Cover Letters and Resume Samples

Customer Service Resume No Experience Sample

A customer service professional is a crucial point of contact between a company and its customers.

They are responsible for addressing customer inquiries, solving problems, and providing assistance that enhances the customer’s experience with the company.

Crafting an entry-level customer service resume without experience involves highlighting transferable skills such as communication, problem-solving, and the ability to learn quickly.

Including volunteer work, internships, or academic achievements can also demonstrate a candidate’s potential to excel in a customer service role.

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Significance of a Customer Service Resume with No Experience

A well-crafted customer service resume, even without experience, is significant as it showcases a candidate’s enthusiasm and aptitude for working in a service-oriented capacity.

It also emphasizes inherent skills and characteristics that can contribute to a business’s customer service team.

In the following sample, you’ll see an example of how to leverage your strengths and any relevant activities to demonstrate your readiness to excel in a customer service role.

Whether you’re a recent graduate or transitioning from another field, this sample can help you present yourself as a valuable candidate to prospective employers.

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  • 123 Your Street
  • Hometown, State, Zip
  • Phone: (123) 456-7890
  • Email: [email protected]
  • LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/janedoe

Motivated and enthusiastic individual seeking an entry-level position as a Customer Service Representative. Bringing strong communication skills, dedication to customer satisfaction, and a high level of adaptability to contribute positively to the customer service team.

Bachelor of Arts in Communication University of Hometown, Hometown, State May 2024

  • Graduated with a 3.8 GPA
  • Completed courses in interpersonal communication, public speaking, and conflict resolution
  • Led a fundraising team for a local charity, raising over $5,000
  • Communication Skills: Articulate speaker and attentive listener; adept at clearly conveying complex information and understanding customer needs.
  • Problem-Solving: Ability to assess situations, identify issues, and provide prompt resolution.
  • Teamwork: Collaborative team member, able to work effectively with diverse groups of people.
  • Technical Skills: Proficient with MS Office Suite and familiar with CRM software.
  • Adaptability: Quickly adjusts to change and new environments with a positive attitude.
  • Customer Service: Passion for helping others and creating a positive customer experience.

VOLUNTEER EXPERIENCE

Volunteer Coordinator Local Community Center, Hometown, State January 2024 – Present

  • Organize and coordinate volunteer activities for community events.
  • Serve as a liaison between the center and community members, addressing inquiries and concerns.
  • Manage trainings for new volunteers, emphasizing the importance of customer service and engagement.

Event Assistant Annual City Marathon, Hometown, State October 2023

  • Assisted in organizing and setting up the event, ensuring attendees’ needs were met.
  • Provided information and direction to participants and spectators.
  • Helped resolve on-site attendee queries efficiently and courteously.

ACADEMIC PROJECTS

Senior Communication Capstone Project University of Hometown, Department of Communication September 2022 – May 2023

  • Researched and presented a thesis on “The Impact of Customer Service on Consumer Loyalty.”
  • Conducted surveys and analyzed data to understand customer expectations and satisfaction levels.

Available upon request.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Languages: Fluent in English and Spanish. Certifications: Completed a customer service training workshop at MyJobSkillsOnline.

Note : You may tailor this sample resume to better fit your personal experiences and the job you are applying for. Remember to emphasize any leadership roles, projects, or coursework related to customer service.

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25 Things to Put on a Resume When You Have No Experience

service resume with no experience

Creating a resume with no experience can seem daunting, but it’s not impossible. Our goal with this article is to provide you with the information and guidance you need to create a compelling and effective entry-level resume that will get you noticed by hiring managers.

We understand that starting your career journey can be challenging, especially when it comes to highlighting your strengths and abilities without previous job experience. This article will cover various strategies and tips that will help you build a solid foundation for your resume and showcase yourself as a desirable candidate for your dream job.

We aim to provide you with practical insights on how to outline your skills, education, volunteer work, and other relevant experiences even if you don’t have direct job experience. This article will also dive into the importance of tailoring your resume to the position you’re applying for and optimizing it for applicant tracking systems (ATS).

Our goal is to show you that a lack of experience does not have to hold you back from landing your dream job. By the end of this article, you will be equipped with the knowledge and confidence to create a top-notch resume that highlights your shining qualities and sets you apart from other applicants.

So, let’s get started!

Understand the Importance of a Strong Resume

The job market can be a competitive and challenging space, especially for those who are just starting out or have little to no experience. In such situations, having a strong resume is an essential tool for anyone to succeed in their job search. Understanding the importance of a well-written resume can mean the difference between landing your dream job and never getting past the application process.

service resume with no experience

Why a resume is important for a successful job search

A resume serves as your personal marketing tool; a document that introduces you to prospective employers and communicates your skills, experience, and achievements. It is your opportunity to present yourself in the best possible light, showcase your strengths, and convince employers that you are the right person for the job. A well-crafted resume can help you stand out from other candidates, create a positive impression, and get your foot in the door.

What employers look for in a resume

Employers have specific criteria when it comes to screening resumes. They want to see that you have the relevant skills, experience, and qualifications for the job; that you possess the qualities that match their company culture; and that you can contribute to the organization’s success. To make a good impression on employers, it is crucial to tailor your resume to each job you apply for, highlighting your relevant skills and experience.

Employers typically look for the following things in a resume:

  • Clear and concise presentation of your skills and experience
  • Relevance to the job you are applying for
  • Consistency in all the information provided
  • Evidence of your achievements and contributions
  • Attention to detail in formatting and style

How a good resume can increase your chances of getting hired

A well-crafted resume can significantly increase your chances of getting hired. It can catch the employer’s attention by presenting a clear, concise, and compelling snapshot of your experience, skills, and qualifications. Additionally, a good resume can help you pass the initial screening process and make it to the next stage of the hiring process.

A good resume can help you:

  • Stand out from other applicants
  • Demonstrate your potential value to the employer
  • Highlight your most relevant experience and achievements
  • Show that you are a professional and take your career seriously

A strong resume is an essential tool for anyone searching for a job, especially those with little or no experience. A well-crafted resume can make all the difference in securing your dream job. Ensure that your resume highlights your most relevant skills and achievements, is tailored to each job application, and presents you in the best possible light to increase your chances of getting hired.

Identify Your Relevant Skills and Qualifications

One of the biggest challenges for individuals with no work experience is identifying their relevant skills and qualifications. However, it is important to note that prior work experience is not the only factor employers consider when evaluating candidates.

Here are some tips on how to determine your relevant skills and qualifications:

1. Consider Your Education

Your education can provide insight into the skills and knowledge you have acquired. Make sure to include any relevant coursework, academic achievements, and extracurricular activities. For example, if you are applying to a job in marketing, you may want to highlight any coursework in advertising, market research, or business strategy.

2. Assess Your Transferable Skills

Transferable skills are skills that can be applied to various settings and industries. Some examples of transferable skills include communication, leadership, problem-solving, and organization. Assess your own transferable skills by thinking about experiences in your personal life or volunteering activities. For example, if you have volunteered at a community organization, you may have developed leadership and communication skills that can be applied to the workforce.

3. Use Job Descriptions as Inspiration

Reading through job descriptions of positions you are interested in can provide insight into the skills and qualifications employers are looking for. Take note of any recurring requirements such as computer proficiency, attention to detail, or customer service.

How Soft Skills Can Play an Important Role in Your Resume

Soft skills, often referred to as people skills, can be a valuable asset in any professional setting. While technical skills such as coding or accounting are important, soft skills demonstrate personal qualities that can set you apart from other candidates. Here are some examples of soft skills to include on your resume:

service resume with no experience

1. Communication Skills

Communication skills are essential in almost any job. Being able to convey ideas and actively listen to feedback can lead to better collaboration and more successful projects. Highlight your communication skills by mentioning any public speaking or debate experience as well as any strong writing capabilities.

2. Leadership Skills

Leadership skills can also differentiate you from other candidates. Even if you haven’t held a formal leadership role, experiences such as leading a project or working in a team can demonstrate these skills.

3. Problem-Solving Skills

Being able to approach problems with creativity and adaptability is a sought-after trait. Showcase your problem-solving skills by mentioning any experiences where you had to troubleshoot a tricky situation or come up with an innovative solution.

While job experience is a valuable asset, it is not the only factor employers consider when evaluating potential candidates. Identifying your relevant skills and qualifications and highlighting your soft skills can make you a strong contender for a position.

Highlight your Education

One of the best ways to showcase your potential as an entry-level candidate when you don’t have work experience is to highlight your education. Your education section is prime real estate on your resume, as it gives employers insight into your capabilities, potential and desire to learn.

How to showcase your educational background

When it comes to highlighting your education on your resume, be sure to include the following information:

Name of the institution  – Start with the name of the institution where you received your degree. Be sure to spell it correctly and include the official name, as well as any commonly used abbreviations.

Degree name and level  – Include the name of your degree, such as Bachelor of Science in Accounting. Also, indicate the level of the degree, whether it’s an associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s or doctoral degree.

Major/field of study  – Indicate your area of focus, such as marketing, psychology or computer science.

Graduation date  – Include the date you received your degree.

Relevant coursework  – If you don’t have any work experience, your coursework can help you showcase your abilities and qualifications. Include any relevant courses that you took in college that relate to the position you’re applying for.

GPA  – Including your GPA is optional, but can be helpful if you have a high GPA or if the employer asks for it.

Honors and awards  – If you received any academic honors or awards, such as Dean’s List, Phi Beta Kappa, or scholarships, be sure to include them.

Including relevant coursework and achievements in your education section

When it comes to highlighting your relevant coursework and achievements, be strategic about what you include. Only include coursework and achievements that are relevant to the job you’re applying for. Here are some tips:

Focus on skills and competencies  – Instead of listing individual courses, focus on the skills and competencies you developed in those courses. For example, if you took a course in project management, you can highlight your ability to manage timelines, budgets and resources.

Quantify your achievements  – If you received high grades in your coursework, mention your GPA or any academic awards you received. If you completed a project, mention the scope of the project and any measurable outcomes.

Speak to the job requirements  – Look at the job description and identify the key requirements. Then, tailor your education section to highlight the coursework and achievements that demonstrate your ability to meet those requirements.

By highlighting your education in your resume, you can demonstrate your potential and willingness to learn. Don’t shy away from showcasing your relevant coursework and achievements, as they can help you stand out in a competitive job market.

V. Emphasize Your Extracurricular Activities

One of the best ways to showcase your skills and potential when you have no professional experience is to highlight your extracurricular activities. From leadership roles to volunteer experiences, including these on your resume can demonstrate your commitment, passion, and ability to excel in various areas.

When featuring your extracurricular activities and involvement, be sure to include specific details about your role and responsibilities. For example, if you were a member of a club, mention the projects you worked on, the events you organized, and the skills you gained through your involvement. If you volunteered at a non-profit organization, highlight the impact you made, the challenges you faced, and the lessons you learned.

In addition, don’t forget to mention any leadership roles you held. Clearly state the position you held and the size of the team you managed, as well as any accomplishments or initiatives you spearheaded. This can demonstrate your ability to take charge, delegate tasks, and motivate others.

Finally, if you have received any awards or recognition for your extracurricular activities, make sure to mention them. This can add credibility to your accomplishments and prove your dedication and excellence in a particular area.

Including your extracurricular activities and involvement on your resume can help you stand out from other candidates and give potential employers a more well-rounded view of your skills and potential.

Highlight Any Relevant Internships or Work Experience

One way to compensate for a lack of direct experience in a particular field is to refer to relevant internships or work experience, even if they occurred in other industries or areas. Such experiences can still be valuable in terms of teaching transferable skills that can be applied to the job at hand.

For instance, highlighting that you interned as a sales associate in a retail store can illustrate key skills such as customer service, teamwork, and handling money. If you worked as a waitress, you might have developed communication skills, multitasking abilities, and attention to detail. You can then demonstrate how you can apply those acquired skills to a different role or industry.

Be sure to highlight any relevant work or internships in your resume by including detailed descriptions of your responsibilities and accomplishments. Use active verbs and quantify your achievements to give potential employers a clear understanding of your contributions. Additionally, you can showcase your transferable skills learned from previous experiences through your cover letter, emphasizing how they can translate into relevant tasks and requirements of the job you’re applying for.

Even if you don’t have direct experience related to the field you’re applying for, highlighting previous relevant work or internships and demonstrating transferable skills can still make you a strong candidate for the job.

Showcase Your Relevant Achievements and Accomplishments

When listing your achievements on your resume, it is important to do so in a clear and concise manner. Rather than simply listing your responsibilities, focus on highlighting the impact you had on previous projects or positions. This will demonstrate to potential employers that you can contribute to the success of their organization. Here are some tips to showcase your achievements effectively:

Highlight quantifiable successes

Using numbers and data to quantify your successes can be a powerful way to showcase your achievements. For example, instead of saying “increased sales,” you could say “increased sales by 20% within the first quarter.” This adds context to your achievement and demonstrates your ability to impact a business. Other examples might include reducing costs, increasing productivity, or improving customer satisfaction.

