How to write a resume

How To Write A Resume: Complete Guide And Examples

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You’re in a creative drought, aren’t you? Well, if you’re in dire need of some ideas on how to write a resume, you’ve come to the right place. Heck, we make our living off of this thing! Now, joking aside, we’ve been there, wracking our brains to find the optimal format and the best way to organize the information in order to make the resume stand out.

Now, why aren’t the hiring managers replying to your emails? Must be that they are on a constant lunch break, right? You’re applying left and right and getting no responses? Might just have something to do with the way your resume presents itself. No worries, we’ll cover everything in this here article, from what a resume actually is, how to draft a resume, how many types of resumes are there and how to tailor it to a specific job. By the time you finish reading you’ll already be equipped with the basic tools and you’ll know how to write a professional resume. There’s no shame in looking for help.

Common types of resumes
How to write a resume?
Edit a resume and proofreading tips
How to customize your resume for the job
Writing a resume: the perfect checklist

What is a resume, actually?

What is a resume

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: writing a resume is not easy. If you’re constantly asking yourself how do I write a resume? chances are you need to approach the matter from a different perspective. Did you ever ask yourself what a resume actually is?

Simply put, the resume is a preview, a trailer if you will, of the movie that is your entire working career. Now, you wouldn’t stuff a trailer with everything that went into the production of that movie, right? You only need to feature the highlights! That’s how you catch the attention of the movie goer…err, recruiter! Remember, you only have one chance at a great first impression.

So, to make this even easier to grasp, this is what your resume should not be:

  • Your entire job history mashed together.
  • The summary of all your skills.
  • The be-all and end-all that will get you the interview and then the job.

Remember, you’re just hooking the would-be interviewer at this point, not selling him the whole package. Recruiters hardly ever spend more than a couple of minutes looking at your resume. You have to make yours stand out.

One final touch: the resume is not the CV. The curriculum vitae is a complete look at your career which covers all aspects of your education, work and experience and has no length restrictions. A resume is just what the name entails: a summary of all that. Ok, that’s good but how do you write a resume I hear you ask? Read on for the details.

What are the most common types of resumes?

common types of resumes

Before we get to the ins and outs of writing a resume, let’s see what kinds are there. This is actually the first step in the resume guide, as the type of resume you choose will have an impact on how you structure it.

Reverse chronological

It’s the most popular resume type out there, great for people who have a lot of work experience relevant to the position that they’re applying for. It’s pretty familiar to potential employers which means they’ll have no problems identifying the important points. But, it’s not the most creative design around. The work experience is listed from newest to oldest, as the name implies.

You should use it when you want to highlight your career progression, when you are applying for a job in a similar field and you want to demonstrate your upward career mobility. Don’t use it if there are some major gaps in your employment history, you’re changing your career path or if you’re a job hopper.

Functional/skills-based

This type of resume is mostly used by people who don’t really have that much experience because they’re students or recent graduates or they are interested in making a career change. Thus, you can emphasize your skills over your lack of experience. This is the best way to make a resume if you are very skilled in a specific area of expertise.

Make sure your resume is full of transferable skills if you make this choice! Try to emphasize how the skills you’ve gathered so far make a smooth transition into the job you’re aiming for. On the down side, using this kind of resume runs the risk of employers thinking you have something to hide.

Combination

OK, this is an interesting one and a great choice for those who have a very diverse skill set. If you’re applying for a position that requires experience in more than 3 fields, and you want to show that you have what it takes, this is the way to go. It’s a safe choice for seasoned pros and career changers who want to highlight their field-crossing transferable skills. Not a good idea for entry-level positions.

It’s not really often that recruiters get to see one of these resume types, so you might just catch their eye with it. But you should have the content to back it up! Stay away from it if you want to highlight your education or you lack a big chunk of experience for a specific position.

So, choosing the right format is half the process and one of the quintessential tips for writing a good resume. Figured out which one works best for you?

How to write a resume?

You figured out which format works best for you, that’s great! But what’s the proper way to write a resume? We’ll start with the basics and then get further into the details!

General and basic things to know

How to make a good resume? After you decide on the format it’s time to choose the layout for it. Of course, this will be influenced by its format. While you might be accustomed with just going for a text editor, we argue that’s not your best bet. Our suggestion is using one of our templates! You’ll get much more out of a resume builder than you would with your run of the mill text editors.

Case in point:

senior resume

senior resume

Does this look neat or what? Using a professional resume template means you also don’t run the risk of one edit throwing your whole text out of whack! And keep in mind: the first thing a recruiter notices about a resume is the layout.

