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How to Write a Resume (With Examples)

Alison Doyle is one of the nation’s foremost career experts.

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What Is a Resume?

Types of resumes, which resume type is right for you, what to include in your resume, what to leave off your resume.

Use Resume Keywords

Review resume examples, download a resume template, proof your resume, keep your resume current, get resume advice.

The Balance

Do you need to write a resume? While it's only a page or two in length, a resume is one of the most important parts of a job application. Your resume is your most powerful tool to tell the story of your professional work history to potential employers.

A  well-written resume  that highlights your most relevant qualifications for the job will help you get selected for an interview. Often, interviewers will consult your resume during the interview, too. Above all, your resume needs to be consistent, concise, and easy to read. If it's not, your resume and cover letter won't get a second glance from any hiring manager.

In many cases, your resume is the first document a hiring manager will look at when reviewing your application, and therefore is a true “first impression.” Accordingly, it’s important to put time and effort into developing and maintaining an updated, accurate resume.

Here is information on how to write a resume that will get noticed and help you get invited for an interview.

Think of a resume as “self-advertisement” that sums up your experience on one page. Your resume is one of the most important pieces of your job application. It gives the hiring manager an overview of the qualifications you have for the job for which you’re applying.

You should also familiarize yourself with the difference between a resume and a cover letter:

There are several  basic types of resumes  used to apply for job openings. Depending on your personal circumstances:

A chronological resume (in reverse chronological order) is the simplest format to use, but there may be circumstances where you want to focus on your key accomplishments and skills rather than your employment history. For instance, this format can be helpful if you have an employment gap. 

To quickly make the best impression on hiring managers, recruiters, and connections, consider creating three versions of your resume, including a comprehensive, targeted, and short teaser version.

Which resume type should you use for your job search? That depends on what you're trying to accomplish. The goal of any resume is to show a hiring manager the applicant's strengths, skills, and experience in as short a time as possible. According to one study, recruiters spend as little as seven seconds reviewing a resume before moving on to the next, so it's in your best interests to put your finest qualities and accomplishments in a prominent position on the page.

In addition, functional or combination resumes may also be useful if you're trying to draw the reader's attention away from something—namely,  large gaps in your work history  or detours into unrelated fields.

An effective resume lays out a summary of qualifications that will push the hiring manager or employer to move forward and invite you to interview for the position.

For many people, it can be helpful to sit down with a pen and paper, or a blank Word or Google document, and jot down their  work history  from start to finish. Of course, if you have been in the workforce for many years, this is not going to be time-efficient, so you may choose to focus on your most prominent and relevant positions.

No matter your approach, your goal will be to produce a chronological list of experience that is relevant to the jobs you’re applying to.

Required and Optional Resume Sections. As well as details on skills, education, and work history, resumes can also have optional sections, such as an  objective ,  summary statement ,  skills , or  career highlights . Those sections can be added after you’ve compiled all the factual information you need to list on your resume.

List the Details . Make sure to include the name of the company, its location, dates of employment, and several bullet points describing your role and responsibilities for each position you list. Although you may need to expand on the bullet points later on, you’ll need this information at the minimum.

Include Your Experience and Accomplishments. Although this should focus on professional work experience, you can also include awards or accolades,  volunteer or community experience , post-grad coursework, and  skills , as well as your  college education , which can move to the bottom of your resume once you get your first job after college.

Focus on Your Achievements. When writing the descriptions for the jobs you’ve held, focus on  what you accomplished in each position  rather than what you did. Listing quantifiable achievements in a  numerical manner  (increased sales by 20%, reduced expenses by 10%, for example) will help your resume stand out.

Match Your Resume to the Job. Be sure to  match those accomplishments  to the criteria the employer is seeking in the job posting.

Review Your Job Descriptions. Review the descriptions you've written for each job you've held:

If it’s challenging (and it can be!) to write resume descriptions that will catch the attention of the hiring manager, review these tips for  how to make your resume employment history sound better —and get you picked for an interview.

There are some things that don’t belong on a resume for a job.  What you exclude  is just as important as what you include. Ideally, your resume should reflect experience that is relevant to the job you are applying to, and typically no more than ten to fifteen years in the past. Since your resume should, if possible, be no longer than  one or two pages , you may need to nix certain items.

For example, if you took a job and only stayed there for a month or so, you wouldn’t want to include that position. If you’ve been out of college for more than five years, it’s generally best to remove any internships you’ve had, assuming you have other professional work experience to fill the gap.

However, this is a case where you’ll want to use your common sense. If you went to college for marketing and had a marketing internship your senior year, then worked as a server for the next several years, you would want to include your marketing internship.

Ultimately, you want to try to strike a balance between including experience that is both timely and relevant.

How to Format Your Resume 

It's important to  choose a font and font size  that are legible and will leave enough white space on the page.

You also want to keep style features (such as italics, underlining, bold, and the use of  bullets ) to a minimum; reserve the use of boldface for section headings and for quantifiable achievements that you would like to have “pop” on the page (example: “Secured and fulfilled  $1.5M  contract”).

When you use a particular style, use it consistently. That is, if you bold one section header, make sure to bold all of them. 

You should use consistent spacing throughout, and evenly sized margins on all sides if possible. It’s generally best to stick to your word processor’s default settings, but in some cases, if you shrink the margins on the left, right, top and bottom, this can help buy more space to  fit your resume on one page .

Although visual or infographic resumes have become trendy in some industries, it is always a safe bet to stick with traditional formatting: white page, black text, readable font. Choose a  basic font  such as Arial, Times New Roman, Calibri, Helvetica, or Georgia. Ideally, your font size should be no larger than 12 and no smaller than 10.5.

Even if you are only sending in copies digitally, it is a good idea to print your resume (as it’s possible that hiring managers may be doing so) to be sure it prints on a single page, and is easy to read in printed form. Reading over a printed copy of your resume will also help you ensure that there is plenty of white space on the page and it looks professional.

Most companies use recruiting management software to screen candidates for job openings. 

In order to get found, your  resume needs to contain keywords  that directly target the jobs you are interested in.

Spend some time  matching your qualifications to the job  to ensure you're including the appropriate keywords and skills. In addition to helping your resume get selected, it will also help the hiring manager see how your skills and experiences make you an ideal candidate for the specific job.

7 Tips For a Resumé That Will Get You Hired

Read through  samples that fit a variety of employment situations . These sample resumes will provide you with examples of resume formats that will work for almost every type of job seeker. They will also help you see  what kind of information to include .

Along with resume examples, you can use a  resume template as a starting point for creating your own resume. Add your information to the resume template, then tweak and edit it to personalize your resume so that it highlights your own unique skills and abilities.

Download the resume template (compatible with Google Docs or Word Online) or read the example below.

Resume Sample (Text Version)

Joanie Jobseeker 234 Howard Street • Milwaukee, WI 53210 • (123) 456-7890 • jjobseeker@email.com


Skillful and customer service-oriented Cashier with proven capacities for checkout and return transactions, point of sale operations, and team organization and motivation. Key skills include:


HARDWARE SALES, Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Head Cashier (February 2017 – Present)

Performed all cash handling and credit transactions with 100% accuracy. Processed checkout and return transactions, provided solutions to customer queries and issues, and coached and trained new hires.

ARNOLD’S DRIVE-IN, Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Waitress (November 2015 – January 2017)

Concurrent with education, provided attentive customer service to patrons of popular local restaurant. Greeted guests, provided menu recommendations, and took orders; helped to maintain dining room.


Associate’s Degree in Business Management, 2017

Milwaukee Area Technical College, Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Technical Proficiencies : Microsoft Office Suite, QuickBooks, and POS systems

Be sure to  thoroughly edit your resume  before sending it:

In the short term, you should  tweak your resume based on each job you apply to . For example, if one position you’re applying to seems to weigh a certain responsibility or focus over another, you should be sure your resume conveys your expertise in this area.

At the same time, you should be updating your resume with your experience as it develops, adding any new skills you’ve learned, courses you’ve taken or awards you won.

It is much easier to update your resume periodically than all at once, so even when you’re employed, set a reminder to refresh your resume every three months, while the information is still fresh in your head. This will make your next job search much easier, should you decide to switch companies or careers in the future.

Writing a resume is hard work, and it's often a good idea to get help before you send it to employers. You can find resume writing advice and  resume writing tips  online. You can also meet with a college career counselor if you are a college student or alumnus.

You might use a  professional resume service  instead or check with your state’s department of labor website for information on any free job services they offer. There are many great, free resume resources.

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Job seekers are using ChatGPT to write resumes — and nabbing jobs

Increasingly, ai-generative technology is being used to create resumes — and according to a new survey, it often helps its users land a new job..

Senior Reporter, Computerworld |

Resoume AI Assistant Resume Writer

Generative artificial intelligence (AI) technology is increasingly being used to create resumes and cover letters, and according to a new survey by Resume Builder , using a chatbot improves your chances of getting the job.

The online job site said nearly half of 2,153 job seekers surveyed earlier this month used ChatGPT to help write their resumes, their cover letter, or both, and the majority said it helped them land the job they wanted.

Nearly three quarters (72%) of those who used ChatGPT did so to write their cover letter, and just over half (51%) used it to write their resume.

The chatbot appeared better at grabbing the attention of prospective employers, as seven in 10 (69%) who used ChatGPT reported a higher response rate from companies.

Additionally, 78% of respondents said they got an interview when using job application materials written by ChatGPT, and 59% were hired after applying for a job using materials written by the chatbot technology from San Francisco-based OpenAI.

“Job seekers who use ChatGPT for their cover letters and/or resumes are really no different than those going to a resume writing service or using readily available templates and online tools,” Stacie Haller, Resume Builder’s chief career advisor, said in a statement. “Hiring managers know this when reviewing these documents and can likely tell if they were written by ChatGPT.”

Of course, correlation doesn't equal causation, and it could be that users of ChatGPT for resume creation are simply more committed to their job hunt. But increasingly, external platforms powered by AI-generation models are being used to construct resumes, according to Hiten Sheth, director in the HR practice of research firm Gartner.

“Candidates — just like employers — are experiencing a fiercely competitive labor market,” Sheth said in an email reply to Computerworld . “To help gain competitive advantage, candidates might feel the need to utilize generative AI in order to bolster their resume, for example. It’s basically impossible for a recruiter to know if a resume was compiled using this technology — and recruiters are also not looking for it.”

The primary motivation for those who used ChatGPT is to save time, the survey found. Those benefits outweigh the risks for most job seekers, according to Resume Builder’s report.

An overwhelming majority (88%) of the total sample said they are somewhat or highly likely to continue using ChatGPT to write job application materials in the future. Four in 10 said interviewers weren’t able to tell when job candidates had used ChatGPT.

However, when interviewers found out about the AI use, the response wasn’t always positive. Of the 40% of respondents who said an interviewer was aware they used ChatGPT to write application materials, 35% said they didn’t get the job because of it.

“The purpose of a resume is to get someone an interview,” Haller said. “From there, it’s up to the hiring managers to use other tools to evaluate a prospective employee during the process.”

Three out of four of those surveyed said the materials written by ChatGPT were of high  or very high quality. And 28% said they had to do only “a little bit” or “no” editing to the resumes and cover letters written by ChatGPT.

Foundation models, the technology underpinning OpenAI’s ChatGPT, have been around for years and are already used in natural language processing (NLP) chatbots. However, according to the latest Gartner 2023 Recruiting Innovations Bullseye, the use of chatbots is still in the experimental stage and is not considered a strategic recruiting goal for most organizations over the next few years.

Despite the apparent success of ChatGPT in hiring, there are broad concerns that the technology could be used to generate false information at scale, according to Sheth. AI-generated “hyperrealism,” coupled with how easy it is to use, accelerates the risk of false information spreading rapidly.

As a result, both users and organizations “must remain cautious when using generative AI, as failing to do so could result in legal and reputational consequences,” Sheth said via email.

“ChatGPT continues to generate buzz because it allows everyday individuals to directly interact with AI that is seemingly intelligent, understands questions, and helps accomplish specific tasks. However, the content this technology generates can sometimes be incorrect, as it depends on the prompt, task, or domain and the quality and quantity of training data leading to risks and misuse,” Sheth said.

A Resume Builder spokesperson said the organization can't conclude that ChatGPT increases a respondent's chance of being interviewed or hired, “but contrary to what some might believe, using ChatGPT may not hurt an applicant's chances, either.

“I think there is a narrative out there right now that using ChatGPT is somehow cheating [or] misrepresenting yourself. But using it can definitely save time for job seekers and, according to the survey findings, most respondents didn't experience a downside (only 11% said they believed they were denied a job because they used ChatGPT),” the spokesperson said in an email reply to Computerworld .

Senior Reporter Lucas Mearian covers Windows, Future of Work issues, mobile, Apple in the enterprise, and healthcare IT.

Copyright © 2023 IDG Communications, Inc.

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Home Resume Help How to Make a Resume

How to Make a Resume for a Job in 2023

Conrad Benz

Once you’ve learned how to make a resume, you’ll never be far from a paycheck. Learn how to create an effective resume using free online tools, so you can spend less time applying for jobs and more time making money.

How to write a resume in one page concept, highlighting how to make a resume for a job

Resume writing is a skill that will help you throughout the course of your life.

While the past few years have involved major changes for employees and employers worldwide, application documents haven’t changed. Making a resume (and writing a great cover letter to go with it) remains the best way to land the job you want today.

Here’s how to make a resume in 10 steps :

Need a basic template for your resume ? Here’s a copy-paste resume outline you can put into a word processor (such as MS Word or Google Docs):

Template resume text (copy & paste)

Your Current Job Title

(xxx) xxx-xxxx | [email protected] | 47 Your Address, City, State, ZIP Code

Resume Introduction

Three to four sentences that describe your years of experience, your most noteworthy accomplishments and skills, and your target role. Try to include hard numbers in your resume introduction to describe your accomplishments, and add the target company’s name.

Work Experience

Current job title.

Company Name | City, State | Month, Year–present

Previous Job Title

Company Name | City, State | Month, Year–Month, Year

Degree/Diploma Name Institution, City, State Year of Graduation

Additional Skills

Ready to make your resume? Check out the video below where our career expert Chloe shows you exactly how to write a resume, step by step.

1. Pick a resume layout

An image illustrating a few different resume formats, with a chronological resume being selected

There are three main resume formats most job seekers use today. Each format has its sections arranged differently, with the goal of helping different types of job seekers lay out and emphasize the most compelling parts of their professional backgrounds.

Those three formats include the:

The right format for you depends on your work history, the job you’re applying to, and your skill set. Here’s an explanation of each format and when to use them:

Chronological format

Most people format their resume chronologically.

In a chronological resume, your work experience is featured at the top after contact details and a short introduction. The experience section starts with your current or last job, followed by previously held positions from most recent to least.

The chronological format is the best choice for the majority of job seekers. It’s easy to understand, and demonstrates a clear career progression.

Chronological resume example

An example of a chronological resume, with each section outlined

Functional format

A functional resume (or “skills-based” resume) focuses on a candidate’s relevant skills rather than their work experience and job titles.

Instead of listing out your work history, the functional resume format organizes your top professional skills into categories. Bullet points under each category provide examples that illustrate the ways you’ve applied those skills at work, school, or in your personal life.

The functional format is useful if you have large employment gaps, or are writing a resume for a career change and want to shift attention from your lack of professional experience.

Combination format

As its name suggests, the combination resume format (otherwise known as a hybrid resume ) mixes the most significant features of both a chronological and functional resume.

Combination resumes include a long technical skills section with categories, similar to a functional resume. They also have a detailed chronological work experience section.

You may think all of these skills and experiences are a lot to fit on the page – and they are. Combination resumes are arranged in a way that best suits candidates with a lot of experience and a well-developed, specialized skill set to showcase.

2. List your contact information

An example of how to write a resume header

You’ve landed on a style and format for your resume. Now it’s time to dive into what really makes your resume stand out: the written content.

The first thing you need to do is include an eye-catching header on your resume at the top of the page to quickly highlight your contact information for hiring managers.

The basic contact information you must list on your resume includes your:

You can also add these optional details :

3. Start your resume with a summary or objective

An example of how to write an objective for your resume

Hiring managers, especially those at large companies, have many applications to review for each job opening. With so much competition, it can be tough to make sure your resume gets the attention it deserves.

To stand out to the hiring manager, you need to communicate why you’re the right person for the job as quickly as possible. That’s where a convincing resume introduction comes into play.

Your resume introduction provides a quick snapshot of your experience, skills, and qualifications at the very top of your resume. It should be 3–5 sentences, and can be written in either sentence or bullet-point format.

Today, most job seekers use the following types of resume introductions:

Resume summary

A professional resume summary is an introduction that highlights your most impressive achievements and skills.

