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How to Write a Resume in 2022

Maria Correa
By Maria CorreaLast Updated: May 12, 2022
Career Advice Expert

Everybody can write a resume, but not everybody can do it right. In today’s competitive market, 40% of hiring managers spend less than a minute reviewing a resume, so having a strong and eye-catching resume that perfectly captures your relevant skills and work experience makes the difference between getting called for an interview or not.

To help you shine, we’re going to teach you how to write a resume in nine easy steps.

How To Write Resume Hero Image Mobile

Step 1: Before you write a resume, understand how to prepare a resume.

There are a couple of things you need to do before you start writing a resume. Remember: Each resume you write should be tailored to the job you’re applying for —it’s not a one-size-fits-all document. With that in mind, here are some tips that will make resume writing easier:

Tip 1 – To write a professional resume, you need to be prepared. First, make a list of:

  • Major accomplishments from previous jobs.
  • Skills: soft, hard and technical.
  • Details about past employers, date of hire, location, job title and responsibilities.
  • Qualifications such as a college degree, certifications or licenses.
  • All of this information will be used when you write your resume — having it noted beforehand will save you a ton of time later and will not disrupt the creative writing process.

Tip 2 – Find time to dedicate solely to writing your resume.

Tip 3 – Sit in a quiet place where you will not be disturbed and can concentrate.

Tip 4 – Write and don’t stop to perfect your prose along the way. That will happen later.

Tip 5 – When you get it all down, step away for a few hours and come back with fresh eyes to perfect your writing.

Now let’s start!

Step 2: Understand the key sections of a resume.

To know how to write a resume, you must first understand the key sections of every resume. They each serve a different purpose and, based on your experience, might be placed in different areas of your document. You can use our resume examples as a visual guide to see the different ways to build a resume.

  1. Contact information Include your name, phone number, professional email address, and the city where you live.
  2. Summary statement or resume objective Present your strongest skills, experience and what you bring to the job in two to three sentences. If you’re a first-time job seeker, changing careers or applying for a goal-oriented job, write a resume objective where you also state your employment goals.
  3. Skills Include a bulleted list of six to eight skills relevant to the job for which you’re applying. In some cases, you can use the “Summary of Qualifications” or “Summary of Skills” section to discuss a specific set of skills you learned on the job that qualify you for the new role. Not every resume will have this section — it will depend on your years of experience.
  4. Work history Write your work accomplishments in concise bullet points, with your current or latest job at the top.
  5. Education List your education credentials. If you graduated more than 10 years ago, you don’t need to include the graduation year.
  6. Certifications/training List any additional certifications you possess or training you have completed.
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Step 3: Choose the right resume format.

Let’s talk about your resume format. There are three basic formats, and each determines how your resume is organized based on your years of experience and what you want to highlight. They’re not interchangeable, so choose the one that will benefit you the most before writing a resume.

Chronological resume format

The chronological resume format is the most commonly used format. It’s perfect for people with a lot of professional work experience, no employment gaps, and job seekers applying to a job that puts a heavy importance on experience, because it emphasizes work history, focusing on your top achievements and career progression.

Functional resume format

The functional resume format is excellent for first-time job seekers, candidates looking to write a resume with no work experience, people changing careers, or those with employment gaps. It highlights your skills and training, focusing on the abilities that can make you a great addition to the team.

Combination resume format

Also known as the hybrid resume, the combination resume format combines the functional and chronological resumes. It’s ideal for mid-level candidates with some experience in their industry, job seekers switching to a different industry with transferable skills and people reentering the workforce.

Step 4: Add your contact information.

All of our resume templates have a professionally designed resume header for your contact information. Hiring managers need to know who you are and how to get in touch with you, so do it the right way by writing your:

  • Full name: Include your first and last name. The middle initial is optional.
  • Telephone number: Where you can be reached easily.
  • Email address: Make sure it’s appropriate and includes your name.
  • Location: Most resumes require the city where you reside, state name and ZIP code.