Be specific

When listing achievements, be specific about what you achieved and how. Simply saying you “improved a process” doesn’t give potential employers any real insight into your abilities. Instead, say something like “streamlined a process that reduced production time by 50%.” This provides a clear picture of your accomplishments and how they benefited the organization.

Focus on relevant achievements

When listing achievements, make sure they are relevant to the job you are applying for. If you are applying for a marketing position, list achievements related to marketing or advertising campaigns you have worked on. This will demonstrate that you have the necessary skills and experience for the job.

By following these tips, you can effectively showcase your achievements and make your resume stand out to potential employers. Remember, your accomplishments demonstrate your value as an employee and can make a big difference in landing your next job.

Utilize Resume Keywords

In today’s job market, it is crucial to have a resume that stands out. One way to achieve this is by utilizing keywords throughout your resume. Keywords are specific words or phrases that are relevant to the industry, job, or skills you possess. By incorporating these keywords your resume, it can help you stand out from the pack.

Understanding how to use keywords in your resume to stand out

To make the most of keywords, it’s important to understand how to use them. One way to do this is by reviewing the job posting to identify the keywords that the employer is looking for. You can then incorporate these keywords into your resume in the relevant sections to ensure that your resume matches the job requirements.

Another approach is to use keywords that reflect your skills and achievements. Think of words or phrases that describe your strengths and experience. For example, if you’re a graphic designer, some keywords might include design software, branding, layout, and typography.

When using keywords in your resume, it is important not to go overboard. Don’t just list a bunch of random words or phrases that are not relevant to your industry or experience. Instead, be strategic about where and how you use them. This may include integrating them into your professional summary, work experience, or skills sections.

Examples of relevant keywords for various industries

Here are some examples of relevant keywords that you might consider using in your resume based on the industry:

  • Social media
  • Advertising
  • Marketing campaigns
  • Brand management
  • Market research
  • Content creation
  • Lesson planning
  • Classroom management
  • Curriculum development
  • Student assessment
  • Differentiated instruction
  • Educational technology
  • Parent-teacher communication
  • Programming languages
  • Database administration
  • Network security
  • Agile methodology
  • Cloud computing
  • Cybersecurity
  • Electronic health records
  • Patient care management
  • Medical terminology
  • Diagnostic procedures
  • HIPAA compliance
  • Healthcare regulations
  • Clinical trials

By using relevant keywords in your resume, you can demonstrate your skills and experience more effectively to potential employers. It helps you stand out and gets you noticed in the hiring process. Make sure to avoid overusing them and follow best practices to tailor them to each application you submit.

Structure and Design of a Strong Resume

When it comes to creating a strong resume, formatting and structure are essential for making sure that your document is easy to read and well-organized. Not only will a well-designed resume grab the attention of potential employers, but it will also make your experience and qualifications stand out.

Here are some tips for formatting and structuring your resume for maximum impact and readability:

How to Format and Structure Your Resume

  • Use a clear and consistent font throughout your document. Arial, Calibri, and Times New Roman are all good options.
  • Limit your use of bold, italic, and underline to highlight important information like headings and job titles.
  • Break up large blocks of text with bullet points to make your resume more reader-friendly.
  • Use white space to separate different sections and make your resume easier to navigate.
  • Use a chronological format to showcase your work experience, with your most recent job listed first.

Tips on Choosing a Resume Template

When it comes to choosing a resume template, there are a few things to keep in mind. First, you want to choose a template that fits your style and personality. If you’re applying for a more creative job, you might want to choose a template with a more design-focused layout. If you’re applying for a more traditional job, a clean and simple template might be a better choice.

Here are some additional tips for selecting a resume template:

  • Look for templates that match your industry or career level. You don’t want to choose a template that’s too casual or too formal for the job you’re applying for.
  • Use color sparingly. A pop of color can help your resume stand out, but too much color can be distracting.
  • Use a template that’s easy to edit and customize. You don’t want to spend hours tweaking a template that doesn’t quite fit your needs.

By following these tips for formatting and structuring your resume, as well as selecting a template that fits your style and needs, you’ll be well on your way to creating a strong and effective resume even if you have no prior experience.

Tips for Writing a Compelling Resume Summary or Objective

When it comes to writing a resume, a common section that’s often included is a summary or objective statement. These statements serve as an introduction to your potential employer and give them an idea of your background and goals. However, it’s important to know the difference between a resume summary and objective.

Resume Summary vs. Objective

A resume summary is a brief paragraph or bullet points at the top of your resume that highlights your professional accomplishments and experience. It’s a great way to give a quick snapshot of who you are as a candidate and what you bring to the table.

On the other hand, a resume objective is a statement that outlines your career goals and what you hope to achieve. It’s typically used by job seekers who have little to no work experience or are transitioning into a new industry.

Tips on Crafting a Strong Statement

Whether you’re writing a resume summary or objective, there are certain things to keep in mind to make your statement compelling and memorable. Here are a few tips:

Keep it concise: Your statement should be no longer than 2-3 sentences or bullet points. You want to quickly capture the reader’s attention and not overwhelm them with unnecessary information.

Focus on your strengths: Highlight your most relevant skills and achievements that make you a standout candidate. Tailor your statement to the job you’re applying for and emphasize what you can bring to the role.

Use keywords: Make sure to include keywords and phrases that are relevant to the job description. This can help you get past applicant tracking systems and catch the attention of the hiring manager.

Show your personality: While it’s important to keep your statement professional, don’t be afraid to inject some personality and showcase your unique voice. This can make you more memorable and help you stand out from other applicants.

Your summary or objective statement should give a clear picture of who you are as a candidate and what you can bring to the table. With these tips and a little creativity, you can craft a compelling statement that will make a lasting impression.

Incorporating Relevant Examples in Your Resume

When it comes to resumes, listing your skills and qualifications is important, but it’s not enough. In today’s competitive job market, recruiters and employers are looking for candidates who can provide tangible evidence of their abilities. That’s where incorporating relevant examples in your resume becomes crucial.

Providing examples of your accomplishments, skills, and experience is an effective way to stand out amongst other job applicants. It allows you to showcase your strengths and capabilities, instead of simply stating them. Including examples in your resume can help to give recruiters and potential employers a better understanding of your abilities and achievements, making you a strong candidate for the job.

Here are some examples of relevant and resonant examples to include in your resume:

1. Academic Achievements

Include any academic achievements such as awards or scholarships you’ve received. If you were involved in any academic competitions, mention your achievements and your role in the team. For example, if you competed in a science fair and won an award, mention that in your resume.

2. Volunteer Work

Volunteering can give you valuable experience and skills that you can highlight in your resume. If you volunteered in a leadership role, be sure to mention that. If you volunteered for a non-profit organization and helped raise money, include the amount you raised and how you accomplished it.

3. Internships

Internships are a great way to gain work experience in your field of interest. Highlight your contributions to the company you interned at and any projects you worked on. Be sure to mention any new skills you learned while on the job.

4. Freelance Work

If you have done any freelance work, be sure to include it in your resume. This could include anything from designing a logo to writing an article. Mention the project you worked on, what you accomplished, and the impact it had on the client.

5. Personal Projects

If you recently completed a personal project, it’s worth mentioning in your resume. This could include a website you designed or a YouTube channel you started. Highlight your skills and the impact your project had.

Incorporating relevant examples in your resume is a powerful tool to showcase your abilities, accomplishments, and potential. By providing tangible evidence of your skills and experience, you can make yourself stand out from other job applicants and increase your chances of securing the job of your dreams.

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  • Past vs. Present Tense on...

Past vs. Present Tense on Resumes: Best Practices

9 min read · Updated on March 20, 2024

Ken Chase

Should a resume be in the past or present tense?

How sick are you of hearing that you must proofread your resume? The reason that proofreading is brought up so much is that it is of the utmost importance. If you take hours or even days crafting the perfect document and never discover grammar , punctuation, and spelling errors, your time has been wasted. 

There's more to proofreading than just using spell check, though. Your verb tense is also important for your overall resume writing style. Of course, that raises an important question: should your resume be in past tense or present tense?

The short answer is, “It depends.” 

In this post, we'll explore each of these tenses, examine the best practices for using each type, and offer some helpful tips you can use to ensure that your resume narrative is delivering the right message to employers.

What is past tense? What is present tense? 

First, let's have a review of what past and present tense means. Is your sentence describing something that's happening now, or did it already occur? 

Past tense is anything that's already happened. The verbs that describe past tense often end with -ed. Of course, there are some exceptions like “oversaw.” Reminder: every sentence of your resume should start with a verb.

Present tense is anything that's happening now. You'd use present tense in the summary paragraph at the top and in the bullets that you use to describe your current job. 

Pro tip: The gerund form of present tense verbs often adds an -ing at the end. There is some debate as to whether the use of the gerund is appropriate for a resume. With that said, you should avoid using it.

Related post : 11 Key Things to Put on Your Resume

Should I use past tense or present tense on my resume? 

You will likely use both the past and the present tense in your resume. However, it can get tricky because you don't want to mix both in the same section. If you have one-off achievements like successfully completing a project in your current role, you shouldn't talk about that in the present tense because it already happened. 

In the spirit of being consistent, here are some rules to help you recognize when to use past or present tense:

When to use past tense on your resume

Describe your education, past jobs, awards, and accomplishments using the past tense. You aren't in school anymore, and you no longer work at your previous jobs. Therefore, they belong in the past. For example:

Championed a 20% increase in sales by onboarding 30 new customers each month.

Architected complex algorithms that improved the efficiency of gathering, scrubbing, and merging data from more than 20 disparate sources.

Engaged in real-time troubleshooting with approximately 40 customers per day and achieved an 85% first-call resolution rate.

When to use present tense on your resume

While much of your resume will be in the past tense, there are certain sections that should focus on the present. These include the resume headline, resume summary, and the first entry in your work experience section if you're describing your current position. Let's look at each one of these critical sections and examine why it's important to use the present tense to describe your skills and ongoing achievements.

Related post : Seven Key Resume Sections and How to Organize Them

1. Resume headline

Your resume headline should always be written in the present tense since you want to ensure that the employer understands that you're actively engaged in your role. Remember, the headline is a brief description of your job title and key specialties, so make it as compelling as you can. For example:

Creative Marketing Manager Focused on Data-Driven Results in Branding and Client Engagement

Solutions-Oriented Project Manager with 10+ Years of Team Building and Client Management Success

Innovative Software Engineer with 5 Years of Experience Developing Industry-Leading Gaming Apps

Related post : 27 Great Resume Headline Examples to Stand Out

2. Resume summary

Your summary goes right below your resume headline and should provide employers with a brief elevator pitch to sell your qualifications. Include three or four sentences that highlight your experience, skills, and notable achievements. The goal here is to emphasize your qualifications in a way that shows you're prepared to provide real value to any employer who hires you. Here's an example:

Ambitious IT specialist with more than seven years of experience in network management and systems analysis. Expert troubleshooter and project lead with expertise in cloud platform, data migration, and client support. Proven track record of success in reducing network delays by 80+%, with 95+5 reported satisfaction rating on troubleshooting calls. Resilient problem-solver, capable of working both independently and in collaboration with colleagues and clients.

Related post : Resume Profile Explained (with Examples)

3. Work Experience

When you list your current job in your work experience section, it should always be in the present tense. The skills you list in this prominent section of your resume are skills you use all the time. This is the it-can-get-tricky part because you can also talk about your current position in the past tense – more on this in just a bit. Here are a couple of examples:

Direct full-cycle hiring processes, including telephone interviews, to ramp up department operations.

Source, interview, hire, and onboard a new team of 7 developers. 

Train 6 associates and 2 clerks to ascertain the needs of clients and improve customer satisfaction.

Of course, when you're listing achievements in your work experience section, you're primarily going to focus on things that you've already done. After all, if one of those achievements involved designing a new sales program that boosted revenues by 30% over two quarters, that's a one-time achievement, right? Obviously, that accomplishment needs to be presented using the past tense.

Confused? Don't be. We'll explain how to handle that situation in our next section.

When to use both past and present tense

Your resume is supposed to be a customized career marketing document that demonstrates you're the best candidate for a specific position. You sell yourself to new companies by highlighting career accomplishments. 

So, how do you handle talking about past and present items in the description of your current role if you shouldn't mix past and present tense within the same section of your resume? 

Take that example that we cited above. How would you include that type of achievement in the work experience listing for your current job? It's easier than you might imagine.

The best way to deal with that situation is to separate the bullet points under your current role into things you do every day first and achievements last. Write your daily responsibilities in the present tense and your achievements in the past tense. This is what that would look like:

Document, report, and present project milestones, performance KPIs, and status updates in weekly executive meetings attended by as many as 12 board members.

Implement and execute all standard operating procedures to ensure adherence to protocols, mitigate risk, and improve overall safety rating to 0 incidents per month. 

NOTED ACCOMPLISHMENTS:

Saved more than $300K by tracking spending, identifying waste, and authoring/implementing new project metrics that reduced costs.

Nominated by leaders for the I'm-The-Greatest-Employee award, 2021. 