Resume summaries are ideal for candidates with:

Here’s exactly how to structure a resume summary :

An example of a resume summary

Resume objective

A resume objective (or career objective) focuses on your professional goals and career path, and how they match the company’s goals. For this reason, a resume objective is ideal for candidates who:

Here’s the formula for putting together an effective resume objective :

Example of how to make a resume objective

4. List your work experience and accomplishments

An example of how to write the experience section of your resume

Next up is your resume’s work experience section , which many recruiters and employers are most interested in (so it’s important to get it right).

How to format work experience on your resume

If you haven’t written a resume before, you’re probably unsure how to properly format your experience section.

An infographic breaking down how to structure each work experience entry when you make your resume

For each work experience entry, list the following basic information:

How to list work experience on your resume

Job title – Dates employed (year and month) Company name – Company location (city and state)

If you’re adding more than one job to your experience section, list them with your most recently held position at the top and older positions underneath.

Include hard numbers and achievements

Many job seekers make the mistake of simply listing past responsibilities in their experience section and resume introduction. Phrases like “ responsible for ” and “tasked with” are technically correct, but they don’t do a good job of explaining what you accomplished at work.

To make a good resume, focus on your achievements and include numbers.

Doesn't use numbers or action verbs

Uses numbers and action verbs

There are two reasons this second bullet point is effective:

Adjust your work experience based on the job ad

To make your work experience section shine, target each bullet point to the specific job you want . Look carefully at the skills mentioned in the job ad, and showcase any of those skills you have with clear examples.

To get an idea of how to find job-related skills, here’s an example of a marketing specialist job ad (with orange underlines for verbs and yellow for nouns/skills) courtesy of Indeed.com :

An example of a job ad with key details underlined

There are many clues about what the company wants from applicants in this job description. It’s up to you to capitalize on them.

Here’s what you might write to respond to this job ad if you’re writing a resume for this marketing position :

Taylord’s Marketing Firm, Reno, NV

July 2017 – August 2018

Not only does tailoring your experience section to the job ad make your resume more attractive to employers, but it also helps you get through the applicant tracking system (ATS) software that many large companies use.

5. Showcase your skills

An example of how to make the skills section of your resume

The skills section of your resume gives employers an at-a-glance view of the job-related hard and soft skills that qualify you for the role.

Hard skills are learned through specific training, workshops, work experience, or school and include the skills you need to operate equipment at work (like point-of-sale systems).

Soft skills relate to your personality, and you develop them by simply interacting with others and accomplishing daily tasks at work. Organizational skills like coordination and self-management are good examples of soft skills valued by employers.

Top skills for your resume

Include a mix of hard and soft skills when you include your professional skills on your resume to show employers you have a balance of technical savvy and the ability to work well with colleagues and clients.

Some of the top skills to highlight on your resume include:

How to list skills on your resume

You’re likely not an expert at every skill you list on your resume. So how do you communicate your exact skill level to employers?

For hard skills like Adobe Photoshop , consider indicating your rough level of skill. This indication can either be written (e.g. “Photoshop – Intermediate”) or a visual graphic like a skill bar or graph.

Here’s an example of a visual way you can communicate how good you are at each skill:

An example of how to make a resume with skill levels.

Want to use a written measure of your skills? Try out this basic scale to explain how proficient you are in a particular skill:

Include skills throughout your resume

To make the most impact, expand on your skills in your resume introduction and work experience bullet points as well.

For example, if you list Spanish as a key skill on your waiter or waitress resume , talk about how many customers you served in Spanish during your previous serving job. Describing a real situation where you put your skills to work proves to employers that the skills listed on in your skills section aren’t just empty words.

This is especially true for soft skills , which should always be demonstrated with examples in your experience section, rather than listed in the skills section of your resume. Soft skills are particularly difficult to measure without context, and just listing them without examples tells employers very little about your actual abilities.

6. Write out your education details

An example of the education section of a resume

Your education section normally comes after all of your work experience, but you should place it first if you’ve never held a full-time job or you’re writing a student resume because you’ll want extra space to talk about your academic achievements.

An effective education section on a resume includes only your highest degree. If you didn’t go to college, add your high school diploma instead.

Here’s what to include in your education section:

How to list education on your resume

Your degree name The name of the college or high school (and its location) – Your graduation date (if it’s within the last 15 years)

You can also add any relevant coursework to your resume if you think it addresses the job ad and the company’s needs, or if you’re writing a resume as a recent graduate .

This is an example of a resume education section for a job seeker who graduated in 2020 (so it includes more details than you might see on the resume of an experienced professional):

Use this example of an education section to help you do your resume.

7. Add any additional relevant resume sections

An example of a resume with an additional hobbies and interests section

Depending on your experience and background, consider adding optional sections to your resume. For example, certifications and awards are great if they’re relevant to your chosen career, while hobbies and volunteer work are useful if you’re writing a resume with no experience .

An example of some of the additional sections you can add to your resume

Here are some common optional sections you can add to your resume to give hiring managers a more complete view of you as a candidate:

Hobbies and interests

Although they’re unlikely to sway an employer’s final hiring decision, adding hobbies and interests to your resume helps show a bit of your personality and can make your resume stand out.

Additionally, mentioning your hobbies could show hiring managers that you’re a good culture fit for the job.

For example, if you’re applying for a job at a sporting company like REI, highlighting your passion for camping or fishing is a great way to indicate you’d fit in with the other employees, and are even personally invested in the company’s mission.

Volunteer work

Passionate about volunteering? Putting volunteer work on your resume is a great way to show employers you’re engaged with your community and are interested in more than just a paycheck.

Also, volunteer work is a good resume booster if you lack work experience because it shows you have a strong work ethic, are driven, and commit your free time to something meaningful.


If you’re applying for jobs that require specific certifications to get hired, you should add a section to your resume that clearly highlights them.

For example, if you work in education, construction, or engineering, you likely have more than one professional certification. In these fields, it’s a good idea to add a certifications section to your resume .

Awards and honors

Whether you’ve been named “ Employee of the Month ” or received formal recognition from a professional association, highlighting awards and honors relevant to the job is a great addition to your resume.

Awards show employers that you were highly successful in your previous role, and help you stand apart from other applicants.


If you work in academia, writing, or law, you’ve likely published some work under your name, either online or in an academic journal.

Adding a section for publications on your resume shows off some of your relevant work to employers and gives them a reference for the quality of your writing and research.

Do you speak three or more languages? Creating a dedicated section for languages on your resume is a good way to show off your skills as a polyglot.

Being able to speak foreign languages is helpful for many different careers, but you should only add a dedicated section for them if you’re applying for a job where speaking in different languages is highly relevant.

Personal projects

If you’re someone who’s worked on multiple personal projects, including them on your resume shows employers that you’re passionate about your work and able to motivate yourself.

For example, if you spent a year independently developing an app or game, including programming projects on your resume shows off your accomplishment to employers and helps explain any gaps in your work experience.

8. Set up your resume formatting and style

An example of different resume styles, with a modern but minimalist resume featured

Once you’ve written the content of your resume, it’s time to make sure it looks good .

No matter what job you’re applying for, you should use the following resume formatting guidelines :

This formatting is the default in Microsoft Word, so you shouldn’t need to adjust anything if you’re starting with a new document.

Choosing a design for your resume

After formatting your resume, you need to land on a style.

Your resume’s style includes all the aesthetic details like:

For formal industries like law, finance, or politics, you should stick to a simple, traditional resume style. Templates with clean lines, no graphics, and dark colors like navy blue or burgundy are most appropriate for writing a professional US resume .

However, if you want a job in a more creative industry like tech or marketing, you should use a more modern design for your resume . Modern resume designs include brighter colors, sans-serif fonts, and graphic details like illustrated skill levels or sidebars.

A comparison of how to make a creative resume vs a formal resume

9. Proofread your application (several times)

An image of a resume while being run through a spellchecker to proofread everything

Finished making your resume? Don’t just send it off straight away.

Spend some time reading through it at least a couple of times. You’d be surprised how easy it is to make a typo and how hard it is to spot them in your own writing.

You should also give your resume to a friend or relative to read through so they can help you notice any additional mistakes on your resume .

Software tools you can use to check your resume for grammar or spelling mistakes include:

To help make the proofreading process easier, here’s a checklist you can tick as you complete it:

The Resume Genius Resume Checklist

Is your contact information accurate?

Is your email address professional?

Does your resume leave out details like headshots or sensitive personal information?

Does your resume fit on one page (or two pages if you’re highly experienced)?

Is your information easy to read (fonts are above 10pt+ and sections don’t look too crowded)?

Is the design of your resume appropriate for the position you’re applying for?

Did you include all relevant sections on your resume?

Did you quantify achievements in your resume work experience section?

Did you use action verbs to describe your experience?

Does your resume address the requirements stated in the job ad?

Is your resume free of typos and grammatical errors?

Is all of your information clearly formatted and professional?

Feel free to use our on-page checklist, or make a copy in Google Docs and begin reviewing your resume.

10. Email your resume

An example of a resume being saved as a PDF before it's sent to employers

Once you’re sure your resume is finished and you’ve checked for errors, it’s time to send it to employers.

First, save your resume as a PDF because PDFs save your formatting even if you use fonts that aren’t installed on the hiring manager’s computer, so they’ll appear exactly as you want them to appear.

However, if the job ad specifically asks for your resume in Microsoft Word (DOCX) format or some other format, follow those instructions.

Finally, email your resume to the hiring manager by attaching it as a file. You should include a brief introduction in the body of the email just so the employer knows who you are and what you’re applying for.

Model your resume after examples

Here are a couple examples of well-written resumes for different levels of experience that you can use as inspiration when you make your own.

Entry-level candidate

This college student does a great job showing off the qualities that make them a valuable candidate on their entry-level resume :

An example of a resume written by a candidate with no work experience

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Experienced candidate

This experienced project manager successfully highlights their skills and expertise on their resume:

An example of a resume written by a candidate with work experience

How to create a resume online fast

If you’re short on time or simply don’t like writing, use a free resume builder to put together a resume that earns you interviews.

There are plenty of good resume builders online to try out in 2023. Our own AI-powered resume builder helps simplify the process of creating a resume by guiding you through each step and formats all your information for you.

Our software also provides helpful suggestions and fills out parts of your resume like your summary and work experience. At the end of the process, you’ll end up with a sleek new resume that’s sure to impress hiring managers:

A screenshot from the Resume Genius resume builder previewing the finalized document

Once you’ve filled out the content of your resume, you can use the arrows on the right and left sides of the page to see how your resume looks using different templates.

For each individual template, you can select a color from the dropdown button at the top.

Pair your resume with a convincing cover letter

Now that you’ve put the finishing touches on your resume, it’s time to start sending it off to employers, right? Not just yet.

No job application is complete without a well-written cover letter that explains why you’re the perfect fit for the job.

While your resume shows your work history and skills, your cover letter explains your passion for the job and how your experience makes you qualified for that specific role.

The best way to make an effective cover letter is to use a pre-made cover letter template and fill in your information so that it’s relevant to the job you’re applying for.

Additional resume writing resources

In addition to our resume making guide, we also have many other resources to help you build a competitive job application (no matter your industry or level of experience):

Frequently asked questions about writing a resume

Still have some unanswered questions? Here are some answers to common questions about writing a resume:

What makes a good resume?

Here’s what makes a good resume:

What do you put on a resume with no experience?

Here’s what you can put on a resume without experience:

By giving employers information about these parts of your life, you can demonstrate that you have the skills you need to succeed in the role, even without formal work experience.

You should list three to four jobs on a resume. As a general rule, you should highlight the last 10-15 years of work experience on your resume, depending on your career level and the job you’re applying for.

If you have a lot of relevant experience that goes back further than this, you can include some additional positions, but it’s not necessary to list every job you’ve ever held.

How do you make a resume for free?

There are a few ways to make a resume for free:

No matter which method you choose, always proofread your resume at the end to make sure it looks professional and there aren’t any mistakes that could hurt your chances of landing a job.

What can I do if I still have questions about making my resume?

If you still have questions about making your resume, here are some additional answers to more specific questions:

Click to rate this article

Conrad Benz

Written by Conrad Benz

Conrad Benz is a Digital Media Specialist & Resume Expert at Resume Genius, where he helps countless job-seekers craft standout resumes and launch their careers. His... more

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Your Step-by-Step Guide to Making the Perfect Resume (With Examples!)

Hot jobs on the muse.

person on laptop

Your resume is arguably the most valuable piece of paper for your career. But this document can be daunting for many. Maybe you’re not sure how to fit in all your information onto one page. Maybe you’re not sure about the right way to format and write your resume. Maybe you don’t even know what the heck a resume is!

Whatever your concern, we’ll break down everything you need to know about making the perfect resume, from scratch.

What Is a Resume?

What are employers looking for in a resume.

What Are Some Examples of a Good Resume?

A resume is a summary of your career, whether yours is just getting started or has been going on for years. Coming in at around one page in length (two only under specific circumstances), it showcases the jobs you’ve held and currently hold, the responsibilities you’ve taken on, the skills you’ve developed, and the qualities you bring to the table as an employee. Together, those things make it super easy for any hiring manager to see your qualifications and fit for a role.

For all the work you may put into writing one, hiring managers actually spend very little time—mere seconds in many cases—looking at your resume. But despite this sad fact, it’s safe to say that creating a great resume (rather than hastily throwing one together) still matters.

“If you miss the mark, your resume may never be read. Even worse, you might be removed from the applicant pool by a computer before a human even knows you exist,” says Muse career coach Heather Yurovsky , founder of Shatter & Shine. So you want to get it right because, as she explains, isn’t the goal to “spend less time looking for a job and more time in a role you love?”

You might be wondering if you can lean on your LinkedIn profile instead of writing a resume. The answer, sadly, is no. Most hiring managers still expect you to submit a resume, even if they also look at your LinkedIn. Even if you don’t need a resume for a job you’re applying for now, you’re going to need one at some point in your career—they’re not anywhere close to going out of style. So it’s best to always have one at the ready should an opportunity pop up.

And although LinkedIn has plenty of benefits, a resume has one clear advantage: While your LinkedIn is usually a broader picture of your career trajectory, your resume gives you the opportunity to tailor your career story to a specific role or company (more on that later).

Oh, and you’ve probably heard of something called a CV? It’s slightly different from a resume , and usually more common with academics and job seekers outside the U.S.

Hiring managers look for three things on your resume, “What did you do? Why did you do it? And what was the result?” says Muse career coach Martin McGovern , owner of Career Therapy. “If you can answer all three of these questions in...your resume bullet points, you’re going to be on the right track.”

Clear, easy-to-understand language is key. “The truth is that most resumes make no sense. They are stuffed with jargon, they are too technical, and they are filled with redundancies. Try to read a resume that isn’t yours and you will quickly realize that it feels like an alien wrote it,” McGovern adds. Put yourself in the shoes of a recruiter who has no idea how your role works—how can you make your resume accessible to them?

The hiring manager also cares about more than just you and you alone—they care about you in relation to them. “Hiring managers want to see if a candidate matches the requirements” of the role they’re hiring for, Yurovsky explains. “Your resume should paint this picture so the hiring manager not only knows what day-to-day responsibilities you can handle, but why you, above other[s], bring value to their organization.”

How Do You Write a Resume?

Whether you’re someone who’s never written a resume in your life, or you need a nice, thorough refresher on the process of creating one, follow these steps to go from a blank page to a complete—and dare I say beautiful—document.

Related: This Free Worksheet Makes It Easy to Create (or Update) Your Resume

1. Pick Your Format

Before you start typing one single thing, you have to decide what you want the overall resume to look like.

Resume builders can be helpful for this step—they’ll take all your basic information and organize it for you, eliminating some of the legwork. You can also use a pre-made outline, such as one of these free Google Docs templates .

But it’s often safest to start with a clean slate all on your own and eventually upgrade to a more advanced layout. (If you'd still like a place to write all the relevant information before you get started, check out our resume outline .) This allows you to course correct, edit and re-edit, and choose a resume format that best fits your particular situation (after all, not everyone has a career trajectory that’s easy to compartmentalize).

In general, you’re most likely to cover and/or include sections on the following:

So how do you format and organize all of that information?

By far the most common (and safest, if you’re not sure which route to take) option is reverse chronological order . This means you organize your experiences from most recent to least recent. So your work experiences would go above your education, and your current role would go above previous roles you’ve held. This of course has its exceptions—maybe you went back to grad school between jobs, or your most recent role is irrelevant to the job you’re applying for. So the whole page may not be exactly in reverse chronological order depending on your situation. It’s just a guideline.

There’s also something called a functional or skills-based resume . This is used pretty rarely, mainly with career changers and those with limited or complicated work histories. It gets its name because it’s primarily about listing your skills rather than experiences, and showcases them above your work history and education.

You can also opt for a combination resume , which is a mix between a reverse chronological resume and skills-based resume. It highlights your skills at the top, but allows just as much room below to cover your job and school experience.

Use caution when choosing these two formats: “Combo and skills-based [resumes] can be hard to follow, because [they force] the reader to hunt for connections between your skills and experience, and [don’t] provide the full context of your work,” says Muse Career Coach Angela Smith , founder of Loft Consulting. “I’ve also heard a lot of recruiters say that they automatically discount skill-based resumes because they feel the candidate is trying to hide something. I don’t necessarily believe that, but I think it’s important for job-seekers to know that perception is out there.”

