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

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

  • What is a resume?
  • What is a resume? Are Employers looking at a resume?
  • How do you write a resume?
    • Select your format
    • Start with your basic information
    • Add in your work experience
    • Consider including volunteer work or other experience
    • Don’t forget your education
    • Fill it out with some skills and interests
    • Write a resume summary statement (if applicable)
    • Adapt it to the job (and ATS)
    • Edit and refine
  • What are some examples of a good resume?

What is a resume?

A resume is a summary of your career, whether you are starting out or have been going on for years. Running about a page in length (two only in specific circumstances), it lists 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 very easy for any hiring manager to see your qualifications and suitability for a position.

For all the work you can put into writing one, hiring managers actually They spend very little time, just a few seconds. in many cases, by looking at your resume. But despite this sad fact, it’s safe to say that creating a great resume (rather than hastily concocting one) is still important.

“If you don’t get it right, your resume may never get read. Worse still, it’s possible for a computer to remove you from the candidate pool before a human even knows you exist,” says Muse career coach Heather Yurovsky, founder of Shatter & Shine. So you want to do well because, as she explains, isn’t the goal “to spend less time looking for a job and more time in a position you love?”

You might be wondering if she can lean on her LinkedIn profile instead of writing a resume. The answer, unfortunately, 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’ll need one at some point in your career; They are nowhere near going out of style. So it’s best to always have one ready in case an opportunity arises.

And while LinkedIn has many benefits, a resume has one distinct advantage: While your LinkedIn is often a bigger picture of Your Career Path , 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 is slightly different from a resume and is generally more common among academics and job seekers outside of the US.

What do employers look for in a resume?

Hiring managers look for three things on their resume, “What did you do? Because you did? And what was the outcome?” says Muse’s career coach, Martin McGovern, owner of Career Therapy. “If you can answer these three questions in…the bullet points on your resume, you’re on the right track.”

Clear, easy-to-understand language is key. “The truth is, most resumes don’t make sense. They’re full of jargon, overly technical, and full of redundancies. Try reading a resume that doesn’t make it yours and you’ll quickly realize it feels like it was written by an alien,” adds McGovern. 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 you and only you: they care about you in relation to them.“Hiring managers want to see if a candidate qualifies” from the position they are hiring for, Yurovsky explains. lum should paint this picture so that the hiring manager knows not only what day-to-day responsibilities you can handle, but also why you, above all others, 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, comprehensive refresher on the process of creating one, follow these steps to start from scratch. page to an entire, and dare I say beautiful, document.

Related: This free worksheet makes it easy to create (or update) your resume

1. Choose your format

Before you start writing a single thing, you need to decide how you want the overall resume to look like.

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

But it’s often safer to start with a clean slate on your own and eventually upgrade to a more advanced design. (If you still want a place to write down 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 the resume format that best suits your unique situation (after all, not everyone has a career path that’s easy to compartmentalize).

In general, it will most likely cover or include sections on the following:

  • Your work experience
  • Your non-work experience, including professional organizations, community involvement, or side projects
  • Your education and certifications
  • Your skills (specifically hard skills) and interests

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

By far the most common option (and the safest, if you’re not sure which route to take) is reverse chronological order. This means that you organize your experiences from the most recent to the least recent. Therefore, your work experience would be above your education, and your current role would be above any previous roles you have held. Of course, this has its exceptions: perhaps you went back to grad school between jobs, or your most recent position is irrelevant to the job you’re applying for. Therefore, the entire page may not be exactly in reverse chronological order depending on your situation. It’s just a guide.

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

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You can also opt for a blended resume, which is a mix between a reverse chronological resume and a skills-based resume. Highlight your skills at the top, but leave just as much space below to cover your work and school experience.

Be careful when choosing these two formats: “Blended and skill-based [resumes] can difficult to follow, because they [force] the reader to look for connections between their skills and experience, and [do not] give the full context of their work,” says Angela Smith, Muse career coach, founder of Loft Consulting. “I also heard Many recruiters say they automatically discount resumes based on skills 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 the perception exists.”

2.Start with your basic information

Your contact information should always go at the top of your resume.In this heading, you’ll want to include anything that might be helpful for a recruiter to contact you. This usually means adding:

  • Your full name (preferably the name you use on the web)
  • Your phone number
  • Your personal email address

You can also choose to include other basic information, such as your LinkedIn or personal website URL, your GitHub (for technical features), your social media profiles ( if relevant to the job), or your address. If you’re looking to relocate for a job, you can choose to omit your address or write “open to move” to improve 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 honing the rest of your resume.

3. Add your work experience

This section will probably be the largest part 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 an idea of ​​your background and experience.

Your “Work Experience” can be a entire category, or you can choose to split it 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 your most recent experience at the top and your oldest experience at the bottom.

Within your work experience, you’ll want to include each official position, company (and possibly your location) , and the years he worked there. Below that, you’ll add two to four bullet points that explain what you did on that job, the skills you developed 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 biggest impact or you’re 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). Key here is to list, if relevant, both quantitative and qualitative achievements.