Optional information you can include, depending on your industry and career:

  • Title: Do you have a professional title? It can be your position or what you do. For example: Social Media Manager, Software Engineer or Customer Experience Manager.
  • Professional website, portfolio or blog: Do you have a website that showcases your work or is relevant to the potential new job? Be sure to include it!
  • LinkedIn handle: If your profile can add value to your application, include the link but make sure it’s up-to-date.

What NOT to include in your contact information:

  • Date of birth: Unless the job description states otherwise, the hiring manager doesn’t need to know when you were born.
  • Unprofessional email address: It’s one of the most common resume mistakes and can be a huge turn-off for employers.
  • Headshot: Unless you work in the entertainment industry or the job ad requires it, including your picture isn’t necessary.

Here’s an example of a resume header with the correct contact information:

Resume Header Example

Step 5: Resume summary or resume objective?

CHronological Pacific HR

 

Recruiters and hiring managers review hundreds of resumes a day. The best way to ensure they stick around to read your skills and work history is by writing a resume summary or resume objective that immediately grabs their attention and aligns with what they’re looking for.

But what’s the difference between a resume summary and a resume objective? And which one should you use? Here’s what you need to know:

What’s a resume summary?

A resume summary, also known as a summary statement or professional summary, is a two-to-three-sentence summary of your career and past achievements. It’s ideal for candidates with relevant work experience.

To write a good resume summary, feature your top skills and qualifications, use keywords and phrases found in the job description, and avoid using personal pronouns (I, me or my).

For example, if you’re applying for a UX designer job and the employer lists knowledge of Figma and Adobe Creative Suite as a major requirement, you could write:

UX Designer Resume Summary

 

 

Or, if a company is looking for a distribution manager with experience leading a warehouse team, your summary could be:

 

Distribution Manager Resume Summary

 

What’s a resume objective?

Also known as a career objective, a resume objective is a two-to-three-sentence summary that features your top skills and experience and explains your employment goals. It’s useful for job seekers who are fresh out of school or applying to their first job, people who are changing careers and candidates applying for a goal-oriented job.

Your resume objective should answer who you are, your objective and your top skills. For example:

 

Accountant Resume Objective

 

Step 6: Capture your work experience.

Organizing and writing about your work experience may sound like a daunting task, but just follow these pointers, and you’ll learn how to make a resume work history section in no time.

How to list work experience in a resume

Your work experience should be written in reverse-chronological order, meaning that your current or most recent job is at the top of the list. For each job, include the following:

  • 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

Use action verbs to begin your statements.

When describing previous or current job experiences, always start your bullet points with action verbs. Stating “Was responsible for project X …” makes less of an impact than “Managed project X” or “Oversaw project X.” Some other examples of action verbs you can write in your resume include:

 

Resume Action Verbs

Focus on accomplishments instead of daily tasks.

Don’t just write in your resume what you did in your previous job — show employers how good you are by highlighting work accomplishments. Did you play a vital role in a project? Did you go above and beyond your regular duties? For example, an assistant operations manager could write: “Set up and improved accounting systems and processes to maximize the effectiveness of operations.”

Use quantifiable metrics to highlight your achievements.

Numbers help recruiters or hiring managers see what you’re capable of doing and what you can bring to the company. Quantifiable metrics are so valuable that job seekers who use numbers in their resumes see a 40% boost over the competition. So instead of writing something like: “Compiled general ledger entries,” a statement with a quantifiable metric would look like: “Compiled general ledger entries on a short schedule with 100% accuracy” or “Served an average of 6 tables per hour on 8-hour work shifts.”

Tailor your resume to the job.

We’ve mentioned it before, and it still holds true here: Be relevant to the job you want. To accomplish this, use keywords or phrases found in the job description and adjust your work experience to the new role. These keywords can also be used in other sections of your resume, such as the summary statement and skills list.