2. Start With Your Basic Information

Your contact information should always go at the top of your resume. In this header you’ll want to include anything that could be helpful for a recruiter to get in touch with you. Usually, this means adding in:

You might also choose to include other basic information, such as your LinkedIn or personal website URL, your GitHub (for technical roles), your social media profiles (if relevant to the job), or your address. If you’re looking to move for a job, you may choose to leave out your address or write “open to relocating” to better your chances of getting an interview.

The key is to make this part as clear as possible. If a hiring manager can’t reach you, there’s no point in perfecting the rest of your resume.

3. Add in Your Work Experience

This section will most likely be the bulk of your resume. Even if you’re changing careers, employers still want to see where you’ve worked, what you’ve done, and the impact of that work to get a sense of your background and expertise.

Your “Work Experience” might be one entire category, or you might choose to break it up into “Relevant Experience” and “Additional Experience” to highlight the jobs that are most important for hiring managers to focus on. Either way, you’ll almost always want to have your most recent experience at the top and your older experience down below.

Within your work experience, you’ll want to include each official job title, the company (and possibly its location), and the years you worked there. Below that, you’ll add in two to four bullet points explaining what you did in that job, the skills you built and exercised, the tools you used, and the results of what you did. If you accomplished a lot during your time there, focus on the responsibilities that made the most impact or you’re the most proud of, as well as the ones that best align you with the job you’re applying for (more on that in the following sections). It’s key here to list, if relevant, quantitative as well as qualitative accomplishments.

For example, you might write:

Associate Accountant, Finances and Co., Ann Arbor, MI September 2017 – Present

Your resume bullets should be in past tense if you’re referring to past jobs and present tense if you’re talking about your current roles. In addition, your bullets should always start with a strong action verb that best describes what you did. And if you have examples of your work, consider hyperlinking them here as well.

If you have a ton of experience and this category is starting to run long (read: over one page), consider kicking out your oldest jobs unless they’re super relevant to the job you’re applying for, or extra impressive for your field.

Not sure where to start? “It’s helpful to do a brain dump and create a document that has everything and anything you consider as experience or an achievement,” says Yurovsky. From there, she explains, you can start to whittle down what is and isn’t important. And you can refer to this document later if you ever decide to update your resume for a specific role.

Need more specific advice on listing your work experience on your resume? Check out these additional resources:

4. Consider Including Volunteer Work or Other Experience

Anything you’ve done that’s not work experience—your side gig, volunteer work, special projects—can be hosted under clearly-labeled sections (“Volunteer Experience” or “Activities,” for example). Depending on how robust your work experience is, these things may be worth including, particularly if they’ve helped you level up your skill set or better align you with your dream job. Plus, they make you look that much more well-rounded, passionate, and hardworking.

If you’re a recent grad, you might also build out a section for on-campus activities, such as clubs, organizations, or leadership experience. This can be a great supplement if you’re lacking in the jobs department. You can frame these just as you would professional jobs—including your title, the organization’s name, and bullets describing what your role was and what you accomplished.

Read More: This Is Exactly How to List Volunteer Work on Your Resume

5. Don’t Forget Your Education

If you’re still in school or just graduated, your education can go at the top of your resume, but for pretty much everyone else, this goes near the bottom. Most people include their school, graduation year (for folks less up to about a decade out of school), major, and degree. Brand-new grads might also write in their GPA, honors and awards, study abroad, thesis, or other notable achievements. But keep this section super simple, as you don’t want it to take up too much space over your work experience.

It’s possible you have unique education experience, such as taking an online course or certification. If you did this specifically as a way to boost yourself within your industry, definitely include it. Again, list everything more or less reverse chronologically—so a grad school degree would go above an undergrad degree, and a more recent relevant online course would go above that.

Learn more about the ins and outs of listing your education on your resume:

6. Top It Off With Some Skills and Interests

The skills section of a resume gets a bad rap, but it’s just as important as the rest of the stuff you include. It’s a quick list a recruiter can scan to see if your skill set aligns with what they’re hiring for. And it’s super ATS-friendly (ATS stands for “applicant tracking system,” the robot that in some cases reads your resume before a human does) because it allows you to add in keywords the machine is scanning for.

Usually this section goes at the bottom of your resume, but in special cases—such as a skills-based resume or when someone’s switching fields—you may place it further up.

What exactly do you throw in here? You’ll want to list any hard skills and applications you’re familiar with (Photoshop, SEO, JavaScript, to name a few examples), and, if relevant, your level of expertise. Avoid including soft skills here, like time management or public speaking—save those for your bullet points instead.

Be strategic when filling in your skills. Don’t list things you actually couldn’t do at a high competence level (I’m looking at those of you who say you’re “great” at Excel), and maybe nix skills that are completely irrelevant to the job you want. For example, you may not even need to include Excel if you’re applying for say, a design position, unless it’s listed as a job requirement.

Maybe you’re thinking, I’m a really good volleyball player, but that’s not a “skill,” right? No, it’s not, but it is a hobby. Adding in a hobby section at the bottom of your resume is underrated, and frequently a smart choice. It can be a great conversation starter with a hiring manager, and it can show that you’re a good culture fit—or a culture add—for the company. Also, it’s just a nice way to add in some of your personality. So tack on a bullet point listing out some of your interests, such as hiking, rowing, or crafting (no more than five to seven work-appropriate verbs), and you’re all set here.

7. Write a Resume Summary Statement (if Relevant)

You may have heard of a resume summary statement . They’re not super common, but they can be useful to include near the top of your resume if you’re looking to add clarity or context to your resume. If you’re a career changer, you might find a summary statement helpful in explaining your leap and tying your experience to your new path. Or if you’re a more experienced professional, you can use a summary statement to highlight a theme that brings your career trajectory together.

Overall, you probably won’t need a summary statement if your career is pretty linear and your bullet points do a great job of emphasizing what you have to offer in terms of skills and experience. But if you think it makes sense to include one, “Take the time to think about what the person reading your summary wants to know before you write it,” says McGovern. “Good summaries explain why you do what you do and how it can help. For instance: Merging a background in ABC, I help companies improve XYZ through 123. Summaries shouldn’t be any more complicated than that.”

So, taking McGovern’s example, you might say:

Merging a background in social media marketing and PR with seven years in the consumer tech space, I help companies improve their internal and external communication and brand awareness through data-driven, quality content and strategies that align with the modern trends of the space.

Yurovsky adds that “you don’t want your summary statement to be a dense paragraph with too much information. You want it to be easy to read, concise, and memorable. Almost like a tagline.”

Read More: 3 Resume Summary Examples That’ll Make Writing Your Own Easier

8. Tailor It to the Job (and the ATS)

Once you have your resume written out—you’ve broken down your work experience, tagged on some activities and additional experiences, and listed out your skills—it’s important to go back to the job description (or multiple job descriptions, if you’re applying to several similar jobs) and make sure that what your resume says matches up with the kind of candidate the employers are looking for. In other words, tailor it .

Let’s explain further. You’ll want to begin by tackling the ATS . This means combing the job description to see if individual words and phrases line up. What skills are they asking for, and have you listed them (so long as you actually have them)? What words are they using to describe their ideal hire, and do you use similar language in your resume?

Next, take a bird’s-eye view. If you were the hiring manager for the role, where on your resume would your eyes be drawn to? And what would you be looking for? Whatever you think will be most important for the recruiter, make sure it’s near the top of your resume, or otherwise emphasized.

Finally, dig into the role and responsibilities of the job. Does your resume reflect similar experience? If not, is there a way you can spin it so that it’s clear you’re capable of doing the job (and doing it well)?

These articles can help you if the word “tailoring” makes you start to sweat:

9. Edit and Refine It

Please, please don’t just write your resume and shoot it out without giving it a second glance. Hiring managers may not spend hours browsing it, but if there’s one thing that sticks out more than anything else it’s a glaring typo.

The best approach? Write a rough draft, then leave and come back to it later with fresh eyes to give it an edit.

Cover the basics: Is your contact information correct and updated? Are you using the right verb tenses? Does everything look consistent and accurate in terms of spelling and grammar?

Then do some cutting if your resume’s quite long. It’s no longer a hard-and-fast rule that all resumes must be only one page—but consider it a smart guideline for most applicants, especially if you've got less than 10 years work experience. The exception is if you’re very senior or very established in your career; in this scenario, a two-page resume isn’t completely out of the question. Everyone else, read this article for advice on how to cut your resume down.

Formatting-wise, it’s key to consider a couple things. First, what font are you using , and is it legible (for a human and a robot)? When in doubt, go with one of these simple, but sleek, options: Arial, Arial Narrow, Calibri, Cambria, Garamond, or Helvetica.

Second, are you going to save it as a Word document or PDF ? Neither option is wrong, although a PDF helps ensure that your formatting is maintained, no matter what type of computer the hiring manager uses to open the document.

Third, is your resume formatted in a way that it’s skimmable? If it’s feeling crowded or overrun with words, read this: 12 Tiny Changes That Make Your Resume Easy for Recruiters to Skim .

Once you’ve given it a few good looks, it may be worth sending it to a friend or colleague (or even a career coach ) to get a second opinion. Don’t just have them edit it for spelling and grammar—they should dig into your bullets and offer feedback on whether or not your resume is showing you in the best possible light (it’s smart to also send them the job description for something to compare it to).

Here’s the thing: Your resume won’t ever look exactly like someone else’s, nor should it. How you choose to format it, organize your information, and talk about specific experiences depends not just on your career path, but on your field, the job you’re applying for, the company that job is at, and more.

So there isn’t a universal way to do a resume. But there are common themes. To give you some context as to how yours might turn out, here are three examples of different kinds of resumes.

The Most Popular: A Reverse Chronological Resume

As previously mentioned, a reverse chronological resume is preferred by many coaches and HR experts, mainly because it’s super readable. When everything’s in a clear order, it’s easy to skim and even easier to draw lines between experiences.

Who it’s good for: Just about everyone—from students applying to internships all the way up to senior-level executives (with an optional resume summary statement)

Download an Example Chronological Resume for a Software Engineer

to write resume for job

The Unorthodox Route: A Functional or Skills-Based Resume

Rather than listing out your experience in reverse chronological order, a functional or skills-based resume has bullet points that reflect how each of your skills is demonstrated by the work you’ve done over the course of your career. At the bottom, you’ll include everything else, such as your education, job history, professional achievements, community involvement, and other technical skills. This is a good option if you have a somewhat all-over-the-place work history and want to tie everything together neatly.

Who it’s good for: Career changers whose work experiences may not appear to be relevant and people with an abundance of temporary jobs or gaps in their work histories.

Download an Example Functional Resume for a Project Manager

to write resume for job

The Creative Angle: An Infographic Resume or Resume Website

This resume type is characterized by how it’s formatted visually. You may choose a reverse chronological order or skills-based style to organize your information, but also use graphics, colors, unique fonts, and even multimedia elements to help that information pop. Keep in mind that any creative resume is still likely subject to an ATS—and certain elements may be unreadable by a robot. So consider going this route only if you know a human will be reading your resume (and that said human might enjoy it).

Who it’s good for: People applying to creative roles (designers, editors, writers, marketers, video producers, for example), startups, or fun companies, or to jobs where a creative resume is encouraged, if not required.

Download an Example Infographic Resume for a Designer

to write resume for job

Not a designer but want your resume to look just as pretty as this example? Check out these articles:

Your resume is a living, breathing document. So while you won’t go through this whole process every time you apply for a job, you should be thinking about all these things as you go to update your resume for your next career step. You might decide later on to switch up the order, or remove or add things, or even get creative and try out a whole new format. If you’re not getting the calls back you expect, you may decide to scrap it and start over —and that’s totally OK.

Regardless of where this piece of paper goes and how it grows, when you give it the care and attention it deserves, you set yourself up for success. And you’ll make it that much more likely that you’ll land an interview and get the chance to prove to the hiring manager—over the phone or in person—what you’ve got to offer.

to write resume for job

How to Make a Resume in 2023

Kellie Hanna

Forty percent of hiring managers spend less than a minute reviewing a resume . That’s why you need a strong and eye-catching document that perfectly captures your relevant skills and work experience to make the cut.

If you’re wondering,” How do I write a resume for a job application?,”  “How do I make a resume successfully?,” or “How do I update my resume?,” don’t worry! We’re here to help. In this guide, we will show you how to make a good resume in just a few easy steps and detail exactly what to include in each resume section.

We’ll cover:

Plus, we’ll provide expert resume-writing tips, professional resume examples for popular jobs in 2023, sample resumes for special circumstances, and resume templates to get you started.

Make a resume with My Perfect Resume

Our Resume builder can help you write the perfect resume. Start Now!

How To Write Resume

How to write a resume

Chances are, if you write a resume well, you’ll be booked for interviews for every job you seek. But what’s the secret? How do you make a resume that employers respond to?

Keep reading! We’ve broken down the instructions for how to create a resume, step-by-step.

STEP 1 Gather your professional information to prepare to write a great resume.

Preparation is key to writing a resume that stands out. Having your essential information ready will save you time and ensure you put your best foot forward. Here’s how to prepare a resume effectively.

Proper resume preparation means you must take the time to review your relevant qualifications and compare them to the requirements for your target job.

Then make a list of your:

Pro tip Tailor each resume you write to the target job to make it most effective.

STEP 2 Pick the best resume format for your needs

Now that you’ve prepared your information, here’s a secret on how to create a resume that many job seekers overlook: You have to choose a suitable resume format before you can begin to write a resume.

How to choose the best resume format? There are three standard formats. Each uses the same resume sections but organizes them differently, so choose one that works best for your work experience level and your professional goals.

Chronological resume format

The chronological resume format is the most commonly used. It’s ideal for candidates who want to focus on their work experience when building a resume because this section sits front and center.

It’s perfect for people with a lot of professional work experience and no employment gaps, and those applying to jobs that put heavy emphasis on experience.

Functional resume format

The functional resume format highlights your skills and training, focusing on the abilities that can make you a great addition to the team, even if you’re applying for your first job.

This format is excellent for first-time job seekers, people changing careers or those with employment gaps.

Combination resume format

Also known as the hybrid resume, the combination resume format combines the functional and chronological resume formats. It’s ideal for mid-level job seekers who want to know how to write a resume for a job when switching to a different industry or reentering the workforce.

STEP 3 Add your contact information.

Make sure your contact information is up-to-date and easy to find. Always put it at the top, in the header.

Here’s what to include in your resume contact information:

For example:

Resume Contact Info

STEP 4  Write a resume summary or objective statement

Use a resume summary if you have work experience and you are not changing industries or jobs.

When making a resume, use a resume objective statement if you are a first-time job seeker, changing careers, returning to work after a long absence, or applying for a new job (such as a managerial role) in the same company.

Whether you use a summary or an objective, it must be compelling, concise and clear.

Resume Summary Objective

Pro tip  We have more than 35 resume summary examples to help you write your own.

STEP 5 Make a resume work history section

Format this resume section by listing jobs in reverse-chronological order, with the current or latest position at the top and display. Here’s how to create a resume work experience section. You’ll need:

Step 5 Bg

Your work history section should give employers a glimpse into what they can hope to gain by hiring you.

Don’t write a resume job history section as a list of duties, like “Prepared and maintained financial reports” and “Responsible for daily inventory,” because they don’t tell hiring managers anything about how well you can perform in the role.

Instead, for each job, display your work accomplishments in three-to-five bullet points and quantify them when possible. A recent study showed that job seekers who use numbers in their resumes see a 40% boost over the competition.

For example, a teacher might write: “35% of senior class improved end-of-semester test scores by 25% within three months.”

Pro Tip Use action verbs like “Spearheaded project X” or “Oversaw process Y” for impactful resume job history statements.

Resume Action Verbs

STEP 6 Create a resume skills section to highlight your strengths.

When building a resume, you must include at least one bulleted list of skills, no matter what resume format you use.

When thinking about what to put on a resume skills section, aim for an average of six to eight of your top strengths, as long as they are relevant to the job you want. If you are changing careers or applying for your first job,, focus on transferable skills like communication and critical thinking, which can apply to almost any job.

Pro Tip Here’s a secret for how to do a resume that makes an impact: Show hiring managers that you’re well-rounded by adding to your resume a mix of hard skills , such as accounting, and soft skills , such as adaptability.

These are the top-ten hard and soft skills employers want to see in 2023:

Hard Skills

10 hard skills for resume writing

Soft Skills

10 soft skills for resume writing

STEP 7 List your education accurately

When writing a resume education section, list your education credentials, even if you don’t have a degree.

Here’s what goes on a resume education section.

