How to market skills from an entry-level job and display them on your resume for a potential employer

Woman at a job interview
Any job can teach you valuable skills that will make you a better candidate in the future.

  • If you’ve had a job like lifeguarding or fast food service, you likely picked up valuable skills.
  • To showcase them on your resume for future employers, emphasize the soft skills, like communication.
  • Being able to put out fires and staying organized under pressure are also impressive to employers.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Are you worried that your entry-level job just doesn’t show your potential? Are you concerned that having something like lifeguarding, fast food service, or working part-time at a summer resort might not help you stand out when it comes time to landing a “real” job? Think again. The skills that many employers really really want can be learned in jobs just like these – the trick is figuring out how to showcase these skills on your resume so prospective employers can get a sense of your true talent.

Having some experience (no matter what it is) is far preferable to having none at all – 91% of employers prefer their candidates to have work experience according to a recent job outlook report from NACE. And the younger you are when you gain experience, the more you’ll stand out from the herd – just 20% of high schoolers are employed, according to a survey from Child Trends, which means even “menial” summer job experience can give you a leg up. The trick is knowing how to sell yourself and showcase the experience you’ve gained. Donald Asher, author and careers expert says it’s time to get creative with your work experience … Because who doesn’t like to promote themselves just a little bit?

Read more: One of the US’s leading résumé experts shares 3 tips to improve your résumé’s performance after the pandemic

Communication is key

With the pandemic, many of us suffered from a lack of opportunities to communicate, since our in-person socialization opportunities were limited. If you’re a solid communicator and you have experience chatting as expertly on email as you do in person, it’s time to tout those skills on your resume. Make sure you let future employers know that you’re a clear and professional communicator who has experience chatting with everyone from customers to the “big boss.”

Customer service skills

Have you expertly dealt with a “Karen” on occasion? Is being nice and or “putting out fires” your specialty? It’s likely that customer service is an important skill you may have learned in your first job. Don’t be afraid to state in your resume and in your cover letter that you’ve been able to brave the waters of unhappy customers – thanks to your patience and dedication.

Office manager, reporting for duty

You might not think much of the months you spent sorting through (likely boring) paperwork and filing important documents, but don’t take those seemingly basic skills for granted – every paper you filed required good organizational skills, and you had to be aces with time management or those tasks could easily take you all day. JT O’Donnell, Founder and CEO of Work It Daily, explains that her first job working in her dad’s office helped build the skills she uses to run her own company today. Administrative tasks, such as scheduling or answering the phones can mean that you’re comfortable performing high-responsibility tasks without hesitation – like leading a business meeting or presenting a pitch. You got this!

How to display it all on your resume

No, you won’t be keeping your time working as a part-time admin on your resume forever, but you will be taking those skills you learned with you for the rest of your career – and you can (and should!) keep the skills you gained highlighted on your resume for years to come.

The so-called “soft skills” such as time management and teamwork can be shown to a prospective boss in an interview, as well as on a resume and cover letter, said O’Donnell. And don’t discount other skills you’ve gained, such as manning the cash register – they might prove useful, too. Take a deep dive into the jobs you’re applying for and see exactly what they’re looking for. If you’re applying for a manager position at a restaurant, for example, and will be expected to run a POS terminal, bingo! That cash register experience is going to come in really handy. Next time you have to update your resume or turn in a job application, keep all your skills in mind so that you can give your resume the life and potential it deserves.

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From LinkedIn hashtags to résumé keywords, these are the best ways to tailor your application for remote work

Remote worker
Just one in 10 companies expects all their staff to return to the office after the pandemic.

  • When looking for remote jobs, it’s important to tailor your résumé and cover letter accordingly.
  • Highlighting any previous remote work or related soft skills such as Zoom could go a long way.
  • Optimizing your LinkedIn profile and using the relevant hashtags will catch recruiters’ attention.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

Remote work might have been hard to come by in the past but times have changed. Although it’s not easy to find a job in today’s market, remote work is increasingly common.

Only one in 10 companies expect all their staff to return to the office after the pandemic and major companies including Google and Salesforce are planning to accommodate remote work in the long term.

There are many similarities between the remote work application process and the standard in-person work application, but there are new factors to take into account.

Here are some specific tips on how to update your résumé, cover letter, and LinkedIn profile to make yourself the perfect candidate for remote work.

You could make a note of any specific remote work-related skills you might have.


Online volunteering, video meetings with clients in other timezones, and working collaboratively online through Google Docs or the Cloud are all part of the remote work experience, said Jennifer Parrish in Remote.Co.

Clearly outlining this in your resume could make all the difference. You could mention it in parentheses after the job title – for example “marketing director (remote).”

Otherwise, you could mention it in the job description by saying something along the lines of: “I remotely managed a team of five employees and increased sales by 20% in the first quarter.”

If you have a lot of experience in working remotely, you may want to create a specific “Remote work” section to highlight this on your résumé. Whatever you choose, don’t assume that your hiring manager knows you worked remotely simply from your job title.

Indeed suggested that you could also make a note of any specific remote work-related skills you might have. You might choose to name specific programs such as Slack, Asana, Trello, Dropbox, and Google Hangouts, or you can be more general and cite video conferencing, email management, cloud storage technology, and office suites.

cover letter
Try highlighting your remote work skills and what you could do for the company.

Cover letter

One important thing is to remember that the company doesn’t want to know why remote working suits you, but rather why you working remotely will be beneficial to them.

Therefore, lines like: “I want to work with you because I can pick up my children from school,” should definitely be avoided.

Instead, try highlighting your remote work skills and what you could do for the company. For example, soft skills such as responsibility, flexibility, time management, and adaptability are even more essential in a remote post – so talk about how you’ve demonstrated them in your previous roles.

A good example or anecdote like this one could go a very long way. “The first couple of weeks of remote working in my previous role were tough. My employees felt demotivated and so I called an impromptu group call. We wrote down all our frustrations on post-it notes and then tore them to shreds, and it helped people realize they weren’t alone.”

When a recruiter scans LinkedIn, they’re going to be looking for people working in their specific sector.


If you scan your LinkedIn network, you’ll find lots of people with headlines like “looking for remote work opportunities.” That’s a wasted opportunity to catch a recruiter’s attention.

When a recruiter scans LinkedIn, they’re going to be looking for people working in their specific sector. So to choose the best possible professional headline, you’ll need to do some research.

Search for the profiles of people who have the jobs you want and note down the keywords they’ve used in their profiles or job descriptions. Adding those to your profile and using hashtags in posts outlining what you’re looking for could mean you pop up in the recruiter’s next search.

In your “About” section, be sure to keep it concise and relevant. The first three lines are what recruiters will be scanning so make sure you grab their attention enough that they’ll want to click the “See more” button.

If you lack remote experience, all is not lost

If you’ve never worked remotely before, don’t be discouraged. You’re still likely to have many of the relevant skills needed for remote work positions, like using Zoom, Dropbox, Google Drive, and Slack.

You can also enhance your résumé with online collaborations. There are always people looking for volunteers for projects or writers for blogs.

Volunteering your time will mean you have remote experience to add to your résumé and recommendations to add to your cover letter and LinkedIn profile. You might even collaborate with someone who’s able to recommend you for a job posting down the line.

Networking is key and so even if you don’t end up gaining much from a project, it’s sure to benefit you in some small way – even if you’re not sure what that is yet.

Read the original article on Business Insider