Another great way to manage this concern is to include a brief paragraph that highlights your ongoing achievements using the present tense while making sure that all your bullet point accomplishments are listed in the past tense. Below, we've provided an example of what that might look like:

Marketing Director, ABC Marketing, Anytown Anystate, 2014 to Present

Manage daily marketing operations, including strategic campaign development, overseeing multiple project teams, evaluating and monitoring staff, and managing client expectations. Collaborate directly with senior management, finance department, and sales team to facilitate operations and ensure that the company always remains on mission.

Designed and implemented training program credited with 42% reduction in staff onboarding times.

Developed multiple marketing and advertising campaigns that brought in $100+ million over a six-year period.

Redesigned more than 20 failing client projects, leading to results that exceeded expectations by an average of 20%.

Created company's innovative “Green Marketing” campaign that drew national exposure and led to 15% spike in new client acquisition.

Tips to get the most out of your use of past and present tense

The following tips can help you maintain your focus when you're creating achievement statements and highlighting your current qualifications.

Resumes are not like standard prose documents. You don't need to stick to just one tense since you'll likely be highlighting both present skills and past achievements. Just remember to make sure that your reader can easily follow any tense changes that occur throughout your resume narrative.

If you find yourself asking, “Should this part of my resume be in past tense or present tense” just take a moment and consider the message you're trying to deliver with that statement. If you're attempting to focus attention on specific skills and qualifications, then you'll probably want to use the present tense. If you're demonstrating value by highlighting an accomplishment from a previous job, use the past tense.

Try to avoid mixing your tenses within any given bullet point section. Again, be consistent in different areas of your resume to avoid reader confusion.

If you're struggling to decide how to use the different tenses within the same resume, try a different and simpler approach. Instead of using the present tense, simply present all your information using the past tense. Most employers are used to seeing past tense used in resumes and won't be put off by that approach.

Related post : 17 Resume Tips to Get Seen and Hired Faster

Knowing if your resume should be in past tense is easy

The next time you're wondering whether your resume should be in past tense or present tense, take a deep breath and focus on your narrative. Sometimes, reading your own resume a few times can help you gain insight into the message that you're delivering. Just keep things simple and remember what each tense is designed to convey to the reader. If you can successfully do that, you'll have a better chance of choosing the right tense and making the best possible impression on employers.

Are you still confused about which resume tense you need to use? Get a free resume review from our team of experts today!  

“This article was originally written by Marsha Hebert and has been updated by Ken Chase.”

Recommended reading:

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  • Proofreading Tips to Improve Your Resume and Cover Letter
  • How to Make Your Resume Stand Out With Action Verbs

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How to Make a Resume With No Experience

You can lean on internships, class projects and extracurricular activities.

Jeff Rumage

Making a resume early in your career feels like a classic catch-22: A good resume highlights relevant work experience, which you don’t get until you land a job.

The truth is you don’t always need professional experience for entry-level jobs. By highlighting your existing skills, coursework and extracurricular activities, you can craft a resume that will impress employers — even without work experience.

Writing a Resume With No Experience

  • Start with a professional summary 
  • Emphasize your education 
  • Include relevant experience like internships and extracurriculars
  • Highlight your accomplishments
  • Showcase your skills 
  • Don’t include a headshot, hobbies and other unnecessary details

Even if you don’t meet all the requirements described in a job description , there are still ways to write a resume that catches a company’s eye. First, you may want to get your hands on a resume template (word processors like Google Docs and Microsoft Word have resume templates to guide you with a general structure). From there, you can fill in the details by following the tips below.

1. Start With a Professional Summary

Career coaches have mixed opinions on including a short professional summary at the top of your resume. Lesa Edwards, founder of  Exclusive Career Coaching and the former director of the career center at  Truman State University , is in favor of a professional summary because it can set the stage and contextualize the experiences that follow. It also allows you to set yourself apart in a large stack of resumes. 

If you decide to include a professional summary, ask yourself: What do I bring to the table? What soft skills could I transfer over to this role? What do I have that other candidates don’t have? If written well, this two-to-three-sentence summary could encourage recruiters and hiring managers to take a closer look at your resume and cover letter.

2. Emphasize Your Education

If you recently graduated from college, put your education experience as one of the first headers on your resume. You should list your major, any academic honors and your GPA (if it is 3.5 or higher). The education section of your resume can also include a subsection for industry-relevant certifications . As your career progresses, you can bump your education section further down the resume to make room for more relevant professional experiences.

3. Include Relevant Experience and Activities 

Instead of focusing on the requirements you don’t meet, think about any transferable skills or experiences you might have gained from internships , extracurricular activities, part-time jobs, volunteering or school projects.

Jill Silman Chapman, director of early talent programs at Insperity , said she favors candidates who have a well-rounded set of experiences. It shows they are able to multitask, work in different types of environments and adapt to changing circumstances.

“In today’s workplace, we’re changing all the time,” she said. “That ability to adapt is critical.”

Internships

Internships are the best way to gain relevant work experience before entering the professional world. They offer an opportunity to apply the lessons you’ve learned in the classroom in real-world situations.

Part-Time Jobs

If you worked in a service industry job and you are seeking your first professional job after college, you could highlight soft skills , like time management skills needed to juggle school and work responsibilities. Customer service is an especially underrated skill, Silman Chapman said, because it translates to customer-facing roles and  interpersonal skills within the workplace.

Extracurricular Activities

This could include student government, fraternities and sororities or any number of campus organizations or community activities. Athletics is also a resume-booster in some industries, especially sales and other professions that tap into a competitive spirit. You might also note if you were an Eagle Scout, helped out at a peer tutoring program or volunteered your time in other ways that show you are engaged in your community.

Class Projects

Projects you worked on as part of a class or online certification program can also be incorporated into your resume. This could include your marketing class working on a semester-long campaign that culminated in a big presentation. If your class partnered with a company on a large project, that could be a relevant real-world experience for your resume.

Online certification programs are also a good way to gain professional experience, and often provide a chance to apply your learnings to a project, which can then be highlighted on your resume, said Karen Scully-Clemmons, assistant director of career services and employer relations at the  University of Texas at Austin . You’ll want to detail what you accomplished, what technologies you used and what you learned . If possible, you should also link to your project on your resume.

Related Reading How to Use the STAR Interview Method to Land a Job

4. Highlight Your Accomplishments

For each experience you list, showcase the results in bullet point format, and look for ways to quantify your results. For example, don’t just rattle off what you did as president of a school organization, highlight how many new members joined during your tenure or how much money you raised while leading fundraising efforts.  

These accomplishments don’t need to be groundbreaking, but you might have to reflect deeply and think creatively to recognize and articulate the value you provided in each role. Just be sure to align these accomplishments with the responsibilities in the job description. 

“Sometimes I think the hardest thing for students is to think of an achievement, because they think it has to be a super big deal,” Edwards said. “So much of it is a shift in mindset of what constitutes an achievement.”

5. Showcase Your Skills

For a skills section, you can include your software proficiencies, as well as soft skills like organization, time management, communication, adaptability to change and the ability to work as part of a team . If you are going to highlight soft skills, though, you should also include evidence of a role or situation in which you demonstrated those skills.

“It may not be numbers, dollars or percentages,” Edwards said, “but maybe you could talk about how you took a leadership role in a class project that was presented to a community organization.”

Related Reading 5 Things New Grads Need to Know About the Job Market

6. Don’t Include These Elements

You only have so much space on your resume, so be sure to leave off these unnecessary details. 

Objective Statement 

Don’t include an “objective” statement that lays out what you are looking for in a job. Instead of talking about what you want, use that space to describe what value you can offer the employer. 

Hobbies and Interests

While you might think a job is related to your hobbies and interests, Edwards said these are of little practical interest to recruiters and hiring managers. Leave them out of your resume.  

A GPA below 3.5 is not likely to win over a company, and a GPA below 3.0 could only hurt your chances. Only include your GPA if it’s above 3.5.   

Headshot or Photo

Recruiters and hiring managers don’t need or want to see what you look like. Unless you are applying for an acting job, don’t attach a picture to your resume because it could be potentially used to discriminate against you. 

Your Full Address

In the electronic age, there is no need to put your address on your resume. Providing your city and state is typically enough, unless an online application requires your full address.  

Graphics  

Don’t employ resume templates with fancy graphics: most companies use applicant tracking systems (ATS) , which can’t read resumes that are decorated with graphics, special fonts, columns and other formatting tools.

Frequently Asked Questions

What can i put on my resume if i have no experience.

In lieu of professional experience, you could highlight your education, skills, internships, extracurricular activities, part-time jobs, volunteering experiences and school projects.

How to write a professional summary for a resume with no experience?

A well-written professional summary will draw upon the experience you’ve gained from school, internships and other extracurricular activities to demonstrate the impact you have made and the value you would bring to your desired role.

How do you say you have no experience but are willing to learn?

Employers are often willing to train entry-level candidates who have shown initiative and a hard work ethic in school, internships and extracurricular activities. You can emphasize your willingness to learn through your professional summary statement on the top of your resume or through the cover letter that accompanies the resume.

Do I need a resume if I don't have experience?

Yes, you need a resume when applying for a job, regardless of your experience. Most word processors, like Google Docs and Microsoft Word, offer free resume templates to get you started.

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How to Write An Effective Resume With No Work Experience (with Templates and Examples)

A recruiter-backed guide to writing an effective resume if you don't have enough (or any) work experience - with downloadable templates and examples.

3 years ago   •   13 min read

Navigating the job market without professional experience can seem daunting, but you can still write a competitive resume with no work experience. The key is to present the experience you do have, and show a recruiter why it’s relevant to them.

Remember, a lack of work experience doesn't mean a lack of skills or potential. Unpaid roles, student activities, internships, personal projects, and volunteer work can all provide substance for your resume, showing your potential to employers and highlighting your transferable skills.

In this guide, we'll take you through crafting a compelling resume without formal work experience, covering how to quantify your skills, focus on education, and fill your resume with competitive keywords.

How to write a resume with no work experience

If you're writing your resume but lack enough (or any) professional work experience, here's a quick step-by-step guide to help you get started:

  • Include any internships, extracurricular activities , freelance, and volunteer work to supplement your experience.
  • List your education section at the top of your resume.
  • Use numbers and metrics to quantify your skills and explain how your experience is relevant, even if it's in a different field.
  • Include a skills list of relevant keywords and competitive skills.
  • Include in-progress education, training and qualifications relevant to your desired field, and consider enrolling in online courses that match the job description.
  • Write a resume summary to highlight transferable skills and career goals.
  • Stick with a standard reverse chronological resume format. (Not sure what that means? Don’t worry; we'll explain below.)
  • Run your resume through a free online resume checker for personalized advice on targeting your resume to your application.

Remember, just because you lack paid work experience doesn’t mean you lack skills! All you need to do is learn how to highlight those skills in a way that will grab a recruiter's attention. Here is an example of how you can create a well-rounded resume with limited paid experience:

Resume template if you don't have enough experience

Top tips for creating a resume if you have no work experience

Here are 8 top tips for creating a professional-quality resume, despite having little to no work experience.

Highlight transferable experience

The experiences you highlight on your resume should be relevant and tailored to the job you are applying for, but that doesn’t mean they need to be in the same industry. Many skills are transferable between jobs and industries; these are the ones you want to highlight.

Look carefully at the job description and consider what you’ve done previously that demonstrates those skills. Recruiters look for transferrable technical skills, as well as soft skills, so demonstrate these through any experience on your resume, paid or non-paid.

Focus on accomplishments

Once you have decided what experience to include on your resume (more on that in our sections below), remember to talk about your accomplishments , not your job duties. “Responsible for closing the store every night” is a duty — it tells recruiters what you were asked to do, but not what you actually did or how you’re likely to perform in the job you’re applying for. Narrow down the accomplishments most relevant to the skills listed in the job description and focus on those.

Include a resume summary

Adding this optional section at the top of your resume can benefit those with limited or no work experience. A resume summary outlines your essential skills, experience, and noteworthy accomplishments to highlight why you're a good fit for the job.

Use the job title of the job you're applying for, regardless of your past experience, and list 2-3 key skills that match the job description. Mention if you have relevant background experience in that field, paid or not, and highlight any standout accomplishments.

For example:

image.png

Quantify your accomplishments and skills

Including numbers and metrics can help any experience look more impressive. This is known as quantifying your resume ; start with an action verb and include a metric or result that demonstrates your achievement.

If you’re having trouble coming up with metrics, here are some questions to consider:

  • How many people have you worked with? Instead of saying that you worked in a team, specify the size of the team.
  • How many people attended an event you organized? If it was for charity, how much money did you raise?
  • How many customers did you serve on an average day? How many sales did you make?

Here is an example of how to quantify a previous job on your resume:

Including numbers and metrics is the best way to make your accomplishments stand out on a resume.

Use the right keywords

Most resumes nowadays go through Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) , automated programs that scan your resume for certain keywords. This means you have to include the right words on your resume to make it past the filter.

Search our list of top resume skills and keywords to get an idea of the specific skills hiring managers are looking for. Being a match for the essential skills the job requires is much more important than having the perfect background or experience!