If you want to know how to make a resume correctly, every resume education section must have:

Columbia University, New York, NY May 2014 Bachelor of Science in Social Work

You may also include:

STEP 8 Add relevant certifications, licenses and training

Some jobs, like nursing , accounting and teaching , require candidates to have certifications and licenses. Some job seekers go the extra mile and get additional training or certificates to establish their expertise in their chosen fields.

When making a resume, create a separate resume section for certifications, licenses or professional training you have completed.

Here’s how to make a good resume certifications section for any additional training.

Directly below your education section, list:

Consider the following examples when building a resume:

Certifications on resume example:

Example of current certification:

Certification Example

Example of “in progress” certification:

Certification Example 2

 Licenses on resume example:

Beauty Operator License (2019) Board of Barbering & Cosmetology Expires: 2024

Registered Nurse – License #000000 California Board of Registered Nursing Expires: 2023

Certification Example 3

STEP 9 Include optional resume sections if you have them

How do you make a resume that stands out? Good resume writing is more than just making sure you have all the basics. Add optional sections, like volunteer work, awards, honors and publications.

If you have published work or have received relevant awards that will help you further highlight your accomplishments, then you should include them — they can’t hurt, but they can help your resume to stand out.

Only add a separate section for awards, honors, publications or volunteer work if you cannot tie them into other resume sections.

Volunteer work can add value to a resume because it shows that you are willing to help others and have passions outside of work, which are not necessarily motivated by money. These traits are attractive to employers in 2023 and can help you stand out from candidates who do not have volunteer experience.

Pro tip Be highly selective when adding resume sections for optional qualifications. You only have so much real estate on a one-to-two-page document, and everything you add must count!

Unsure how to write a simple resume with optional sections? Here’s how to create a good resume with optional qualifications:

Below your education section (or certifications section if you have one), write the name of the optional credential followed by one-to-five bullet points listing the names of the certificates followed by the dates earned or published.

Example of how to make a resume awards section:

Certification Example 4

Example of how to create a resume honors section:

Certification Exampl 5

Example of how to write a resume publications section:


Certification Example 6

STEP 10 Proofread, check your formatting and save your final product.

Typos and grammatical errors are the most common resume-writing mistakes — and a deal-breaker for about 80% of hiring managers. When making a resume, reread it thoroughly to ensure that you’ve written everything perfectly — and that all your dates and company names are correct.

Pro tip Our Resume Builder has a helpful spell-checking tool that scans your document and lets you know of any mistakes.

Formatting errors are also a big turn-off for hiring managers. You can make a resume easy for them to read by following these simple formatting resume tips:

And that sums up how to make a resume. When you finish downloading your document, it should look something like this:

How to make a resume free and fast

Start your resume on the right track with a professional resume template. Our expertly designed templates organize your job credentials correctly in all three standard resume formats, and they meet the latest applicant tracking system (ATS) requirements.

Download one to create a resume from scratch, or use a template with our Resume Builder to build a resume in minutes. You can also upload your existing resume and edit it with our builder! Resume writing has never been easier!

We make it easy to make a resume for work with the following:

Effective resume examples by job title and circumstance

Choose an example to guide you through creating a resume that impresses hiring managers, then use our builder to customize it for your target job.

Resume examples for popular job titles in 2023

We offer thousands of resume examples to help you learn how to make a resume for a job in almost every industry.

Here are the top 15:

Resume samples for special circumstances

Example of a resume for someone with no work experience

Career change resume sample

Employment gap resume example

Expert resume-writing tips to help you land the job

How do you make a resume that gets past ATS software and wins the hearts of hiring managers? Follow these simple tips for success!

Create a complementary cover letter

Nice work! You’ve followed all of our advice about resume writing. You know how to write a great resume and you’ve spent a few minutes building a resume that makes you proud. Now you’re ready to send it off for your dream job.

Not so fast!

You need more than the perfect resume to get an interview. Your job application isn’t complete without a compelling cover letter accompanying your perfect resume. Cover letters are vital to job applications because they show potential employers the person behind the qualifications and provide in-depth information about your experience and career goals. And they are a great way to explain employment gaps and career changes.

Not sure where to start? Let us show you how to write a great cover letter with our professional cover letter examples ; then, choose a cover letter template and use our Cover Letter Builder to make a professional cover letter effortlessly.

How to make a resume for a job: Important takeaway

Before we officially wrap things up, let’s make sure you are completely clear on how to write a resume that will impress potential employers.

7 Key Takeaways

Key Takeaway Bg

How to make a resume FAQ

What should a resume look like in 2023.

A good resume in 2023 should look a lot like the examples on this page. In 2023, resumes can be in any format that works for your goals, but they must look professional. That means they must be formatted correctly with clear sections, written concisely with a proper resume font , and framed inframed in in a professional template with a clean design

How do I make a resume?

The easiest and fastest way to make a resume is to use one of our professionally designed resume templates with our Resume Builder. We provide tips, advice and tools to help you build a resume that looks good, is easy to read by hiring managers and ATS software, and is properly formatted. Plus, you can download it in multiple formats and save it to tailor to your next job.

Can I update my resume in your builder?

Yes! You can update your resume in our builder easily. All you have to do is upload it and it will reformat to your new resume template automatically. After that, all it takes is a few clicks to update and save your perfect resume.

What are the basic steps to writing a resume?

The instructions for writing a resume are fairly simple:

How to make a resume with no experience?

If you don’t have work experience and you’re not sure how to write a resume for the first time, you can still make a resume and get the job! Here’s how:

Where can I make a resume free?

You can make a resume for free right here! We’ll guide you through every step. All you have to do is upload your resume or select a template in our builder, answer a few questions, and within minutes, you’ll have a professional resume you can download for free!

How to write a resume on Google Docs?

There are several pros and cons to each Google Docs template, so make your selection carefully.

We make it easier to build a resume in Google Docs !

Here’s how:

What are three tips to writing a good resume?

Our three top tips for writing a resume for jobs you want are:

How to fill out a resume template?

It’s easy to fill out a resume template in just a few simple steps:

What are the differences between a CV and a resume?

People often ask if a CV is the same as a resume. The short answer is no. Although CVs and resumes have similar features and purposes, they follow different rules. A CV is an in-depth, lengthy document that covers your entire professional career, while a resume is short and concise. It focuses on your most relevant job qualifications and is accepted by most employers for a wide range of industries. In the U.S., a CV is typically reserved for jobs in academia, medicine, law and science.

What if I don’t know how to write a CV?

Making a CV is as simple as making a resume! We have a CV Maker that will do the work for you — and it’s fast and easy to use. Plus, we offer a variety of ATS-friendly CV templates and provide professional CV examples to get you started.

Kellie Hanna

Content strategist, career advice expert.

Kellie is the content strategist for My Perfect Resume. She has more than 20 years of experience in digital media and is passionate about helping job seekers navigate their careers. She has a B.A. in English and writing from Temple University.

More resume resources

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Keep these resume trends for 2023 in mind when applying for your next job. Number 5 might surprise you!

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How to Write a Resume With No Experience + Examples

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Prepare Your Resume for Email and Online Posting

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7 Tips on How to Write a Resume Job Description (+ Examples)

How To Write A Resume Job Description

A well-written resume job description goes far beyond a dull list of jobs and duties. In fact, a strong presentation of your knowledge and achievements can increase your chances of landing the job. Primarily, your resume job description should offer insight into your value as an employee. With these 7 tips, you will learn how to write compelling job descriptions that grab the recruiter’s attention and open doors to new career opportunities.

Why is a resume job description so important?

Your resume job description offers a glimpse at your previous responsibilities and achievements. But its goal is more extensive than to present your past duties. It should convince the recruiter that you have the experience and skills needed to succeed in the job. By creating value-driven job descriptions, you can cement your position as the perfect fit for the role.

7 Tips for writing an effective resume job description

Keep these tips in mind when writing your resume job description:

1. Present your job title, company, and date

At the beginning of each resume job description, list all the essential details. That is, start each description with the job title, company name and address, and your employment dates. Remember to list your experiences in reverse chronological order. That way, the most recent – and most relevant – experiences will be easy to find at the top of your work history.

2. List your task and duties

Without a doubt, this is one of the most critical parts of your resume job description. Make an effort to be brief yet impactful in your explanation of duties. As a rule of thumb, list eight duties at most for each position you held, putting the most relevant ones first. Keep in mind that your resume job description is not the place to go into detail. You can expand on your experience in your cover letter.

3.   Be particular about your job descriptions

Remember that your resume doesn’t have to include every single responsibility you have ever taken on. Instead, select those duties and achievements that your future employer might be looking for. Before including each bullet point in your job description, ask yourself: Will this position me as the ideal candidate in the employer’s eyes?

Also, to save space and create a more impactful resume job description, group similar duties together. For example, combine answering emails and handling all internal communication by writing “Resolved internal issues and complaints through email and phone.”

4.  Add quantifiable achievements

After writing down your duties, try to make the job descriptions more dynamic. To do this, focus on the measurable impact your work had on the company. Whenever possible, quantify your achievements and present them as metrics. This will emphasize your ability to drive a company forward and prove that you are a valuable asset.

5. Add significant keywords

Most companies use an applicant tracking system ( ATS ) to sort through resumes. Thus, using keywords is vital. Keywords are industry- or job-specific words and phrases. When choosing keywords, select the most specific and relevant ones, and sprinkle them throughout your resume.

6.  Tailor your resume job description to the position

When writing the resume job description, select the duties that are most relevant to the job you’re applying for. To determine which experiences might be appropriate, review the job listing. Then, think of the qualities your future employer is looking for and spotlight these in your resume job description. This can set you apart from other qualified applicants and show that you’ve put in the time and effort.

7. Always use bullet points

To improve coherence and scanability, list your responsibilities and achievements as bullets. At the same time, remember to keep your bullets no more than two lines long. If you need to write a long paragraph to introduce the company, start with the narrative-style introduction and follow up with bullet points. To improve coherence and scanability, list your responsibilities and achievements as bullets.

Resume job description examples

Sales Manager

Sales Manager, Blue Hill Holdings, New York, New York July 2015 – December 2020


Executive Assistant, BrightWay Inc., Boston, Massachusetts September 2017 – November 2020

Customer Service

Customer Service Associate, Timmy’s Retail, Columbus, Ohio January 2011 – March 2016

A strong resume job description aims to demonstrate the value and expertise that makes you the perfect fit for the job. By following the tips above, you will create an impactful job description that will impress the recruiter and help you stand out.

Popular related posts:

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How to Write a Resume in 2023

Career Advice Contributor

Every job advertisement receives around 250 applications*, so if you want to be one of the handful of people that get a callback for an interview, you’ll need to do more than just pack your resume with your best skills and most impressive career achievements.

Our detailed step-by-step resume guide will teach you how to create a resume from scratch with all the necessary sections to make your unique strengths stand out.

However, if time is of the essence and you want to apply for a job ASAP, head to our Resume Builder , which writes a personalized and professional resume for you in minutes.

The 5 main sections every resume should have

Contact information.

The resume header should include:

Professional summary

The resume professional summary should include:

If you’re starting your career and have little experience, you might want to use a resume objective instead.

Work experience

The work experience section should include:

The resume skills section should include:

The education section should include:

Our Builder makes writing a resume quick and easy!

Just pick one of our professionally-designed resume templates, fill in your contact information and tell us your desired job title and years of experience. The Resume Builder takes care of the rest!

Build my Resume

Choose the right resume format

Now that you have a clearer idea of the elements of a resume, you must choose the resume format that best fits your level of work experience.

Choosing the right format and how you organize your information is just as crucial as what you include in a resume.

Here’s how to choose the best resume format for you:


Who should use a chronological resume format?

Who should use a functional resume format?


Who should use a combination resume format?

Share fundamental contact information

Employers need to know who you are.

Share your essential contact information in the header section of our resume templates .

Contact information you should include:

Optional contact information:

Contact information you should leave out:

Open with a strong resume summary or resume objective

Recruiters spend around 7 seconds scanning your resume , which is why you should include a brief but impactful opening statement. It should only be a few sentences long and show employers your resume matches the role.

There are two ways you can write this opener; you can opt for a resume summary or a resume objective. But what’s the difference between them, and which should you use?

What is a resume summary?

The resume summary , also called a summary statement or professional summary, is the recommended approach because it concisely summarizes characteristics that make you ideal for a specific job.

Your resume summary should include a couple of your most job-relevant skills and feature at least one career achievement. Include keywords from the job description and use action verbs; avoid phrases with “I” or “my” pronouns.

Formula to write a resume summary:

Resume summary examples

Graphic designer resume summary:

“Creative graphic designer with seven years of experience creating brand identities for over 15 clients. Experienced in logo typography and color palette creation using Adobe InDesign, Illustrator and After Effects. Created augmented reality (AR) graphics for a mobile smartphone game application which reached an audience of 2 million people.”

Accountant resume summary:

“Diligent Accountant with three years of experience working in the public and private sectors. Adept at creating detailed financial reports and establishing and maintaining budgets. Provided strategic financial planning consultations to corporate clients like Unilever and Walmart.”

In need of a stronger resume summary? Have our Resume Builder suggest a resume summary for your desired role.

What is a resume objective?

The resume objective , or career objective, communicates your goals for a job and the skills and education you have to achieve them. This statement is ideal for less experienced candidates, such as students and those relocating or changing careers.

This paragraph should consist of two or three sentences that mention job-relevant qualifications and skills that compensate for your lack of formal experience.

Formula to write a resume objective:

Strong resume objective examples

Blogger resume objective:

“Blogger with experience in fashion, beauty and lifestyle writing for personal blogs and digital publications seeking affiliate writer position at Teen Vogue to provide engaging and informative shopping advice with excellent copywriting, research and trends analysis. Possess social media management skills and basic graphic design abilities.”

Physical therapy aide resume objective:

“Physical therapy aide certified by Borough of Manhattan Community College seeking physical therapy assistant job at HD Physical Therapy Clinic to offer my PTA services in recordkeeping, equipment setup and data monetization. Self-motivated, organized and responsible PTA that works with initiative.”

Showcase your work experience milestones

Hiring managers will pay close attention to your work history section, so a big part of your success will lie in your work experience.

Your work history section is the bulk of your professional accomplishments.

You must organize this section in reverse-chronological order so employers see your most recent or current job and work your way down.

When you’re listing each job, include:

Highlight relevant experience

You don’t need to include every single job you’ve had in your resume, but beware of creating gaps between roles!

You should include up to 10 years of career experience in your resume. Focus on the jobs that showcase a logical progression of your career.

For instance, if you’re applying for a graphic design job and spent three years babysitting during your bachelor’s degree, you shouldn’t include this role.

However, if the skills you gained in a job help you excel in the role you’re applying for, include the job in your work experience.

For example, someone who babysat for years can include this experience in their resume if they’re applying for an elementary school job.

Focus on accomplishments, not daily tasks

Your work experience should tell employers what you’ve achieved in each role; they want to see the impact you’ve had. A boring list of responsibilities isn’t going to cut it.

Instead, focus on unique achievements that show you’ve gone above and beyond your role. For example:

Use quantifiable metrics to add credibility to your resume

Numbers speak louder than words!

When writing your work history descriptions, include numbers and metrics to highlight your success . When recruiters scan your resume, dollar amounts or percentages quickly catch their eye.

Some examples of quantifiable metrics on your work history are:

Tailor your resume to the job with keywords

Prove you’re an excellent fit for the role by using resume keywords . You can find keywords by scanning the job ad for skills and qualifications.

You must use these skills and keywords precisely as they appear on the job ad since recruiters and applicant tracking systems (ATS) will scan your resume for them.

However, don’t clutter your resume with buzzwords like “team player” or “people person,” as these will look insincere, and ATS will flag duplicate content.

Look at this fictional job advertisement for a retail sales associate and highlight the keywords. Then, let’s see how you would include these keywords in your resume’s work history section.

We are hiring a dynamic and motivated sales associate for our new location in Altamonte Mall.

You will be responsible for various tasks on the sales floor, cash registers, fitting rooms and stockroom.

Key Responsibilities:


Once you’ve noted all the keywords in the job ad, pick the ones that accurately describe your professional experience and skill set. Check out how to use the keywords when describing your work history:

Sales associate work history example:

Work History

Sales Associate | Urban Outfitters – Tampa, FL November 2021 – Current

Cashier | AVO Boutique – Tampa, FL August 2019 – November 2021

Sales Associate | The Gap – Tampa, FL January 2019 – August 2019

Use strong action verbs

Start sentences with strong action verbs when you begin to write your work history. For example, “Developed new social media strategy” has more impact than “Was responsible for our social accounts.”

Make sure you use different action verbs throughout your work history. If you need some inspiration, check out this list:

Highlight a variety of skills on your resume

Your skills section should include six to eight skills describing your expertise for the desired role. You should have various skills that showcase you’re a well-rounded candidate; therefore, you need hard, soft and technical skills.

What are hard skills?

Hard skills refer to the specialized knowledge you need to perform a job. You gain hard skills through education or training, so they will vary depending on the job you apply for.

10 hard skills examples

View more hard skills  

What are soft skills?

