Describing an entry-level position on your resume is tricky. After all, there’s a good chance your main responsibilities aren’t super important to your company’s overall success. And they therefore don’t sound all that impressive to a stranger. While you might be tempted to make them sound bigger and better than they really are—don’t. That lie will catch up with you at some (embarrassing) point in the interview process.
But don’t worry, all hope is not lost! We’ve got five techniques for accurately, yet strategically representing your entry-level job.
1. Describe How You Furthered Company Goals
At the end of the day, you were hired for one reason: To make the company more money. That means no matter what you work on, you can highlight how it helps your organization achieve its goals.
Let’s say you’re a Client Support Specialist. Every day, you answer questions, solve problems, and follow up on complaints from customers.
So, how does that help your organization make money? Well, not only does what you do make customers happier (which drives brand loyalty), it also lessens the chance a frustrated customer will stop buying or using your product.
Once you’ve got your answer, it’s easy to turn it into a resume bullet:
Improved customer retention by providing warm, helpful, relevant customer support via phone, email, and chat.
2. Describe a Specific Incident
Everyone has a success story. Maybe it’s the time when a customer was so satisfied he sent you a handwritten letter, or the time your boss was so pleased with your work she told her boss, or when a couple co-workers officially named you “Most Helpful Person in the Office.”
These smaller success stories deserve to be on your resume, especially if you’re not far enough along in your career to have promotions or huge awards to mention.
Think about your “small but cool” successes (a.k.a, what you brag to your parents about after a good day at work). Then, turn it into a bullet.
For example, if you work in HR:
Played key role in recruiting two interns to work full-time at company after graduation.
3. Describe Who You Worked With
No job exists in isolation—and typically, entry-level employees work with a bunch of other people on their level. This is awesome for resume purposes, because you can use it to display your capacity for teamwork.
Start by thinking about who you depend on to do your job, and who depends on you to do their job. After you’ve created a list, create a bullet that describes these relationships. (And note that you should use job titles rather than specific names.)
If you’re a UX designer, that would be something along the lines of:
Work closely with UI, visual, and motion designers, UX researcher, front-end developers, and product manager to create visually appealing, easy-to-use, entertaining mobile app.
4. Describe What Your Superiors Said
Most people don’t know you can use the praise and positive feedback they’ve gotten from their superiors on your resume. But you definitely can—it’s a great way to reinforce one or two of the traits that make you a great employee.
Hopefully, you’ve been tracking and recording all the nice things your managers have been saying to you in your performance reviews. If not, no worries! Grab a sheet of paper and write down all the compliments you remember receiving. For more material, you should also take a look at emails and performance review records.
Let’s say you’re a sales rep, and your boss is always raving about how you can forge a genuine connection with any client—even if the two of you seemingly have nothing in common.
In resume bullet form, this would look like:
Recognized by supervisor for ability to create rapport with every client, which led to higher sales and greater client satisfaction.
(The key word? “Recognized.” You want to stay away from “honored” or “awarded,” since those imply you got an official award!)
5. Describe Your Job in Numbers
If you’ve been reading The Muse for any period of time, you probably know we’re big fans of quantifying your resume bullets. However, when you work in an entry-level position, this isn’t so easy to pull off. After all, you probably didn’t “save company $4K a month by reconfiguring expense tracking process” or “decrease client churn rate by 20%.”
That’s okay! You don’t need accomplishments to quantify your bullets—you can also use duties.
For example, if you’re an assistant editor, think about how many pieces you edit each week.
Edit approximately 15 articles per week for style, content, clarity, grammar, and formatting.
Or if you work as an office manager:
Promote tight-knit team culture by creating, planning, and executing 3 company-wide events per year.
If you’re still having trouble, write down your most time-consuming or important responsibilities. Then for each one, ask yourself, How much?
As you can see, there’s no reason why your entry-level job can’t sound awesome.