Entry Level CV Examples, Template & Tips for Beginners

How to write a first job CV, or an entry-level CV, especially when other candidates have experience? This guide shows you.

Christian Eilers
Career Expert
Entry Level CV Examples, Template & Tips for Beginners

Whether a first job CV, an entry-level CV, or a CV for a first job in this particular field, one thing is certain:

 

You don’t have experience relevant to this position.

 

Making matters worse, you’re up against 249 other candidates.

 

But, let me ease your mind.

 

All 250 of you are new. It’s their first time applying to this job, as well.

 

To gain the upper hand, you have to write an entry-level CV that grabs the hiring manager’s attention.

 

Here’s how—

 

In this CV guide, you’ll see:

  • How to make a CV with little experience that outshines others with experience.
  • What education and skills to put on entry-level CVs to let you shine.
  • Dozens of great CV samples to help you get those entry-level jobs.
  • Tips and advice on how to create a CV objective that sells you to them.

 

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entry level sample CV templates

 

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Looking for CV examples for students and fresh grads? Have a look at our selection: 

 

More entry level CV examples: 

 

Haven't found what you're looking for? Check all our CV Examples for Over 200 Jobs.

 

First up, here’s a sample CV for a candidate without relevant work history:

 

Entry-Level CV Example

 

Alessandra Frigiola

212-555-3214 • alessandra.frigiola@gmail.com • linkedin.com/in/alessandrafrigiola • twitter.com/alessandrafrigo

 

Objective Statement

 

Dependable university graduate with IT major in cloud infrastructure and deployment. Seeking to apply award-winning UI design (2018 GoodLooks winner in User Interface—Personal Blog category), highly-scored cloud architecture project management (99.35%), and modern networking skills to grow alongside SWA as the new cloud engineer.

 

Education

 

BS in IT Infrastructure—Data Science Specialty

Cornell University, Ithaca, NY

Relevant Coursework

  • Cloud infrastructure and deployment
  • Safety and security measures for tomorrow’s IT world

 

Work Experience

 

Restaurant Server

Bahari, Astoria, NY

January 2017–December 2018

Key Achievements

  • Increased sales by 230% by connecting restaurant to Uber Eats.
  • Implemented new POS integration, saving 97% of IT budget.

 

Skills

 

  • User interface & user experience
  • Cloud architecture
  • Project management
  • Network administration
  • Cloud deployment

 

Certifications

 

  • 2017 CompTIA Network+ Certificate

 

Languages

 

  • English—Native Proficiency
  • German—Intermediate Conversational

 

1. Choose the Best Entry-Level CV Format

 

With your level of experience, it’s not your work history that’ll catch their attention.

 

So what will?

 

For starters, knowing how to format a CV for entry-level jobs:

  • Pick a visually appealing CV template, a free Google Docs CV template or a free MS Word CV Template.
  • Stay reverse-chronological. Whether it’s in your work experience or your education section, list your most recent entry first, and go back from there.
  • Order each section strategically. The most relevant items should be the closest to the top always.
  • Use a professional design. Choose the best CV font, use standard margins and line spacing, and keep white space to improve scannability. Pick one of our CV templates or just a free Google Doc template
  • Stick to a one-column template. This makes it easy for the recruiters (and any machine software, like the ATS) to scan and find exactly what they’re looking for. If (for some strange reason) you need more real estate, a two-column template is fine.
  • Use bold subheadings with a larger font size than the regular text. This will differentiate each CV section and make the document easier to follow.

Expert Hint: Want to make sure that your entry-level CV renders correctly on the hiring manager’s computer like it does on your own? Save the CV as a PDF. The PDF keeps all your formatting and fonts intact.

2. Write a Compelling Entry-Level CV Objective Statement

 

According to an eye-tracking study by TheLadders, employers give your CV a mere 7-second glance.

 

That hurts.

 

So, you’ve got to make that time count.

 

How?

 

Put a powerful CV objective on top of your CV.

 

Also known as a CV profile, this is a brief paragraph of text explaining (1) what skills you have, and (2) how you want to develop at a given company

 

How to write an objective for a CV without experience?