Soft skills are personal abilities that help you interact professionally with your teammates and ensure you do your job as efficiently as possible. You can find these soft skills in candidates across all industries.

10 soft skills examples

View more soft skills  

What are technical skills?

Technical skills are a subcategory of hard skills, and they reference your ability to use digital tools and technology for your job’s daily tasks. These skills also vary according to role and industry.

10 technical skills examples

View more technical skills  

How you present your skills on your resume will look different depending on your resume format. You can check out the FAQ on this page to learn more about how to write skills sections or reference our functional and combination resume guides.

List education that proves you’re prepared for the job

Your education section will communicate that you have the academic training to perform your job. Although some companies are dropping college-level educational requirements , the education section provides recruiters a trusted reference for your knowledge and skills. Besides, jobs in education , law , finance and health care will always require some education or licensing.

Example elements of an education section:

Examples of optional education information:

Tips to make the most of your education section

Now let’s review a few education examples:

Example of a high school student education section

Lincoln High School Dallas, TX – June 2019 High School Diploma GPA 4.0

Example of a GED graduate education section

General Educational Development Diploma (GED) San Diego, CA – 08/2019

Pro Tip: If your degree is older than five years, consider removing the graduation date to avoid unfair hiring bias from employers determining your age.

Example of a BA graduate’s education section

University of California – San Diego San Diego, CA B.S. in Marine Biology

Relevant Coursework:

Example of a postgraduate law student education section

Columbia Law School San Diego, CA New York, NY – Expected graduation in June 2023 Juris Doctor

Consider including additional resume sections

You don’t have to limit your resume’s content to these sections!

Once you’ve mastered these five main resume sections, you can customize your resume with additional sections.

Instead, include as many achievements as you can in designated custom sections.

Some examples of additional resume sections are:

Certifications and licenses

Some jobs like nurse , EMT or physical therapist require a license to practice legally.

You can create a separate section to list any licenses or certifications you possess.

Even if your role doesn’t require it, you may voluntarily add licenses or certifications that show you have formal training in your field.

The way to list licenses or certifications in your resume is by including:

Example of licenses on a resume:

Example of certifications on a resume:

Honors and awards

You can add an honors or awards section for any academic or professional recognition you’ve received.

“Honors” tend to relate to academic achievements, whereas “awards” refer to academic and professional accolades.

Types of honors and awards you can include on a resume

Example of an honors resume section:

Example of an awards resume section:

You can add a section in your resume to showcase any large-scale projects you’ve led or participated in your company or even personal side projects.

This “Projects” section benefits less experienced candidates who want to show employers they have experience in specific areas of expertise relevant to the role.

Example of a projects resume section:


If you’re a writer or an academic investigator, you may want to showcase any publications you’ve written during your career.

Depending on your field of study, you will use different citing methods such as APA , MLA or Chicago .

If you’re working in academia and have a long list of publications, you might be better off with a curriculum vitae (CV) instead of a resume. If that’s the case, we can also teach you how to write a CV .

Example of a publications resume section:

Common Resume Errors You Must Avoid

Now that you’ve mastered how to do a resume, it’s time to clean up your resume’s content and design.

Fact-check the details and proofread

Double-check information like dates and the spelling of company or school names and ensure your contact information is accurate and up to date.

It won’t matter if you’re the most qualified candidate in the world if your resume contains spelling and grammatical errors.

Check each of your resume sections for typos and formatting errors. Read the page from top to bottom before deeming it ready for recruiters.

Resume formatting tips

Resume Templates that ensure you stand out.

With dozens of options and endless ways to customize, we have Resume Templates for every role, industry, and experience level.

Resume examples and resume templates for any job or industry

A great way to make sure you’ve learned how to write a good resume is to check out some resume examples . They show you what a finished resume looks like for your job or industry.

Also, our examples are made with our professionally designed resume templates , which offer clean and visually engaging designs appropriate for any industry.

Check out this selection of resume examples for common jobs and industries:

Corporate Recruiter

Receptionist, registered nurse.

See all Resume Examples  

Did you know our Resume Builder takes care of all these steps in minutes?

Making a resume takes a lot of steps. So, use our Resume Builder to take off running!

6 reasons why you should use our Resume Builder

Here are some features:

Key Takeaways

To wrap up, let’s review the major steps for writing a resume:

Write a cover letter that complements your resume

A cover letter helps you sell yourself to the employer by providing more context to the career accomplishments showcased in your resume.

We already covered how important it is to tailor your resume for every job application so you can increase your chances of getting hired.

The same goes for the cover letter, another document you should continually customize to show different employers how you can fulfill the role’s specific demands.

Do you need a quick cover letter for your next job application? Our Cover Letter Builder writes full-page letters according to your desired job, matches your working style and accounts for any gaps in your work history, all in mere minutes.

Build My Cover Letter Now

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you write a resume for the first time.

When learning how to make a resume, start with a strong summary of your qualifications and emphasize the value of your skill set and industry knowledge. If you have limited work experience, move your education section above the work history and list any academic honors. Remember, you may have internships or volunteer experiences that can make up for formal experience.

How do I write a resume to pass an applicant tracking system (ATS)?

To learn how to write a resume that will pass an ATS, you’ll need a clean, easy-to-scan resume template. You’ll also need to study the ad carefully to ensure that your content mentions the most critical keywords from the job posting. Customize your resume every time you apply for a job to emphasize your most relevant skills and experience for the role.

How much work experience should I include in my resume?

The amount of work experience you should include in your resume will depend on your years of experience. You don’t need to include every single job you’ve ever had. Instead, list your most recent and relevant experience for your desired role.

Job seekers with no experience: Include any internships or apprenticeships you’ve completed during your education or training. Mention your participation in college associations (especially if you occupied a leadership position) or any special projects you completed during your final year. Make these accomplishments stand out in a functional resume .

Entry-level candidates: List all your work experiences up until now and emphasize quantifiable accomplishments.

Mid-level candidates: Provide a detailed description of any responsibilities that went beyond your job description that shows you’re prepared for a promotion.

Senior-level candidates: Showcase every role you’ve had up until the past 10 to 15 years.

How to write a functional skills section?

If you’re writing a functional resume, you will choose three core skills that best reflect your best abilities (even better if they’re keywords from the job ad). For each core skill, you will include two to three bullet points describing what accomplishments prove you excel in that respective skill.

Teacher functional skills section example:

Classroom Management

Virtual Learning


How to write a summary of qualifications?

Combination resumes can have just one listed skills section, or you can pair it with a “summary of qualifications” or “summary of skills.” In the summary of qualifications, you can share more job-relevant skills and achievements that demonstrate you’re prepared for the role. Junior and mid-level job seekers can use this summary of qualifications to show employers they’re ready for the job despite having little experience.

Customer service representative summary of qualifications example:

Summary of Qualifications

See more on our FAQ page

About the Author

Gabriela Hernandez • Career Advice Contributor

Gabriela Hernandez is one of LiveCareer's resident writers. She graduated from the University of Puerto Rico with a degree in Journalism. Throughout her career, she has tackled copywriting, blog articles, journalistic writing, academic writing, resume writing, and even prose and verse.

Please rate this article

Sources: Finances Online, “10 Current Resume Trends & Forecasts for 2022/2023 You Should Be Thinking About”

As seen in *

*The names and logos of the companies referred to in this page are all trademarks of their respective holders. Unless specifically stated otherwise, such references are not intended to imply any affiliation or association with LiveCareer.

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How to Make a Resume: Step-by-Step Writing Guide for 2023

How to Make a Resume: Step-by-Step Writing Guide for 2023

How to write a resume that will get you the job you're looking for? This step-by-step guide will show you the best resume examples, and you can write a resume in a few easy steps.

Aleksandra Nazaruk

As seen in:

Landing an interview is a race against the clock—dozens of job seekers have already written their resumes and applied for *your* dream job.

How to beat them and land that position?

Let's get started with our step-by-step guide on how to make a perfect resume.

Want to save time and have your resume ready in 5 minutes? Try our resume builder. It’s fast and easy to use. Plus, you’ll get ready-made content to add with one click. See 20+ resume templates and create your resume here .

Create your resume now

how to make a resume

Sample resume made with our builder— See more resume examples here .

To start with, watch our video to get the basics of writing a resume right:

Our guide serves to write a resume for any job. However, for maximum efficiency, making a resume for your specific situation is ideal. Check out a few of our guides, they may also apply to you: 

In case you wondered! What the US and Canada call a resume, most of the rest of the world calls a curriculum vitae (CV) . South Africa, India, New Zealand, and Australia tend to use the terms resume and CV interchangeably. For more, you can learn the differences between a resume and a CV .

If you're an international reader, switch over to:

Making a resume for the first time? Not sure how to ace each of the points listed above? No worries. Click any of those links to read our tips about that particular step and get examples of how to do it right. 

How To Make A Resume  

1. Choose the Right Resume Format

You can't just start writing a resume by putting your info together in some easy resume template all willy-nilly.

Instead, first select from the standard resume formats:

Reverse-chronological format

Pros: Traditional resume style, familiar to potential employers.

Cons: Very common, not the most creative resume design format.

Combination format

Pros: Great for experienced pros and career changers for highlighting transferable skills.

Cons: Uncommon type, not as familiar, not recommended for entry-level jobseekers.

Functional format (skills-based)

Pros: Entry-level job hunters can emphasize skills over lack of experience.

Cons: HR managers may think you're hiding something.

 To learn more about the best resume format to use for your particular situation, check out:

Also, take a look at our list of  free resume templates .

Most job applicants will likely want to choose the reverse-chronological resume template :

reverse-chronological resume template

The chronological resume is a traditional resume format that emphasizes your duties, experience, and work history. As the standard format, it tends to be the easiest to read and scan. You'll list your most recent positions first, and go back through past jobs in reverse-chronological order from there.

Pro Tip: There are several studies that theorize relationships between resume cues and the applicant's personality and hireability, further impacting hiring judgments through resumes. Be careful which info you choose to include!

2. Add Your Contact Information and Personal Details

A career diplomat knows what information should be disclosed, and which is better held back.

Likewise, there are basic items that you must include in the contact information section, but you should also know what not to put on a resume :

Contact Information to Include in a Resume:

Contact Information to Leave Out:

Contact Information That Is Optional:

Personal websites and social media are now okay to list on a resume header :

Ryan Robinson

Marketing-specific advice? Perhaps. But employers will look you up online anyway, so keep that in mind. 

how to write a resume with the right contact information

To be sure you get the personal details on your resume right, have a glance at our resume contact information guide.

Pro Tip: Give them a professional email address, not your old high school handle ([email protected]…) or an outdated email provider (…@hotmail.com). Studies have proven that a formal email address is much more hirable than an informal one. 

3. Start With a Heading Statement (Resume Summary or Resume Objective)

You know how most Tinder users have little patience? And it takes a witty statement, or a provocative image to get a person not to swipe left on you?

Well, the employer flips through resumes just as fast. In less than 7 seconds, as our HR statistics report shows, hiring managers scan your resume and make an initial decision. That means your resume summary statement/resume objective statement is likely to have the most eye time since it's at the top of the page.

how to create a resume heading statement example

You've got to compose a statement that paints an attractive image of your candidacy. After all, what is the purpose of a resume but to give the best impression of your clout as a candidate? Only question is—which one should you choose?

Here's how to write a resume profile that makes the recruiter swipe right:

What Is a Resume Summary Statement

Got enough relevant experience ? Choose the resume summary statement that will condense your position-related skills and qualifications.

Let's take a look at how to write a professional summary (or not), with right and wrong examples for clarity:

Difference? Wrong focuses on everyday duties, not accomplishments. Right gives evidence of IT consultant resume skills, achievements, and experience.

Pro Tip: The “right” resume summary above also mentioned the company by name. This is a great way to make sure that your resume feels personalized, rather than just sent to every company out there. 

See more resume summary examples .

What Is a Resume Objective Statement 

Choose the resume objective statement if you have no work experience at all or at least none related to the position you're applying for (entry-level applicants, career changers, students, etc.). You'll make the case that though you don't have experience with this position, you do have experience relevant to it, and transferable skills from other areas.

Let's look at another set of good/bad examples on writing an objective for a resume:

In the Right one, we used some transferable skills from the previous company and some proud resume achievements… with numbers. Remember: numbers speak louder than words! The Wrong one doesn't show enough to hold the hiring manager's attention. 

Feel free to explore some more resume objective examples —and for experienced candidates, it's worth considering a summary of qualifications , too.

Pro Tip: If you noticed, both “wrong” examples above used the first-person. Avoid this on your resume. 

When making a resume in our builder, drag & drop bullet points, skills, and auto-fill the boring stuff. Spell check? Check . Start building a professional resume template here for free .

Create the perfect resume

When you’re done, Zety’s resume builder will score your resume and tell you exactly how to make it better.

4. List Your Relevant Work Experience & Key Achievements

If you think of your resume as a fancy meal, the resume experience section is the main course. It includes the most important things to put on a resume , like your work history and past achievements.

Let's go through the various job history components of the perfect resume experience section now.

How to Format the Resume Work Experience Section

how to include work experience on a resume work history section

The recommended way to format your employment history in the job experience section is this:

If adding more than one job history entry to your resume or CV experience section, start with the most recent position and go back in reverse-chronological order from there. Use five or six bullet points to make your case for each entry's responsibilities and achievements.

Also, your experience section resume bullet points should go near the top, just under your heading statement. However, if you have little or no professional experience, put your education section above your work history.

Got a promotion you want to show off, or more than one job title within the same company? Don't worry, our guide on how to show promotions and multiple positions will show you how.

Erin Kennedy managing director

The work experience section of your resume where you describe your past jobs is the most crucial component of your whole job application. Make sure you get it right: Work Experience on a Resume: Job Description Bullets that *Kill* [100+]

Tailoring Your Resume Work Experience

Robots are taking over. As hiring practices continue to modernize, larger companies are turning to applicant tracking systems (ATS) to give them a hand. ATS software automates the early stages of the recruitment process. How? They look for keywords and assign a score per candidate.

So, tailoring your resume is an absolute must, and your experience section is where you'll do most of it. To create an ATS-friendly resume , go back to the job description and look for resume keywords related to your responsibilities. If you see duties you've performed, include them in your resume job description bullet points .

how to tailor a resume to the job description

Tailoring your resume also involves knowing how long a resume should be . There are pros and cons for a one-page resume and the two-page resume but avoid anything longer.

Also, don't use the same, tired words (“responsible for…”) in your resume job experience area. Instead, choose power words and action verbs which will keep them interested. Use present tense to describe your current job and past tense to talk about previous experience.

Finally, don't use passive voice, as it feels evasive and unclear. Instead, choose active voice when writing a resume, as it's concise and to the point:

How Much Work Experience to Include on a Resume?

In principle, a resume should go back no more than 10-15 years . But the more experience you have, the less you should worry about the length of your resume. Don't go trying to cram everything into a 1-page resume template if you're a highly-experienced candidate.

Senior-level applicants , such as executives and managers, should list up to 15 years of relevant work experience with powerful action verbs to introduce each bullet point.

Mid-level jobseekers should include detailed job descriptions of relevant positions and a brief mention of any other positions.

Entry-level candidates should list and describe all paid work, particularly calling out responsibilities and achievements that are most relevant.

First-time job hunters with no work experience can still include other history, such as a student organization role, internship, or volunteer experience, to fill out their experience section.

As you learn how to write a resume, remember the best resume templates will highlight your experience and eligibility. Don't hide it with the wrong order, a dull resume layout, or a template free of character. With dozens of good resume examples, templates, and styles, Zety is the best resume builder online .

professional resume templates examples

Make a resume in no time with our resume builder app and 20+ great templates.

Experienced a spell of unemployment? Don't worry! Check out our guide: How to Explain Gaps in Your Resume .

5. Reference Your Education Correctly

Many people treat the education section as an afterthought, but you shouldn't. It's an essential part of your resume structure .

How to List Your Education on a Resume:

Simple, huh? Here's a brief look at how to list education on a resume:

how to write a resume education section

As for mentioning your GPA on a resume , it’s only a good idea if you graduated recently and your GPA was high enough to impress employers: at least 3.5. Otherwise, just leave it off your application. 

Want to know how to create a resume education section if you have a GED or didn't graduate? Not sure about the proper resume education format? Check out our article on how to put education on a resume . 

Pro Tip:  Don't lie in your resume or CV education section. A credit short of a diploma is not a diploma. Also, don't round your GPA up. Anyway, many business degrees don't necessarily improve job prospects. 

6. Put Relevant Skills That Fit the Job Ad

how to make a resume skills section perfect

Your skills are crucial to making your resume relevant to the position (and attractive to employers). A good resume uses the job ad as reference and includes resume keywords to show you're a good fit for the job.

What Are Hard Skills vs. Soft Skills

Hard skills are specific abilities and know-how (e.g., Photoshop, using a cash register).

Soft skills are self-developed, life-learned attributes (e.g., social skills, adaptability).