Keep your formatting simple

You don’t need a fancy-looking resume to impress. In fact, going overboard with creative elements like downloaded fonts, colors, and images can actually do more harm than good. Stick with an easy-to-read font, clear section titles, and standard one or two-column format, or download a free resume template that does the work for you.

Use reverse chronological format

Reverse chronological format simply means that your most recent experience and qualifications are listed first. This is the most common format for modern resumes and is what most hiring managers are expecting. That applies to work experience, but also to your education, projects, and extracurricular activities.

Use a cover letter

You can get ahead of most other applicants simply by writing a cover letter . A cover letter is a great opportunity to talk about why you’re interested in the job and what you would bring to the table, which, when you lack traditional work experience, may not always be obvious from your resume alone.

Pro-tip: Choosing the right examples

If you’re not sure if you have chosen the right examples of your skills for your resume, upload it to the tool below to get a detailed review of your resume and personalized suggestions on how you can improve your word choice, brevity, impact and style, and if there are any critical keywords missing from your resume.

Professional resume template with no work experience

If you have little to no work experience, you can still write an effective resume with only unpaid experience (internships, online training, volunteer work, etc.) by highlighting your most impressive and quantifiable accomplishments, and accomplishments that showcase transferable skills.Here is a professional resume template you can use to improve your existing resume or build one from scratch. You can download this template and more from our resume templates page.

Resume with no work experience with a focus on extracurricular activities

Pro tip: For students writing their first resume

As a student or recent graduate, you will likely have limited or no experience to fill your resume. But don’t worry. This template is also for you!

Notice how this template lists extracurricular, volunteering and personal experiences as 'Leadership and Work Experience', and the resume starts with an Education section. This is a good approach to take if you're a student just getting started in your career.

You can download this template for free here .

Writing a resume for a career change with no previous experience

Making a career shift without prior experience in your proposed field can seem daunting, but it's not impossible. Just like the template above, your resume should focus on transferable skills and competencies that could apply to your desired role and highlight relevant training and certificates. The goal is to convince potential employers that while you may lack direct experience, you have the aptitude and enthusiasm to excel in this new career path.

For more information, read this article on updating your resume for a career change in 2024 .

Pro tip: Gaining industry-specific knowledge

Although you may not have direct experience in your new field, showing that you have done your homework about the industry can go a long way. This could include enrolling in online training, such as Google Career Certificates or Coursera online courses, attending seminars or workshops, or self-study. Make sure to mention these in your education or training section to show your initiative and commitment to learning about the new field.

How to write each section of your resume when you have no previous experience

There are important key sections that should be part of every resume, such as education and qualifications, work experience, hard skills and a resume summary. But don’t worry if you don’t think you have anything to write.

Below, we will explain how to tackle each section of your resume if you have little to no work experience, including formatting options, what to include and the best way to showcase your skills.

Education and qualifications

If you’re new to the workforce or are changing careers, your education and training are likely the most recent and most relevant experience you have. That means you can list your education section at the top of your resume, which takes some of the focus away from a limited work history.

Capitalize on this by elaborating on your academic achievements. Anything from relevant coursework to study abroad can be listed in your education section.

If you're a current student or recent graduate

If you’re a current student or recent graduate, you can also list your education section at the top of your resume above your work experience. The more recently you graduated, the more detailed you can make this section.

Include the name and location of your school, university or college, your field of study and your graduation date (or expected date if you’re yet to graduate). You can also include relevant honors or awards, and significant coursework.

Here is an example of how this would look on your resume, using the template above:

image.png

If you didn’t complete your degree

If you didn’t complete your degree , that’s not a problem. You should still list an unfinished degree on your resume a) if it's relevant, or b) until you have more work experience.

Include the name and location of your university, the field of your degree and the dates you attended school. You can also include the number of course hours completed.

Work experience

This is the dreaded section for most people. How are you supposed to write a work experience section when you don’t have any previous paid experience? You need experience to get a job, but you need a job to get experience!

The most important thing to remember is that experience doesn’t need to be formal or paid to be considered experience. Work experience can include volunteering, freelance work, internships, part-time jobs, extracurricular activities, or personal projects. These all demonstrate transferable skills that hiring managers are looking for.

Internships

Internships and student placements are ideal experiences for your resume since they’re still professional settings. You can list internships under your experience section, especially if you don’t have other paid experience.

Include the name of the company, the dates of employment and your specific job title, and list your experience in 3-6 bullet points describing your duties or accomplishments.

Example of how to list internships on your resume if you have no work experience.

Volunteer work

Volunteer work is another excellent substitute for paid experience. Just like an internship, volunteering can be listed in your experience section or a separate volunteer work section .

Include the organization's name, the dates you volunteered and your role within the company. List 1-2 accomplishments in bullet point format, and include accomplishments to demonstrate your skills.

Example of how to use volunteer experience on a resume with no work experience.

Extracurricular activities and projects

Extracurricular activities or personal projects are great ways to demonstrate relevant skills, especially when you don't have traditional paid experience. Both can showcase leadership , teamwork , or other valuable attributes, even if they are not specifically relevant to the job you’re applying for.

Think about the skills you demonstrated in your activities and frame those skills as accomplishments. List the name of the activity or project, your role, and then 1-2 bullet points detailing your accomplishments. Remember to start each point with a strong action verb and highlight your essential skills and achievements.

For an extracurricular activity, your entry might look something like this:

Example of how to write a resume with little to no work experience

For personal or community projects, ensure to include the focus of the project and your specific role. Here's an example:

Example of how to list projects on a resume with no work experience.

Freelance work

If you’re still struggling to think of things to include on your resume, consider gaining additional experience by starting up a side project , like running a blog or picking up freelance work .

Include the name of the company you worked for, your role, your date of employment and the projects you completed.

Work experience or no, you should still include a skills section on your resume . This doesn’t mean you need to list every skill you possess, just those most relevant to the job you’re applying for.

Look for the skills listed in the job description and list those if you have them. If you’re not sure what skills hiring managers are looking for, you can use Targeted Resume Tool and our skills and keyword finder to look for relevant skills to include.

How to list hard skills

Your skills section should only include hard skills . In other words, things you can prove and quantify, like proficiency with a software program or technical process. Good skills to list could include:

  • Software programs
  • Programming languages
  • Foreign languages
  • Certifications
  • Design skills
  • Data analysis
  • Specific types of writing, like proposal writing or SEO

If you have some experience with a skill but are not yet proficient, you can still include it on your resume. Consider arranging your skills by proficiency to show the skills you are currently improving.

How to show soft skills

Soft skills , like communication , leadership , and initiative , are great skills to have, but simply listing them isn’t going to impress a recruiter. Instead, consider a time you demonstrated those skills and include them in your bullet point accomplishments.

If you’re unsure which skills to include in your skills section, use the tool below to get a list of skills and keywords relevant to the job you’re applying for.

Additional sections

When you’re just starting out, anything that gives hiring managers a better sense of who you are and what you’re capable of could be worth including.

Here are some examples of additional sections you could include on your resume:

  • Certifications and Courses : If you've taken additional courses or certificates that are relevant to the job you're applying for, this is the place to include them. For instance, if you're applying for a digital marketing role, you might list a Google Career Certificate or a course in SEO.
  • Languages : Proficiency in foreign languages can be a significant asset in many roles. Whether you're applying for a job at a multinational company or a position that involves communication with diverse populations, list your language skills here. Ensure to mention your level of proficiency (beginner, intermediate, advanced, or fluent).
  • Professional Associations or Memberships : If you belong to any professional groups or organizations related to your field, mentioning them can demonstrate your commitment to your industry.

Remember, when including additional sections, the qualities or skills you’re trying to highlight should be directly relevant to the job, even if the experience itself isn’t.

Common mistakes to avoid when writing a resume with no experience

When creating a resume with no work experience, it's easy to fall into certain pitfalls. Avoid these common mistakes to write a strong and impactful resume:

Over-inflating your experience

While it's important to highlight your skills and activities, remember to remain honest and genuine. Overinflating your experience can lead to awkward situations during interviews and may raise doubts about your credibility. If you've been involved in student activities or volunteer work, these are great to include, but don't make them sound like full-time professional roles unless they were.

Not tailoring your resume

Many job seekers make the mistake of sending the same generic resume to every job they apply for. Tailor your resume for each specific job posting by highlighting the skills and experiences most relevant to that position. This shows employers you've put thought into how you would fit in the role and makes your application stand out.

Overusing buzzwords or vague language

One of the common pitfalls in resume writing is the use of overused or vague language. Phrases like "hard-working," "team player," and "detail-oriented" are often overused and do not provide concrete evidence of these traits. Instead, demonstrate these skills through specific accomplishments or responsibilities from your past experiences.

Including too much irrelevant information

When writing a resume with limited experience, it can be tempting to include everything you have ever done. While it might be tempting to include all your experiences and accomplishments, it's important to remember that recruiters often have a large number of resumes to go through, so your resume should be as concise as possible.

Only include the experiences and skills that can be related to the job you are applying for, and leave out information that does not directly support your candidacy for the specific role.

Forgetting to proofread

This may seem minor, but a resume riddled with spelling and grammatical errors can create a negative impression. Always proofread your resume multiple times, and consider having someone else look it over too.

Is it worth applying for jobs that require experience even if I don't have any?

Yes, it's always worth applying for jobs that require experience, even if you don't have any. Job requirements are often a ‘wishlist’ from employers, and not having every requirement doesn't disqualify you. It's more about how you can convey your transferable skills, whether it's from your education, volunteer work, or extracurricular activities.

Are there any potential red flags to employers if a resume has no paid work experience?

While a resume with no paid work experience may initially raise questions for employers, it's not an insurmountable hurdle. The key is in how you present your other experiences and skills. Employers understand that everyone starts somewhere, and they are more interested in your potential, adaptability, and willingness to learn.

How should I handle gaps in my resume due to a lack of work experience?

When you have little to no work experience, it's normal to have gaps in your resume . Instead of worrying about these gaps, focus on activities you undertook during these periods. You can include volunteer work, courses, personal projects, or relevant hobbies.

If the gap is due to education or training, that information should be clearly stated in your education section. Remember, employers are more interested in seeing a continuous journey of learning and development rather than a timeline filled solely with traditional employment.

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Thank you for the checklist! I realized I was making so many mistakes on my resume that I've now fixed. I'm much more confident in my resume now.

service resume with no experience

How to Write a Resume with No Experience [21+ Examples]

Background Image

It’s time for your first job hunt !

You need to write a resume , which can be nerve-wracking if you don’t have any real-life work experience.  

You don’t know where to start, what to include, or which resume format to choose.

On top of that, most advice you find online isn’t relevant because it focuses on emphasizing professional background.

Chances are, you’re straight out of college with no experience to speak of. 

Or maybe you're a high-school student applying for a part-time job.

Whichever the case may be, you’re probably having trouble filling in the blank space on your resume that’s supposed to be the work experience section.

Worry not, though. In this guide, we’re going to help you create an AMAZING resume, no work experience is needed.

  • How to format your resume with no work experience
  • 4 sections to replace work experience (that help you stand out)
  • 2 no-work experience resume samples (guaranteed to land you the job)

How to Format Your Resume [with No Work Experience + Examples] 

A resume format is the layout of your resume .

The ideal resume format usually depends on how much work experience you have. 

But what happens when you have none?

For a no-experience resume, we recommend that you use the reverse-chronological format . 

no experience resume format

It’s the most popular format amongst applicants and a recruiter favorite.  

The sections in your reverse-chronological resume will be: 

  • Header : Contact Information and Resume Statement
  • Internships, extracurricular activities, projects, volunteer work  (These sections will replace your work experience)

In this article, we’ll walk you through each of these sections, and explain how to write them in a way that you stand out from the crowd.

Let’s dive in.

Start With Your Resume Header

resume header example

Your resume header includes your contact information and your resume statement.  

Below, we’ll show you how to write both of these elements and how to include them in your header section.

Put Down Your Contact Information

Just like the name suggests, the first thing you add to your header is your personal and contact information.

It’s the easiest part to get right, just keep it short and to the point.

In your contact information section, mention the following:

  • First and Last Name
  • Phone Number
  • E-mail Address
  • A link to a professional profile (e.g. LinkedIn ) or personal webpage (if you have one)

Make sure to use a professional-sounding E-mail.

I.e. something along the lines of “[email protected].” 

You’re sure to leave a wrong impression if you use an email you created back in preschool ( “[email protected]” ).

Make sure to double-check, triple-check your contact information. After all, the recruiter can’t contact you if you have a typo in your phone number.

(Optional) Write Your Resume Objective

A resume objective is a short heading statement in your resume, where you describe your professional goals and aspirations.

Fun fact - hiring managers look at your resume for 5-6 seconds max .

Yep, that’s right. In most cases, the hiring manager is literally drowning in resumes. So, they have a couple of seconds to skim each one.

Well, this section is your chance to catch their attention (and let them know you’ve got what it takes).

A resume objective is usually 3-4 sentences max and includes information on:

  • What your field of study is;
  • What your skills and experiences are (ones that are relevant to the job );
  • Why you’re applying for this position and/or this company.

