Did you know that in today’s competitive job market, hiring managers spend less than a minute reviewing a resume?
That’s why it’s crucial to have a powerful and engaging document that effectively showcases your relevant job qualifications. By crafting a resume that stands out, you significantly increase your chances of making the cut and landing your dream job.
Not sure how to write a resume that captivates employers? Fret not! We’re here for you.
In this comprehensive guide, we walk you through the process of crafting an impressive resume in just a few simple steps. We provide valuable insights on what to include in each resume section, ensuring that your resume stands out and effectively showcases your relevant qualifications.
- How to prepare a resume.
- Choosing the best format.
- What to put in your resume contact information.
- How to write a resume summary or a resume objective.
- How to describe your work experience on a resume.
- How to make a great resume skills section.
- What to put in a resume certification, licenses and training section.
- How to write resume sections for optional credentials, such as awards.
- How to build a resume free and fast with our professional Resume Builder.
Let’s dive right in, starting with the practical side of things. We’ve prepared a video walkthrough of the MyPerfectResume resume builder to guide you through the process of writing a winning resume. Watch and learn how to put the tips and strategies we discuss into action.
Video: Master Resume Building in 3 Minutes with MyPerfectResume
How to write a resume
Chances are, if you write a good resume, 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.
Prepare to write your resume
Preparation is key to writing a resume that stands out. To ensure a well-prepared resume, carefully assess your relevant qualifications and align them with the requirements of your desired job.
Take the time to compile a comprehensive list that includes:
- Measurable accomplishments from your previous positions that highlight your achievements and contributions.
- A comprehensive inventory of your soft, hard and technical skills, matching them to the required skills outlined in the job description.
- Detailed information about your previous employers, including their names, dates of employment, locations, job titles and a clear outline of your responsibilities.
- Educational credentials, such as your college degree, certifications or licenses that demonstrate your expertise in specific areas.
- Any volunteer work you have undertaken, showcasing your commitment to community involvement and additional skills gained.
- Notable awards and honors you have received, which further validate your exceptional abilities and dedication.
Then match those qualifications to the job description so that your resume is tailored to the job – a great resume is a customized resume.
“Make me (the hiring manager) believe you are interested in our job, not just any job. Specifically, try to use the language of the job posting in your resume. This will also make sure your application makes it past any automated screening software designed to toss out irrelevant applicants.” – CJ Johnson, veteran people manager for Silicon Valley startups and unicorns.
By meticulously including these elements in your resume, you will present a compelling, tailored document that effectively highlights your qualifications and increases your chances of securing your desired job.
Choose the best resume format for your needs
Congratulations on preparing your information! Now, here’s a secret on how to create a resume that many job seekers overlook: choosing the right resume format before writing a resume. This crucial step sets the foundation for your resume’s success.
So, how do you choose the best format? Let’s explore three standard formats, each with its own unique advantages.
- The chronological resume format is the most commonly used. It’s perfect for candidates who want to highlight their work experience when building a resume because it places it front and center. It’s the ideal format for individuals with consistent professional backgrounds and no employment gaps.
- The functional resume format focuses on showcasing your skills and training. It’s designed to highlight the abilities that make you a valuable addition to any team, even if you’re applying for your first job or changing careers. This format is especially beneficial for those with employment gaps or limited work experience.
- The combination resume format, also known as the hybrid resume, combines the best of the functional and chronological formats. This resume format allows you to showcase your skills while also highlighting your relevant work experience.It’s an excellent choice for job seekers with more than 10 years of experience and those seeking to move up in their careers.
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Add your contact information
What’s the point of writing a good resume if potential employers don’t know how to contact you?
Don’t waste your time or theirs. Ensure that your contact information is up to date and place it at the top of your resume so it’s easy to find.
Here’s what to include in your resume contact information:
- Your full name.
- A reliable phone number.
- Your professional email address.
- Your city, state and ZIP code.
- A link to your professional social media account, website or portfolio if you have them.
Write a resume summary or objective statement
A resume summary or objective statement is a critical component of a successful resume because it provides a concise and impactful overview of a candidate’s qualifications, skills and career goals.
Resume summaries and objectives are similar but different in a few key areas. Let’s take a closer look at what they are and how to write them effectively.
How to write a summary for a resume
When making a resume, use a resume summary if you have work experience and you are not changing industries or jobs.
According to Simon Murray, cofounder and director of fleet safety and performance company Cameramatics, the best way to create a great resume is to “Craft a captivating professional summary that succinctly highlights your most valuable skills and accomplishments.” Murray emphasizes that a resume summary should “hook the reader and entice them to explore your resume further,” avoiding generic
Clichés while highlighting what sets you apart from other applicants.
Here’s how to write a captivating resume summary:
Begin with a strong opening statement. Start your resume summary with a concise and compelling sentence that highlights your key qualifications and achievements. Use action verbs for impact.