But how do you determine the keywords in a job ad? It’s pretty simple. The employer will describe the type of candidate they’re looking for (creative, team player, etc.), the skills they’re required to possess and the responsibilities the role entails. These details are the keywords or phrases that will take your resume writing to the next level.

Here’s an example of a job ad for a Social Media Manager with potential keywords and phrases highlighted:

Social Media Manager Ad Example

During your job search, read the job description carefully and note the keywords or phrases that apply to you, and balance them out in your resume writing.

Now that you understand how to write a resume work history section, here are a couple of examples that put everything together and show you how it should look:

Resume work history example with 9+ years of experience

Resume Work History Nine Years

Resume work history example with 5 years of experience

Resume Work History Five Years

Step 7: Highlight your top skills.

As with the summary statement and work history, your job skills section should be tailored to the job. When writing a resume, aim to include six to eight relevant hard and soft skills — and in some cases, a summary of qualifications. Not sure what these are or how to determine the right skills to include? Keep reading.

What’s the difference between hard skills and soft skills?

A hard skill (or a professional skill) is an ability acquired through practice, education and repetition that is job-specific. Having the ability to operate heavy machinery, knowing how to use specific software and speaking another language counts as a hard skill.

A soft skill is an intangible ability or personal trait that isn’t tied to a single job and generally helps you thrive in the workplace, such as being well-organized or a team player.

Here are some top skills to include in your resume:

10 hard skills for a resume

  1. Data analysis (data visualization, programming skills, or statistics knowledge)
  2. Cybersecurity (risk identification and management, or computer forensics skills)
  3. Programming (HTML5, Java development and other programming languages)
  4. Marketing (SEO, email and social media marketing or Google Analytics)
  5. Accounting (Microsoft Excel, QuickBooks and other accounting software)
  6. Design (UX design, Adobe Creative Suite, or photo editing)
  7. Writing (content writing, copywriting or creative writing)
  8. Cloud computing (Cloud architecture, networking or data management)
  9. Specialized machinery (forklift or backhoe)
  10. Foreign languages

10 Soft skills for a resume

  1. Communication
  2. Problem-solving
  3. Adaptability
  4. Leadership
  5. Teamwork
  6. Attention to detail
  7. Time management
  8. Creativity
  9. Active listening
  10. Organization

What’s a summary of qualifications?

A summary of qualifications, or summary of skills, consists of a couple of short sentences where you talk about the top set of skills you learned on the job and the accomplishments that qualify you for the new role. This section is used on functional and combination resume formats only, and it’s best for junior to mid-level job seekers because it allows you to expand a bit more on what you can do despite not having a lot of work experience.

When learning how to write resume skills, consider the following examples of skills sections with a mixture of soft skills, hard skills and a summary of qualifications:

Bank teller skills section example:

Example of a single skills section with bullet points :

Skills

  • Transaction processing
  • Account systems and software
  • Problem-solving
  • Banking laws and regulations
  • Account analysis
  • Strong communication skills
  • Customer relationship development

Example of a standalone summary of qualifications :

  • Proven experience of consistently maintaining a balanced cash drawer and processing deposits and withdrawals, etc.
  • Focused on applying bank security policies and keeping the confidentiality of bank records and clients’ information.
  • Excellent customer service and problem-solving skills; answer questions and assist customers with issues and requests.

Medical receptionist skills section example:

Example of a single skills section with bullet points:

Skills

  • Medical billing and coding
  • Infection control procedures
  • Patient care
  • Time management
  • Insurance claims
  • HIPAA guidelines
  • Medical records management
  • Account management

Example of a summary of qualifications and skills list together:

Summary of qualifications:

  • Proficient in serving patients by greeting and answering questions, scheduling appointments, and maintaining records and accounts on MS Office suite applications.
  • Experienced in practicing urgency at all times with patient’s and doctor’s time.
  • A team-oriented and patient-focused individual; excellent interpersonal and communication abilities.