So, things to remember:

  • The length should be of only one page. Go for two only if the information displayed in the second page is of paramount importance;
  • Have clear section headings;
  • Have ample white space. You don’t want to tire out the eyes;
  • Choose an easy to read font. It should stand out, but not be so original that it’s unreadable. Careful with the font size as well;
  • Save your resume as PDF! Word might mess up the formatting;
  • Go for a creative design if you’re an artistic person or image plays a big part in the job. Don’t stress yourself otherwise.

We’ll continue the tips on how to create a resume by taking apart each section.

Header and Contact Information

The header should contain your personal and contact information, short and sweet. Also, make sure the information is correct, otherwise this example of how to write a resume won’t do you much good in the long run. Triple check your information in order to make sure everything is up to date. The must have information covers your name, phone number, e-mail address and location. You could also benefit from adding your job title, LinkedIn URL, social media or website/blog.

Stay away from information like date of birth or age unless specifically required. Create a professional email address. Nobody wants to see your childhood idea of an appropriate email address on a job application. Sure, you’re witty, but let’s keep it a secret for now. Should you include a photo? Depends on the job.

Resume Summary, Objective and About me

Some resumes might benefit from having an opening statement like the one below:

junior resume profile

junior resume profile

Use this space to describe yourself and your objectives, your job and years of experience, one or two top achievements that you’re proud of and your desired goals, for example. Make this section your own! Since it’s at the top of the page, this information will definitely get noticed. Avoid using “I am” in this section.

Education

Start by placing your highest degree first and add any other degrees after in reverse-chronological order. Add relevant coursework, awards and honors. To wrap it up you could also include extracurricular activities or volunteering.

Work experience

The meatiest part of your resume is usually the work experience, if you have it, that is. This is where you advertise yourself by highlighting your past accomplishments and responsibilities. This section should include:

  • Job title/position;
  • Company name/short description;
  • Achievements and responsibilities;
  • Dates of employment;

Remember to list both responsibilities and achievements in this section as this will show to the employer what you’re really capable of and how you’ve been challenged and came out on top. Show exactly how you helped your employer grow their business and how you reached and hopefully exceed your quotas. Now, depending on your level of experience you might:

  • Talk about work experience in student organizations if you did not have a job before;
  • List all the work so far if you’re entry level;
  • Mention only information relevant to the position if you’re a mid-level professional.
  • No more than 15 years of experience if you’re a senior.

Remember to list your professional history by using keywords and numbers to measure your impact whenever possible. Be brief and use action verbs.

Skills Section

We advise being creative with this section as one of the cornerstones of resume writing tips. You get a couple of benefits from using a table/charts/bullet points: you’re concise, you save on space, and you are clear. Sometimes a visual is worth a thousand words! Remember to list both your hard skills (measurable abilities) and your soft skills (personal skills).

Mention only those skills that are relevant for the position/positions that you are hunting for. Make sure to include the proficiency level. Take a look at how we configured the skills section.

Additional experience

Got more you want to say? You may also include awards, hobbies, spoken languages, interests, certifications, projects, internships and so on. Same rule applies: keep it catchy, short and sweet.

How to edit a resume and proofreading tips

How to edit

So, you applied all our tips on writing a resume and you think you’re done? Hold your horses there for a bit, you also need to edit it and proofread it! Give it some time, don’t edit it exactly after you’ve written it. Wait at least 24 hours and then come back to it. You’ll see it with new eyes.

Try reading it backwards at least once. We know, it sounds weird, but trust us, you’ll be able to spot misspelled words a lot easier this way.

Finally, you could also ask a family member to read it too. Last but not least, fact-check your resume: company names, address and so on. Things might have changed since you last applied for a job.

How to customize your resume for the job

You should never use one resume to apply to all jobs. Rather, you should make a separate one for each application (except if you’re applying for the same position – but even then, you can do some slight tweaking). This means mentioning the right keywords, the rights skills and the right tone of voice for each individual application. Also, make sure you use the active voice, not the passive one when writing a resume!

How to know what to emphasize each time in the professional history and experience section of your resume? It’s very simple, just check out the job description and tailor it to that.

Writing a resume: the perfect checklist

Still need help writing a resume? Then you’re in luck because we’re going to give you one last recap of things you need to look out for:

  • Did you include all relevant contact information and is it correct?
  • Do you have a professional email address?
  • Did you choose the right resume format?
  • Do you have all the relevant sections?
  • Did you keep the resume clutter free?
  • Did you list both achievements and responsibilities?
  • Is the resume tailored to the job?
  • Including of the right skills?
  • Did you add any other important resume sections?
  • Did you proof-read your resume?

If the answer is positive on all of the above, you’re golden!

If help me write a resume is still something you input in a search engine, then it’s obvious you need more assistance. This is where we come in! Read about us and our FAQs in order to find out how we can help you get the resume you need! You deserve the job of your dreams and it’s only one good decision away!

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