For example, you might write:

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

  • Manage billing for over 50 clients, ensuring deadlines and needs of our business partners , including Big Company and Super Star Org, are met
  • Collaborate closely with sales, account management, and project management teams on project setup, maintenance, and invoice management
  • Assist in the optimization of billing guidelines and procedures through the documentation and implementation of new software, resulting in an average decrease of two weeks in total time spent per client

The bullets on your resume should be in the past tense if you’re referring to previous jobs and present tense if you’re talking about your current roles. Also, your bullet points should always start with a strong action verb that best describes what you did. And if you have examples of your work, consider including hyperlinks here as well.

If you’re very experienced and this category starts to get long (read: more than one page), consider deleting your older work unless it’s highly relevant to the job you’re applying for, or more impressive to your field.

Not sure where to start? “It helps to brainstorm and create a document that has everything you consider to be an experience or an accomplishment,” says Yurovsky. From there, he explains, you can begin to narrow 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 position.

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

  • When You’ve Had Multiple Jobs at the Same Company: 2 Jobs, 1 Company: How to List Multiple Positions on Your Resume
  • When You’re Not Sure what your accomplishments are or how to explain them: Resume Revamp: Turning Your Duties Into Accomplishments
  • When You Want to Fix a Boring or Insignificant Job: How to Make Your Job Boring Jobs Sound More Interesting on Your Resume
  • When considering changing a job title: The answer to “Can I change my job title on my resume to make it more accurate?”
  • When You’ve Had A Lot Of Short-Term Jobs: How To List Temporary Jobs On Your Resume

4. Consider including volunteer work or other experience

Anything you’ve done that isn’t work experience (your side job, volunteer work, special projects) can be placed in clearly labeled sections (“Volunteer Experience” or “ Activities ,” For example). Depending on how strong your work experience is, these things may be worth including, especially if they’ve helped you improve your skill set or better align you with your dream job. Plus, they make you look so much more well-rounded, passionate, and hard-working.

If you just graduated, you can also create a section for campus activities, like clubs, organizations, or leadership experience. This can be a great add-on if you’re lacking in the jobs department. You can frame them as you would professional papers, including your title, organization name, and bullet points 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 may go at the top of your resume, but for almost everyone else, it goes near the bottom. Most people include their school, graduation year (for people with less than a decade out of school), major, and degree. Recent graduates can 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 taking up too much space above your work experience.

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You may have a unique educational 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 in reverse chronological order, so a graduate degree is above a college degree, and a more recent relevant online course is above that.

Get Learn more about the ins and outs of the list. your education on your resume:

  • How (and how not to) include education on your resume
  • How to include online courses on your resume the right way (because it does , there is a wrong path)

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 on it. It’s a quick list that a recruiter can scan to see if your skill set aligns with what they’re hiring for. And it’s very compatible with ATS (ATS stands for “applicant tracking system,” the robot that in some cases reads your resume before a human) because it lets you add keywords that the machine is looking for.

Typically, this section goes at the bottom of your resume, but in special cases, such as a skills-based resume or when someone is changing fields, you can place it higher.

What exactly are you dumping here? You’ll want to list any technical skills and applications you’re familiar with (Photoshop, SEO, JavaScript, to name a few examples) and, if relevant, your level of experience. Avoid including soft skills here, such as time management or public speaking; save them for your bullets.

Be strategic when completing your abilities. Don’t list things you couldn’t actually do at a high proficiency level (I’m looking at those of you who say you’re “excellent” at Excel), and perhaps eliminate 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.

You may be thinking, I’m a very good volleyball player, but that’s not a “skill”, is it? No, it’s not, but it’s a hobby. Adding a hobby section to the bottom of your resume is understated and often a smart move. It can be a great conversation starter with a hiring manager, and can show that you’re a good cultural fit, or cultural complement, for the company. Also, it’s just a nice way to add some of your personality. So add a bullet point listing a few of your interests, like hiking, paddling, or crafts (no more than five to seven job-appropriate verbs), and you’re all set.

7 . Write a Resume Summary Statement (if applicable)

You may have heard of a resume summary statement. They’re not very common, but they can be helpful to include near the top of your resume if you’re looking to add clarity or context to your resume. If it’s a career change, you may find a summary statement helpful to explain your jump and tie 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 integrates your career path.

In general, you probably don’t need a summary statement if your career is fairly linear and your bullet points make a great job 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 writing it,” says McGovern. “Good summaries explain why you do what you do and how it can help you. For example: Merging my experience at ABC, I help companies improve XYZ up to 123. Summaries shouldn’t get more complicated than that.”

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

By combining experience in social media marketing and public relations with seven years in the consumer technology space, I help companies improve their internal and external communication and brand awareness through marketing strategies and content. data-driven quality that aligns with modern trends in the market space.