 

Let’s look at two CV objective examples for an entry-level IT role:

 

Entry-Level CV Objective—Samples

Good Example
Dependable university graduate with IT major in cloud infrastructure and deployment. Seeking to apply award-winning UI design (2018 GoodLooks winner in User Interface - Personal Blog category), highly-scored cloud architecture project management (99.35%), and modern networking skills to grow alongside SWA as the new cloud engineer.
Bad Example
Results-driven, top-notch, dependable, and friendly university graduate looking to be challenged with entry-level IT job which offers great pay, competitive benefits, attractive coworkers, and room to grow so that career in IT can continue to advance.

Why is that second CV objective sample so bad? Too many adjectives and too much focus on you.

 

What makes the other one so good?

 

It follows all the best CV objective practises.

 

The ideal entry-level CV objective is:

  • About them, not you. Sure, it’s your objective, but the employer needs to see that you have their best interests in mind.
  • Written to prove your worth. Everyone says they’re [adjective] and [adjective], but that doesn’t tell the hiring manager how well you’ll perform. Use numbers to quantify and back up how great you are.
  • Tailored to the job ad. The bad example could be sent out to anyone, while the good one is personalised and specifically mentions the company by name.
  • Packed with the skills you bring. Even if it’s an entry-level role or a first-time job, you still can find transferable skills from university, personal projects, outstanding computer skills etc. We’ll cover this more shortly.
  • Free from tired phrasing. That first example is just jargon-vomit.

 

3. Highlight Your Hireability in the Entry-Level CV Education Section

 

Lack of relevant past employment can make or break your CV.

 

But it doesn’t have to—if you switch tactics.

 

Always start your CV with your greatest strength. If that means your education, go with that!

 

Move the education section above the experience section and highlight your greatest educational wins.

 

When writing your entry-level CV education section:

  • Start from your most recent schooling, and go backward from there.
  • Add your high school if you have an incomplete university degree.
  • Leave your high school off of your CV if you’ve finished university.

 

Additionally, you will get a leg up on your competitors by listing any honours, minors, extracurricular activities, and relevant coursework as an education subsection. We go into detail in our CV education guide.

 

So, how to put education on an entry-level CV?

 

Look at this sample:

 

Entry-Level CV Example—Education

 

BS in IT Infrastructure—Data Science Specialty

Cornell University, Ithaca, NY

 

4. Expand Your Entry-Level CV with Some Experience That’s Relevant

 

So, some of you might be writing a CV with no job experience, which means you can skip this part, right?

 

Technically, yes. You could just move on to other CV areas.

 

But—

 

I strongly suggest you get some experience.

 

I don’t mean getting a first-first job before your first job, but rather doing some freelance gigs or volunteer work.

 

Looking to become a graphic designer? Find some one-off design gigs on Upwork—it’ll look great on your CV for first jobs and/or professional portfolio.

 

Alternatively—

 

Highlight relevant skills or achievements from unrelated job. Let’s say you are an IT student who worked part-time as a waiter:

 

Entry-Level CV Example—Work Experience

 

Restaurant Server

Bahari, Astoria, NY

January 2017–December 2018

Key Achievements

  • Increased sales by 230% by connecting restaurant to Uber Eats.
  • Implemented new POS integration, saving 97% of IT budget.

 

We skipped the common “job responsibilities” subsection, but we highlighted tech-centric CV achievements. Also, start each achievement and job duty entry with a power verb.

 

You may have waited tables, but handling that installation of the new POS, as well as integrating them with Uber Eats—super relevant on the entry-level IT CV!

Expert Hint: Don’t add too many skills to your CV. You don’t want to get thought of as the “jack of all trades, master of none.” Add no more than 10.

Find out more: CV Work Experience Section: Job Descriptions that Wow

 

The ResumeLab builder is more than looks. Get specific content to boost your chances of getting the job. Add job descriptions, bullet points, and skills. Easy. Improve your CV in our CV builder now.

 

create your CV now

 

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Nail it all with a splash of colour, choose a clean font, highlight your skills in just a few clicks. You’re the perfect candidate and we’ll prove it. Use the ResumeLab builder now.

 

5. Add a Relevant Skills Section to Your Entry-Level CV

 

There used to be a time when everyone and their mother put they’re skilled in Microsoft Word.

 

(Some people still do.)

 

Don’t get me wrong, this is a great skill to have.

 

But—

 

It’s irrelevant to 99% of jobs.

 

What are relevant skills to put on a CV?

 

Take a look at that job description again.

 

Find the area that says “Qualifications” or “Requirements”—THESE are the things they’re looking for on your entry-level CV.