Tailor it to the job. Customize your resume summary to align with the specific job requirements and emphasize the skills and experiences that are most relevant to the position.
Highlight your accomplishments. Spotlight your notable achievements and contributions from previous roles. Use quantifiable metrics or specific examples to demonstrate your impact on the organization.
Keep it concise: Aim for a resume summary that is no longer than 3-4 sentences. Use clear language to convey your qualifications effectively.
Include relevant skills: Mention key skills that are essential for the job you are applying for. This can include technical skills, soft skills or industry-specific knowledge.
Avoid using personal pronouns: Write your resume summary in a third-person perspective and avoid using “I” or “me.”
How to write an effective resume objective
Like a professional summary, a resume objective has to hook the reader, enticing them to want to read more. It should present your notable accomplishments and job-relevant skills in a compelling way.
Unlike a resume summary, a resume objective should tell hiring managers why you want the job, but it should focus on the needs of the company, not your goals. Hiring managers want to know what’s in it for them, so get their attention and make them your objective.
Here’s how to write a strong objective for a resume.
Keep it concise. An objective statement should be brief and to the point, typically consisting of 1-2 sentences.
Tailor it to the job. Customize your resume objective to align with the specific job you are applying for. Highlight the skills and experiences that make you a strong fit for the position.
State your career goals: Clearly state your career goals and what you hope to achieve for the company (not for yourself) in the role you are applying for.
Highlight relevant skills and qualifications: Mention key skills, experiences or qualifications that are directly related to the job you are applying for. This helps the employer understand why you are a good fit for the position.
Be specific and focused: Avoid generic or vague statements. Instead, be specific about what you can bring to the role and how it aligns with your career goals.
Avoid personal pronouns: Resume objectives, like resume summaries, should not be written in the first person. Write your objective in a third-person perspective and avoid using “I” or “me.”
The bottom line: Whether you use a resume summary or a resume objective, make it compelling, concise and clear.
Make a resume work history section
Potential employers want to know what they can gain by hiring you, so they will review your resume work history section to see how you have used your skills and knowledge to make an impact on current and previous employers.
The trick to creating a stand-out work history section is to tell your professional story through real accomplishments.
Here’s how to create a resume work experience section effectively.
For each job, display three to five work accomplishments in 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 the senior class improved end-of-semester test scores by 25% within three months.”
Format this resume section by listing jobs in reverse-chronological order, with the current or latest position at the top.
- Your title.
- Company name.
- Company location (city and state).
- Dates of employment (month and year).
- Three to five bullet points with your top work achievements and duties.
Create a resume skills section to highlight your strengths.
Work experience goes a long way when building a resume, but a resume skills section is a must-have so potential employers can see from a glance if you have what it takes to perform the tasks required of the job. A strong skills section can set you apart, especially if you have no previous professional experience in your field.
Here’s how to write a resume skills section that works.
- When thinking about what to put on a resume skills section, identify the key hard skills and soft skills you have that align with the requirements and responsibilities outlined in the job description.
- Use bullet points to organize and present your skills in an easy-to-read format.
- Place the most important or your best skills at the top of the list.
- Categorize your skills to make them stand out. For example, you could have “Leadership Skills” and “Computer Skills” in one resume skills section.
- Aim for five to 10 important skills in your resume skills section, or three to five key skills per skills category.
- Include a diverse range of skills that highlight your expertise and demonstrate your ability to excel in the role.
These are the top-ten hard and soft skills employers want to see in 2024:
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 did not attend college, display your high school diploma or GED.
- If you attended college or graduate school but did not complete a degree, then add the name(s) of the schools you attended and your courses of study.
- Add your anticipated date of graduation, if you have one. You don’t need to include the graduation year if you graduated more than 10 years ago.
If you want to know how to make a resume correctly, every resume education section must have:
- The name of your university, community college or school. Only include high school if you’re a high school student or didn’t attend university.
- Location of the school: Write the city and state.
- The month and year you graduated. If you still haven’t graduated, then write the expected graduation date.
- The type of degree you received or expect to receive and the program. For example, a Bachelor of Science in Nursing or a Bachelor of Arts in English.
Columbia University, New York, NY
Bachelor of Science in Social Work
You may also include:
- Your GPA if it is higher than 3.5 and you just graduated college, or it’s required. Otherwise, you shouldn’t add it.
- Relevant coursework. If you have not graduated or have recently graduated but don’t have work experience, then add a bulleted list of relevant coursework you’ve completed.
- Honors, scholarships and awards such as Dean’s List or Rhodes Scholarship if they were recent. Always provide the full name of the award and the year you received it.
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:
- The title of the certification, course or license.
- Name of the certifying agency or body.
- The date you obtained each certificate.
- The expiration date of your certificate (if applicable). If you have not yet finished the course, write “In Progress” with the expected date of completion.
Consider the following examples when building a resume:
Certifications on resume example:
Example of current certification:
Example of “in progress” certification:
Licenses on resume example:
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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 won’t hurt your chances but help you stand out.