As with contact information, you don’t need to label your resume objective with a title. Just write it underneath your contact information section.

Here’s an example of what a resume objective looks like:

“ Recent Communications graduate looking to apply for the role of Secretary at XYZ inc. Extremely organized with good writing and multitasking skills. Practical experience in management gained through several university projects, which involved coordinating tasks between different team members and ensuring that everyone was in sync with the latest information. ”

Emphasize Your Education

education section on resume no experience

In your average resume, the first section would be work experience.

Since you don’t have any, though, you’ll want to omit that and replace it with the education section.

This way, you bring a lot more attention to your education, which is one of your main selling points. 

What should you include in the Education section? 

List the following features in this order:

  • Name of the degree
  • Name of the institution
  • Years attended
  • Location of the institution (optional)
  • GPA (optional)
  • Honors (optional)
  • Relevant coursework (optional)
  • Exchange programs (optional) 

As a general rule, if you studied in a prestigious university, you can add the name of the institution before the degree . This way, you will catch the recruiter’s attention faster.

Now, let’s go through some real-life examples:

BA in Computer Science

Tufts University

Medford and Somerville, Massachusetts

10/2015 - 06/2018

Magna Cum Laude

  • Exchange Program in Greenville, NY

University of the Arts London

BA in Interior Design 

10/2017 - Ongoing

Westwood High

Boston, Massachusetts

Class of 2018 

Education Section Q&A

Still have some questions about the education section? Worry not, we’re about to give you all the answers!

Do I include my GPA?

  • The answer here is a “maybe.” We’d recommend including a GPA if it’s higher than 3.5. Anything lower than that, and you might be underselling yourself. Keep in mind, though, that most employers don’t care about your grades.

Should I include my coursework?

  • Yep, but just as long as it’s relevant. If you have no work experience, including courses can help establish your expertise in a field. Feel free to skip out on any basic courses, though. No one cares about your Maths 101 course.

Do I mention my degree if I dropped out?

  • If you studied for more than 2-3 years, yes. A half-finished degree is still better than no degree. If you dropped out after a semester, though, that doesn’t really mean much.

Do I mention my high school degree?

  • Only if it’s your only degree. If you have any higher education, your high school degree will only take up space.

4 Sections to Replace Work Experience [With Examples]

Now that you’ve listed your education, it’s time to fill that work experience gap in your resume.

You aren’t still worried about your lack of experience, right?

Because here are four sections you can use instead:

1) Internships

Have you done an internship that is relevant to the position you are applying for?

Now’s the time to mention it. 

Here is how you add an internship to your resume:

First , place the Internship section right after the education section. 

Title it: Internships

Second , write your internship title and role . Be specific.

If your internship was in the marketing department, instead of just “Intern”, say “Marketing Intern”. 

Third , put down the company name , location , and duration of the internship - in that order.

Marketing Intern

Full Picture

New York, NY

09/2019 - 12/2019

Easy and straightforward, right?

One more step:

Last , add a list of responsibilities you had as an intern in bullet point form. 

If you have any tangible achievements , even better! Write those in as well.

Finally, tailor both the responsibilities and achievements to the role you’re applying for.

Here’s how that looks in practice:

You used to be an Advertising Intern .

You’re applying for the position of Social Media Assistant . 

Here’s how you would put down your internship entry:

Internships

Full Picture Company

  • Analyzed various social media platforms for trending content
  • Managed company social media accounts
  • Posted interested content on company Facebook page, increasing engagement by 25%

The listed responsibilities and achievements are directly connected to the Social Media Assistant job requirements.

You’re applying for a Content Writer position. Take a look at the same entry now:

  • Assisted the Marketing Manager in writing press releases and new blog posts , which increased web traffic by 25%.

Notice how the internship title remains the same. 

But in this case you’re applying for a Content Writer position, so you are highlighting your writing experience instead.

For more examples, check out our full guides to an internship resume and how to write a cover letter for an internship .

2) Extracurricular activities

Still have a ton of empty space in your resume?

Extracurricular activities are always a great addition!

Whether they’re related to the job you’re applying for or not, they still show one thing:

You’re hard-working and motivated.

Imagine you’re the HR manager, and you can pick between these 2 candidates:

  • Josh Johnson. Studied at Massachusetts State. 4.0 GPA, but that’s all he did in college - no extracurricular activities, internships, or anything else.
  • Suzie Activeson. Also studied at Massachusetts state. 3.2 GPA. Vice-president of the business club. Served as a student government senator for 2 semesters. Organized several events as part of the marketing club.

Sure, Josh is probably qualified, but we don't know anything about him, other than that he studied a lot.

Suzie, on the other hand, can manage a team (business club VP), organize events (marketing club), and is passionate about making a change (student government).

So, which one would you pick?

Now, let’s explain how to list extracurricular activities on your resume:

  • Title of the section: Extracurricular Activities
  • Name of the organization and/or team 
  • Your role in the organization
  • Time period
  • Noteworthy awards or achievements

Extracurricular Activities

Public Speaking Club

Vice-President

09/2018 - 09/2019

  • Organized 10+ public speaking lectures
  • Brought in speakers from all over the state
  • Conducted public speaking workshops

3) Volunteering Experience

Volunteering shows dedication and passion to apply yourself. 

And there’s nothing recruiters love more than a committed employee.  

Whether you spend your free time in a soup kitchen, or you helped collect trash in the countryside, you can mention it in your resume!

But how do you list volunteering experience?

Well, it follows the same logic as your internship and extracurriculars:

  • Title of the section: Volunteering Experience
  • Name of the organization
  • Relevant tasks and achievements (bullet points)

Volunteering Experience

Grand Archive Library Volunteer

Washington, D.C

08/2017 - 02/2019

  • Performed secretarial activities, such as sorting mail, filing documents, answering phone calls, and taking messages. 
  • Led a poetry reading event twice a month. 

4) Projects

In this section, you can add any relevant projects you were part of during your time in school or at an internship.

Your capstone project, graduation thesis, or research project go here. 

No need for work experience!

You can also mention any other type of project you’ve worked on in school, including:

  • Business project for a real-life client
  • Mock website you created in Web Design 101
  • Fake magazine you created as a capstone project
  • Market research you did as part of your graduation thesis
  • Software you developed in Software Engineering class

...And so on!

Here’s how you put them down:

  • Title of the section: Projects
  • Project name
  • Project type
  • Related organization 
  • Relevant responsibilities and achievements (optional)

And now, for some practical examples. Here’s what a journalism student project could look like:

Online Privacy and Social Media: a Journalistic Study of Facebook and Cambridge Analytica

Journalism Capstone Project

Harvard University

09/2018 - 11/2018

And here’s a law school example:

In-House Pro Bono Project

Columbia Law School

11/2018 - 03/2019

  • Completed a full petition for U nonimmigrant status, interviewed legal persons and drafted affidavits.

If you have anything physical to back up your project with, feel free to include a link.

For example, if you’re a developer, you could include a link to your GitHub profile.

Stand out with your Skills 

skills section no work experience resume

There are two types of skills you can include on your no-experience resume: 

Soft skills and hard skills. 

What’s the difference? 

Soft skills are attributes or habits that describe how you work. They are not specific to a job, but indirectly help you adapt to the work environment. 

Here are some of the most popular ones: teamwork, responsibility, leadership, creativity, etc.  

Hard skills , on the other hand, refer to specific tools, technical knowledge and training and other work-specific skills. They apply directly to the job. 

Technical writing, C++, financial accounting, etc. are all examples of hard skills.

So, which of these skills should you include? 

That depends on a lot of factors, but as someone with no work experience, you should opt more for hard skills .

See, you could write all the cool buzzwords like “Critical Thinking” and “Leadership,” but the recruiter won’t believe you.

Fun fact - that’s what 90% of students do.

Instead, you should focus on skills that make you stand out , and in most cases, those are hard skills.

So, how do you decide which hard skills to mention? Easy! Just check the job ad you’re applying for.

Let’s say you’re applying for an entry-level creative internship, and you find these requirements in the job description: 

  • Video editing experience (Premiere, After Effects)
  • UI design experience
  • Photo editing experience (Photoshop)
  • Photography experience
  • Experience with Adobe Illustrator

You’d transfer this into your skills section:

  • Premiere & After Effects - Expert
  • Photoshop - Expert
  • UI Design - Intermediate
  • Adobe Illustrator - Intermediate
  • Photography - Intermediate

Not sure which skills to mention? Check out our article on 150+ must-have skills for all sorts of professions !

Other Sections You Could Include in a No-Experience Resume

A resume without experience does have one advantage: extra space . 

You can use this space to create other sections that highlight how awesome you are!

Here are some sections you could include:

  • Hobbies and Interests . Add flair to your resume by showing your genuine passion and interest in the industry.
  • Languages. Do you know a second language? Or even a third? Awesome! Most companies these days are pretty international and appreciate an extra language skill or two. Be mindful not to over-exaggerate your proficiency, though. Only knowing how to ask “¿Donde está la biblioteca?” doesn’t warrant a Spanish entry on your resume.
  • Awards & Certifications . Do you have any fancy pieces of paper that show you’re smart? Maybe it’s an award for a terrific essay in a competition, or a certificate from an online course . Whichever the case may be, awards and certifications show that you’re a winner, so definitely include them in their own respective section.

Need Inspiration? 2 No Work Experience Resume Samples

Do you still have questions or don’t know where to begin?

That’s when a resume sample comes in handy. 

It provides you with a predetermined format.

It also helps you picture how your no-experience resume is supposed to look like. 

As Picasso put it: Good artists copy; great artists steal! 

Here are 2 no work experience resume samples you can borrow ideas from:

Business Student Resume Sample

no experience resume sample

High-school Student Resume Sample

high school no experience resume sample

Create a Matching Cover Letter

All done with your resume?

It’s not over yet. You need to write a cover letter to go with it.

A cover letter is a single-page letter that accompanies your resume and is part of your job application.

Look at it this way: your resume describes your experiences, and your cover letter explains (in simple words) how they’re relevant to the job.

Now, here’s a quick infographic on what to include in a cover letter:

cover letter format for no experience resume

Finally, as with everything else in your resume, make sure to keep your cover letter relevant, short, and concise.

The hiring manager doesn’t have time to read an autobiography, they’ll only review your cover letter for a few minutes. 

There’s a lot more to creating a good cover letter than what we just explained.

For a complete, all-you-need-to-know walk-through, check out our Complete Guide on How to Write a Cover Letter !

Key Takeaways

...and that’s a wrap!

At this point, you should know everything there is to know about writing a killer no-experience resume.

Just to keep things fresh, though, let’s quickly go through everything we’ve learned so far:

  • When creating your no-experience resume, use the reverse-chronological format.
  • You can create a killer no-experience resume by emphasizing your education instead. Include relevant internships, soft & hard skills, and projects.
  • Other sections you can include on your resume are hobbies & interests, languages, certifications, or achievements.
  • Keep all the content on your resume clear, precise, and relevant. Use bullet points for all your descriptions.
  • After you’re done with your resume, you want to write an awesome cover letter that goes with it. The cover letter is a one-page letter that tells the story behind your resume content and reemphasizes why you’re a great fit for the job.

Related Resume Examples

  • Internship Resume
  • High School Resume
  • Research Assistant Resume
  • College Resume
  • Students and Graduates Resume
  • Teacher Resume

Recommended Readings:

  • 43+ Resume Tips and Tricks to Land Your Next Job in 2024
  • 20+ One-Page Resume Templates [Free Download]
  • 35+ Common Interview Questions and Answers [Complete List]

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16 Good Skills to Put on a Resume With No Experience

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Looking for a list of good skills to put on a resume with no experience? Yes, it exists. When writing a resume for your first job , finding the best tools to show employers what you have to offer can make all the difference, whether or not you have work experience to back it up.

Today's job market is highly competitive, with companies seeking versatile candidates who possess a wide range of skills and the ability to adapt to challenging situations. The good news? You can check all those boxes, even without formal job experience.

Your entry-level resume should demonstrate your strengths and qualifications, while also being an accurate reflection of who you are—which means, not turning it into a compilation of buzzwords. Here's a list of the best skills to put on a resume when you have no experience. (Keep these in handy for your job hunt, and get ready to stand out!)

Once you perfect your resume, check out open jobs on The Muse and maximize your chances of getting hired »

What are entry-level resume skills ?

When it comes to what skills to put on a resume, there's no one-size-fits-all answer. Yes, there are a couple of general skills that hiring managers typically look for. But specific roles may demand specific abilities.

For example, if you're an entry-level candidate applying to a sales associate position, your communication and customer service skills are going to be way more important than your Photoshop knowledge.

“When candidates have no experience in a position, recruiters look for skills that align directly with the role,” says Prestina Yarrington , Growth & Development Coach and former Global Talent Acquisition Senior Manager at Microsoft. “They're looking for a skillset match between the candidate's resume and the job description.”

The key is to identify past experiences that have helped you develop skills relevant to the job you're applying for. “These can be exhibited through your education, internships, or volunteer work, which may have allowed you to become familiar with the skills needed for the role. It can also include work you may have done as a member of a club or organization,” Yarrington says.