Skills:

  • Medical office administration
  • Pre-hospital care
  • EMR & EHR software
  • Detail-oriented
  • Filing and typing
  • Positive and upbeat attitude

Step 8: Write your education, certifications, licenses and honors sections.

Don’t treat the education, certifications and honors sections of your resume as an afterthought. While these sections may seem easiest when learning how to write resumes, they’re essential and require just as much of your attention.

Education.

Write your academic credentials with the latest at the top. If you have more than 10 years of work experience, it’s unnecessary to include the year you graduated. If you lack professional experience or work in a field that places great importance on academia, your education section should highlight your trajectory and accomplishments correctly.

Here are the basics on how to write a resume education section:

  • The name of your university, community college or school: Don’t include high school unless you’re a high school student or didn’t go to university.
  • Location of the school: Write the city and state.
  • Date of graduation: Include the month and year. If you still haven’t graduated, then write the expected graduation date.
  • Degree(s): List the type of degree you got and the program — for example, Bachelor of Science in Nursing or Bachelor of Arts in English.
  • Optional:

    • GPA: Only include your GPA if you just graduated university, the number is higher than 3.5, and it’s vital to the job you’re applying for. Otherwise, it’s not necessary.
    • Relevant coursework: If you have recently graduated and don’t have work experience, you can write relevant coursework you took in a bulleted list to show that you possess the knowledge needed to work.

Now let’s show you a couple of examples

High school diploma on resume example:

Example of standalone education section:

Berkley High School

Philadelphia, PA – 06/2020

High School Diploma

Example of education section with extracurricular activities:

Education:


  1. Central High School
  2. Trenton, NJ – Expected in 06/2022
  3. High School Diploma

Extracurricular Activities:


  • Youth Foreign Language Association (2019-present)
  • Yearbook Writer (2020)

Associate degree on resume example:

Example of standalone education section:

Harrisburg Area Community College
Harrisburg, PA – 05/2016
Associate of Science in Health Services

Example of education section with relevant coursework:

Education:


  1. Henry Ford Community College
  2. Dearborn, MI – 06/2021
  3. Associate of Applied Science Computer Programming, Specific Applications

Relevant Coursework:


  • Web Scripting with Python
  • Java Programming
  • Project Management for Windows
  • Management of Information Systems

Bachelor’s degree on resume example:

Example of standalone education section:

National Louis University
Chicago, IL
Bachelor of Science in Business Administration

Example of education section with relevant coursework:

Education:


  1. Rider University
  2. Los Angeles, CA – 06-2021
  3. Bachelor of Arts in Graphic Design

Relevant Coursework:


  • Digital 3D Design
  • Web Applications Programming
  • Motion Graphics
  • Principles of Electronic Commerce

Master’s degree on resume example:

Note: If you went to graduate school, you can include the bachelor’s degree below your latest academic degree. But remember, if you graduated more than 10 years ago, you don’t need to include the date.

Boston University Graduate School of Arts & Sciences
Boston, MA – 06/2017
Master of Fine Arts in Literary Translation
Park University
Cheyenne, WY – 06/2015
Bachelor of Arts in English

Doctorate degree on resume example:

Drexel University College of Arts & Sciences
Philadelphia, PA – 06/2016
Ph.D. in Physics
Columbia University
New York, NY
Bachelor of Science in Physics

Law degree on resume example:

Examples of standalone education sections:

Washington State College of Law
Seattle, WA
Juris Doctor
University of Tampa
Tampa, FL
Bachelor of Science in Nursing

Example of education section for a recent law graduate:

Chicago-Kent College of Law
Chicago, IL
Juris Doctor with Honors – 05/2021


  • Top 11% — GPA: 3.56/4.00
  • Moot Court Honor Society Member
  • Dean’s List (2018-2021)
University of Wisconsin
Madison, WI
Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering

Certifications and licenses

Some jobs, like nursing, require candidates to possess specific certifications and licenses to be hired. Other times, job seekers voluntarily acquire additional certifications that might not be mandatory but further establish their expertise.