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

More Info: 3 Sample Resume Summary That Will Make Writing Yours Easier

8 Tailor it to the job (and ATS)

Once you’ve written your resume, break down your experience l job description, labeling some additional activities and experiences, and listing your skills, it’s important to go back to the job description (or multiple job descriptions, if you’re applying for multiple similar jobs) and make sure what your resume says matches the type of candidates that employers are looking for. In other words, adapt it.

Let’s explain more. You’ll want to start by addressing the ATS. This means combing through the job description to see if the individual words and phrases line up. What skills are they requesting and have you listed them (as long as you have them)? What words do you use to describe your ideal hire? Do you use similar language in your resume?

Next, pan. If you were the hiring manager for the position, where on your resume would their eyes be drawn? And what would you be looking for? Whatever you think will be most important to the recruiter, make sure it’s near the top of your resume or emphasized in another way.

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

These articles might help if the word “tailoring” makes you sweat:

  • What “Tailoring Your Resume” Really Means
  • Your Guide to Doing make unrelated experience relevant on your resume
  • Cool Trick: How to Flip 1 Resume Bullet 5 Different Ways
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9.Edit and refine it

Please don’t write your resume and shoot it without giving it a second look. Hiring managers might not spend hours flipping through it, but if there’s one thing that stands out more than anything else, it’s an obvious typo.

Best approach? Write a draft, then put it down and come back to it later with fresh eyes to edit it.

Cover the basics: Is your contact information correct and up-to-date? Are you using the correct tenses? Does everything seem consistent and accurate in terms of spelling and grammar?

Then do some trimming if your resume is quite long. It’s no longer a hard and fast rule that all resumes should be just one page, but consider it a smart guideline for most applicants, especially if you have less than 10 years of work experience. The exception is if you are very senior or very established in your career; In this scenario, a two-page resume isn’t completely out of the question. Everyone else, please read this article for tips on how to pare down your resume.

When it comes to formatting, it’s key to keep a couple of things in mind. First, what font are you using and is it readable (for a human and a robot)? When in doubt, choose one of these simple but elegant options: Arial, Arial Narrow, Calibri, Cambria, Garamond, or Helvetica.

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

Third, is your resume formatted? what can be browsed? ? If you’re feeling cluttered or overflowing with words, read this: 12 Small Changes That Make Your Resume Easy for Recruiters to Read.

Once you’ve had a good look at it, it might be worth sending it off to a friend or colleague (or even a running coach) for a second opinion. Don’t ask them to edit it just for spelling and grammar; They should dig into your bullet points and offer feedback on whether or not your resume shows you in the best light possible (it’s smart to also send them the job description so they can compare something).

What are some examples of a good resume?

The thing is, your resume will never 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 only on your career path, but also on your field, the job you’re applying for, the company the job is with, and more.</p

So, there is no universal way to make a resume. But there are common themes. To give you some context on how yours might turn out, here are three examples of different types of resumes.

Most Popular: A Reverse Chronological Resume

As mentioned above, a Many trainers and HR experts prefer a reverse chronological resume, mainly because it is very readable. When everything is in a clear order, it’s easy to flip through and even easier to draw lines between experiences.

Who it’s good for: Just about everyone, from students applying to internships , all up to high-level executives (with optional resume summary statement)

Download a Chronological Resume Example for a Software Engineer

The Unorthodox Route: A Skills-Based or Functional Resume

Instead of listing your experience in reverse chronological order, a skills-based or functional resume has bullet points that reflect how each of your skills is demonstrated by the work you have done. throughout his career. At the bottom, you’ll list everything else, like your education, work history, career accomplishments, community involvement, and other technical skills. This is a good option if you have a somewhat scattered work history and want to tie everything together in an orderly fashion.

Who it’s good for: Career changers whose work experiences may not seem relevant and people with a lot of temp jobs or gaps in their work histories.

Download a working resume example for a project manager

The Creative Angle: An Infographic Resume or Resume Website

This type of resume is characterized by its visual format. You can choose a reverse chronological order or skill-based style to organize your information, but you can also use graphics, colors, unique fonts, and even multimedia elements to help your information stand out. Keep in mind that any creative resume is still likely to be subject to an ATS, and certain items may not be read by a robot. So consider going this route only if you know someone will read your resume (and that person might enjoy it).

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

Download a Sample Infographic Resume for a Designer

Not a designer but want your resume to look as beautiful as this sample? Check out these articles:

  • 5 Sites to Create an Amazing Infographic Resume (Even If You’re the Least Creative Person Ever)
  • How to Create a Resume Website That Wows to all hiring managers out there
  • 5 Digital Tools That Will Make Your Resume Infinitely More Beautiful

Your resume is a living, breathing document. So while you won’t go through this entire process every time you apply for a job, you should think about all of these things as you update your resume for your next career move. You might decide later to change the order, remove or add things, or even get creative and try a whole new format. If you’re not getting the calls you expect, you can decide to scrap it and start over, and that’s totally fine.

No matter 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 it will make it much more likely that you’ll land an interview and have the opportunity to show the hiring manager, over the phone or in person, what you have to offer.

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