Examples of skills to put on a resume with no experience

OK, you understand now that your resume should be tailored to each job. But to get you started, here are 16 great skills to put on a resume with no experience—from soft to hard skills .

General and behavioral skills

Need some key skills to put on a resume for an entry-level position? General and behavioral skills—also known as soft skills —are a good place to start. Why? Because they are essential and highly valued in nearly every job out there.

By showcasing these skills on your resume, you'll be giving the hiring manager a glimpse into who you are and how you might act in the work environment.

1. Creativity

Most employers really value creative candidates because they're the ones who bring fresh ideas and innovation to the company. Even though this skill is often linked with traditional creative jobs like writing or design, it's actually useful in any work setting. You can leverage creativity to solve problems and handle tricky situations with ease.

Read more: 16 High-Paying Jobs for Creative People

2. Leadership

Companies crave employees who can motivate, engage, and manage others. That's why leadership skills can be a surprising asset on a resume with no experience. To demonstrate this quality, reflect on situations or relevant experiences from your past where you had the chance to effectively lead others. This could include team projects or involvement in extracurricular activities, for example.

4. Attention to detail

Another skill that can catch the recruiter's eye is attention to detail. People with this skill are typically meticulous, organized, and dedicated to high-quality work. However, it's important to find a balance. While a keen eye for detail is valuable, it shouldn't become an obsession to the point that slows you down.

With that in mind, to showcase this strength on your resume, highlight how your attention to detail helped you excel in a project or solve a problem. Focus on the positive impact it has on you.

3. Organizational skills

Are you an organized person? Have you ever had to multitask and handled it like a pro? If so, think about adding organizational skills to your resume. Employers really value this ability—especially in roles where you'll be dealing with a lot of tasks every day.

5. Communication skills

Whether you're working directly with the public or not, communication skills are a must on an entry-level resume. Regardless of your position, you'll likely need to communicate with your team, boss, and colleagues daily—be it in person or via email. So, make sure to highlight your ability to convey information clearly and express yourself effectively.

6. Ability to learn quickly

As an entry-level employee, you'll be constantly learning a lot of things. That's why you should highlight your ability to be a quick learner on your resume—it shows you're ready to soak up new knowledge and contribute effectively to any team, even without formal experience.

Mention a previous project where you started with minimal expertise and quickly absorbed new information. Even better if you provide examples illustrating what you learned and how it improved your performance.

7. Adaptability

The job market is constantly evolving. New technology, tools, and apps pop up all the time. Not only that—companies themselves are always changing, requiring employees to take on new responsibilities and adjust to new scenarios. By demonstrating your flexibility and willingness to embrace change, you can make your resume stand out.

Read more: 3 Ways You Can Deal With Change at Work

8. Public speaking

Even if the job you're applying for doesn't involve much public interaction, public speaking is a great skill to put on a resume with no experience. It signals you're a confident person who can communicate effectively. Plus, it's a useful skill to have in many work situations, such as presenting projects or leading discussions and meetings.

Transferable skills

Transferable skills are those you can apply to any job, regardless of the title or field—which makes them highly prized by hiring managers. “For entry-level positions, recruiters are looking for transferable skills the candidate may have demonstrated in another role. For instance, problem-solving, teamwork, or critical thinking skills,” says Yarrington.

However, it doesn't mean you should copy and paste the list onto your resume. Your choices should be tailored to the specific role you're seeking. “This can be taken directly from the job description. Try to stay away from general broad terms. Recruiters are looking to find a match for the position,” she says.

Read more: How to Read a Job Description the Right Way

9. Problem-solving

Problem-solving is one of the best skills to put on a resume with no experience because it shows your ability to tackle challenges and find solutions. Since most professions involve facing certain challenges sooner or later, employers highly value candidates with this capability.

Be sure to provide an example of a situation where you were faced with a problem and successfully find a solution to overcome it.

10. Teamwork

Being a team player is key. Employers seek candidates who can collaborate well with others and offer support, rather than competing with them. Most work environments rely on teams to achieve common goals. This includes everything from group discussions and brainstorming meetings to depending on your colleague to get your job done. Think about a chef who depends on the waiter to deliver the food to customers—that's teamwork in action.

Read more: 4 Tips to Help Control Freaks Be Team Players

11. Critical thinking

Another highly demanded skill is critical thinking . It involves analyzing complex situations and making informed, intelligent decisions to solve problems or improve processes.

Similar to problem-solving, this skill demonstrates that you're able to handle obstacles effectively. When crafting your resume, look for situations where you used your critical thinking skills to overcome challenges.

12. Time management

Time management is also a key skill to add to your resume, especially if you're new to the workforce, given how fast-paced many workplaces are today. It requires the ability to prioritize projects and handle multiple tasks simultaneously while meeting deadlines. Employees lacking time management skills are less likely to thrive in such environments, which could lead to delayed deliveries and low productivity.

Technical skills

Who says entry-level resume skills can't be technical? Also known as hard skills , they can be self-taught or acquired through certifications, work experience, and college education. Unlike behavioral and transferable skills, technical knowledge is typically more specialized, only applicable in specific fields.

14. Software programs

Are you a Photoshop expert? Can you edit videos using Final Cut or Adobe Premiere? These are good skills to put on a resume, particularly if you're applying for roles in social media, content creation, or marketing.

Do you have experience working with Excel or Google Presentations? Many office jobs require knowledge in one of these software programs. While more experienced professionals may omit them from their resumes, entry-level candidates should do the exact opposite and highlight this kind of skill.

15. Writing

Writing is one of the best examples of technical skills to put on a resume for first job, as many professions rely heavily on it. For example, roles in social media management and content marketing require strong writing abilities.

Read more: 9 High-Paying Writing Jobs for Word People: Editors, Writers, and Beyond

Even seemingly non-technical roles like receptionist or secretary often require strong writing skills. While graduates from journalism or literature may have an advantage, those from different backgrounds can still get online certifications in creative writing, technical writing, and more.

16. Social media management

If you think about it, almost every business—big or small—has a social media presence nowadays. That's why social media management is a skill worth considering for your resume, especially if you're interested in job opportunities related to content marketing or creation.

Like the others skills on this list, social media management is something you can develop through personal projects or certifications.

How do I list my skills on a resume with no experience?

You've learned what are some skills to put on a resume as an entry-level candidate. But how do you list them effectively? Ideally, each skill should be linked to a specific experience you've had. No worries though—even without formal work experience, there are some creative ways to showcase them and grab the attention of recruiters.

Use a minimalist template

You might have some amazing design skills (put that on your list!), but your resume isn't the place to show them off just yet. Focus on keeping your resume minimalistic and clear.

“Although most candidates put a lot of effort into the specific template used or the formatting of their resume, which is often aesthetically pleasing, the overall content of the resume is what we pay attention to more,” says Yarrington.

Read more: 40 Best Free Resume Templates to Use and Customize

Leverage the resume summary

The resume summary is the very first section of the document. It's used to highlight your main goal and your most important qualifications. As an entry-level applicant, you can take advantage of this section to tell a bit about yourself and list some of your best skills.

“It's a great idea to start with a summary briefly stating the intended career goals and highlighting key strengths that are relevant to the position,” says Yarrington. “For an entry-level position, it may be beneficial to include the desired next step in the career journey—this shows a desire to commit to learning the necessary knowledge and skills to progress.”

Here's an example:

Creative and detail-oriented computer science graduate with internship experience in web development. Proficient in HTML, Java Script, and CSS, with a solid understanding of software maintenance for engineering applications. Seeking an entry-level position to expand my knowledge and further develop my skills.

Create sections related to your skills

If you've never had a formal job before, you can create sections to include relevant experiences related to the skills you want to emphasize. For instance, “education and academic success, notable achievements or awards, and volunteer work,” says Yarrington.

It could be something like:

Volunteer Experience

Food bank of West Virginia

Volunteer Shift Manager, January 2023 — December 2023

  • Managed the food pantry operations, developing a new organization system that resulted in a 35% decrease in waste
  • Trained over 15 new volunteers, guiding them through all our internal processes and systems
  • Created and implemented a new shift calendar to better accommodate the needs of both new and existing volunteers, resulting in a 10% reduction in absenteeism

Literally create a skills section

This skills section can be added at the very end of the document, below your experiences and education. There are two different ways to do it: vertically or horizontally.

Example #1:

Relevant skills

  • Creative writing
  • Critical thinking
  • Adaptability

Example #2:

Creative content writing, SEO, editing, critical thinking, adaptability, attention to detail

Prioritize quality over quantity

Don't go listing every skill under the sun to fill up a page. Be truthful, and most importantly, focus on the quality of your resume.

“Is it geared towards the role you're seeking? Have you highlighted skills from the position that can be found in either your education, volunteer, or organizational work? Is the resume spell/grammar checked?” Yarrington asks.

Imagine claiming to be detail-oriented and then submitting a resume that doesn't align with the job description or, worse, is full of grammar mistakes. That's definitely not the impression you want to make.

“Many people miss small things when it comes to this,” she says. “It can convey whether or not the candidate pays attention to detail or reviews their work before submitting it. These are soft skills that are vital in an entry-level position .”

service resume with no experience

  • Crimson Careers
  • For Employers
  • Harvard College
  • Harvard Kenneth C. Griffin Graduate School of Arts & Sciences
  • Harvard Extension School
  • Premed / Pre-Health
  • Families & Supporters
  • Faculty & Staff
  • Prospective Students
  • First Generation / Low Income
  • International Students
  • Students of Color
  • Students with Disabilities
  • Undocumented Students
  • Explore Interests & Make Career Decisions
  • Create a Resume/CV or Cover Letter
  • Expand Your Network
  • Engage with Employers
  • Search for a Job
  • Find an Internship
  • January Experiences (College)
  • Find & Apply for Summer Opportunities Funding
  • Prepare for an Interview
  • Negotiate an Offer
  • Apply to Graduate or Professional School
  • Access Resources
  • AI for Professional Development and Exploration
  • Arts & Entertainment
  • Business & Entrepreneurship
  • Climate, Sustainability, Environment, Energy
  • Government, Int’l Relations, Education, Law, Nonprofits
  • Life Sciences & Health
  • Technology & Engineering
  • Still Exploring
  • Talk to an Advisor

CREATE A STRONG RESUME

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GETTING STARTED

  • ACTION VERBS

RESUME SAMPLE

Optional category examples.

  • RESUME TEMPLATE (BULLET POINTS)
  • RESUME TEMPLATE (PARAGRAPH FORMAT)
  • COVER LETTER TIPS
  • COVER LETTER SAMPLE

A resume is a concise, informative summary of your abilities, education, and experience. It should highlight your strongest assets and skills, and differentiate you from other candidates seeking similar positions. Although it alone won’t get you a job or internship, a good resume is an important factor in obtaining an interview. Tailor your resume to the type of position you’re seeking. This doesn’t mean that all of your experiences must relate directly, but your resume should reflect the types of skills the employer would value.

  • Draft a resume using one of the MCS templates .
  • Attend a Resume Workshop to learn the nuts and bolts of getting started. See the MCS events calendar for dates.
  • View the recorded MCS Resume Webinar .
  • Get advice via drop-ins, Monday-Friday, 1:00-4:00pm. Ask quick career-related questions and have an advisor review your resume.
  • Look for industry-specific resume review clinics, listed on our events calendar in employer events.

RESUME TIPS

Resume language should be:.

  • Specific rather than general
  • Active rather than passive
  • Written to express not impress
  • Articulate rather than “flowery”
  • Fact-based (quantify and qualify)
  • Written for people who scan quickly

TOP SIX RESUME MISTAKES:

  • Spelling and grammar errors
  • Missing email and phone information
  • Using passive language instead of “action” words
  • Not well organized, concise, or easy to skim
  • Not demonstrating results

DON’T:

  • Use personal pronouns (such as I)
  • Use a narrative style
  • Use slang or colloquialisms
  • Include a picture
  • Include age or gender
  • List references
  • Start each line with a date
  • Be consistent in format and content
  • Make it easy to read and follow, balancing white space
  • Use consistent spacing, underlining, italics, bold, and capitalization for emphasis
  • List headings (such as Experience) in order of importance
  • Within headings, list information in reverse chronological order (most recent first)
  • Avoid information gaps such as a missing summer
  • Be sure that your formatting will translate properly if converted to a .pdf

PLAN TO WORK INTERNATIONALLY?

Resume guidelines can vary from country to country. See our international resources.