Whatever your case, you should add a licenses or certifications section below your education with:

  • Title of certification
  • Name of certifying agency or body
  • Date of obtainment
  • If applicable, list the expiration date of your certificate
  • If applicable, write it in as “In Progress” with the expected date of completion

Consider the following examples:

Certifications on resume example:

Example of current certification:

Lifeguard Certification


American Red Cross, June 2021
Expires: June 2023

Example of “in progress” certification:

First Aid Training (In Progress)


American Red Cross
Expected date of completion: Feb. 2022

Licenses on resume example:

Beauty Operator License (2019)


  1. Board of Barbering & Cosmetology
  2. Expires: 2024

Registered Nurse – License #000000


California Board of Registered Nursing
Expires: 2023

Awards, honors and publications

If you have published work or have received relevant awards that will help you further highlight your accomplishments, include them!

You have different ways of approaching these additions to your resume. It all depends on their importance and how much space you have:

  • 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.
  • If it’s relevant to a specific job, you can include it in your work history section as a bullet point.
  • If you have the space, create a separate section for awards, honors or publications under your education section and list them with the year they were received in reverse-chronological order (with the latest on top).

Here are some examples:

Awards on resume example:

Example of academic awards in the education section:

Education:


New Horizons University
Austin, TX – 06-2021
Bachelor of Arts in Communication

  • Dean’s List (2018-2021)
  • Bighley Communications Award (2020)

Example of professional awards in the work history section:

Work experience:


Lead Copywriter | Grand Rapids, MI
Mar 2018 – Current

  • Write advertising copy for five retail brands’ online content, adhering to employers’ overarching brand identity and personality.
  • Edit content produced by senior executives, modifying the text to conform to company-wide branding standards and publication guidelines.
  • Collaborate with two creative directors and copywriting associates to complete all phases of campaigns.
  • 2021 Cannes Young Lions Award Silver Winner

Example of awards section:

Awards:


  • George Polk Award for National Reporting (2020)
  • Conscience-in-Media Award (2018)
  • Clio Awards (2016)

Honors on resume example:

Example of academic honors in the education section:

Education:


ORT Technical Institute
Skokie, IL – 06-2021
Bachelor of Science in Psychology

  • Honors: Summa cum laude, GPA 3.9/4.0
  • Sharon Stephens Brehm Undergraduate Psychology Scholarship (2017-2021)

Example of honors section:

Honors:


  • Alliance Pipeline Sports Scholarship (2018-2021)
  • Pi Sigma Alpha honor society member (2017-2021)

Publications on resume example:

Example of publications in the education section:

Education:


Reinhardt University
Waleska, GA – 06-2021
Bachelor of Science in Astrophysics

  • “Fundamental frequencies in the Solar System,” AstroFans (2019)

Example of publications section:

Publications:


  • “The Unidentified Bands and Atomic Hydrogen,” Astronomy & Physics, Vol. 650, March 2020
  • “Making the Sun,” Nature Astronomy, 860-862, November 2019
  • “The Duality of Black Holes,” Astronomy Now, Vol. 20, June 2019

Step 9: Proofread, check your formatting and save.

Typos and grammatical errors are the most common mistakes in resumes — and a deal-breaker for about 70% of hiring managers. Reread your resume thoroughly to make sure that everything is written correctly. Our Resume Builder has a helpful spell-checking tool that scans your document and lets you know of any mistakes.

You should also make it easier for hiring managers to read your resume by following these resume formatting tips:

  • Make sure that it isn’t longer than a page (unless you have 10+ years of work experience. In this case, it can be two pages long).
  • Keep the margins at one inch on all sides of your resume.
  • 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 or a DOC and name it appropriately with [YourName]-[Desired Job]-Resume.pdf.”

