as possible when you are just starting out.
Relevant coursework counts!
This is something a lot of college students seem to forget. For example, if you’re applying to a Marketing Campaign Analytics position and you’ve taken a data analysis class, you definitely want to put that in there. If you’ve worked with specific programs and platforms in a class – whether it’s a data program like R studio, Python, or a marketing-related platform like Trello – include that. And yes, Excel absolutely counts! It’s a basic skill that employers always look for so try and rope it into your bullets under the “experience” section as well as adding it to your “skills” section. If you add Excel to the “experience” section, make sure to elaborate on how you’ve used it so that you can display mastery of it.
There are many courses that are relevant to jobs. For example, if the job description includes the following bullet point under responsibilities:
- Assist in writing pitches and press releases
You can include this:
Media and Relations
- Wrote a white paper on the consumption of luxury brands
White papers are common projects in communications/media studies-oriented classes. They are also foundational documents used in the PR world.
If the job you’re applying to requires a lot of copywriting, whether it’s for blog writing, social media posts, or content creation, include a link to a portfolio with any high-quality formal papers you wrote in college. Try to show a variety in tone, length, and style. You could use an opinion essay or blog post you’ve submitted for a class, more formal papers, or others.
Include projects or activities where you gained real-life experience
If you were part of a business course where you consulted for a client and created a solution for them, you should definitely feature it. It doesn’t just have to be business related – any class in which you were involved with a real-life mission, organization or business will demonstrate real-world experience. This could include a project like an audio documentary or whitepaper for which you interviewed professionals, businesses or others. That’s a great way to show your communication and interviewing skills, and how you gather data and create content from it.
Showcase your skills through clubs
Extracurriculars and clubs are another great way to make yourself a more appealing candidate when you have no other experiences on your resume. Involvement in extracurriculars shows initiative and dedication to causes outside of work. Extracurriculars and clubs help you to acquire soft and hard skills in an organizational setting, so describe and explain what you did and achieved as part of your participation.
If you were a part of the board of a student organization/club, highlight that – it shows that you are responsible and able to manage projects and perhaps even other people. If the club is related to the position that you are applying to, even better! Let’s say you were part of a student marketing association and are applying for a job in that field. Your membership shows interest and expertise in the matter. If it’s not closely tied to the job you are applying to don’t fret. If you had a significant role in the organization, it’s a good idea to include it.
Go into deep detail about your internships
More seasoned candidates often struggle to keep their resumes under one page, which forces them to cut back on certain experience. Since you probably only have one or two internships under your belt, you can elaborate a little more on what you’ve done. Look at the bullets in the job description for the role that you’re applying to and try to hit every single one in your experience section. This may sound a bit challenging at first but if you think creatively, you often have more experience than you think. Let’s look at this job description example and see how we can incorporate the responsibilities into our work history:
- Assist team with social media management
- Identify and reach out to potential clients
- Juggle a variety of projects
- Meet deadline-driven deliverables
Highlight it this way under your experience section:
Social Media Intern at X company
- Procured omnichannel social media posts (shows social media experience)
- Ran three simultaneous campaigns on Instagram (shows the ability to multitask)
- Provided regular bi-weekly reports on social media metrics (you’re demonstrating the ability to meet deadlines + knowledge of social media analytics)
- Researched potential partners to collaborate with our brand (is related to outreach)
Entry-level jobs (and resumes) are all about presenting yourself in the best light possible, even if you have limited or no experience. Other entry-level candidates are all in a similar boat, so don’t despair if you don’t have four internships under your belt. At the end of the day, success comes to all candidates (including entry-level and more senior job seekers) who tailor their resumes to the job they are applying for. Just show you can handle the required responsibilities, given whatever type of experience you have!
Read more job-seeking advice for junior candidates on our Junior Candidates page.
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