Combined, these make up a skill set, which is a job seeker's range of skills and abilities.

Pro Tip: Don't list irrelevant skills! An IT resume doesn't need to disclose your veterinary skills, and a resume for a chef shouldn't include your ability to use Photoshop. 

What Skills to Put on a Resume?

Remember that job description you had handy from earlier? Read it again, paying attention to any specific skills that it mentions. If you have any of them, great: those are the keywords to put on your resume! Not only will that make your resume more ATS-friendly, you’ll also prove to recruiters that you’re the right fit for the job.

In case you’d like more guidance, here is a list of some common skills to put on a resume :

Pro Tip: Don't just google “skills for a [industry] resume” and throw in the results. Take time to tailor your resume skills list to the job posting, as we mentioned earlier. 

How to List Skills on a Resume?

There are several ways to include a list of skills on a resume. For most, a simple skills section that includes 5-6 key abilities and your proficiency level is enough: 

how to add skills section on a resume

For specific job titles and technical skills, you may want to list your particular knowledge per item, to give them specific detail into the areas of the skill you excel at:

skills to put on a resume skills section

Pro Tip: Not every skill is worth mentioning on a resume! Saying you can use Microsoft Word is like bragging about being able to use a fork. 

7. Include Additional Important Resume Sections

Here's the thing—everyone's job resumes include those sections above. But what should a resume include to make it personalized?

Make your resume unique by including extra resume information . Additional sections on your resume can showcase just about anything about you, from your proud commendations to languages in which you're fluent and more.

Here's how to make your resume stand out with extra sections:

Hobbies and Interests 

You might not think that your love of baseball and being the Little League assistant coach would be of interest to a potential employer. However, listing your hobbies and interests subtly proves your ability to work well in a team, and the coaching can verify your leadership and management expertise.

Volunteer Work

Volunteering boosts employability, studies find . For most job seekers, listing any volunteer experience as one of your additional resume sections is a great way to show your commitment and values. It also lets them know that you don't only care about the money. For entry-level or first-time applicants who have no experience, volunteer work makes an excellent stand-in .

Internship Experience

Listing internships on your resume is only OK if you're fresh out of school, had one or two other jobs, or you haven't been on the market for longer than 4–5 years.

Certifications and Awards

Got any certifications, licenses to show off on your resume ? If they are relevant to the job and industry, include them!

Placed first in a chili cook-off at the state fair? If you're looking to be a cook, it will definitely help. Likewise, a food safety certification or food handler's license that you already have would surely be in your favor.

Speak another language? Impressive! Listing language skills on a resume only extends your usefulness as an employee, particularly in international corporations or localities where there is a large population speaking that second language. List the language, international variation (Latin American Spanish, for example), and your language fluency levels.

You can include projects as a separate section if you've done a bunch, or simply mention one or two below each job description.


Have articles written for a blog, newspaper, or scientific journal? Mention those publications on a resume . If your published material isn't online, create a short bibliography of the works you'd like them to acknowledge.

How to make your resume stand out with additional sections

Also, if you've built graphic designs or other creative creations, or if your list of publications or projects is too long to go on a resume, consider building an online portfolio to document everything. Link to it from the contact section, in this case.

8. Complement Your Resume With a Cover Letter

You need to submit a cover letter , most definitely. Your cover letter or job application letter lets you expand upon things that you need to keep brief on your resume. Also, it allows you to speak easily in normal sentences !

Sound like an overkill? Think again. Most employers think a resume is not enough to make a decision. Follow our guide on how to make a cover letter (or a cover letter with no experience or cover letter for an internship ), and you'll knock this out quickly and painlessly.

Plus, a great cover letter that matches your resume will give you an advantage over other candidates. You can write it in our cover letter builder here.  Here's what it may look like:

matching set of resume and cover letter

See more cover letter templates and start writing.

9. Proofread, Save, and Email Your Resume the Right Way

You're almost there, but don't send it off just yet. Here are some resume best practices to keep in mind, so you can rest assured that you wrote the perfect resume :

Proofread & Double-Check

Double-check your CV or resume draft before sending it out. Scan your resume and cover letter (and email!) with a tool like Grammarly . Then, ask a friend or family member to triple-check. Better safe than sorry!

Pro Tip: Have a look at our guides on resume tips and resume mistakes to avoid , for more.

Brittney Ross grammarly proofreader

As for the question of how to spell resume? It's still a bone of contention, but we think “resume” without the accents is the best choice.

Check Your Online Presence

Remember when we discussed social media and LinkedIn back in the contact section?

Before a recruiter or hiring manager gets the chance to look you and your employment history up, you better have your online presence sanitized ! That means removing any offensive posts and making private things private. While you're at it, tweak your LinkedIn profile so that it's up-to-date and complete.

Pro Tip: Don't send your email to the catch-all public email address for the entire company, unless the job listing specifically asks you to do so. Find the personal email address of the HR manager, instead, if you can. 

Save Your Resume 

Word Doc or PDF? See what the job ad says. Resumes in PDF usually work best, because they preserve the structure and formatting on all devices. However, if the company’s asking the candidates to send resumes in Microsoft Word .doc format, creating your resume in Word and sending it as required is a better idea.

How to name your resume file ? Easy: include your name, job title, and the word resume , separated with hyphens or underscores. 

What about references? You definitely shouldn't include them on a resume, but you can include a reference page with a resume .

Pro Tip: When emailing your resume, check the job description to see if they ask applicants to send emails with something specific in the subject line of the email. If not, go with the position title, posting any job reference number, if required, your name, and include the word “resume.”

Make It Legible

This entire document you're making is completely useless if the employer can't actually read it. Make it easy for them to scan by keeping these points in mind.

 What Should a Resume Look Like—Formatting:

Natalie Severt resume writing expert at Zety

Be Consistent

Consistency on your resume draft is crucial, just like your consistency as their future employee. For example, format your dates any way you'd like (31 Dec, December 31, 12-2020, etc.), but follow the same throughout.

If you find an icon to introduce a particular resume section , find resume icons for each section or skip them altogether. Don't use the wrong verb tenses or go back and forth between tenses. If it was a past job that you no longer work at, use the past tense. If you're listing a current position, use the present tense. Whatever you do, keep them consistent throughout.

Email Your Resume the Right Way

When you send a resume to a catch-all email address such as [email protected] , your resume and cover letter are entering a sea of similar emails from other job seekers fighting for the same position as you.

Find the name of the person who will be reading your resume and personalize your email with that information. Sending a resume is much more compelling when you use Dear Susan instead of To Whom It May Concern .

Key Takeaway

Resume tips for making a resume

That was super-detailed, we know. So here are a few general resume tips for making a resume:

Have any questions on how to write a resume? Not sure how to make the perfect resume work experience section or how to build a resume list of skills or achievements? Get at us in the comments below, and we'll answer your questions. Thanks for reading, and good luck with your résumé preparation!

Frequently Asked Questions about How to Make a Resume for a Job

What is a resume.

A resume, also referred to as a résumé or a CV, is a document summarizing a person’s professional and academic background, relevant skills, and accomplishments. It’s usually used to introduce yourself and present your qualifications to a prospective employer when applying for a job.

Do you need a specific type? Zety’s prepared hundreds of resume examples , from an entry-level resume to a software engineer resume to a video resume . Visit our page to find your own.

How to make a resume for a job?

First, read the job ad carefully  to pick up keywords for your resume that you’ll target to pass the Applicant Tracking Software test. Next, create resume sections necessary to present yourself, your qualifications, and your strengths . The sections are:

Depending on the industry and experience, you’ll have to think about which additional sections work best . But you definitely can’t write a resume without the other five. You can spare yourself the worry by using our resume maker .

How to write a resume for the first time?

Write your first resume with transferable skills in the skills and resume objective sections. In the work history part, add accomplishments examples that prove your qualities of a valuable employee, such as curiosity, eagerness to learn and assist, and developed communication skills . Internships and volunteering placements fit there perfectly. And most importantly—put your academic achievements right below the objective to highlight your educational advancement.

How to make a good resume that will impress recruiters?

An impressive resume is a resume that reads well and looks so, too . So before you get down to writing the nitty-gritty details of your professional and academic achievements, take care of the resume formatting and layout.

Only then move on to adding the biggest successes under each section: resume profile , experience, education, and skills. But—additional parts make the strongest impression, so don’t forget to include awards, certifications or licenses, or extracurricular activities to your resume . Say you’re an achiever, not a doer.

What is the format of a resume?

The chronological format is the most popular  resume format suitable for every job applicant —an entry-level position, a specialist, or an executive. By choosing it, you decide to show off your career progression.

Functional format , or skills-based resume, presents you in the best light when changing careers. It concentrates on your skillset and leaves work history in the back seat.

Combination format , aka a hybrid, is a well-blended mixture of the chronological and functional formats. It’s the most complex one to write as it includes a skills summary and an extended experience section, which is apt for senior positions.

How to make a resume in Word?

You can spare yourself the trouble and use a pre-made Word resume template . But if you have quite some experience with text formatting (and plenty of time), start making your resume in Word . Create a clean layout, choose a font that reads well, and limit the number of graphic elements on the page  not to overwhelm the ATS . Then, add the main and additional resume sections in an order suitable for the resume format . Save it in a Word or PDF file at the end, keeping in mind the instructions from the recruiter. 

Or, if you need a top-notch resume that takes just minutes to make and looks better than any Word resume, pick one of Zety’s resume templates , add your info, and land that job.

What does a good resume look like in 2023?

In 2023, you need to make even a stronger impression than in the previous years. Use a modern resume template and include the most important sections: personal information, summary or objective, employment history, education, and skills . Add your best achievements under each section and quantify them. Show your future employer that you’ve had an impact and will continue to bring results.

Aleksandra Nazaruk

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Writing your résumé with AI makes it easier to find a job, a study finds. But this edge could vanish once everybody's doing it.

Using an artificial intelligence tool to write your résumé could help you land a job , but this edge might not last for long.

That's according to a recent working paper published by the National Bureau of Economic Research, based on the findings of a field experiment with nearly 500,000 job seekers in 2021. Participants in the study who received "algorithmic writing assistance" to help craft their résumés — which included feedback about spelling, grammar, and word usage — were 8% more likely to get hired than those who didn't use this tool, the researchers found.

Emma van Inwegen, PhD Candidate at the MIT Sloan School of Management and one of the paper's authors, told Insider that if one of two people "with identical skill sets, with identical histories" have "better writing on their résumé, they're more likely to get hired." Meaning, van Inwegen said, that employers "do care about" résumé writing.

The researchers, van Inwegen, Zanele T. Munyikwa, and John J. Horton, said the AI assistance was particularly helpful for job seekers "at the bottom of the spelling distribution," or those with more misspellings.

While the researchers didn't study ChatGPT specifically, the paper's findings suggest that using AI in the job application process could give some candidates an advantage. Since launching in November, the OpenAI-owned chatbot has taken the world by storm, reaching over 100 million users by the end of January. While some workers have fretted about how emerging AI technologies could impact their job security, others are exploring ways they can make their lives easier — like by assisting with résumés and cover letters writing. 

But if AI tools like ChatGPT proliferate — and millions of job seekers begin using AI tools to craft their résumé, it might get harder to stand out .

"If everyone starts to use ChatGPT on their cover letters, on their résumés, if you are an employer looking at résumés, you will no longer be able to use writing quality to try and understand something about the worker who applied," van Inwegen said, who also noted that the tool for this experiment was "sort of evening the playing field for people with different levels of writing ability."

"Everyone's résumé will have gone through some sort of algorithmic checker," van Inwegen said. "And so it has the potential to sort of homogenize writing in cover letters and on résumés for better or for worse."

Mass use of AI could make writing a weaker signal of a job candidate's quality

In the short-term, while many of these tools are still developing, the best writers may continue to have an edge in their applications. But as these technologies improve, and if more people begin to adopt them, AI writing assistance like the one in the experiment could ultimately "'ruin' writing as a signal" of job performance, the researchers said, meaning that companies may begin to value strong writing skills less when parsing through candidates.

"Our results suggest that instead of signaling whether or not a job seeker would be a good worker, better writing on résumés simply makes it clearer what skills and abilities the job seekers have, making it easier for employers to ascertain which workers would be a good fit," van Inwegen told Insider.

While this new AI-assisted world may make things more difficult for job seekers, the researchers found that employers may not be any worse off when it comes to hiring right now. Even though the use of AI tools may have obscured some candidates' writing abilities, they found "no evidence that employers were less satisfied" with the candidates they ultimately hired.

This suggests that some companies may be limiting their candidate pool more than they need to, and that the wider use of AI tools could help businesses that are experiencing hiring woes and need help finding talent . 

"Our results definitely suggest that the pool of applicants that employers are considering should expand if the problem is that you're reading these résumés and you aren't able to understand exactly if they're a good fit, if you increase the quality of the writing in them, that then the employers should be able to find more workers who can do the job they're looking to be done," van Inwegen said.

to write resume for job

Should ChatGPT write your resume?

Applying to jobs can often feel like a full-time job. Reading up on a company, tailoring a resume for a specific position within that organization, and writing a cover letter for just one role can take hours. By contrast, the average recruiter spends just seven seconds scanning a resume, according to one estimate .

Enter one tool that could change job applications entirely: ChatGPT , the AI-powered chatbot launched by OpenAI in November. Using a chatbot like ChatGPT (along with emerging competitors like Microsoft’s Bing AI and Google’s Bard) could give job-seekers an edge by substantially speeding up the application process. But is it the best solution?

On social media, it’s not uncommon these days to see a career influencer extol the value of ChatGPT, which they say can help you write a cover letter in two minutes, become “insanely prepared” for your next job interview, or submit 200 job applications in two days. At the very least, it can take an old resume and rewrite it fairly quickly so it’s relevant to a certain job description. Teal, a personal career growth platform, has been promoting ChatGPT for cover letters and resumes .

The new tool is great for a job-seeker, said Todd Mitchem, executive vice president of AMP Learning and Development, who advises HR professionals on using technologies like AI in their work. “They’ve got 15 different resumes that they had ChatGPT write within seconds,” he said.

If you’re concerned that using ChatGPT to write your resume feels a bit like cheating, consider that similar tools have been put to work on the recruiting side for years. Many companies use Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) to automatically scan resumes for certain keywords, ranking candidates based on the content in their CV. Now that applicants are using ChatGPT to tailor their job applications, the two systems are basically “talking to each other,” said Mitchem.

Research suggests AI can be an effective tool for job applicants. A recent study published by the National Bureau of Economic Research, which hasn’t yet been peer-reviewed, found job candidates who used algorithmic writing assistance to help write their resumes had an 8% higher probability of getting hired than those who didn’t.

Still, career coaches and human resources consultants stress ChatGPT is just a tool, and there are limits to what it can do for job-seekers.

“If you want a draft of something really fast, that is a good head start, it’s really amazing at that,” said Rania Stewart, an analyst with the consulting firm Gartner who advises clients on recruiting technologies. But she cautioned that while ChatGPT will give you a decent resume, it’s liable to stretch the truth, and should be carefully edited. What’s more, she added, the privacy implications of the chatbot aren’t yet clear: Candidates should be wary of giving too much personal information to ChatGPT.

As candidates and companies alike examine the benefits—and limitations—of using AI in the hiring process, it may be worth exploring what chatbots can do for your next application. Here’s how you can experiment with ChatGPT as you apply and interview for jobs.

How to use ChatGPT to tailor your resume

The success of any conversation with ChatGPT will hinge on the prompts you provide, according to Michael Dillon, a data analyst based in Manchester, England, who has been sharing tips for using the tool on LinkedIn.

“You have to be very good at giving instructions,” said Dillon of the prompts, which essentially tell ChatGPT what to do. “The more specific you are and the more information you give it,” he added, the better it will perform.

Dillon, who recently published a guide on the subject, recommends taking a job description on LinkedIn, then prompting ChatGPT to summarize the job role by entering a prompt like, “Summarize this job role. Explain the top 5 skills and top 5 experience required.” You can even dictate the way you want ChatGPT to format the summary by entering, “use line breaks and bullet points.”

From there, you can give ChatGPT your resume and ask it to identify how your skills and experience align with those listed in the job description. You can then prompt ChatGPT to expand on these skills and experiences in bullet points that could easily be inserted into a re-tailored resume. A simple search on TikTok or LinkedIn is likely to turn up plenty of similar prompts for job-seekers who want to use ChatGPT for their resumes.

Again, be wary of allowing ChatGPT to insert errors into your resume, Dillon cautioned (currently, its data ends at 2021), or turning in a job application that reads as if it was written by a bot . Still, ChatGPT can provide you with a launching point for crafting a resume that has a good chance of catching the eye of recruiters—or the systems tracking candidates for them.

How AI chatbots can help write your cover letter

ChatGPT also lends itself well to drafting a cover letter for a job. A candidate can enter a job description and their resume, then tell ChatGPT to write a cover letter using those two pieces of information.