And that’s it! That’s how to write a resume. When you finish downloading your document, the final product of your resume writing should look something like this:

How to make resume (advice for unique situations)

How to write a resume with no experience

Writing a resume with no experience is possible. If you organize your information correctly and highlight only what employers want, you can make a resume that no employer will turn away from.

When you don’t have experience, you might want to consider using a functional resume that focuses on your skills and highlights your unique strengths. This is also the perfect opportunity to write a resume objective that clearly states your goals of employment.

When it comes to experience, think outside the box. You can write in a resume any relevant internships, personal projects or extracurricular activities (such as volunteer experience or a club) that may have given you some form of experience or skills — they’re valuable! You can also highlight your educational achievements, such as awards or honors. Did you write articles for the school newspaper? Did your club arrange and host a fundraising event or donation drive?

You can present yourself as a well-rounded candidate if you organize your information correctly, despite not having experience. Just take a look at this high school student resume example:

How to write a resume for a career change

After a lot of consideration, you may have decided that you want to change career paths and do something different — and that’s exciting! But before you jump into it, you might want to sit down and update your resume.

Writing a career-change resume is not as simple as throwing everything you do together. First, we suggest changing your layout to a combination resume format if you haven’t already. Then, you need to read the job description well and compare your current skills to the ones they’re requiring. Find transferable skills to highlight and feature only previous work experience that is relevant to the new job.

You should also consider switching your summary statement or professional summary to a resume objective. This will allow you to quickly summarize your top qualifications and make your career-change goals clear while showing the hiring manager that you have what it takes to transition from one field to another seamlessly.

How to write a resume with an employment gap

Employment gaps are periods during which you didn’t have formal employment. Whether planned or not, addressing these gaps in your resume correctly is extremely important to ensure the employer has the right first impression of you.

First and foremost, consider writing a cover letter. You should always pair your resume with a cover letter, regardless of the situation, but even more so when you have an employment gap because you can explain why you have that gap in the first place. We have cover letter examples for an employment gap and more at your disposal if you need inspiration.

Now, as for your resume, we highly advise using a combination resume template because you can place equal focus on your skills and relevant work experience, so the gap won’t necessarily be as noticeable. This resume format also allows you to include a “Summary of Skills” that you can place above your work history and bring more attention to your top qualifications.

If your employment gap takes longer, say more than a year, you can include what you were doing as part of your work experience. However, only do this if you gained relevant skills during this period and keep it brief. For example, you can write that you went on sabbatical and then use three bullet points to expand on the new skills you learned or the certifications you gained. You can also do this if you were a family caregiver or volunteered for an organization and learned or did new things as part of your new responsibilities.

Most importantly, don’t get discouraged if you have an employment gap. Life happens. Organize your information and use this resume example as a foundation to write your resume:

Key takeaways

We’ve given you expert advice on how to write a resume, but before we officially wrap things up, let’s make sure you have everything right to know how to make a resume that stands out:

  • You’re using the right resume format for you.
  • Your contact information is up-to-date, and you have a professional email address.
  • You’re tailoring your resume to the job.
  • You’re featuring your top skills and experience in your resume summary or resume objective.
  • You’re writing work achievements instead of daily responsibilities in your work history and using action verbs at the beginning of each statement.
  • You’re including keywords and phrases across your resume.
  • You’re highlighting the right skills in your resume skills section.
  • And finally, you’re going to proofread your resume to make sure there are no typos.

Complement your resume with a perfect cover letter

Submitting a cover letter with your resume will help you look more professional and enthusiastic about the job opportunity.

A cover letter is a blank canvas where you can complement your resume and market yourself, providing extra details about your history and who you are. You can also include further context on specific projects or work achievements and give hiring managers insight into your personality and how you can be of value to the company.

Get started with your cover letter by checking out our How to Write a Cover Letter guide. We also have cover letter templates where you can write your story using our Cover Letter Builder.

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