 

And include them in your CV, because—

 

Remember that ATS thing? This software scans your CV in search of CV keywords. Key words often mean key skills.

 

So, when finding skills to list on CVs:

  • Add the skills they’re looking for (in the job ad).
  • Skip skills that aren’t relevant (like Photoshop if you’re looking to be a sous chef).
  • Sprinkle in some hard and soft skills that are relevant to the industry.

 

6. Stand Out With Additional Entry-Level CV Sections

 

Since you have a first-time CV, you’ll be hard-pressed to fill out even one page.

 

Treat it as an unintentional gift.

 

You have room to make the case for your candidacy in other, less traditional ways:

 

Add extra CV sections.

 

Here are the best CV parts to include to make your entry-level CV exceptional:

 

Entry-Level CV Example—Extra Sections

 

  1. Volunteer Experience on CVs

When you have very little relevant work experience, add any volunteer work in a separate section. When you have no experience at all, add your volunteer work within your main work history section.

 

  1. Languages

Can you speak French or Spanish? Add it to your entry-level CV and describe your linguistic proficiency. Fluency in a second language can make all the difference to a hiring manager.

 

  1. Certifications & Awards

Certificates can make up for what’s lacking in your experience section. Looking to be an IT consultant? That CompTIA Network+ certificate you’ve earned will come in handy. An award for the best apple pie at the state fair will likewise look great on a restaurant CV.

 

  1. Hobbies and Interests

At first glance, who cares, right? But adding hobbies and interests can subtly show aptitude and certain skills. For example, team sports emphasise teamwork, while coaching team sports help show managerial skills.

Expert Hint: One CV addition you should leave off always is that “References Available Upon Request” line. Because, they know, you know? This is always implied.

7. Amp up Your Entry-Level CV with a Great Cover Letter

 

A cover letter is a must alongside your entry-level CV.

 

Why?

 

First, it is your secret power to convince the recruiter you’re worth hiring even without relevant jobs under your belt.

 

Second, almost half of all employers will simply reject your first job CV if a cover letter doesn’t come with it.

 

Lubomir Tomaska of Comenius University in Bratislava puts it like this:

 

“Think of your cover letter as… a cork that represents an entry to the contents of a wine bottle. Just as a cracked or rotten cork will discourage a user from pouring the contents of the bottle into a glass…, an uninspiring cover letter might prevent the recruiter from reading the full application and assessing your suitability for the position.”

 

We won’t go into how to write a cover letter here, but check out our guide on writing a cover letter with no experience before you send one with your CV.

 

Also, check out our best cover letter tips to adjust it to perfection!

Expert Hint: The importance of a cover letter can't be ignored. But remember, a cover letter is not supposed to repeat your CV. It should complement your entry-level CV by adding additional details and explaining your motivation to work at a given company.

Double your impact with a matching CV and cover letter combo. Use our cover letter builder and make your application documents pop out.

 

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CREATE YOUR COVER LETTER NOW

 

Want to try a different look? There’s 18 more. A single click will give your document a total makeover. Pick a cover letter template here.

 

Key Points

 

  • Use the reverse-chronological format on your first-time CV. 
  • For an effective entry-level CV, write a compelling CV objective.
  • Upgrade your CV by describing your education first.
  • Use the job ad to add relevant keywords to your entry-level skills section.
  • Make your CV more unique by including additional CV sections.
  • ALWAYS include an entry-level cover letter with your CV. This guide on how to write a cover letter as a recent graduate is a good place to start. 
  • If the job ad requires it, send the CV by email: here is what to write in the email when sending the CV.

 

Have any questions on how to make a CV for first jobs or an entry-level CV? Let’s chat about it here in the comments below, and thanks for reading!

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Christian Eilers
Christian Eilers is a resume expert and a career advice writer at ResumeLab. His insights and career guides have been published by Business Insider, FitSmallBusiness, Business News Daily, OppLoans, First for Women, and UpJourney, among others. Christian offers comprehensive advice on career development and each step of the job search, from start to finish and beyond. His guides cover looking for new jobs, sending application documents such as resumes and cover letters, acing interview questions, and settling into the new position. Since 2017, he has written over 200 in-depth, meticulously-researched career advice articles in collaboration with the most renowned career experts in the world. Hundreds of thousands of readers visit Christian’s articles each month. Christian majored in Communication & Culture, Anthropology at the City University of New York. In his spare time, he enjoys traveling and learning about cultures and traditions from around the world.

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