ACTION VERBS FOR YOUR RESUME

AccomplishedAchievedAdministeredAnalyzedAssignedAttainedChairedConsolidated
ContractedCoordinatedDelegatedDevelopedDirectedEarnedEvaluatedExecuted
HandledHeadedImpactedImprovedIncreasedLedMasteredOrchestrated
OrganizedOversawPlannedPredictedPrioritizedProducedProvedRecommended
RegulatedReorganizedReviewedScheduledSpearheadedStrengthenedSupervisedSurpassed
AddressedArbitratedArrangedAuthoredCollaboratedConvincedCorrespondedDelivered
DevelopedDirectedDocumentedDraftedEditedEnergizedEnlistedFormulated
InfluencedInterpretedLecturedLiaisedMediatedModeratedNegotiatedPersuaded
PresentedPromotedPublicizedReconciledRecruitedReportedRewroteSpoke
SuggestedSynthesizedTranslatedVerbalizedWrote
ClarifiedCollectedConcludedConductedConstructedCritiquedDerivedDetermined
DiagnosedDiscoveredEvaluatedExaminedExtractedFormedIdentifiedInspected
InterpretedInterviewedInvestigatedModeledOrganizedResolvedReviewedSummarized
SurveyedSystematizedTested
AssembledBuiltCalculatedComputedDesignedDevisedEngineeredFabricated
InstalledMaintainedOperatedOptimizedOverhauledProgrammedRemodeledRepaired
SolvedStandardizedStreamlinedUpgraded
AdaptedAdvisedClarifiedCoachedCommunicatedCoordinatedDemystifiedDeveloped
EnabledEncouragedEvaluatedExplainedFacilitatedGuidedInformedInstructed
PersuadedSet GoalsStimulatedStudiedTaughtTrained
AdministeredAllocatedAnalyzedAppraisedAuditedBalancedBudgetedCalculated
ComputedDevelopedForecastedManagedMarketedMaximizedMinimizedPlanned
ProjectedResearched
ActedComposedConceivedConceptualizedCreatedCustomizedDesignedDeveloped
DirectedEstablishedFashionedFoundedIllustratedInitiatedInstitutedIntegrated
IntroducedInventedOriginatedPerformedPlannedPublishedRedesignedRevised
RevitalizedShapedVisualized
AssessedAssistedClarifiedCoachedCounseledDemonstratedDiagnosedEducated
EnhancedExpeditedFacilitatedFamiliarizedGuidedMotivatedParticipatedProposed
ProvidedReferredRehabilitatedRepresentedServedSupported
ApprovedAcceleratedAddedArrangedBroadenedCatalogedCentralizedChanged
ClassifiedCollectedCompiledCompletedControlledDefinedDispatchedExecuted
ExpandedGainedGatheredGeneratedImplementedInspectedLaunchedMonitored
OperatedOrganizedPreparedProcessedPurchasedRecordedReducedReinforced
RetrievedScreenedSelectedSimplifiedSoldSpecifiedSteeredStructured
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(click on sample for pdf)

The document is a detailed resume sample for a student named Firstname Lastname. It includes contact information and various sections such as Education, Experience, Leadership, Skills & Interests. The Education section lists degrees from Harvard University and the University of London, including GPAs, relevant coursework, and extracurricular activities. The Experience section details roles such as Marketing Analyst Intern at Pepsi-Cola North America Beverages, Assistant Account Executive at Thomas Wilck Associates, and Technology Intern at Tech Hills, describing specific tasks and achievements. Leadership experience is demonstrated through roles in Harvard Undergraduate Women in Business and the Harvard College Marathon Challenge. The resume also lists technical skills in software like Stata and SQL, language proficiencies in French and Spanish, and personal interests such as ultimate frisbee and French films. The format includes clear headings, bullet points for easy reading, and consistent presentation of data.

RESUME TEMPLATE 1 (WITH BULLET POINTS)

The document is a resume template designed for a student from Harvard University. It includes sections for personal contact information, education details, experience, leadership and activities, and skills and interests. The education section allows for listing degrees, GPA, thesis, relevant coursework, study abroad experiences, and high school information. The experience section is structured to include job titles, organization names, locations, and dates, with bullet points to describe responsibilities and achievements using action verbs and quantifiable results. Leadership and activities follow a similar format, emphasizing roles and contributions. The skills and interests section is divided into technical skills, language proficiency, laboratory techniques, and personal interests. The template is formatted for clarity with headings, subheadings, and optional notes to guide customization.

RESUME TEMPLATE 2 (PARAGRAPH FORMAT)

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WRITE AN EFFECTIVE COVER LETTER

Your cover letter is a writing sample and a part of the screening process. By putting your best foot forward, you can increase your chances of being interviewed. A good way to create a response-producing cover letter is to highlight your skills or experiences that are most applicable to the job or industry and to tailor the letter to the specific organization to which you’re applying.

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Some general rules about letters:

  • Address your letters to a specific person if you can.
  • Tailor your letters to specific situations or organizations by doing research before writing your letters.
  • Keep letters concise and factual, no more than a single page. Avoid flowery language.
  • Give examples that support your skills and qualifications.
  • Put yourself in the reader’s shoes. What can you write that will convince the reader that you are ready and able to do the job?
  • Don’t overuse the pronoun “I”.
  • Remember that this is a marketing tool. Use plenty of action words.
  • Have an MCS advisor provide feedback on your letter.
  • If converting to a .pdf, check that your formatting translates correctly.
  • Reference skills or experiences from the job description and draw connections to your credentials.
  • Make sure your resume and cover letter are prepared with the same font type and size.

SAMPLE COVER LETTER

September 1, 2024

Morgan Smith  Director of Communications Jumpstart  308 Congress Street, 6 th Floor Boston, MA 02110 

Dear Morgan Smith: 

I am a senior at Harvard College studying History and Literature. I am writing to apply for the Marketing and Communications position at Jumpstart posted in Harvard’s Crimson Careers database. I’m very excited about the field of education, and would welcome the opportunity to bring my strong communication skills, creativity, and marketing experience to your growing team. 

Jumpstart’s commitment to early education for every child is of particular interest to me because of my passion for youth development. This past summer, I worked as a senior counselor in the Summer Urban Program, which is dedicated to preventing summer learning loss for children in the Boston and Cambridge area. I designed and taught fun, interactive classes to a group of 10 fifth graders, and planned and led local field trips and workshops daily with a junior counselor. Throughout the summer, I consistently strived to create math, science, and reading lessons and activities that were engaging and tailored to my students’ needs. 

Additionally, in my role as the Director of Marketing for the Social Innovation Collaborative, I led our team in creating a social media strategy to drive our member recruitment efforts and promote our programs and events on platforms including Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. With so many competing events on campus each day, I had to continually be creative in my approach to developing and delivering content that would be compelling and effective. As a result of my efforts, our group experienced a 20% increase in our membership base and a 15% increase in our social media engagement. I’m excited at the prospect of bringing the skills I developed through this experience to the Marketing and Communications role at Jumpstart. 

Thank you for your consideration. I very much look forward to the opportunity to speak with you in person about my interest in this position. 

Sincerely, 

Alex Crimson 

Who is the director of the Secret Service? Kimberly Cheatle has led agency since 2022

A House Republican leader is planning for an oversight hearing with the U.S. Secret Service after President Donald Trump was shot in the ear at a campaign rally in Pennsylvania on Saturday evening.

Sunday morning the FBI identified Thomas Matthew Crooks as the gunman who opened fire at Trump's rally . The Secret Service reported that the shooter and one rally attendee are dead. Two spectators are critically injured following the shooting.

House Committee on Oversight and Accountability Chairman James Comer, R-Kentucky, made the request for a briefing with the Secret Service and said he would call Kimberly Cheatle, the agency's director, to testify at a hearing.

"My prayers are with President Trump and the victims of the assassination attempt at today’s rally in Pennsylvania. I thank the brave Secret Service members who put their lives at risk to protect President Trump and for the American patriots in the audience who helped innocent victims," Comer said in a news release Saturday. "Political violence in all forms is unamerican and unacceptable. There are many questions and Americans demand answers. I have already contacted the Secret Service for a briefing and am also calling on Secret Service Director Kimberly Cheatle to appear for a hearing. The Oversight Committee will send a formal invitation soon.”

So who is Kimberly Cheatle?

Who is in charge of the Secret Service?

Kimberly Cheatle was sworn in as the 27th director of the U.S. Secret Service in September 2022. She was selected by President Joe Biden in August 2022.

Cheatle has served more than 25 years with distinction for the United States Secret Service across a number of leadership roles. She worked on the Vice Presidential Protective Division, and in 2021, Biden awarded Cheatle with a Presidential Rank Award.

What does the director of the Secret Service do?

In Cheatle's role as director of the U.S. Secret Service, she is in charge of executing protection and investigations for the agency.

The workforce is composed of multiple divisions within the Secret Service including Special Agents, Uniformed Division Officers, Technical Law Enforcement Officers and Administrative, Professional and Technical personnel, according to the Secret Service's website .

What did Kimberly Cheatle do before the Secret Service?

Prior to becoming the Secret Service director, Cheatle worked for PepsiCo as the senior director in Global Security, according to her biography with the Secret Service . There, Cheatle oversaw and directed security protocols for the company's facilities in North America.

Cheatle was the agency's assistant director of the Office of Protective Details, prior to joining PepsiCo. She also served as the Special Agent in Charge of the Secret Service's Atlanta Field Office. In that position, she provided oversight for all missions related to investigation, protective intelligence and protective visits in the state of Georgia.

When will the director of the Secret Service testify?

🚨BREAKING🚨 @RepJamesComer has invited U.S. Secret Service Director Kimberly Cheatle to testify at a hearing on Monday, July 22. Americans demand answers about the assassination attempt of President Trump. pic.twitter.com/zKia2oIxCf — Oversight Committee (@GOPoversight) July 14, 2024

The hearing is expected to take place July 22, 2024, according to a letter from the Committee on Oversight and Accountability.

When was the Secret Service created?

Established in 1865, the U.S. Secret Service is one of the country's oldest federal law enforcement agencies. The U.S. Secret Service Uniformed Division protects the White House Complex and Naval Observatory, according to the Secret Service's website .

One of the newest expansions of the Secret Service's protective missions includes the issuance of Presidential Decision Directives. This established the agency as the lead for coordinating the development and implementation of security plans for National Special Security Events. This covers presidential inaugurations, State of the Union Addresses and other events of national significance.

Kate Kealey is a general assignment reporter for the Des Moines Register. Reach her at  [email protected]  or follow her on Twitter at @ Kkealey17 .

What to know about Secret Service director Kimberly Cheatle

Cheatle previously served on then-Vice President Joe Biden's security detail.

In the wake of the assassination attempt on former President Donald Trump, the U.S. Secret Service has faced mounting scrutiny for its failure to prevent the attack.

Much of the criticism has been aimed at the agency's director, Kimberly Cheatle. Cheatle, who was appointed to the role by President Joe Biden in 2022, had previously been the senior director in global security at PepsiCo.

Prior to her time at PepsiCo, she had served with the Secret Service for more than 25 years, including on Biden's security detail while he was vice president.

MORE: Trump shooting live updates: FBI gained access to shooter's phone

In a statement announcing her appointment, Biden said he had "complete trust" in Cheatle, to whom in 2021 he bestowed a Presidential Rank Award, which honors "exceptional performance" as a high-ranking federal civil servant.

"When Kim served on my security detail when I was Vice President, we came to trust her judgement and counsel," Biden said. "She is a distinguished law enforcement professional with exceptional leadership skills, and was easily the best choice to lead the agency at a critical moment for the Secret Service."

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Cheatle is one of only two women to ever serve as director of the Secret Service. Previously, she had been the first woman to serve as the agency's assistant director of protective operations.

In a 2022 interview with the trade publication Security Magazine , Cheatle reflected on being a woman in the Secret Service.

"That achievement in a male-dominated industry was not lost on me," Cheatle said. "I kept a photo on my desk of the first five women sworn into the service, and I used that to remind me that these women created opportunities for me and I can help others grow and lead as well."

Cheatle graduated from Eastern Illinois University in 1992 with a bachelor's degree in sociology, according to the News-Gazette , and she first applied for a job as a Secret Service agent before leaving school.

She credited her brother -- who had aspired to be a state trooper but was killed in a car accident in 1988 -- with inspiring her career path.

"I probably am in law enforcement today as a direct result of my brother," she told the News-Gazette.

MORE: Secret Service director: Current polarization 'plays into' threat environment

Since the shooting on Saturday, numerous Republican lawmakers have called for Cheatle to answer questions about how the agency failed to prevent the attack, which left one rallygoer dead. Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz and Elon Musk have taken it a step further, calling for her to resign.

Some of the criticism of Cheatle has focused on her being a woman, with prominent conservatives calling her a "DEI hire" and female Secret Service agents in general as having "physical limitations" that should prevent them from serving.

Next Monday, Cheatle is expected to testify before the GOP-led House Oversight Committee about the assassination attempt. In a statement announcing the hearing, chairman James Comer said "Americans demand answers" from Cheatle.

"The United States Secret Service has a no-fail mission, yet it failed on Saturday when a madman attempted to assassinate President Trump, killed an innocent victim, and harmed others," Comer said. "We are grateful to the brave Secret Service agents who acted quickly to protect President Trump after shots were fired and the American patriots who sought to help victims, but questions remain about how a rooftop within proximity to President Trump was left unsecure."

In a statement Monday, Cheatle said the Secret Service is working to understand how Saturday's shooting took place and that the agency is cooperating with investigations into Secret Service protocol around the incident.

"The Secret Service is tasked with the tremendous responsibility of protecting the current and former leaders of our democracy," she said. "It is a responsibility that I take incredibly seriously, and I am committed to fulfilling that mission."

