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Writing a beginner summary for a resume: Where to start when you're just starting out

Writing a beginner summary for a resume: Where to start when you're just starting out

Putting together an entry-level resume presents several challenges, from demonstrating your capabilities with minimal experience to explaining why you want the job. Your summary is the first thing a recruiter will see, so this small tidbit must make an impact.

What is a resume summary?

A resume summary is a brief statement at the top of your resume that summarizes who you are, what you want to achieve, and why you're the right person for the job. The summary is usually between two and five sentences and provides a brief overview of the key points you want to communicate to the hiring manager. It sits at the top of your resume with your name and contact information above it. Learning how to write a beginner resume summary that captivates hiring managers is crucial. 

How to write an entry-level resume summary

It's always more challenging to craft a beginner's resume than to build a resume from a long career history. Resume samples for entry-level applicants must emphasize more than the applicant's previous jobs, as they may have few or none to list. An entry resume summary is much the same: it must focus on something other than the applicant's professional experience. As an entry-level job seeker in a new field, you need to explain why you're seeking this position and, more importantly, why the hiring manager should take notice of you.

Find the source of your passion

Why are you applying for this job? What made you pick this opportunity out of all the others? If you're seeking employment for the first time, consider what drew you to this field. Is the work similar to a satisfying volunteer experience you had in high school? Does your family have a long history of serving in this field? 

If you're changing careers, consider what's different about this field compared with the one you're leaving. What makes it worth going back to an entry-level position mid-career? Presumably, you have an interest in or passion for this niche. Craft a sentence that expounds upon that.

Explain your value

You're just one of several applicants for the position, so it's important to clarify why you're the best one for the job. Though you don't have on-the-job experience, you may have unique experiences and insights that other applicants don't. Perhaps you spent your childhood honing a unique set of skills or you had a life-changing experience that has inspired your chosen career.

If you're in a place in life where you have more availability or flexibility than the average applicant, this is the time to mention it. Perhaps you're unencumbered and ready to relocate or you have full availability for life on the road. This can set you apart from the pack.

"As an entry-level job seeker in a new field, you need to explain why you're seeking this position and, more importantly, why the hiring manager should take notice of you."

Pique their interest

You don't have enough space in a summary for a deep dive into your interests, passions, education, and history. Since you can only touch the surface of these areas, write your summary in a way that leaves the recruiter wanting more. Summarize what you're capable of, but leave room for the hiring manager to lean in and seek deeper answers. This will draw them into your resume and onward to an interview.

Brainstorm freely

You can approach a beginner resume summary from nearly any angle, so give yourself some time to explore them all. Sit down with a piece of paper and write down every word or phrase that comes to mind when you imagine the job. Don't censor yourself. Even notes that are unflattering to the company can have value if you flip them on their head. For example, if you jot down "not boring," you can rephrase this as "piques my interest" or "provides an engaging experience."

Tips for writing an entry resume summary

Learning how to write a beginner resume is all about examining who you are rather than what you've done. It's perfectly normal to come up a little empty-handed when bulking out a resume for entry-level jobs. Upload a resume with a powerful summary by:

  • Getting to the details: There's no time for broad statements that don't say anything. 
  • Incorporating metrics: Quantify your capabilities as much as possible by detailing how many projects you've completed, the number of conferences you've attended, or the traffic you achieve for your blog.
  • Highlighting transferrable skills: Though you don't have experience in this exact position, you probably have a host of transferrable skills from other areas of your life, such as organization, time management, and active listening.
  • Connecting with the company: Incorporate keywords relevant to the corporate culture, company mission, or vision statement of the employer you're applying to.
  • Using industry keywords: Demonstrate your knowledge of the field by incorporating professional terminology in your summary.

Summary template for an entry-level resume

Putting together your first job beginner summary for your resume can seem overwhelming. Try crafting a summary around these templates.

  • Adept at [transferrable skills]. Passionate about [what these skills will help you accomplish in the new job]. Seeking a [job position] to [key goals].
  • Recent [degree or certification] with a passion for [area of interest or career goal]. Former [relevant volunteer position, school activity, or job] with [transferable skills]. Seeking a job [description of work opportunity] to [description of career goal in this field].
  • [Industry or niche] enthusiast with [accomplishments, experience, or skills]. Experienced with [task, skill, or type of project] with [details, data, or metrics on your accomplishments]. Eager to [career goal in the desired position] as a [job title] with [company].

Resume summary examples for entry-level jobs

Understanding how to write an entry-level resume begins with your summary. This is the first thing a recruiter will read, so it deserves ample time and attention. Consider these resume examples for entry-level positions and use them as inspiration for your own resume.

  • Adept at research, analysis, and critical thinking with three academic papers published on the connection between craveability and marketability. Passionate about the future of the food industry with a deep understanding of the latest plant-based trends. Seeking a market researcher position with Plants R Us to put my absorption in health and food politics to work for an industry-leading food company.
  • Recent sports medicine graduate with a deep passion for helping young athletes preserve their mobility and strength for lifelong success in their chosen athletics. Former starting quarterback for Central High School sidelined by a permanent injury. Dedicated to educating youth on proper strategies for injury prevention through a career as an athletic trainer.
  • Outdoor enthusiast and trail guide with three complete thru-hikes of the Appalachian Trial. Excellent attention to detail, time management, and physical fitness honed through organizing and leading groups of five to 10 hikers for up to three weeks at a time. Seeking the opportunity to settle in and study the landscape in depth as a forestry manager. 

With a well-written beginner summary for your resume, you can capture the interest of your reader and get that coveted interview. Keep your summary short but powerful so it vaults you into a new and exciting career.

More tips for writing a great resume

Chart your post-graduation path with care so you know the best route to take with your new degree.

Evaluate your professional skill set from a broad perspective to help you spot transferrable skills that are relevant to your new entry-level position.

Hone your job search skills to uncover prime opportunities suited to your current place in life.

Taking some time for self-discovery can allow you to determine what you really want from your professional life.