On Instagram Jerry Lee, co-founder of the job search service Wonsulting, shared prompts for creating a cover letter in just 45 seconds using ChatGPT. Lee has said such tips might allow applicants to apply for as many as 200 jobs in just two days.

But while applying to jobs at a breakneck pace with the help of ChatGPT may be tempting for job-seekers looking to land something quickly, Lynda Spiegel, a resume coach based in New York City, is skeptical this is the best approach. She said she typically recommends people on the hunt for a job apply to no more than three open roles each week. A “ spray and pray ” method, she added, can hurt a candidate strategically. If a job-seeker is focused on applying to as many jobs as possible, they might not take the time to connect with the hiring manager for a position, or find a second-degree connection who can open the door for them more quickly at the company. What’s more, it’s unclear how many recruiters read cover letters carefully, so if there’s something about your career background you want potential employers to know, you should make sure it’s included in your resume as well, Spiegel said.

As tools like ChatGPT make it quicker and easier to apply for jobs, companies could see a “sharp increase” in the volume of applications, said Stewart, of Gartner.

The likelihood your application is competing against a bigger pool of candidates makes it all the more important to submit a resume and cover letter that stands out from the rest, Dillon said. Your best bet, he added, is to use ChatGPT to jumpstart your thinking process, and get straight to writing job applications that “sound like you.”

How ChatGPT can help you prepare for an interview

Experts say ChatGPT can also be helpful in preparing for interviews. When testing out ChatGPT, Dillon asked the bot to take a job description and create 10 potential interview questions, sorted by competencies required for the role. Even if it doesn’t predict exactly what a recruiter will ask , “it gives you a lot to think about,” Dillon said.

If you prompt ChatGPT to act as a recruiter, “it’s basically gonna put you through a verbal written mock interview, and it’s very good at that,” Mitchem said.

Don’t be surprised if you start to notice companies’ approach to interviewing change in the coming years thanks to AI. HR professionals will be challenged to rethink the way they evaluate candidates with the advent of AI tools like ChatGPT, Mitchem predicted. “Where we’re headed is, how does HR and recruitment get more personalized?” he said. Recruiters will need to focus more on identifying skills that differentiate candidates, and Mitchem said he wouldn’t be surprised if more companies start asking for video resumes in the future.

Even as ChatGPT greatly speeds up the job application process, don’t discount the value of good old-fashioned networking, Spiegel and Dillon said. If you reach out to a secondhand connection at a company you’re applying for, or email a recruiter directly, these human interactions can help bypass any sort of automated tracking system where your resume might still get lost.

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How to Write a Resume in 2023: A Step-by-Step Guide

Whether you are looking for your first job or making a mid-career transition, knowing how to craft a resume that highlights your strengths and achievements is invaluable. This resume guide will show you, step-by-step, how to write a resume that will get you noticed by potential employers. Let’s get started!

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Are you struggling to write a resume that catches the attention of employers? You’re not alone. Millions of people every year submit resumes that don’t get them the jobs they want.

Your resume is the most important tool in your job-seeking arsenal. A good resume can help you get your foot in the door, while a bad resume will likely keep you from even being considered.

This resume guide will teach you, step-by-step, how to make a resume that will help you stand out from the crowd. We’ll provide tips on how to format your resume, what information to include, and how to tailor your resume for different jobs using the right keywords.

Table of Contents

Step 1. Choose a resume format

The right resume format can help highlight your strengths and downplay your weaknesses. It can also make it easier for recruiters to scan your resume and identify the key information they are looking for.

There are three standard resume formats to choose from.

Chronological Resume

This is the most popular resume format, especially for job seekers with lots of relevant experience. This format lists your work history in reverse chronological order, with your most recent jobs listed first. It’s ideal for:


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Functional Resume (also known as a Skills-Based Resume)

The functional resume is organized around your transferable skills and abilities rather than your work history. It helps you downplay your lack of experience in a particular field. While it is helpful for certain situations, it’s not always the best. Recruiters sometimes don’t like the functional resume format because it can make it seem like you’re trying to conceal something. So be wary of that.

Under each skill you list, try to add bullet points that provide specific examples of times when you’ve used that skill. This format is ideal for:



Hybrid Resume (also known as a Combination Resume)

A hybrid resume can be a great way to showcase both your work history and your skills. For many job seekers, it’s the best resume format . With this format, you would begin with a brief overview of your skills and accomplishments, followed by a chronological listing of your employment history. This format is ideal for:



Step 2. Add your contact information and personal details

This is one of the most important sections of your resume. If hiring managers can’t contact you, it doesn’t matter how great the rest of your resume is. So you need to make sure that your contact info is accurate and up-to-date.

The following information should appear at the top of your resume:

Here’s an example:


It might seem obvious, but job seekers sometimes forget a key piece of contact information in this section. Double check to make sure it’s as easy as possible for recruiters to contact you for a job interview.

Step 3. Write a standout resume headline

One way to make sure your resume stands out is to write a catchy headline . This is a concise, one-line description of who you are as a candidate.

A well-written headline can grab a recruiter’s attention and encourage them to take a more detailed look at your resume. It can also highlight your most relevant skills and experience, making it easier for recruiters to see why you would be a good fit for the role.

You should place your headline near the top of your resume, so it’s one of the first things that a hiring manager or recruiter sees.


Resume headlines are most beneficial for people who have a lot of relevant experience, but anyone can use them.

If you don’t have any experience or are applying for an entry-level job , you can use your resume headline to show off your soft skills, your proficiency with tools, or your winning personal attributes.

When writing your headline, it’s crucial to include the job title that appears at the top of the description of the job you’re applying for. This is the most impactful keyword of all, and the headline is a good place to put it, especially if you haven’t held the exact position before.

Read the full guide : How to Write a Resume Headline That Stands Out

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Write your resume the free and easy way with the only builder designed specifically to create ATS-compliant resumes. Over 90% believed that Jobscan improved their resume.

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Step 4. Add your resume summary statement or resume objective

Most recruiters only spend between six and eight seconds looking at a resume before they make a decision about a job candidate, according to a study by Ladders .

This means you need to make a strong first impression! You can do this by adding a resume summary statement underneath your resume headline.

A summary statement is a brief paragraph or a set of bullet points that summarizes your professional qualifications.

Your summary statement should expand on your resume headline and provide evidence of your skills, achievements, and experience.


Read the full guide : How to Write a Resume Summary Statement

Resume summaries are ideal for job seekers who have plenty of relevant work experience and accomplishments that can be tied to actual numbers.

If you don’t have much job experience or are changing careers, you could write a resume objective statement instead.

Your resume objective basically explains what the object of your resume is. It is a short statement that communicates your reason for wanting to work in a new field. It should include:

For example, if you are a recent college graduate seeking a position in marketing, your resume objective might state: “To secure a position in marketing where I can utilize my creativity and analytical skills to contribute to the company’s success.”

Read the full guide : Resume Objective Statements: Examples, How-To, and FAQ

Step 5. Add keywords and skills that are ATS-friendly

Before you move on to the next step, it’s important to determine what keywords and skills you need to have on your resume.

Why? Because when you submit your resume, it most likely won’t go to a live human being – it will go straight into a computer database.

Employers receive hundreds and even thousands of resumes for every job opening. They don’t have time to look at all of them.

To solve this problem, many employers now use applicant tracking systems (ATS) to automatically collect, review, and sort resumes. In fact, 99 percent of Fortune 500 companies now use ATS to help them manage the hiring process.

Having the right keywords on your resume is important because hiring managers use keywords to search through their ATS database for the best job candidates.

These keywords are usually job titles or specific skills. If your resume doesn’t contain the keywords hiring managers are searching for, it will sit in the database, unseen.

This is why it’s crucial to include keywords on your resume that are relevant to the job you are applying for. But how do you know which keywords to use?

Just look at the job description. Take note of the skills and keywords that appear the most . Then add these skills and keywords to your resume when appropriate.

To get the best results, tailor each and every resume you create to the specific job you’re applying for — your resume is not a one-size-fits-all document!

Read the full guide : Top 500 ATS Resume Keywords: Examples for Your Job Search

Ready to put your resume to the test? Jobscan users landed a job 67% faster.

Step 6. detail your work experience.

Now it’s time to get to the heart of your resume – the “work experience” section . This is the section employers will spend the most time looking at when they consider your resume.

If you get this part right, you’ll be well on your way to creating a strong resume that will land you plenty of job interviews!

The first things a recruiter looks at on your resume are the job titles you’ve held and the companies you’ve worked with. Make this information easy to find by listing each job in reverse-chronological order (latest job first).

Each job should have its own subheading that includes the following information:

Our research has found that this sequence offers maximum applicant tracking system (ATS) compatibility. Here’s an example:


Tip #1: Highlight achievements as well as responsibilities

One of the biggest mistakes people make when writing a resume is only listing their job responsibilities . These are tasks that you’re expected to perform as part of your job. They can include things like:

Listing your job responsibilities gives a potential employer an idea of what you did day-to-day, but it doesn’t reveal how well you did it .

That’s why it’s important to highlight your specific accomplishments in prior roles.

For example, if you increased sales, reduced costs, or implemented new processes or technologies, be sure to mention these accomplishments.

Instead of writing “managed a team of 12 people,” write “managed a team of 12 people, consistently meeting or exceeding quarterly targets.”

This not only demonstrates that you are an asset to any organization, but it gives employers confidence that you’re capable of handling the job.

Here’s an example of a resume that does a good job of listing both responsibilities and accomplishments:


Not every career lends itself to easily-quantifiable achievements. For example, someone who works in a warehouse might have responsibilities that include stocking shelves, unloading trucks, and packaging items for shipment.

While these responsibilities might not seem like much, they’re actually essential for keeping the warehouse running smoothly. The ability to work efficiently and effectively is a valuable skill in any field.

So, next time you’re feeling like you don’t have anything to list as an accomplishment, take a step back and look at the bigger picture. Chances are, you’ve achieved more than you realize!

Read the full guide : 6 Steps to Writing Your Resume Work Experience

Tip #2: Use action verbs

Action verbs are key when it comes to writing an engaging and compelling resume. They help paint a clearer picture of your qualifications and increase the overall impact of your resume.

Instead of simply stating that you were “responsible for” a certain task or project, explain how you took charge and made it happen. For example, you could say that you “spearheaded” a new initiative or “coordinated” a complex team effort.

By using powerful verbs, you’ll not only make your resume more interesting to read, but you’ll also demonstrate the kind of can-do attitude that employers are looking for.

Read the full guide : 400+ Resume Action Words (Plus 100 Power Verbs Recruiters Love to See)

Tip #3: Use active voice, not passive

Always try to use an active voice instead of a passive voice when writing your resume.

In an active voice, the subject of the sentence is doing the verb. For example, “The cashier counted the money.” In a passive voice, the subject is being acted upon by the verb. For example, “The money was counted by the cashier.”

Active voice is preferred over passive voice because it’s more direct, concise, easier to read, and it makes you sound more confident and authoritative.

When used with an action verb, an active voice can subconsciously influence a recruiter into thinking that the applicant is competent and capable. For example, “managed a team of 12” is more powerful than “was responsible for a team of 12.”

Read the full guide : Resume Words: Keywords, Adjectives, Skills, and Power Verbs

Tip #4: Use numbers

One of the best ways to make your resume stand out is to use numbers . In fact, job seekers who use numbers in their resumes increase their hireability by 40%, according to a study by TalentWorks .

Whenever possible, quantify your achievements with numbers that illustrate the scope of your work. For example, instead of saying “created marketing campaigns,” you could write “created 10 successful marketing campaigns that generated a 20% increase in leads.”

By using numbers, you give hiring managers a better sense of your value, making it more likely that you’ll land the job you want.

Here are some more examples of using numbers (with action verbs underlined):

Finally, If you have gaps in your employment history, be prepared to explain them in a cover letter or during an interview.

However, don’t let a few months or years off work deter you from applying for a position – focus on highlighting your skills and strengths, and let your work experience speak for itself.

Read the full guide : Wordsmithing Your Resume: Tenses, Plurals, and Optimized Keywords

Step 7. Showcase your skills

When writing your resume, be sure to include a skills section . This is the perfect place to mention all the skills and know-how that make you the ideal candidate for the job.

Pay particular attention to the skills that are listed in the job description of the position you are applying for. As we’ve seen, including these keywords on your resume greatly increases the chance that your resume will be seen by an actual hiring manager, leading to a job interview.

There are two types of skills you can include in your skills section: hard skills and soft skills .

Hard skills are the specific skills and knowledge that you need to perform a certain task or job. They are usually quantifiable and easy to measure. Examples of hard skills include:

Soft skills, on the other hand, are interpersonal skills that help you interact with others. They are more difficult to quantify but are just as important in the workplace. Examples of soft skills include:

Soft skills are important because they’re transferable . This means they can be applied to any number of settings and can help you succeed in any type of job.

Also, unlike hard skills , which can become outdated quickly, soft skills are always in demand. As the world changes and technology advances, soft skills will become even more important.

Here’s an example of a skills section for a mechanical engineer that includes both hard and soft skills:


Read the full guide : Top Resume Skills and How to List Them

Step 8. Add your education and certifications

You need to include your education somewhere on your resume, but where it appears depends on your individual circumstances.

If you are just starting out in your career, it’s generally a good idea to include your education section near the top of your resume. Recent grads can include relevant coursework, societies, organizations, and extracurriculars that strengthen their candidacy.

However, if you are a few years into your career, your education can appear at the bottom of your resume. This is because your work experience will be more relevant to potential employers at this point in your career.

Unless you’re applying to a job that puts extra emphasis on education (like academia, law, or medicine), most job seekers can get away with providing only the following information on their resume:

Read the full guide : How to Format Your Resume Education Section: Tips and Examples

If you have earned any professional certifications that are relevant to the job you are applying for, then you should definitely include them on your resume.

You can list your certifications right under your education information. Be sure to include the name of the certification, the issuing authority, and the date of certification. If the certification is still valid, you can also mention that.

If you have earned multiple certifications, then you can list them in order of importance, with the most relevant ones appearing first.

Here’s an example of what the education section looks like on a pharmacist’s resume:


Read the full guide : 8 Free Certifications to Add to Your Resume

Step 9. Additional resume sections (optional)

Your resume is your opportunity to shine. It’s your chance to show potential employers who you are and what you’re capable of.

One way to really stand out is to include additional information that showcases your skills and accomplishments. If applicable, consider adding the following resume sections:

In today’s global economy, knowing foreign languages can give you a competitive edge over other candidates. Many businesses are looking for employees who can communicate with customers and clients in their native language.

On your resume, list the languages you speak in order of proficiency, starting with your strongest language. Also, specify whether you are fluent, proficient, or conversational in each language. For example:

Hobbies and interests

Many people believe that hobbies should remain separate from their professional lives. However, including information about your hobbies on a resume can actually give employers a better sense of who you are as a person.

For example, if you enjoy hiking, it shows that you are physically active and have a sense of adventure. If you enjoy cooking, it shows that you are creative and have a keen interest in food.

When listing your hobbies, make sure to keep it short and sweet. You don’t need to go into great detail about every single hobby you have. Just mention a few that you think are relevant and leave it at that.


If you have been published in any capacity, it is generally a good idea to include this information on your resume, especially if it’s relevant to the job you’re applying to. Most employers love to see that you can communicate effectively in writing.

If you’re not sure where to start, list any published articles, blog posts, books, or even whitepapers that you have written. Be sure to include the title, publisher, and date. For example:

“The Impact of Social Media on Businesses.” The Journal of Business, December 2021.

If you have won any awards that are relevant to the job you’re applying to, you should absolutely include them on your resume. Awards will impress potential employers and help you to stand out from the competition.

Be sure to list the name of the award, the date you received it, and a brief description of the award. For example:

“Top Salesperson” (January 2020) – Awarded to the salesperson with the highest sales numbers for the month.

Volunteer experience

If you have any volunteer experience, don’t forget to add it to your resume!

According to a LinkedIn survey , 20% of employers say they have hired a candidate because of their volunteer experience. The survey also showed that job seekers who volunteer are 27% more likely to be hired than non-volunteers.

When adding your volunteer experience to your resume, list the name of the organization, the dates of your service, and a brief description of your duties and responsibilities. For example:

Woodstock Food Bank, Jan 2019-present

Personal projects

Many professionals use their skills outside of the office. In fact, 57 million workers participate in the gig economy in the US.

Adding your side projects to your resume can be a great way to demonstrate your commitment to lifelong learning and professional development.

Examples of personal projects include designing websites, creating a YouTube channel, coding apps, writing a book, running an ecommerce store, consulting, or starting any kind of new business.

When choosing personal projects to include on your resume, be sure to select those that are most relevant to the position you are applying for.

Does your resume pass the test?

Tailor your resume and optimize for applicant tracking systems with Jobscan.

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Step 10. Format your resume so it can be easily read by an ATS

Formatting your resume correctly is absolutely vital if you want to get more job interviews.