Only add a separate section for awards, honors, publications or volunteer work if you cannot tie them into other resume sections.
- If the award, honor or publication is tied to your degree, you can include it as a bullet point in your education section below the university or high school name.
- You can include it in your work history section as a bullet point if it’s relevant to a specific job.
- If you have the space, create a separate section for awards, honors or publications under your education section. List them as bullet points in reverse-chronological order with the year you received or published them.
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 2024 and can help you stand out from candidates who do not have volunteer experience.
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:
Example of how to create a resume honors section:
Example of how to write a resume publications section:
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.
Formatting errors are also a big turnoff for hiring managers. You can make a resume easy for them to read by following these simple formatting resume tips:
- Keep it short. A resume should only be one-page long unless you have more than 10 years of work experience and need the extra room. In that case, two pages maximum is acceptable.
- Set margins to 1 inch on all sides of your document.
- Use appropriate fonts, like Times New Roman, Arial or Helvetica.
- Stick to a font size between 11-12 on the body and 14-16 on headers.
- Choose between single or 1.5 line spacing.
- Save your resume as a PDF, plain text or DOCX and name it appropriately with “[YourName]-[Desired Job]-Resume.pdf.” Sometimes employers specify in the job description which file type to use; always follow their directions. If they don’t specify a file format, save your resume as a PDF.
- Your resume file name matters! We recommend this formula: First Name-Last Name-Target Job Title-Resume.
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:
- Job-specific phrases and skills: No matter the job you’re applying for, we provide the best words to help showcase your job qualifications.
- Step-by-step guidance: Get expert advice at every step to help you present your best self and get the job.
- Easy customization: Write a cover letter for every job application and save as many versions of it as you need.
- Multiple download formats: Save and export your resume as a PDF, DOCX or plain text.
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 2024
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
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 resume for every job application and customize it for your target job. The best way to do this is to use keywords or phrases in the job description and adjust your work experience, skills and summary or objective to the potential employer’s needs.
- Find time to dedicate solely to your resume. Writing a resume is pretty straightforward, but it takes time and focused effort to make a resume for each job that rises above the competition.
- Write and don’t stop to correct your resume along the way. When you get it all down, step away for a few hours and return to it with fresh eyes to refine your resume writing.
- Include only relevant experience in your work history section and required skills that you know are relevant to the job at hand.
- Include up to 10 years of work experience for any job you target.
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.
- Prepare for making a resume by collecting critical information, such as past and present employers’ names and addresses, your top skills and best achievements for each job.
- Select the best resume format for you.
- Customize a new resume for every job you target.
- Include keywords and phrases from the job description across your resume.
- Use a professionally designed resume template and a resume builder to build a polished resume in minutes.
- Download a resume example that matches your job title and circumstances for inspiration.
- Include a cover letter with your job application.
How to make a resume FAQ
What should a resume look like in 2024?
A good resume in 2024 should look a lot like the examples on this page. In 2024, 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 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 it 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:
- Prepare by gathering your information.
- Choose a format and a resume template.
- Add your contact information to the resume header.
- Write a resume summary or objective statement.
- Make a resume work experience section.
- Create a resume skills section.
- Add your education credentials.
- Include certifications, licenses and training if applicable.
- Add optional resume sections if you have any.
- Proofread, save and send it!
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:
- Choose a functional resume format. This format is ideal for job seekers without work experience because it focuses on skills over job history.
- Write a resume objective under your contact information. Job applicants without experience benefit from objective statements over resume summaries because objectives explain job goals and emphasize essential skills and traits that match the job.
- Highlight your transferable skills — traits and abilities you can use in various jobs and industries. For example, strong communication skills are just as important for customer service jobs as they are for teaching.
- Lean on your non-work experience as long as it’s relevant to your desired job. Volunteer work, internships, school projects and extracurricular activities can count for work experience if they relate to the target job.
Where can I make a resume for 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?
- Sign up for a Google account.
- Choose a resume template.
- Change the name of the template and fill it in.
- Save it.
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!
- Create a resume using our Resume Builder.
- Import it into Google Docs.
- Edit and save your file.
What are three tips to writing a good resume?
Our three top tips for writing a resume for jobs you want are:
- Customize your resume for each job.
- Be concise.
- Proofread it.
How to fill out a resume template?
It’s easy to fill out a resume template in just a few simple steps:
- Choose a resume template appropriate to the job you want. Our library of professional template designs covers a wide range of industries and job titles.
- Whether you are creating a resume from scratch or editing an existing file, follow the prompts and add your information, section by section. We’ll do the formatting for you!
- Proofread your new resume.
- Save, download and send it!
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?
How we reviewed this article
Since 2013, we have helped more than 15 million job seekers. We want to make your career journey accessible and manageable through our services and Career Center’s how-to guides and tips. In our commitment to bring you a transparent process, we present our Editorial Process.