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What to know about the head of Secret Service as agency faces scrutiny

The 27th director of the U.S. Secret Service, Kimberly Cheatle, was sworn into office in 2022 and now faces questions about how the agency handled Trump’s rally.

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The U.S. Secret Service is at the center of questions about security after a shooting at a rally for former president Donald Trump in Butler, Pa. The agency, under the Department of Homeland Security, is charged with safeguarding the president, vice president and other top U.S. and foreign dignitaries.

Who is the director of the Secret Service?

Trump rally shooting.

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Kimberly Cheatle is the 27th director of the U.S. Secret Service; she was sworn into office on Sept. 17, 2022. She oversees more than 7,800 special agents, uniformed officers and other personnel, according to the agency. She is also a former agent who served more than 25 years in the agency in various roles.

She is the second woman to serve as director, according to the agency’s website.

Cheatle had served on President Biden’s protective detail when he was vice president, the White House said.

“Jill and I know firsthand Kim’s commitment to her job and to the Secret Service’s people and mission. When Kim served on my security detail when I was Vice President, we came to trust her judgement and counsel,” Biden said in a statement when he appointed Cheatle in August 2022. “She is a distinguished law enforcement professional with exceptional leadership skills, and was easily the best choice to lead the agency at a critical moment for the Secret Service. She has my complete trust, and I look forward to working with her.”

She had retired from the Secret Service in 2021 and taken a job as a senior director managing global security at PepsiCo North America before Biden nominated her to serve as the agency’s director the following year.

Her career and background

Cheatle graduated from Eastern Illinois University in 1992 with a bachelor’s degree in sociology, according to the school, which honored her as a distinguished alum last year. She applied to the Secret Service before she graduated, she said in a 2023 interview with the News-Gazette .

She told the newspaper that her brother had planned to become a state trooper before he died in a car crash and said he had inspired her to seek a career in law enforcement.

Cheatle worked her way up the ranks at the Secret Service to serve in management roles, including as the special agent in charge of the Atlanta office, overseeing investigations, intelligence and official visits to Georgia, according to the Secret Service.

Before she stepped away from the agency in 2021, she was the assistant director of the Office of Protective Operations, which had a $133.5 million budget and worked to protect people, facilities and events. She was the first woman in that role.

“That achievement in a male-dominated industry was not lost on me,” Cheatle said in a 2022 interview with Security magazine, before Biden picked her. “I kept a photo on my desk of the first five women sworn into the service, and I used that to remind me that these women created opportunities for me and I can help others grow and lead as well.”

In 2021, Biden awarded Cheatle with a Presidential Rank Award for her exceptional performance over time.

House investigation into rally shooting

Hours after Trump was shot at his rally in rural Pennsylvania, House Speaker Mike Johnson (R) called for a full investigation into the shooting, promising that Congress would hear testimony from Cheatle soon.

“THE HOUSE WILL CONDUCT A FULL INVESTIGATION OF THE TRAGIC EVENTS TODAY,” Johnson wrote on X. “The American people deserve to know the truth. We will have Secret Service Director Kimberly Cheatle and other appropriate officials from DHS and the FBI appear for a hearing before our committees ASAP.”

In an ABC “This Week” interview on July 7, Cheatle expressed confidence in planning for the Republican National Convention in Milwaukee this week and the Democratic National Convention in Chicago in August.

She said the agency had been planning security for the conventions for the past year and a half, in both cities, working with police to prevent and mitigate threats, including foreign or homegrown.

“I think we have to make sure that we are assessing the risk for both of those, as well as any other type of threat that may come at us, whether it’s a lone gunman, you know, an organized attack or an organized group,” she told host George Stephanopoulos.

She acknowledged that the political polarization in the United States affects public safety.

“I think it plays into it,” she said. “I think that the environment that we’re dealing with today is certainly different than it was four years ago. I’m sure we’ll see an evolution in the next four years as well. But it is definitely something that we take into consideration.”

As of last week, Cheatle said there were no specific or credible threats targeting the conventions. But, she said, “we are tracking all threat streams, and we certainly work with our partners at the FBI and other intelligence agencies that supply that information to us.”

Stephanopoulos asked, “Are you confident that … the convention is going to go without a major incident?”

“I’m absolutely confident in the plans that we have put together in both Chicago and Milwaukee, yes,” she said.

Carol D. Leonnig contributed to this report.

The shooter: The FBI named 20-year-old Thomas Matthew Crooks of Bethel Park, Pa., who is now dead, as the gunman. Federal investigators determined that the rifle used was legally purchased by the gunman’s father in 2013, according to a person familiar with the investigation.

Victims: The man killed at the rally was Corey Comperatore , a married father of two daughters who Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro (D) said died trying to protect his family. The two rally attendees who were critically injured were identified as David Dutch and James Copenhaver.

Layout of shooting site: The Washington Post built a 3D model of the site of the attempted assassination at a Donald Trump rally in Pennsylvania based on more than 40 videos and photos. The Post’s analysis found that two Secret Service countersniper teams may not have been able to see the shooter at first.

Secret Service: Growing evidence that law enforcement were made aware of the shooter before he opened fire has put the Secret Service under pressure to explain what analysts have described as a major security failure .

Online conspiracy theories: A torrent of unsubstantiated theories flooded social media and other channels, fueling false and dueling narratives .

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Rooftop where gunman shot at Trump was identified as a security vulnerability before rally: sources

The rooftop where a gunman shot at former President Donald Trump during a campaign rally was identified by the Secret Service as a potential vulnerability in the days before the event, two sources familiar with the agency’s operations told NBC News.

The building, owned by a glass research company, is adjacent to the Butler Farm Show, an outdoor venue in Butler, Pennsylvania. The Secret Service was aware of the risks associated with it, the sources said.

“Someone should have been on the roof or securing the building so no one could get on the roof,” said one of the sources, a former senior Secret Service agent who was familiar with the planning. 

Understanding how the gunman got onto the roof — despite those concerns — is a central question for investigators scrutinizing how a lone attacker managed to shoot at Trump during Saturday’s campaign event.

The Secret Service worked with local law enforcement to maintain event security, including sniper teams poised on rooftops to identify and eliminate threats, Secret Service spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said. But no officers were posted on the building used by the would-be assassin, outside the event’s security perimeter but only about 148 yards from the stage — within range of a semiautomatic rifle like the one the gunman was carrying.

The Secret Service had designated that rooftop as being under the jurisdiction of local law enforcement, a common practice in securing outdoor rallies, Guglielmi said.Butler County District Attorney Richard Goldinger said his office maintains an Emergency Services Unit team, which deployed four sniper teams and four “quick response teams” at the rally. But he said the Secret Service agents were in charge of security outside the venue. 

“They had meetings in the week prior. The Secret Service ran the show. They were the ones who designated who did what,” Goldinger said. “In the command hierarchy, they were top, they were No. 1.”

Goldinger said the commander of the Emergency Services Unit told him it was not responsible for securing areas outside the venue. “To me, the whole thing is under the jurisdiction of the Secret Service. And they will delineate from there,” he said.

The former senior Secret Service agent also said that even if local law enforcement “did drop the ball,” it’s still the agency’s responsibility “to ensure that they are following through either beforehand or in the moment.”

“Just because it is outside of the perimeter, it doesn’t take it out of play for a vulnerability, and you’ve got to mitigate it in some fashion,” the source added.

Donald Trump Rally Shooting

A volley of shots rang out minutes into Trump’s speech. He reached for his right ear — he said later it was pierced by a bullet — then dropped to the ground as Secret Service agents rushed to shield him. Trump emerged with blood on his ear and his face. One attendee was killed , and two others were injured.Witnesses listening to Trump’s speech from outside the event’s security perimeter recalled pointing out the gunman to law enforcement a couple of minutes before the shooting began. After the gunfire started, Secret Service personnel shot and killed the 20-year-old gunman, Thomas Matthew Crooks .

The clamor over the Secret Service’s biggest failure since the shooting of President Ronald Reagan in 1981 is coming from both political parties, from former agents and from security experts.

“My question is: How did he get onto that roof undetected?” said Anthony Cangelosi, a former Secret Service agent who worked on protective details for presidential candidates, including John Kerry in 2004.

The Secret Service’s work on campaign events like Saturday’s begins with advance planning, setting up a security perimeter and positioning teams on the ground and on rooftops — often in partnership with local law enforcement. The ground deployments include a counterassault team, and the rooftop personnel include counter-sniper teams.

Police officers at Donald Trump's Rally

Guglielmi, the Secret Service spokesman, said the agency had two of its counterassault agents at the event and filled out the rest of the platoon with at least six officers from Butler County tactical units. The Secret Service also deployed two counter-sniper teams. Two other security units needed for the event were staffed by local law enforcement agencies, Guglielmi said. Those details were first reported by The Washington Post.Investigators will want to examine the Secret Service’s site security plan for the rally, said Cangelosi, the former Secret Service agent. He expects they’ll discover one of two things: Either officials failed to make an effective plan for keeping potential shooters off the building Crooks fired from, or officers on the ground failed to execute the plan.

“I don’t like making any assumptions, but it does look like some mistakes were made, that this was preventable,” said Cangelosi, now a lecturer at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York.

Although it’s common to task local law enforcement agencies with patrolling outside an event’s security perimeter, Cangelosi said, the ultimate responsibility for ensuring that all vulnerabilities are covered rests with the Secret Service.

If officials had placed an officer on the building where the gunman fired from, Cangelosi said, chances are he “wouldn’t even attempt what he attempted.”

“You don’t surrender the discretion of what’s supposed to be done to the local police,” he said. “In other words, you guys have the outer perimeter, but you would want to say, ‘We need an officer on that roof.’ Not ‘that’s your responsibility; do what you see fit.’”

Jim Cavanaugh, a retired special agent in charge with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives who has worked on Secret Service details, told NBC News that while the Secret Service did a good job taking out the gunman after shots began, the failure to post officers on the building he scaled was “a tremendous lapse.”

“The only way to stop that is you have a lot of people, you get there first, and you command the high ground,” Cavanaugh said. “This is basic, and the Secret Service has done it for years successfully, so I’m really surprised that they did not have that high ground covered.”

Police snipers at Donald Trump's Rally

The questions extended to Congress, where members demanded answers from the Secret Service and its parent agency, the Department of Homeland Security.“This raises serious concerns regarding how a shooter was able to access a rooftop within range and direct line of sight of where President Trump was speaking,” House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Mark Green, R-Tenn., wrote in a letter to Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas.

Green asked Mayorkas to provide documentation relating to the event’s security plan, the screening of attendees and the level of resources provided to Trump’s Secret Service detail. A committee spokesperson told NBC News that Republican members would hold a briefing with Secret Service Director Kimberly Cheatle on Monday “to voice their concerns and ask pressing questions.”

Another lawmaker, Rep. Ruben Gallego, D-Ariz., wrote Cheatle asking who approved the security plan, whether a proper threat assessment was conducted, whether attendees raised alarms and whether there were failures in following protocols that allowed the attack to happen.

“I call on all those responsible for the planning, approving, and executing of this failed security plan to be held accountable and to testify before Congress immediately,” Gallego wrote in a letter to Cheatle .

Robert McDonald, a former Secret Service agent who ran protection for Joe Biden when he was vice president, told NBC News that he believes the assassination attempt will prompt soul-searching and procedural changes at the agency.

“The Secret Service is going to need to ask some hard questions of itself here and be prepared to stand up and represent why, what happened,” McDonald said.

Election 2024 Trump

Cangelosi, the former Secret Service agent, said investigators are also likely to ask when agents identified Crooks as a potential threat, how they reacted and whether it’s possible they could have taken him down before he fired at Trump.Secret Service snipers are trained to make rapid decisions, he said. But it’s possible that if they noticed Crooks on the roof but couldn’t tell whether he had a rifle, agents might have waited to fire on him.

“If the sniper can’t tell whether he has a gun, he or she is not going to take the shot,” Cangelosi said. “Because God forbid it’s a child who’s just excited to see a political candidate, right? So you want to make sure that there’s actually a threat.”

If there was uncertainty, Cangelosi said, it’s possible the sniper team would have dispatched officers to investigate and confirm. But investigating a potential threat can take minutes, he said, while a gunman with a semiautomatic rifle can fire several shots in a matter of seconds.

That’s why, Cangelosi said, the best defense would have been to plan ahead to keep the shooter off the roof in the first place.

“Who wants to be in that position?” he said of the snipers protecting Trump on Saturday. “You’ve got to make a split-second call. And imagine if you’re wrong.”

Sarah Fitzpatrick is a senior investigative producer and story editor for NBC News. She previously worked for CBS News and "60 Minutes." 

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Julia Ainsley is the homeland security correspondent for NBC News and covers the Department of Homeland Security for the NBC News Investigative Unit.

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Mike Hixenbaugh is a senior investigative reporter for NBC News, based in Maryland, and author of "They Came for the Schools."

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Andrea Mitchell is chief Washington correspondent and chief foreign affairs correspondent for NBC News.

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Jon Schuppe is an enterprise reporter for NBC News, based in New York.

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