Why? Because your resume most likely will go straight into a computer database (ATS) after you submit it. If your resume can’t be read by the ATS due to formatting issues, then all your hard work will be for nothing .

So pay close attention to these formatting do’s and don’ts!

Read the full guide : The Best Fonts for Your Resume

Step 11. Add a cover letter

When you submit your resume, you’ll most likely also have to submit a cover letter .

Think of a cover letter as a quick preview of your skills and experience. The goal is to make the hiring manager interested in you so they will want to learn more.

The best cover letters are usually one page long so the message is clear and easy to understand.

How to Write a Cover Letter

A great cover letter can make all the difference when applying to a job. It allows employers to see beyond your resume and get an idea of who you are as a person—and if you would be a good fit for their company culture.

By following these tips, you can write a great cover letter that will improve your chances of getting an interview!

And last but not least…

Remember to thoroughly proofread your resume and cover letter!

Proofreading is one of the most important things you can do before sending off your application. A single typo or mistake can make you look unprofessional and could cost you the job.

If you don’t think your proofreading skills are good enough, ask a friend or family member to help you out. You can also use a free online proofreading tool like Grammarly .

Remember, sending your resume off without carefully proofreading it could spell disaster. So be sure to take the time to update your resume and review it for typos and errors. It could make all the difference in whether or not you get a job interview.

Read the full guide : 7 Steps for Choosing and Using Job References

Explore more resume resources


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Resume Templates


Resume Examples


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Help Center

What should I include in my federal resume?

Whether you’re a current federal employee or new to the federal government, your resume is the primary way for you to communicate your education, skills and experience.

Before you get started

Read the entire job announcement. Focus on the following sections to understand whether or not you qualify for the position. This critical information is found under:

Make sure you have the required experience and/or education before you apply. Hiring agencies use the job announcement to describe the job and the required qualifications, including:

What to include in your resume

Federal jobs often require that you have experience in a particular type of work for a certain period of time. You must show how your skills and experiences meet the qualifications and requirements listed in the job announcement to be considered for the job.

Include important contact information

Don’t forget to add current contact information. Most job applications require this information:

Read the job opportunity carefully to make sure you have included all required contact information.

Include dates, hours, level of experience and examples for each work experience

For each work experience you list, make sure you include:

Program Analyst GS-343-11 January 2009—Present 40 Hours/Week $63,000/Year

Include volunteer work and roles in community organizations

Don’t limit yourself to only including paid work experience. Include relevant volunteer work or community organizations roles that demonstrate your ability to do the job.

Use numbers to highlight your accomplishments

Use numbers, percentages or dollars to highlight your accomplishments—you can find this information in things like your performance reviews, previous job descriptions, awards and letters of recommendation.

When explaining your accomplishments:

These statements show in concrete terms what you accomplished.

More resume writing tips

Customize your resume.

You should tailor your resume to the job announcement rather than sending out the same resume for every job. Customizing your resume helps you match your competencies, knowledge, skills, abilities and experience to the requirements for each job. Emphasize your strengths and include everything you’ve done that relates to the job you’re seeking. Leave out experience that isn’t relevant.

Use similar terms and address every required qualification

Your experience needs to address every required qualification in the job announcement. Hiring agencies will look for specific terms in your resume to make sure you have the experience they’re seeking.

For example, if the qualifications section says you need experience with “MS Project” you need to use the words ” MS Project” in your resume.

Organize your resume to make it easy to understand

You need to organize your resume to help agencies evaluate your experience. If you don’t provide the information required for the hiring agency to determine your qualifications, you might not be considered for the job.

Hiring agencies often receive dozens or even hundreds of resumes for certain positions. Hiring managers quickly skim through submissions and eliminate candidates who clearly are not qualified. Look at your resume and ask:

Review your resume before you apply

Check your resume for spelling and grammatical errors and have someone else, with a good eye for detail, review your resume.

Important facts about the federal hiring process

Learn more about the federal hiring process .

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How to Write a Resume (That’s Good!) in 7 Easy Steps

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Looking for a new job is exciting, but all the legwork involved can be a grind. There are so many details to attend to — researching prospective employers, lining up professional references, practicing interviewing skills and checking the salary range for your role. It can be tempting to recycle an old resume and top it off with your newest work experience just to save yourself some time and hassle.

Resist that impulse. If you’re hoping to score an interview for that dream job, you need a freshly polished, customized document that will grab readers’ attention. While applying for different positions may not require building your resume from scratch each time, you will still need to tailor this vital document for every application. It is worth the effort, too, because it can go a long way toward underscoring your interest in a specific job and company.

If you aren’t sure how to write a resume that will stand out, you’ve come to the right place. Here are several recommendations — seven, in fact — for building a resume that can help you increase your chances of landing a job interview.

7 resume writing tips that can set you apart

Every list of resume writing tips will tell you the same thing: Start with your contact information. Your name, phone number, email address and, if applicable, links to your website and LinkedIn profile. Then, list all the jobs you’ve had.

But there’s much more to it than that. If you want hiring managers to give your resume more than a quick scan, you need to hook them from the start — and that brings us to our first tip:

Tip #1. Craft a compelling lead

The top of the page is valuable real estate for sharing your job candidate “story.”

Back in the day, resumes had an objective statement just below the contact info that explained what type of job a candidate was seeking. But today, many hiring managers and recruiters expect to see a short, snappy paragraph that’s more like a profile.

Think of these important two or three sentences as your 30-second elevator pitch: They should quickly summarize your experience and training, and highlight your relevant skills for the role you’re seeking.

Expand on your qualifications deeper in your resume — and in your cover letter , too.

When you’re in a job interview, you need to be ready to answer some form of this question: “Why do you want to work here?” See this post for insight on preparing and delivering a solid response.

Tip #2. Show your impact

The bulk of your resume should focus on your work experience. List your past jobs in chronological order, from most recent to oldest, and take a results-driven approach to describe your duties and accomplishments. That means including meaningful information about how you added value to a project or the company.

To show how you excelled in the position, use action verbs, give specific examples and add quantifiable results. Don’t simply say, “oversaw project management,” for instance. Instead, give a concise project description and highlight your specific role. For example: “Project manager for a six-person team responsible for launching a new product line on an aggressive timeline.”

Also, include concrete numbers that show your impact. For instance, were you able to help the company reduce costs? Did your work contribute directly to boosting the company’s sales growth? If you don’t have that kind of data, report the solutions your team delivered or other project outcomes. The goal is to explain how you made a difference.

Tip #3. Include your soft skills

Remember that interpersonal skills are critical to your career success. Effective writing and verbal communication, critical thinking, time management, creativity, and problem-solving abilities are all highly prized today. It’s important to add them to your resume and cover letter.

But don't just list these skills. Look for other ways to help them come through in your job application. If you take the time to write a resume and cover letter that are well-organized, free of grammatical and spelling errors (see tip #7) and tailored for the role you’re applying for, those documents will help showcase your writing skills. You can also frame your work history and accomplishments to underscore abilities such as collaboration, adaptability and leadership.

Other soft skills might be more difficult to demonstrate. Few of us can point to a TED talk or other online video or podcast to prove our verbal and presentation skills, for example. But we all have a LinkedIn profile. Ask a handful of your colleagues, former coworkers or others in your professional network to write recommendations that include some mention of your creativity, leadership qualities and other attributes.

Tip #4. Highlight your tech skills

Share your software skills and technical knowledge. As an example, job candidates for an administrative assistant position or similar role are expected to have Microsoft Office experience. Savvy candidates would list their proficiency levels with each of the suite’s applications and any training or certification programs completed.

Many jobs will require more advanced tech skills. Using the job description as a guide, discuss your expertise with the software required for the role. Again, you should list relevant certifications and training. Even better, include mention of relevant software in your work history to demonstrate professional experience.

Read this post for more tips on creating a compelling resume skills section .

Tip #5. Underscore your unique qualities and experience

This tip on how to write a resume is about highlighting talents relevant to the position or company. Foreign language fluency, for example, could give you an edge in getting an interview if the employer has international operations. Your role as an organizer for a Meetup group related to your industry can show leadership skills.

Whatever your passion, use your unique qualities and experiences to make yourself stand out. Many hiring managers like to gain a fuller picture of potential employees, so don’t be afraid to mention some outside interests. Just don’t go overboard by providing a laundry list of hobbies and personal pursuits. Always keep in mind that your resume is a professional document.

Robert Half has more recommendations for creating a stellar resume. Check out our list of resume do’s and don’ts here .

Tip #6. Increase your edge by including keywords

Many companies scan resumes and cover letters for the keywords used in their job postings. Tailor your resume for every job description you reply to — and that means sprinkling the document with some of the specific language that each posting uses.

For example, if an employer is seeking an applicant with experience “maintaining executives’ calendars,” use that same wording in your resume instead of a more casual phrase like “keeping track of schedules.”

Tip #7. Proofread your copy!

An employer sorting through a dozen or more resumes doesn’t need much reason to remove you from consideration. Meticulously proofread your resume for spelling and grammatical goofs. In addition to running a spell-check, read your document aloud slowly so you can focus on each word. Finally, ask a friend to double-check your work. One simple typo can kill your chances of landing an interview.

Our “ Resumania™ ” archive is full of real and embarrassing examples of errors that crept into job seekers’ resumes. Want to know how to write a resume? Don’t write things like this:

The last word on building a resume (that’s good !)

Every job, every industry and every candidate will require some adjustments to these resume writing tips. Creative professionals, for instance, will want to include links to their portfolios in their resumes . And new college grads don’t have much work experience to highlight, they can still draw from class projects, labs and seminars to talk up their hard and soft skills.

When you consider how to write a resume that helps you advance your career goals, the takeaway is this: Employers want to hire people who can make an impact. And today, with so many professionals quitting their jobs or planning to leave one soon in search of something different, an employer wants to be sure they are recruiting a candidate who is serious about the opportunity on offer.

Write a tailored resume that shows a results-driven professional who is sincerely interested in the role and ready to add value to the organization, and you may soon find yourself preparing for a job interview.

Looking for a job? Whether you are looking for an opportunity that is on-site or remote, Robert Half’s recruiters can help! Send us your resume or call your local Robert Half recruiter today!

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Posted by Glassdoor Team

Career Advice Experts

Last Updated June 29, 2021

Guide Overview

Write the perfect resume in no time.

Let's face it: writing a resume can be intimidating. And the pressure to make it really sing can make the prospect of putting fingers to keyboard that much scarier. But writing the perfect resume doesn't have to be terrifying. In fact, it can be easy — if you know what you're doing.

That's what this guide is for. We'll take you through all the essential steps of crafting this career document, from how to structure its many sections to how to make sure a spelling error doesn't sneak in. We promise that when you're done, you'll want to show it off to the world. (Luckily, you can do that on Glassdoor. Simply upload your resume here , and you'll be ready to apply in an instant when you spot your dream job posted in our long list of job openings .)

What Is a Resume?

First things first: let’s define a resume . A resume is a summary of your work history, skills, and education. In this respect, a resume is different than a curriculum vitae — more commonly called a CV. A CV is a complete look at your career, covering every aspect of your education, work and experience without the restriction of length. But a resume is a summary of those experiences and skills, and typically covers only 10 years’ worth of employment . Unlike a CV, a resume should be tweaked and edited for each specific job for which you apply, and it should be just one or two pages long .

A resume is the most requested document in any job search — followed by the cover letter , of course. In fact, recruiters scrutinize job candidates’ resumes more closely than their cover letters. So let’s move on to how to structure it right.

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Common Types of Resumes

Most professional resume writers will tell you that there are three main types of resumes : chronological , functional and combination .

Chronological Resume: A chronological resume is the format that you’re probably the most familiar with — this is the type of resume that focuses on your recent work history above all. List your positions in reverse chronological order, with the most recent positions at the top and the oldest ones at the bottom. Ultimately, the goal is to show how your positions leading up to this point have perfectly prepared you for the role you’re applying to .

Functional Resume: A functional resume, on the other hand, emphasizes the relevance of your experience. To create a functional resume, you’ll prominently feature your professional summary , your skills and a work experience section organized by how closely the positions relate to the one you’re applying to. This format is best for those who want to minimize resume gaps , or are transitioning into a new industry.

Combination Resume: As you might be able to guess, a combination resume borrows from both of the aforementioned formats. You’ll combine the professional summary and skills section of a functional resume with the work experience section of a chronological resume. This format is a powerful way to stand out to recruiters by emphasizing both your experience and skills, and is useful for many different types of job seekers.

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How to Structure Your Resume

No two resumes will look exactly alike (nor should they!), but generally, resumes should have the following sections.

Header & Contact Info:  At the top of your resume, always include a header containing your name. Your contact info (typically your phone number, personal email address and sometimes links to social profiles or personal websites ) should be close by as well. After all, you don’t want there to be any confusion over who the resume belongs to, or make it difficult for recruiters or hiring managers to reach out to you. However, you may want to avoid putting your contact info in the header or footer of the document itself — the headers and footers can sometimes be overlooked by the software that scans your resume .

Professional Summary:  The professional summary is a brief, one- to three-sentence section featured prominently on your resume that succinctly describes who you are, what you do and why you’re perfect for the job . In contrast with the largely out-of-date objective statement — a line that describes the type of career opportunity you’re looking for — professional summaries aren’t about what you want. Instead, they’re focused on the value you could bring to a potential employer. It’s worth noting that a professional summary isn’t an absolute must-have — if your resume is missing one, it probably won’t be a dealbreaker — but it can be a nice way to give time-pressed recruiters and hiring managers a quick, high-level overview of why you’re the right person for the job.

Skills:  Once relegated to the bottom of resumes as an afterthought, the skills section has become more and more important as recruiters and hiring managers increasingly look for candidates with specialized backgrounds. Rather than making the folks reading your resume hunt through your bullet points to find your skills, it’s best to clearly list them. If they see right away that you have the ability to get the job done, they’re much more likely to take your resume seriously.

Work Experience:  This critical section of a resume is where you detail your work history in a consistent and compelling format. The Work Experience section should include company names, locations, employment dates, roles and titles you held and most importantly, bullet points containing action verbs and data points that detail the relevant accomplishments of each position. This portion is essential for recruiters and hiring managers, who look to absorb information about your career experiences and connect your skills to what they’re looking for in a potential hire. Recruiters are often flooded with resume submissions and have to carefully source and identify quality candidates in a crowded pack — so make sure your work experience stands out.

Education:  Since many jobs require a certain level of education , it’s important to mention your academic credentials on your resume. However, this section shouldn’t take up too much space. In most cases, simply listing where you went to school, when you attended and what degree you attained will be sufficient.

Additional Experience:  An optional, but potentially very valuable, addition to your resume is Additional Experience. This is a catch-all section at the tail end of your resume that allows you to highlight volunteer experience , awards and hobbies. Again, it shouldn’t be too long — you don’t want it to detract from your skills or work experience — but it can be a good way to provide a more well-rounded picture of who you are.

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Design & Formatting Tips

The subject matter of your resume is ultimately what recruiters care about most. However, that doesn’t mean you should slack off when it comes to design and formatting. A cluttered, visually confusing resume makes it more difficult to read, and therefore more likely that recruiters and hiring managers will cast it aside. On the other hand, a sleek, polished resume will have the opposite effect. Use these rules of thumb to ensure that your resume looks its best.

Want some specific examples? You can find attractive and effective resume templates here and here .

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How to Edit Your Resume

You’ve written your resume, and read it twice, but that’s not enough. A good editing job will take a little longer — and some specific tactics meant to catch resume errors .

First, don’t attempt to edit your resume until it’s done. Yes, it can be difficult to leave a glaring error while you move on to write your skills section, but force yourself to finish your resume before you edit it . Why? You’ll save yourself time, and letting go of errors now could help you write a better first draft because you’re focusing on the writing itself. You’ll be glad you decided to go back and make all the edits at once.

Next, never try to edit your resume right after you’ve written it. In fact, you should give yourself a 24-hour break before editing your resume. With time away, you’ll see your resume with fresh eyes and for what it really is—not what you meant it to be.

When you give your resume a read, try reading your resume backward . It sounds odd — and it’s not always easy — but reading backward forces you to focus on each word, and helps you better catch both spelling and grammatical errors in the text.

Ask a friend or family member to read your resume , too. They may spot errors that you missed, or have suggestions for how to show yourself in an even better light.

Then, fact-check your resume . Check the spelling of proper nouns — think: company names, addresses, etc. — and make sure you have the current contact information for any references you’ve chosen to add. These things might have changed since you last applied for a job.

And lastly, be sure to look for common resume pitfalls before you press send.

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Learn More!

Want more info? Check out these helpful resources on turning your resume into an irresistible reflection of you and your work.

The Perfect Resume Looks Like This

Ask a Resume Writer: Where Do I Start?

7 Things Your Resume Is Missing

What Hiring Managers Expect on Resumes Now

21 Words To Never Include In Your Resume

11 Skills, Traits and Qualities That Are Great to Have on Your Resume Now

How to Find a Job in 72 Hours

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